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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Animation > Computer Animation > Animals > Satire > Business > Mature > Cable TV > Action > Adventu > Ice Age: Continental Drift (aka Ice Age 4/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Life & Times Of Tim – The Complete Third Season (HBO DVDs)/Power Rangers Super Samurai – The Complete Series (Lionsgate Blu-ray set/all

Ice Age: Continental Drift (aka Ice Age 4/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Life & Times Of Tim – The Complete Third Season (HBO DVDs)/Power Rangers Super Samurai – The Complete Series (Lionsgate Blu-ray set/all 2012)


Picture: B & C/C+/B-     Sound: B+ & B-/C+/B-     Extras: C+/D/D     Main Programs: C+/C+/C-



Now for animated and energetic entertainment for all ages…



One of the big box office hits of the year, Steve Martino and Michael Thurmeier’s Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012) is the latest installment of Fox’s highly successful Ice Age franchise and we have been covering it since the beginning.  For Blu-ray links to the previous three feature releases, go to these links:












The latest chapter is as amusing as its predecessors as a certain acorn-loving squirrel chases his favorite prize to the center of the earth and this is what causes one continent to split into seven.   This changes the world forever and as usual, the screenplay takes such vast liberties in its narrative for the sake of jokes, though it limits my enjoyment of these releases.  Still, this looks and sounds as good as any of them to date as the makers have put some of their profits back into the animation technology resulting in a CG feature with a look and feel like no other, which also continues the worlds established from the first film onward.


Even if you have never seen one of its predecessors, the animation is fun, the voice work good and energy a plus.  The film is then riddled with moments when the continents split and the other jokes are hit and miss.  This entry is child friendly for the most part, though I though a few moments of cartoon violence (i.e., people hitting each other to be funny) happened too often and some might not want very young children to see this.  It is the most unnecessary aspect of the film, but the rest is very watchable.


Also issued in 3D theatrically and on Blu-ray 3D, we are only covering the 2D set and it is not bad at all, but more on its playback qualities below momentarily.  The voice cast includes John Leguizamo, Ray Romano, Jennifer Lopez and Queen Latifah.


Extras include Ultraviolet Copy, the bonus DVD version, plus the Blu-ray adds Music Videos, a Sing Along, a Coloring Book App, Party With A Pirate! Interactive viewing mode, behind the scenes featurette Whale Of A Tale and Deleted Scenes.



With its overly simple hand-drawn animation (that might be a stretch for some), The Life & Times Of Tim – The Complete Third Season (2012) is the total opposite of a big budget animated feature and a cable TV series (on HBO) as the title character has to continue to deal with people all around him being dumb, jerks, idiots and that includes anyone he has to work with.  It is more of the same after the previous seasons (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and that is great for fans and not so great for those who (like myself) find the show amusing, yet predictable more than it should be.


We get 10 more half-hour shows that have their entertaining moments, but also has only so many new places to go.  The voice actors are a plus here making this funnier than it would be without their comic timing and voice talent, but so few animated programs are aimed squarely at an adult-only audience (while the likes of the Ice Age films have in-jokes for adults while they are mostly for children versus the long cancelled Daria, et al) that fans treasure it for being what it is.


There are no extras.



Last and least is Power Rangers Super Samurai – The Complete Series, now on Blu-ray and the latest of the seemingly endless spin-offs of the classic show (most of which we have reviewed) from the early 1990s.  Another one of our writers who is a fan liked this show and covered the early episodes on DVD, which you can read more about at this link:




We get all 20 episodes of this latest spin-off and the latter shows are no better than the early ones, though fans like my fellow writer might like the latter shows as much as the first ones, I never liked the original show and find the sequels more and more obnoxious, so I rarely look at them.  To say this is for fans only is an understatement, but going High Definition adds nothing to this show and I could care less.  More on the technical performance in a moment below, but three Music Videos are the only extras here!



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Age is easily the best playback performer as expected with nice color range, clarity and textures the early films did not have.  This is as good a performer as the previous Blu-ray editions, though I wonder if the Blu-ray 3D adds to the experience or not.  Depth and detail are very consistent throughout, even if it is not at the level of the best PIXAR/Disney releases.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD version is very soft by comparison and very hard to watch.


The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Rangers are the next best performers, but for all the hype, barley look better than their sloppily shot and edited DVD versions.  Color can be odd, we get motion blur often and detail is an issue more than expected.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Tim is better than the Age DVDs, but it is also intentionally overly simplified animation and is only going to look so good.  Color is purposely limited as well, but it is not too dark.



The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix is on Age is terrific and one of the best feature film sound mixes of the year with very well integrated, naturalistic .1 LFE bass effects and sound flowing extremely well with the superior soundfield.  Sometimes, it is silent to let the visual comedy play out, other times it is restricted to the front speakers, but when it kicks in, it is very impressive and has some seriously good character that will challenge any home theater system.  It is the #1 reason to get the Blu-ray.  The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the DVD is not bad, but absolutely no match for the 7.1 DTS-MA on the Blu-ray.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on each Power Rangers show should have been a notable improvement on the DVD, but instead it shows how harshly the show is recorded and mixed, sounding like older 16-bit digital than a new digital recording.


Finally, the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on all the Tim episodes are on the light side with dialogue/joke-driven sound and it rarely has any palpable surrounds to speak of.  It is just above simple stereo in design and is well recorded, but don’t expect much else sonically.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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