Amazing Chan & The Chan Clan (1972/Hanna-Barbera/Warner Archive DVD Set)/Car’s Life 3:The Royal Heist (2013/E1
DVD)/Charlie: A Toy Story (2013/E1
DVD)/Magic School Bus: All About Earth
(Scholastic/New Video DVD)/Once Upon A
Rhyme (Nickelodeon DVD)/The Point
(1971/MVD Visual DVD)/Wow Wow Wubbzy! –
Best Of Walden (Nick Jr. DVD)
C+/C+/C/C/C+/C+/C+ Sound: C+/C+/C/C/C+/C+/C+ Extras: D/D/D/D/D/B-/C Main Programs: B/C+/C-/C+/C+/B-/C+
PLEASE NOTE: The Amazing Chan & The Chan Clan is only available from Warner
Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link
the latest round of children’s DVD titles…
the film series and character get strange criticism to obnoxious to go into
here, I am a fan of Charlie Chan, loved the Fox film series, think the
character and books are among the best detective fiction of its time and the
character remains both classic and enduring.
Up there with Sherlock Holmes, he is also one of the most well known
even to this date.
needed to have more hit shows like Scooby
Doo and were competing against themselves as well as the underrated
Filmation for what used to be the great Saturday Morning TV market. Pop/Rock was featured on all their shows,
including Filmation’s Archies and
the huge hit spin-off, Sabrina & The
Groovie Goolies (all reviewed elsewhere on this site) so lossy Hanna-Barbera
had to quickly come up with a winning show.
result was The Amazing Chan & The
Chan Clan (1972), which had Charlie (now voiced by Keye Luke, the teacher
from the hit TV series Kung-Fu, the
first #1 son from the Fox movie series (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and
the first and only Asian actor to date to play the character even by now!)
voicing Chan and his ten children helping him with each case, acting as a
variant of the Scooby Gang down to a fun dog named Choo Choo created a diverse
and convincing family of fun siblings that added to the energy and joy of the
semi Asian-flavored Soul/Pop theme song too.
even have a band called The Chan Clan, though they never okay the theme song,
but it should be noted that that title refers to their growing detective work
as well. I remembered the show being
charming and fun, but it has appreciated very well and no one 40+ years ago
could have imagined how ahead of its time it would have been as China was just
about to open up. Like the famous
“Ancient Chinese Secret” detergent commercial, this series smashed stereotypes
and the family here is full-fledged, lovable and one anyone in their right mind
would want be a part of.
the Hanna-Barbera regulars, writers included Max Hodge (he created Mr. Freeze
for the Batman franchise) and actor Jamie Farr in a rare behind-the-camera
role, plus additional voices included then child-star Jodie Foster and Brian
Tochi, later of the great Saturday Morning TV hit Space Academy (also reviewed on the site). The transforming vehicle gag debuted here as
a van, soon to show up on the classic Hong
Kong Phooey (also reviewed on the site) as his trusty car.
The Amazing Chan & The Chan
Clan is a classic
animated TV gem and in this great DVD set, one worth going out of your way for,
no matter what your age. Oh, and it
makes Chan the only other classic detective besides Holmes to have an animated
sadly no extras, but maybe if they make a Blu-ray edition…
Car’s Life 3:The Royal Heist (2013) has nothing to do with the
Disney/PIXAR franchise, though the problems with Cars 2 has allowed smaller competitors to take a shot at the money
that would go to that franchise otherwise.
The animation is very simple here, though color use is not bad and the
story of Queen Limousine (looking like Lady Penelope’s Fab One Rolls-Royce from
Thunderbirds somewhat) attending a
drag race is amusing and the 85 minutes here are all child-friendly and more
watchable than expected.
course, this has a built-in automobile fan crowd and will be a curio. Nice to know this is a pleasant surprise,
running a watchable 85 minutes. There
are no extras.
Charlie: A Toy Story (2013) on the other hand is the
weakest entry on the list with its phony sense of family, bad acting, bad
script and cluelessness on the potential of what to do with this tale of the
dog that helps keep watch on the family toy shop. Unfortunately, no group of people has ever
been so bored or boring who owned a toy shop in TV history.
the dog does not talk, but the people do and this was a total dud. There are no extras.
Magic School Bus: All About Earth simply collects three episodes and one bonus show from
the hit TV series and offers it as this single DVD. That’s fine and all, but after the release of
the nice Complete Series DVD box
set, this is anti-climactic and obviously offered for young children and those
who are not big fans of the show. The
choices are just fine and these are educational, respecting the intelligence of
young viewers. I just recommend the box
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) instead.
Once Upon A Rhyme and Wow Wow Wubbzy! – Best Of Walden are two compilation DVDs from
Nickelodeon that show off their current slate of hit shows. Rhyme has fairy tale episodes from Bubble
Guppies, Team Umizoomi!, Fresh Beat Band, Dora,
two from Wonder Pets! and one from Blue’s Clues, while Walden offers six shows from the Wubbzy! series focusing on the popular
character. This is all child-friendly
and good entertainment, though older fans might just stick with larger box sets
of said characters. Like School Bus above, are offered for young
children and those who do not want to buy box sets.
no extras on Rhyme, but Music Videos, Coloring Activity Sheets and bonus
episode are extras on Walden.
in the vein of The Beatles’ Yellow
Submarine (1968, reviewed elsewhere on this site) but made for TV and aimed
at families, Fred Wolf’s The Point (1971)
features music and singing by the late, great Harry Nilsson (based on a story
he came up with) and voice acting by Ringo Starr, all of whom were involved in what
really is the first animated feature for TV.
(voiced by Mike Lookinland of Brady
Bunch fame) is the main child character, who has a round head, but wears a
pointed hat to fit into the Land of Point and its people, but he is considered
an outcast and some angry, mean royals have him sent away with his dog Arrow
(the song “Me & My Arrow” is the
productions big hit) which takes them on an absurd adventure, all read by Starr
as a father talking to his son who happens to look and sound very much like
minutes, it is a charming, if inconsistent work and though the animation might
be dated and limited, the color and ideas are not fitting in with the new style
of the time, surreal and even a bit psychedelic. It has more than enough highlights to see it
at least once and now it is back on DVD with new extras that amount to four
featurettes: Who Is Harry Nilsson?, Pitching
The Point, Making The Point and Legacy Of The Point.
have never seen this and love animation and music, it is a must-see.
X 1 on Chan and Point have some of the best color on the list (Chan is my favorite, never looking better here), but Bus seems a little weaker, esp. versus
the picture quality on the box set and the Nickelodeon DVDs are somewhere in
between but looking good with decent color and all have some aliasing
errors. Chan and Point have some
minor print issues. The anamorphically
enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the rest of the DVDs are as good at best, but no
better and Charlie is especially soft
throughout. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0
Stereo is offered on all the newer titles, while Chan, Bus and Point have lossy Dolby Digital 2.0
Mono. They are all on par with each
other sonically when all is said and done, though Charlie and Bus are weaker than
expected, sp be careful of volume switching.
To order The Amazing Chan & The Chan Clan,
go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at: