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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Action > CGI Animation > Environment > Thailand > Science Fiction > Educational > British TV > Ho > Adventure Planet (2012/Arc DVD)/The Boy From Space (1971/BBC/BFI Region 2 PAL Import DVDs)/R.L. Stein's Mostly Ghostly: Have You Met My Ghoulfriend? (2014/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)

Adventure Planet (2012/Arc DVD)/The Boy From Space (1971/BBC/BFI Region 2 PAL Import DVDs)/R.L. Stein's Mostly Ghostly: Have You Met My Ghoulfriend? (2014/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Boy From Space Import DVD is now only available from our friends at BFI, can only be played on DVD players that can handle the Region 2 PAL format and can be ordered from the link below.

Here are the latest children's titles, two of which are from overseas so you don't miss them...

Kantana Animation out of Thailand has made the surprisingly pro-environmental CGI animated comedy Adventure Planet (2012, directed by Kompin Kemgumnird) that is colorful, likely intended for 3D and has its moments as a young rich kid named Sam (voiced by Drake Bell) is part of a camp when the environment starts to get rough, something noticed by a young woman his age named Norva and the younger Jorpe who can read nature and animals with an almost psychic connection. Little creatures are starting to breed to worsen global warming, while scientists are building a Cold Bomb to reverse the process.

Then it gets wilder and carried away. I liked this early on, but there are a few too many moments of violent, aggressive behavior that I found problematic, then the thing goes way over-the-top and silly overboard in the last third. Running a long 81 minutes, Brooke Shields, Jane Lynch and J.K Simmons are among the English voice actors. This should be a curio of some kind, but they needed more restraint.

A trailer is the only extra, though you can get VUDU Digital Copy if you wish.

The Boy From Space (1971) is an educational BBC TV show restored by the BBC and BFI for a new Region 2 PAL Import DVD set release. An educational show, the 1971 show was shot on film about Dan and Helen (brother & sister) finding out about telescopes when they get visited by the title character who talks in then-computer-sounding talk. Not bad, an updated version added more educational videotaped segments with Wordy (whose head is like a spinning ball in an old electric typewriter) and Cosmo hosting the episodes and asking the young viewers to think about words.

Those additions do not hurt, but the original filmed segments are decent and though some aspects of them are dated, more than a few are not and it is not sentimentalized or gives the title character phony, silly treatment. Those shows hold up on their own without the add-ons, but only slight difference in U.S. and British English stopped this from becoming an import. I thought this would be interesting and I was right, also fitting in well with where Doctor Who was at the time. If you can play import DVDs and have children, you might want to get this set.

A feature-length version of the episodes edited as a telefilm, the original 33 1/3 vinyl record with new images and set to a blank screen and a compilation of animated educational sequences are the extras on DVD 2, along with PDF DVD-ROM downloadable 1971 and 1979 pupil's pamphlets.

Finally we have Peter Hewitt's adaption of R.L. Stein's Mostly Ghostly: Have You Met My Ghoulfriend? (2014) from the writer of the popular Goosebumps. A silly horror comedy in the mode of those stories, there are some mildly amusing moments, but the attempt to make a new Halloween special people will remember fails at 91 long minutes, an odd out-of-the-element Joan Rivers appearance and graveyard ghosts who seem like second-rate versions of what you'd find on Filmation's 1976 The Ghost Busters. Fans of Stein might like this, but I found it flat, dull and uninspired.

The only extra is Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the Ghostly Blu-ray has some softness and motion blur, but it is the best performer on the list, though its anamorphically enhanced DVD version is the softest, poorest performer here. The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Time is very colorful and looks like it might have been meant for 3D, so I expect a Blu-ray or Blu-ray 3D would be really impressive as the DVD holds its own in the format. The 1.33 X 1 image on the Space episodes combine 16mm color film and PAL analog videotape, looking good for its age throughout, even in the TV movie version.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the Ghostly Blu-ray is the default highlight of that release with good sonics, mixing and usually good recording, all the more a shame the final cut of the release is so weak. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD version ties the same mix on Time as the second-best sonic presentation here, both well done. Time would likely be amazing in a lossless 5.1 or 7.1 mix. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Space may not have new, stunning sonics, but the sound design is fun and creative for an older TV show and has aged well for the most part.

You can order The Boy From Space BFI Import Region 2 PAL DVD set and many more great releases by searching for them at this link:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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