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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Animals > CGI > TV > Copenhagen > Superheroes > Food > Toys > Angry Bird Toons Sony DVDs: Season Two, Volume Two (original series) + Piggy Tales: The Complete Second Season + Stella: The Complete Second Season (all 2015 - 2016)/Beyond Beyond (2014/Lionsgate DVD)

Angry Bird Toons Sony DVDs: Season Two, Volume Two (original series) + Piggy Tales: The Complete Second Season + Stella: The Complete Second Season (all 2015 - 2016)/Beyond Beyond (2014/Lionsgate DVD)/The Good Dinosaur (2015/Disney/Pixar Blu-ray w/DVD)/LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League Cosmic Clash (2016/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Bake Shop + Sweet Sunshine Adventure (2015/Fox DVDs)

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

This new cycle of child releases is made of the return (sometimes sudden in some cases) of various franchises we cover, plus a new launch that had mixed results.

The quickest of the releases are a bundle from Sony (sold separately) that include Angry Bird Toons: Season Two, Volume Two (original series) + Piggy Tales: The Complete Second Season + Stella: The Complete Second Season (all 2015 - 2016) that continue in the same vein and have very similar content to the previous set of all three series we just covered at this link...


Obviously all involved want to keep the fun and fanbase going and that's fine, but it is very similar to what we just covered, is child-safe, just fine and did not cause me to have deja vu, yet I was surprised this all arrived so quickly. You'll like the new ones, unless you don;t want to have more of the same. The only difference is that a $3.99 game value items has been included in all three to go with the cross episodes on each other's discs, trailers, small Making Ofs and sometimes character profiles. That leaves me wondering how the Piggy and Stella shows would look on Blu-ray.

Esben Toft Jacobsen's Beyond Beyond (2014) is a CGI animated feature from Copenhagen that is not bad, but not great as a rabbit simply tries to get home, though not before encountering new friends and obstacles. Only here in an English dub voiced by Evan (a kid from the web), Jon Heder, Carey Elwes, Emily Deschanel and Patrick Warburton, they are joined by others doing good-enough work here, but hat cannot save us from a weak script and animation that just looks too dated upon arrival. See how badly the moving mouths come across.

Unless something smart is somehow being censored, there is nothing to see here much and this might become some kind of cult item at best, but it just never works. A U.S. Making Of piece and Digital Copy are the only extras.

There is obviously no CGI limits on the new Disney/Pixar big budget release, Peter Sohn's The Good Dinosaur (2015) that did not do well theatrically when an animated dinosaur feature should have been a no-brainer blockbuster. However, this was conceived during the end of the original cycle of Pixar brainstorming that produced their greatest hits, but like Cars 2 and the non-animated Tomorrowland, is in the tail end of the wake of that greatness and does not work too well.

With its surprisingly simpler animation, despite some nice moments of color and texture, a young and old male dinosaur make their way across the land when they discover the young version of a human male. The humor is supposed to come from all being out of their element and how they become friends and survive. However, we've seen and heard this one far too many times before and why no one at the company or Disney thought to hit the halt button and rethink this shows how on automatic pilot they have been on things in the past year. Buying LucasFilm is not excuse either.

And it is not that the dinosaur cycle if dead, as the recent Jurassic World (faults and all) proved, it is just this needed to be smarter like Hanna-Barbera's highly underrated animated series Valley Of The Dinosaurs (reviewed elsewhere on this site) was. It had humor, but more complex (by comparison) relationships and made great statements about making friends with others different from us. This film could not be a rip-off or remake of that, but with all the creative minds at both companies, this need not have turned out so flat and forgettable. Thus, it is one of the missed opportunities of the year.

The over two hours of extras include (along with Digital HD Copy) the short Hide & Seek promo clip, Deleted Scenes with option commentary, five Making Of featurettes, animated short Sanjay's Super Team and a feature length audio commentary track with the the people who make the film possible. A Blu-ray 3D version of the film was also issued, but that is not the one we got.

LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League Cosmic Clash (2016) continues what has been a series of Warner Blu-rays releases (with DVDs as is the case here) that are only for children, are far more comical than I would have liked and by there classic theme song imply a continuance of sorts of the old 1970s Superfriends! series, though that show could be darker. To compare, the best of this LEGO cycle can be found at this link...


Here, Brainiac is shrinking and collecting planets all over the world (mirroring a more believable mad scientist episode of the original Superfriends!) and actually seems a bit long at 78 minutes. The similarities continue with that older TV episode (which ran under an hour) with Supergirl showing up as the 'guest superhero' (it was Green Arrow on the older episode), but its silliness soon ends in one of the less-satisfying entries in this series. Children and fans might find it worth a look, but I was disappointed.

Extras only include Digital Copy and a Gag Reel.

Finally, the new CGI version of Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Bake Shop and Sweet Sunshine Adventure (2015) come out at the same time in strawberry colored & scented DVD cases (!) with 66 minutes of main content each and more of the same from a series we have not seen in a while. However, the makers are lining the gang up against Bratz, the older Dora and LEGO Friends: Girlz, though they don't seem to try so had here. Nothing new here either, but it is at least consistent, though they are not as convincing as the older hand-drawn version to me to the limits of my interest (i.e., skip the show and go to a bakery). Extras on Bake include a printable recipe, while Sweet adds a Music Video, printable coloring page and small featurette. Both have Digital Copy.

The image quality breakdown in formats is very simple with the two Blu-rays here tying for first place and DVDs for second, so I am a little surprised that the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Good is on the bland side and at least in 2D, does not have the fun and excitement we expect visually from a Pixar production. It is professional, the money is on the screen and there are no major flaws, but it is nothing very memorable, so anything special must be in real 3D only or forget it. Thus, the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on League can more than compete with its fun use of colors. Sadly, both have similarly flat approaches, but in League it makes sense as they are imitating a toy line.

The anamorphically enhanced DVD versions are softer throughout and 1.78 X 1 image on all the TV titles and 2.35 X 1 on Beyond. They are passable for the format, but no match for the Blu-rays, even if they don't offer any demo moments.

As for sound, the Blu-rays tie for first again as Good delivers a nice DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 or lossless mixdown of its Dolby Atmos 11.1 premium soundmaster in its best theatrical engagements. I expected a bit more, but maybe we'll get the 11.1 on an Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray edition, so the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Justice can more than compete here with a pretty good mix of its own throughout. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on their DVD versions are passable, but no match for the DTS-MA Blu-rays. Beyond is also here in lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and the rest of the DVDs are in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with slight Pro Logic surrounds, but only the lossy Dolby Digital on Good really stands out above the rest of the DVDs.

Now you can check them out for yourself.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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