Shortcake: Campberry Stories
(2016/Fox DVD)/Tarzan Lord
Of The Jungle: The Complete Season One
(1976 - 1977/Filmation/Warner Archive DVD Set)/Tarzan
The Ape Man (1959
remake/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/Zootopia
(2016/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD)
C+/C+/C+/B & C+ Sound: C+/C/C/B & C+ Extras:
C/D/C-/C+ Main Programs: C+/B-/C/C+
DVDs are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can both be ordered from the link below.
a new set of family entertainment releases...
Shortcake: Campberry Stories
(2016) is the latest set of episodes of the semi-hit revival of the
doll franchise form a while ago, upgraded and now in CGI animation.
It may be easy to dismiss this as just commercial fare, but it is
child-friendly enough and the makers care enough to keep a certain
The shows run about an hour, though why not make it longer with tall
the room here? Passably good enough for its audience, its as good as
we've seen from the franchise of late.
in this strawberry-scented keep case packaging includes Digital
HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes
capable devices, while the DVD adds a few bonus clips and printable
of the many Tarzan TV series, which one is the biggest hit? No doubt
of all the live action shows, the Ron Ely series is still the
longest-running and most successful, but it could be argued that
despite having a few less episodes and half the running time, the
1976 animated Filmation Tarzan
Lord Of The Jungle: The Complete Season One
may be the biggest hit of them all. Held from official home video
release while Disney did their animated feature film and TV series
versions, this version debuted on CBS as part of their great Saturday
Morning child programming block and was an instant hit. Beyond
running a few seasons, the show turned up as part of shows with other
animated action shows and was a huge success like nothing the
franchise and character experienced since the live action Weissmuller
feature films at MGM.
most of the Saturday Morning programming was comedy and meant to be
fun, some animated shows started surfacing that were more ambitious
and mature like DePatie-Freleng's Planet
Of The Apes,
Of The Dinosaurs
and Filmation's Star
series (all reviewed elsewhere on this site). Especially as compared
to recent attempts at Tarzan on TV (with Joe Lara and Travis Fimmel)
and live action feature films (Greystoke
was at least ambitious (see the great new Blu-ray version elsewhere
on this site), but the Casper van Dien film was a missed opportunity
and dud), this show stands up as one of the most serious and smart
attempts to capture Burroughs' books, though not deeply intellectual
with the new Warner Tarzan film with Alexander Skarsgard due soon,
Warner via their Warner Archive collection are digging into their MGM
archives and have landed up with the popular Filmation show. We get
16 episodes running over 5 hours and they may seem simple in their
animation, but the art style is more mature than what Disney made
(with its emphasis on comedy and even music, that was their approach
and it worked for that version, but its not as mature) and is one of
the sadly defunct Filmation's proudest moments. Those who have never
seen the show or have not seen it for a while will be surprised.
are very sadly no extras, though it would have been nice to have
Filmation scholar Andy Mangels do at least one featurette. However,
not to be left empty-handed, the following link gives you an idea of
the toys made for the character at the time. The also sadly defunct
Mego toy Company made an amazing 8-inch action figure of Tarzan that
sold well on the success o the show, plus they made a smaller bendy
figure and their Mexican counterpart even made a rarer Fist Fighting
8-inch figure never made anywhere else. They are all very valuable
an worth checking out at this link...
eventually let the license lapse early, with Mattel picking it up
long before they made the Disney toys in the later 1990s and made a
taller Tarzan from one of their Big Jim series action figures (not
pictured at the link) that are as valuable as the Mego versions. All
remain some of the best, most collectible Tarzan items ever made.
The Ape Man
(1959) is not exactly a direct remake of the original MGM Weissmuller
hit remake or first Edgar Rice Burroughs' book, but its closer than
the 1980 Bo Derek version. All having been made by MGM, the one
thing the two have in common is that the lead actor never returned
for a sequel. MGM tried Denny Miller out, but it just did not take,
but neither did the film. MGM was trying to keep the profitable
franchise a moneymaker (the Weissmuller films were doing very well in
syndicated TV for them) and they kept trying to get actors to stick
and become a hit in the role, but the likes of Lex Barker, Gordon
Scott, Jock Mahoney and Mike Henry still had to compete with
Weissmuller (all of whose films were either using the classic
Weissmuller Tarzan yell or coming up with a poor substitute). Miller
probably would have only seen a few more films if he was rehired.
evil ivory trade, hidden worlds and 'natives' join the animals, stock
footage, week script and the new version of our lead in a
none-too-memorable, short romp. Guess MGM was either trying to keep
the rights or would try anything to keep things going. Now you can
see for yourself, but with more effort and some changes, this could
have been better. Joanna Barnes, Cesar Danova and Robert Douglas
Original Theatrical trailer is the only extra.
we have Disney new CGI animated hit Zootopia
(2016) with its supposition of imaging a world and technological
civilization if it were built by animals. Unfortunately, it is way
too similar to the world we live in now, a fib that's not as bad or
damaging as the premises in Tomorrowland, but still a bit cynical and
the makers know it. Thus, this gets a PG rating and is only so
child-friendly, from the lack of imagination of an alternative world
with animals (as was the case with the superior Chicken
and items like fake blood and played-out imitations of annoying
touches of life today (cable TV news, etc.) make this a mixed bag
that turned out to be a big hit.
young rabbit named Judy wants to be a police officer, unheard of in
this world for some reason, but she pushes on and lands up with a con
artist fox (reminding me of Fantastic
a bit) named Nick that will ironically change her life for the
better. They are able to keep this up for 109 minutes, quitting
while they are ahead, but this is not for everyone, so if you have
not seen it yet, have moderate expectations. Voice actors include
Ginnifer Goodwin, J.K. Simmons, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate and Jason
include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other
cyber iTunes capable devices, while the disc versions add a Shakira
Music Video, and Scoretopia, while the Blu-ray exclusively offers
Deleted Scenes that aren't too bad and featurettes Zoology:
Origin of an Animal Tale,
A True-Life Adventure,
and Deleted Characters.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on
is sometimes soft, but clean and colorful, playing just fine for the
format. The CGI is fairly good at this point of the artform, but how
much fancier should it be?
1.33 X 1 image transfer on the animated
can show the age of the materials used, with some vertical hairline
scratches not unlike the DVD release of the Filmation Flash
DVD set (see elsewhere on this site), but this is all far superior a
transfer to all previous releases of the film on VHS and TV. All
Filmation series animated and shot on film deserve HD upgrades as
though the animation could be simple, though it is better than usual
here, the use of color was often superior.
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image Tarzan
was not just MetroColor, but dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor
and you can see that in this print at times. But even the greatest
color system in cinema history cannot hide bad visual effects work.
This is fine for the format, but I bet a Blu-ray down the line would
yield better results if the proper print was available.
easily leaves the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image
transfer on Zootopia
the champ here visually, though the color schemes are very odd and
unusual to me, which is the same on the lesser, anamorphically
enhanced DVD version of the film, which is softer than expected.
Definition and detail are just fine, showing non-PIXAR Disney CGI is
getting increasingly advanced. I still liked Chicken
more and this was also issued in the Blu-ray 3D format.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix on Zootopia
is also the sonic champ, a mixdown from the Dolby Atmos 11.1
theatrical presentations in the best theatrical presentations.
However, despite how well mixed and presented, it is not a great mix
or the best mixdown I've heard, though it is much better than the
weaker, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 DVD version. The Blu-ray DTS still
offers some good audio moments, but not too many that are great.
lands in second place with a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with Pro
Logic surrounds that is not bad and well-recorded enough, but the
lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on both Tarzan
DVD releases is a bit soft, second-generation and limited, so be
careful of volume switching and loud playback on your system.
order either of the Warner Archive Tarzan
DVDs, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive