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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Adventure > CGI Animation > Animals > Robots > Fantasy > Magic > Mythology > Monsters > M > Ice Age: The Great Eggscape (2016/Fox DVD)/The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania (2017/Hanna Barbera/Warner DVD)/Moana (2016/Disney Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D & DVD)/Paw Patrol: Pups Save The Bunnies (201

Ice Age: The Great Eggscape (2016/Fox DVD)/The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania (2017/Hanna Barbera/Warner DVD)/Moana (2016/Disney Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D & DVD)/Paw Patrol: Pups Save The Bunnies (2013 - 2016/Nickelodeon DVD)/Sing (2016/Illumination/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ 3D Picture: B+ Picture: C+/C+/B & C+/C+/B Sound: C+/C+/B & C+/C+/B Extras: C+/C+/B-/D/B- Main Programs: C/C/B-/C+/B-

Here's the latest children's titles, including two big theatrical releases...

Ice Age: The Great Eggscape (2016) runs less that a half-hour and does involve an elusive egg among other things, but it does involve (the world's first?) egg-hunt and some other amusing moments in what is the first release since the last feature film underperformed. However, it is a likable franchise and I'm glad Fox is not just giving up on it. Still, this should be much longer and this release should offer much more. Passable at best, fans will need more if they're going to support these characters in the long term.

Extras include a stickers-sheet inside the DVD case and Digital HD UltraViolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the DVD adds featurettes Ice Age - The Story So Far, a Making Of featurette, 6 Scrat shorts and Lost Footage.

The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania (2017) continues the mix of children's animated shows with the now monopolistic commercial wrestling juggernaut (versus the smaller, tougher, non Olympic/College types) that mixes about as well for me as oil and water if that. This time, the fighting is by robots, but making future WWE fans out of very, very young viewers is the goal.

Needless to say, I don't see it as a good thing all the way and gives us a plot where George Jetson 'unfreezes' one of their 'Big Show' bits a century later. In the original Hanna Barbera (or even Warner) days, wrestling is the kind of thing they would spoof and have ironic distance from. This feels too much like a 81 minutes WWE advertisement. Maybe fans of both will be amused, but this fell flat with predictability and offering nothing special.

Extras include three classic Jetsons episodes (including the introduction of Astro and Rosie) and three new, short Making Of featurettes in Welcome To Orbit City, The Dangers Of Button-Pushing and The Jetsons: My Favorite Memories Of The Future.

Moana (2016) is the tale of the title character (voiced by Auli'i Cravalho) trying to save her island people from an awful future. Part of the problem has been the shape-shifting Maui (voice by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, in speaking of the WWE) who is a demi-God (think a less dangerous Diablero) who lands up joining her in her quest, but will he be friend or enemy ultimately?

This is a non-Pixar Disney animated feature that has its moments, but is hardly their best. Johnson is actually tolerable here (and not just because we don't have to see him) as the script has fun with him, the fantasy set-up and the usual casual humor. Unfortunately, it does not stay with one save that it has its exotic trappings. The music is not bad, but none of those songs stayed with me either, despite the talent involved there as is all over this blockbuster project. Here we get the Blu-ray 3D version with Blu-ray 2D & DVD, so it is a all-out release (dubbed 'Ultimate Collector’s Edition'). For fans and the curious, you could do worse.

Extras include Digital HD UltraViolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds the Short Film: "Inner Workings", Maui Mini Movie: "Gone Fishing", Deleted Song: "Warrior Face", Voice Of The Islands featurette on how island culture inspired the makers of this film, Things You Didn't Know About has the stars answering brief questions quickly, Island Fashion on the CGI costumes, The Elements Of looks at the film's visual effects, in four featurettes, They Know the Way: Making the Music of MOANA: Learn how Opetaia Foa'I, Mark Mancina and Lin-Manuel Miranda's involvement with the movie changed their lives, Music Video "How Far I'll Go" by Alessia Cara, Deleted Scenes, Fishing for Easter Eggsand a feature-length Audio Commentary track by the makers.

Paw Patrol: Pups Save The Bunnies is the latest Nickelodeon compilation DVD of the hit TV series also aimed at Easter, but without saying so directly. The seven shows here run 94 minutes and the show continues to have its charms and entertainment value, but this too is still a little too basic a release. Still, fans will be happy with it and it is just fine.

There are no extras.

Sing (2016) is the big, pleasant surprise here, not that it is totally original or somehow groundbreaking or innovative, but through its heart and soul, as well as advanced grasp of music. A koala bear named Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey) wants to give his beloved-but-floundering theater a boost. It is a place tied to his family, late father and dreams, so he decides on a talent contest. Many potential singing and even dancing talents show up, more than he expects, but it turns out his secretary printed the awards money at too high an amount! What will they do?

Sending up mostly awful TV talent shows of the moment, it is not imitating one of them or darkly spoofing them (like the live-action film American Dreamz), but establishes a deep world of music, song and singing starting with a Beatles cover and offering dozens of classics (including licensing actual hit recordings often) and does so cleverly, at great expense and with exceptional taste. It makes this additionally involving and fun.

I like the animation style and the voice actors are an additional plus including Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Seth MacFarlane, Taron Eggerton, John C. Reilly, Tori Kelly, Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Saunders, Jay Pharoah, Nick Offerman. Leslie Jones. Rhea Perlman and Laraine Newman. That is one of the best, as well as most effective,. Voice actors casts in years. If there was any doubt about it before, Illumination has more than caught up with Sony, DreamWorks and Disney/Pixar in the world of computer animated feature films.

Extras include Digital HD UltraViolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds featurettes The Making of Sing, Finding the Rhythm: Editing Sing, Character Profiles, plus "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" Music Video, Making a Music Video with Tori Kelly, "Faith" Music Video, "Faith" Lyric Video, "Set It All Free" Lyric Video, Sing & Dance! - "Faith", The Sing Network, The Best of Gunter, "Gunter Babysits" Mini-Movie, "Love At First Sight" Mini-Movie, "Eddie's Life Coach" Mini Movie and even The Making of the Mini-Movies, though they are more like shorts to me.

The 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 1.85 X 1 Ultra High Definition image on Sing is not that much different from the regular 1080p Blu-ray with the same 1.85 X 1 framing, but it is just slightly better in stability and color range, especially in a few key shots.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image on Moana has more differences from its 2D 1080p Blu-ray, but the film needs the help and it is much more interesting this way, though the 2D looks good. It just cuts off part of the realized fantasy world that the film offers, leaving its anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image DVD version struggling to offer the animation at its best. The remaining three DVDs are all presented in anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image framing and tie Moana for third/last place in picture performance.

Moana and Sing were both 12-track/11.1 theatrical lossless sound releases, but Disney has decided to offer Moana in a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mixdown that still delivers, but is not always great all the time. The music sounds good and it shines during all the fantasy/action sequences. Sing is here in Dolby Atmos 11.1 lossless and can sound better, but limits kick in when the several classic hit songs added to the soundtrack show their sonic limitations (too many apparently not available in 5.1 mixes, et al), though it has some edge on Moana in its better sequences. It is one of the only films to date that had all three 11.1 sound logos in its end credits: Dolby Atmos, Auro 11.1 and DTS: X. Both offer some fine demo material too, but neither are soundtracks that stuck with me either.

All four DVDs offer lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, tying for last place sonically, Moana suffering from quite the mixdown as a result.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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