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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Fantasy > Adventure > Literature > Animals > Superhero > Children > French > Holiday > Br > Dorothy and The Wizard Of Oz: Season One, Volume One (2017/Warner DVD)/Ferdinand 4K (2017/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash (2018/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Nicholas

Dorothy and The Wizard Of Oz: Season One, Volume One (2017/Warner DVD)/Ferdinand 4K (2017/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash (2018/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Nicholas On Holiday (2014/Icarus DVD)/Peppa Pig: The Easter Bunny (2018/E1/Fox DVD)/Pinocchio (2017/Lionsgate DVD)/Railway Children (2017 Live/Film Movement DVD)

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

Here are the newest child/family titles, with some live action you have not heard about...

We start with a new version of The Wizard of Oz, which is actually an entire book series and since some of the books are in the public domain (i.e., no more copyright), several other versions apart from the 1939 MGM classic (now owned and preserved by Warner Bros.) so anyone can do an Oz program, even if it is not great. It just cannot be based on the 1939 film, but Warner can and has launched a surprisingly fun, child-friendly new TV series. Dorothy and The Wizard Of Oz: Season One, Volume One (2017) is based on the designs, iconography and costumes that helped made the 1939 film a classic.

Instead of trying to rehash the movie or imitate it too much, it takes a looser, yet surprisingly amusing, funny and entertaining approach in the ten episodes here that was a pleasant surprise, skips any pretension and makes this revisit make sense. Even the voice-overs do mot make accidental camp out of the original actors' work from the 1939 film. Children should enjoy it, whether they've seen the 1939 film or not (they will want to see it after this) and we get some fun new characters. It may not be for everyone and adults should only expect so much, but anyone who likes or loves the original film should take a good look.

Picture and sound performance is at the end of this text for this release. There are no extras.

Surely, you read the children's book of Ferdinand when you were a little one and if not then you can experience it fresh with this Fox animated version of the classic tale. Ferdinand is a friendly Bull, who gets mistaken for being big and mean and ends up on his own out in the big world. Befriending a human family and becoming almost an extra family pet, Ferdinand gets to the point where he starts to question where he came from... After rallying together some odd-ball friends, Ferdinand soon ends up on a quest to return home and with cartoonish and zany outcomes!

The new hot animated film Ferdinand 4K (2017) features the voices of John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Gabriel Iglesias, Carlos Saldanha, and David Tennant. The film is from the animation studio Blue Sky, who also produced the Ice Age films, The Peanuts Movie and Rio.

Presented in 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image in the great 4K format, with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and a nice sounding Dolby Atmos 11.1 track, there is little to gripe about in terms of presentation. It's always interesting to see an animated film on the 4K UHD format and to see that its difference over Blu-ray isn't quite as profound as it is with more realistic films. The colors are best during some of the outdoor nature segments, which are beautifully animated and detailed. The characters themselves, both human and animal, are on pare with some of the characters you'd see in a Pixar film. Clothes are strikingly realistic with detail and colors seen in the also included 1080p Blu-ray disc with similar audio and visual specs and a digital copy.

Special Features include...

"Ferdinand's Guide to Healthy Living" with John Cena

"A Goat's Guide to Life"

"Ferdinand's Team Supreme"

"Spain Through Ferdinand's Eyes"

"Confessions of a Bull-loving Horse"

"Creating the Land of Ferdinand"

"Anatomy of a Scene: The Bull Run"

"Learn to Dance with Ferdinand"

"Ferdinand's Do-It-Yourself Flower Garden"

"Creating a Remarka-Bull Song"

"Home" Music Video


Ferdinand is fine for kids but isn't as engaging as Coco or other animated films in the genre.

Aimed at a young audience, the new direct-to-video LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash (2018) lacks the more realistic and tactical animation seen in the big budget LEGO movies, but for Saturday morning fun, this is fine as it not only features The Flash but other members of the Justice League as well including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and... even the dreaded Ace the Bat Hound. Oye!

The Justice League notice a change in The Flash (the fasted meta-human on earth) when he suddenly loses his powers and isn't keeping up with his superhero quota. Soon they realize that the Reverse Flash is behind the madness and the League must band together to stop the out of control super villain before he destroys the world!

Presented on Blu-ray with a 1080p widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a nice sounding DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless track, the presentation here is on point yet nothing spectacular. The animation is clean looking but nothing too overly detailed. Also included here is an anamorphically enhanced, standard definition DVD and a digital copy.

No great extras... just a few trailers.

For young audiences its fine but adults may get a little bored at how silly it is.

Now for the rest of our titles, all on DVD, with tech info afterwards...

Laurent Tiraud's Nicholas On Holiday (2014) is a French comedy about the title child (with characters created by the makers of international comic strip sensation Asterix) goes on a trip now that school is out for the summer. He has his family, friends old and new and let the mayhem begin. Now we've heard and seen these scenarios before and they are even a bit cliche in 'grown-up films' (et al) so what is supposed to make this fun and different is that it is French, it is based on a comic (a very hip thing to do these days) and maybe take us a few places we have not been to before.

Though I liked the look and the actors were not bad, since this cycle of pre-teen comedy has been done so much, the film tries too hard to be like a Hollywood counterpart and that holds it back. On the other hand, this is only here with subtitles, so that will cut out a decent number of child viewers who might not have the stamina for such a thing, but it is worth a look for those interested. Unfortunately, nothing here stayed with me.

Peppa Pig: The Easter Bunny (2018) only runs 65 minutes, built around the holiday of the title for this new compilation and I like how child-safe, pleasant and consistent this series remains (we get 12 adventures in all their British glory) and in this case, I can see why only so many shows might fit the theme. If that works for you, it is a DVD single to get, especially since this has a bonus in the package of Peppa images to put on your hard boiled Easter Eggs. All you need to know is that the quality remains solid if you want it and you can hardly go wrong otherwise, save the length of the disc.

Speaking of public domain, Enzo D'Alo's Pinocchio (2017) is yet another different variant of the classic book that is not from Disney (something that may surprise some children (and even adults) who think they own the character in total, giving them a shock (like when many decades ago heard an Adventure Theater radio adaption hosted by Tom Bosley) that this character belongs to everyone.

Done by an Italian CGI animation studio (et al), they have chosen less melodrama, humor held back a bit and an animation style that will recall some of the more interesting animation coming out of Europe in the 1960s & 1970s (plus a bit of The Beatles' Yellow Submarine) and some of the Fleischer Brothers work in that makes the 84 minutes at least an interesting alternate version that does not seem cheap and cynical. Unfortunately, they do not come up with much new that we have not seen before, so it only goes so far.

Voice work by Johnny Orlando, Ambyr Childers and Jon Heder for the English translation (the original audio is not included, but I would have liked to have heard that) is a plus and we even get a Making Of featurette. Maybe this will develop some kind of cult following, but otherwise, not much stood out here either. All whom are curious should give it a look just the same.

Last but not least is a new version of The Railway Children, here in a new 2017 Live on stage version that is as British as several I have seen before, but not bad for not being a dramatic on-location dramatization. It compares well with the one we reviewed from 15 years ago at this link that will tell you more about the story here...


Needless to say it is about a love of trains, childhood, imagination and possibilities, so this new version with a fine cast of actors I've not seen before is fine and definitely worth a look. I would suggest getting both versions and doing a double feature of the two. That would be fun for kids in particular.

There are no extras.

Now to finish our look at the technicals on these DVDs. Save the 1.85 X 1 on Pinocchio, the anamorphically enhanced image on all these DVDs is 1.78 X 1 and they all look as good as they can for the format as Flash does, even if that had the most money in it. There are few flaws, though if you like a given program, you'll wonder why no Blu-ray was announced. As for sound, all are here in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, save Oz and Pinocchio in lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and they all are fine for the increasingly older, compressed format. However, Railway could have used a 5.1 mix because its 2.0 Stereo is weaker than expected as if it were transferred too low or something was done to clean the soundtrack the wrong way. In that case, just be careful of audio switching and high playback levels. Otherwise, this is what we pretty much hoped for and expected out of the old DVD format on these.

- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (4K, Flash)



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