Fighters: The Ray (2017 -
2018/DC Comics*/Blu-ray w/DVD)/Paw
Patrol: Halloween Heroes
(2013 - 2015) + Mighty
Squarepants: The Legend Of Boo-Kini Bottom
(2017/all Nickelodeon DVDs)/Scooby-Doo!
And the Gourmet Ghosts
B+ & C+/C+/C+/C+/C+/C+ Sound: B+ & C+/C+/C+/C+/C+/C+
Extras: C-/D/D/C-/C/D Main Programs: C-/C+/C+/C+/B-/C+
are the child-friendly/family animated releases for the latest change
newest DC Animated movie decides to take on a lesser known (and
pretty cliche) superhero to the small screen. Freedom Fighters:
The Ray (2017 - 2018) is presented on Blu-ray in two seasons here
equaling 72 minutes of animated entertainment. The Ray is a Green
Lantern-esque superhero who can fly, has a cool costume, and a team
of other heroes (non as the Freedom Fighters) who are basically a
second rate Justice League.
with political undertones, the animated feature centers around Ray
Terrill ends up encountered a super hero from another Earth that is
actually himself in another film. Facing off against futuristic Nazis
in this alternate Earth, known as Earth X, the Ray must come to terms
with his new powers, his homosexuality, and finding his place against
the fight to save the planet.
Features includes An Interview with Russell Tavey, the voice of The
it tries hard to be politically and socially relevant, Freedom
Fighters: The Ray ends up being a superhero that at the end of
the day, is just a mix of other better characters. The animation
isn't terrible but on the same wavelength as other 'safe' DC animated
features, and just.. isn't very good.
leaves the pure comedy and adventure of more familiar franchises,
such as two releases of Paw
Patrol: Halloween Heroes
(2013 - 2015) and Mighty
Pups (2018) featuring
various topic-grouped episodes for the first DVD and a short 44
minutes adventure in the other with a bonus collector's card for
fans. That's more than usual at once, even for Nickelodeon, but
after the folding of a certain toy chain, the importance of keeping
the characters out there is as important as ever to the network (also
in the face of merger issues with their parent company still
unresolved as we posted this coverage) and we are now seeing toy
tie-ins to the show turning up at unexpected places ('huggable'
stuffed versions of various cast members at a major drug store chain)
to meet demand for sales and further promo of the show.
just wonder if this will force companies like Nickelodeon to get more
creative and fun like they should be to begin with in the face of
recent and ongoing changes. We'll see.
has also issued the occasional stop-motion version of their still big
hit show SpongeBob Squarepants: The Legend Of Boo-Kini Bottom
(2017) as the new stage musical version of the standard-animated
series hits the stage. This is not to be confused with the 'Bikini
Bottom' release we covered years ago at this link...
sadly only runs 23 minutes (stop motion was never cheap) and we get a
few behind the scenes featurettes, but not enough for all the room on
a DVD. Still, its a nice change of pace and fans will likely want
on to the straight-to-video adventures of another TV classic,
Scooby-Doo! And the Gourmet Ghosts
(2018) is one of the better entries of late (especially after the
awful WWE mess, reviewed elsewhere on this site) and may not take
total advantage of the humor in Shaggy and Scooby's love of food, it
does have famous TV chefs (Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis) voicing
their animated selves in a 77 minutes romp that could have been a bit
longer has the writers got a bit mote creative, though a possible
sequel/revisit could be in the works.
quality is here as much as any release here and is more in line with
the better Scooby
releases of late and is worth your time. Three episodes of various
Scooby series are the
but not least is out first look at Unikitty: Sparkle Party
(2018), which is a LEGO-affiliated world offering a fantasy world
with moviemaking, magic and is a two-DVD set that runs 20 episodes in
all. By not transforming already established characters into LEGO
versions and being something new, it is a bit refreshing and overdue
in all, though some may consider it leaning more towards a female
audience, anyone can enjoy it.
it is for younger viewers and a little may go a long way, but it is
at least fresh for now and LEGO needed that boost.
Ray is presented in 1080p high definition with a 1.78:1
widescreen aspect ratio and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless
mix, the animated is crisp and clean on Blu-ray with no visible
issues. Also included is an anamorphically
enhanced standard definition DVD with the same widescreen
aspect ratio spec and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. A digital copy
is also included.
rest of the DVDs here are also presented in anamorphically enhanced
1.78 X 1 image playback as well and can compete with the picture
quality of The
DVD, as well in the sound sense in lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes in
all cases this time around. Don't expect any sonic surprises, but
these aren't bad for the old, dated codec. We'll see what gets
Blu-ray treatment down the line.
Nicholas Sheffo and James