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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Horror > Satire > CGI > Animals > Fantasy > Addams Family (2019/CGI Feature/MGM/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Big Trip (2019/Lionsgate DVD)/Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil (2019/Disney 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

Addams Family (2019/CGI Feature/MGM/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Big Trip (2019/Lionsgate DVD)/Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil (2019/Disney 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A Picture: B+ & B/C+/B+ Sound: B+ & B/C+/A Extras: B-/C/B- Films: C+

Now for our latest child-friendly entries, also aimed at families...

Surprisingly not yet (as of this writing) available on 4K Ultra HD disc, the new digitally animated reimagining of The Addams Family (2019) from Universal is now on Blu-ray. I was a bit skeptical of this one upon the initial advertising and yet was pleasantly surprised by the result.

The animation is very cool and highly textured (even more so watching it upscaled on a 4K TV) and the story appropriately updates the Addams Family to the modern world. While not perfect, there's a lot of fun to be had in this Addams Family adaptation that will certainly tide us over until Universal & MGM (or another studio? MGM owns the rights.) decides to do another live action installment, as there hasn't been once since Addams Family Values in 1993.

The Addams Family features the voice talents of Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Charlize Theron (Long Shot), Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick Ass), Finn Wolfhard (It, "Stranger Things"), Nick Kroll (The Secret Life of Pets 2, Sing), and music icons Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler (Hocus Pocus, Oliver & Company, The First Wives Club) and Allison Janney (Minions, I, Tonya).

The macabre Addams Family are certainly non conformists to the pastel colored modern town that lies beyond the gates of their gothic estate. As Wednesday becomes curious about the outside world, a home renovator (Middler) spies on the town and tries to outcast the Addams Family by turning the town folk against them. Can Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Pugsley and the rest of the gang blend in to the 'normal' world despite their odd tastes?

The film is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and an audio mix in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) lossless sound, both of which are up to par for the format. The animation, as mentioned, is quite interesting and is a bit of a throwback to the original cartoon with a digital modern twist. Also included is a lesser (and compressed) anamorphically enhanced, standard definition DVD. A digital copy is also included.

Special Features include:

Deleted and Extended Scenes

Welcome to the Family - In this combined Making of/Character Profiles, we hear from the filmmakers and stars of The Addams Family about how the film came about, the animation process and insight into the characters.

Life of a Scene - From black & white storyboards and layouts to animation and lighting, follow along with filmmakers as they bring to life a scene from the movie.

Charades with Thing - There's nothing quite like a game of Charades with your friends. But what happens when the person giving the clues isn't exactly a person? What if he's just... a hand? On talent day, stars of the film are invited to play Charades with Thing. Talent goes head-to-head, competing to see who can guess Thing's clues. Graphics reveal the answers and keep score for each player.

Addams Family Throwback

"Haunted Heart" Lyric Video - performed by Christina Aguilera

and "My Family" Lyric Video - performed by Migos, Karol G, Rock Mafia & Snoop Dogg.

Next is an obscure computer animated film that is not as bad as you might think. Vasily Rovenskiy's The Big Trip (2019) with a stork that mis-delivers a baby panda to a bear, who is not in the mood and tries to find its proper home to little avail. This, despite getting help from some other animals. Penned by a Madagascar alumni, it sounds like it could be a Bugs Bunny cartoon, but the comedy is less funny, still amusing and at least consistent.

Drake Bell and an unlikely Pauly Shore are the known names doing the new voice acting and the cast does a good job here, plus the script sticks with its narrative (it only runs 84 minutes) without stupid or gross jokes, or the kind of joking that has become cliche (the condescending 'oh, that's funny' kind) so this is not bad and worth a look if you are trying to find 'the kids' something fun they may not have heard of.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image looks decent and the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sounds good in combination for the format and delivers performance in line with other CGI DVD releases of late. Extras include the Giving The Characters A Voice featurette on voicing the U.S. release of this program and a Trailer Gallery.

Finally, Angelina Jolie is the perfect fit for the Disney super villainess Maleficent, as she proved in the blockbuster 2014 film. As nobody was really clamoring for a sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) came and went in theaters without too much fanfare. However, it's really not so bad aside from some formulaic story tropes and a few rather silly on the nose moments. The presentation on the 4K UHD disc, however, is seriously impressive and full of beautiful vibrant colors and will serve as a great demo disc for your home entertainment system if nothing else.

The film also stars Elle Fanning, Harris Dickinson, Sam Riley, and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Maleficent uncovers new truths about her origins and her species in the follow-up to the 2014 film. As Aurora (Fanning), her adopted daughter, decides to tie the knot with a young Prince. Maleficent goes to meet the family, and comes face to face with the Queen (Pfeiffer). After an incident at a dinner party, Maleficent goes into hiding and ends up meeting the Fey, which are the same species as she is. Unbeknownst to her, another world of the Feys struggles to thrive as humanity launches an attack on them. Can she bring peace before a serious war begins?

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is presented on 4K UHD disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 in a 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image and audio mix in lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 (and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) mixdown) presentation. This top of the line transfer features a wide range of colors and impressive detail on the production design and characters of the film. The 4K presentation is dramatically more detailed than the also included 1080p high definition Blu-ray disc, which also houses the extras for the film.

A digital copy is also included.

Special Features include:

Origins of the Fey featurette

Aurora's Wedding featurette

If You Had Wings featurette

VFX Reel


and a Music Video

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is an incredible watch on 4K UHD for the pristine presentation alone. The film itself isn't a masterpiece, but is a fine follow-up to the original film that presents some interesting production design and attempts the difficult task of bringing to life a realistic fairy tale land.

- Nicholas Sheffo (Big Trip) and James Lockhart



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