The Movie (2019/Universal
DVD)/Skippy The Bush
Kangaroo, The Complete
(1967 - 1969/Umbrella Region Free PAL Import DVD Set)/Spies
In Disguise 4K (2019/Fox
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Tex
Avery Screwball Classics: Volume One
(1943 - 1951/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)
Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: C+/C+/B+/B Sound: C+/C+/A/B-
Extras: D/B-/B/D Main Programs: C-/B/C+/B
Import DVD set now only available from our friends at Umbrella
Entertainment in Australia, can only play on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K
players that can handle the PAL video format and is Region Free,
while the Tex
Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.
for some more family entertainment, more diverse and interesting than
usual in these four releases...
are some great toys out there, many in the past you can no longer get
and many of those continue to climb in value, but there are those
still being made like Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars, tie-ins to movies
various superheroes, Barbie) and even construction toys like LEGOs.
LEGO has had a great run of a few feature films and many
straight-to-video releases, so you can see why a similar line might
want to get into the act. Lino DiSalvo's Playmobil
(2019) should have been that release, but it is a weak, sad copy of
the lesser LEGO productions and lands up being a package deal that
should have never happened.
one has a lame live action start, then we land up with a contrived
disappearing characters plot, silly spies and other elements that are
shockingly throw-away and in its 100 minutes, drags on and on and on
and on and on and on and on and on, missing so many opportunities to
get good that I lost count. A combination of not trying and not
caring, even voice work by Daniel Radcliffe, Anya Taylor-Joy, Adam
Lambert, Kenan Thompson and Jim Gaffigan cannot save this reportedly
expensive dud. STX co-produced this and once again, their poorest
sense of package deals got to them and this is just really bad. Just
stick with the toy line.
are no extras.
Complete Skippy The Bush Kangaroo
(1967 - 1969) is not only the entire live action international hit
children's TV show produced in Australia and that remains one of the
biggest hits in that country's history, but a theatrical film release
made towards the end of the show's production, all restored by
Umbrella Entertainment, et al, on DVD. Sonny (Garry Pankhurst) is
the kangaroo's best friend, teaming up on their various (half-hour)
adventures each week in what was the only color TV production from
Down Under at the time, as like the U.K., color TV had not arrived
yet (the PAL system almost had it, while the U.S. NTSC system had it
in full swing by about 1965) so the show was being made with export
of all the child-friendly shows being made at the time, including
with animal leads, it is surprisingly smart, ironic to watch recently
after the disastrous wildfires that destroyed so much of the outback
as we post this and shockingly is in danger of making the iconic
koala bear (they are in every episode of this show) extinct!
show is a time capsule, but we would hate to see it be so for
environmental disaster reasons. Ed Devereaux is Sonny's police
father and the rest of the regulars fit together well in a show where
all melds well and one definitely worthy of rediscovery all over.
These kinds of shows remained popular into the early 1980s and Aussie
fans will even note a few legendary actors from that industry showing
up ion a few shows. With all the plastic, condescending, even angry
and loud children's programming too often more interested in selling
things than entertaining and enlightening children, Skippy
is great to have back.
include a new transfer of the 1969 Skippy
movie know as The
you have a reversible cover and DVD
#14 has a bunch of extras including featurettes: "Which
way did they go, Skip?":
all new interview featurette with Ken James, "Gentler
all new interview featurette with Tony Bonner, "Skippy's
- 25 min TV Special, "Skippy's
- TV Commercial, Tony Bonner Sings "Skippy
the Bush Kangaroo"
theme song, "Adventures
With Skippy The Bush Kangaroo"
- audio adventure with John McCallum, a Stills Gallery with promo
photos and a Comic Book in black and white in stills.
Smith and Tom Holland extend their voice talent to animated family
friendly film, Spies
(2019), a high tech digitally animated spy film from Blue Sky, the
animation company behind the Ice
films and others. The presentation of the film looks great on this
new 4K Ultra HD edition, which is high budget and interesting to
Gillan, Ben Mendelsohn, and Rashida Jones also lend their voices to
every Super Spy there's a helper who creates the gadgets. Here,
Lance Sterling (Will Smith), infamous spy, and his scientist helper
Walter Beckett (current Spider-Man Tom Holland) fit those two bills,
but when Lance drinks a potion he isn't supposed to, he turns into a
pigeon. The unlikely duo then work together in order to solve a
world threatening case.
Features include (per the press release):
Secret Spy Mode
Blue Sky Studios
Top Secret Guide to Gadgets
There Were Two" Music Video
of Nature" Music Video
the Soundtrack "Then There Were Two"
the Soundtrack "Freak of Nature"
a Stills Gallery
Keys and Moment Paintings
Props & Gadgets Concept Art.
but not least is the animated shorts set Tex
Avery Screwball Classics: Volume One
(1943 - 1951) featuring 19 shorts from various years, so this is not
going to be a chronological anthology of any sort, but that's fine.
Nine of the shorts are stand-alone gems including the sexual humor of
Hot Riding Hood,
smart mystery genre spoof Who
and the hilarious and relentless Symphony
where a hip guy tries to explain his life at the pearly gates, but
all he can do is talk in the slang of the time. They try to
translate it and the results are images that are far too visually
Screwy Squirrel, two George & Junior bear romps and four Droopy
cartoons (which we reviewed among the entire series on DVD years ago)
especially hold up well and are even funnier when they are this
clear, detailed and you can see new details and color in them. It
can sometimes even be a revelation and makes some of these funny all
over again if you saw them before. Like the Looney Tunes, Popeye and
Tom & Jerry Blu-ray sets we've reviewed before, it is a real
treat to be able to enjoy these cartoons with high fidelity only
previously possible with a quality film print. A truly welcome
addition and I hope we see more like it soon.
are sadly no extras, but more volumes are due, hopefully soon.
for the playback quality of these releases.
in Disguise is presented in 2160p,
2.35 X 1, HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High
Definition image on 4K UHD disc with a widescreen aspect ratio
of 2.39:1 and a stunning, lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 track that is
quite immersive (plus a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) mixdown for
older system) and delivers well. The animated feature has a clean
and crisp look on disc here that shows all of the detail in the image
as the filmmakers intended. The soundtrack is pretty hip but
appropriate for the movie, and its wide color ranges are sure to
please kid audiences. The 1080p
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the regular Blu-ray is also
fine, but not as impressive as the 4K edition.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on the Playmobil DVD
has odd color in the live-action footage, but the CGI color is
better, yet it could look better and the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 is
not bad, but I wonder if the original soundmaster had more to offer.
1.33 X 1 on Skippy is from archival 35mm film that has some
variant quality, but looks really good for its age and comparable to
shows from the time like Lassie, Flipper, Wild
Kingdom and Tarzan TV series of the time. Color is often
fine and it is great the series survived as well as it has here.
Director of Photography on most of the series was Peter Menzies, Sr.,
A.C.S, who makes the show look great. His son is now a great DP
himself and still lensing great work. Hope we see the show on
Blu-ray at some point. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the
episodes and 2.0 Stereo on the 1969 feature film sound just fine for
their age and have been nicely remastered.
1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Tex
come from various 35mm film sources (the original nitrate camera
negatives apparently perished in a fire, but
dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints and separation elements
of the films have survived and Warner has done an amazing job of
restoring them, then scanning them in 4K. You can see how Avery was
using the color in all kinds of fun, unique ways, including
downplaying Technicolor vibrancy in parts. The DTS-HD MA (Master
Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes on the animated work can show their
age at times, but they sound really good otherwise and really, as
good as I have ever heard them.
Umbrella import DVD, go to this link for it and other hard-to-find
to order the Tex Avery Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link
for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:
Nicholas Sheffo and James