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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Adventure > Fantasy > Superhero > Cable TV > Satire > Surrealism > Theatrical Shorts > World Series Champions 2020: Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB/Shout! Factory Blu-ray w/DVD)

Ben 10 Versus The Universe (2020*)/Steven Universe: The Complete Collection (2013 - 2020/box set/*both Warner DVD)/Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume Two (1942 - 1957/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/World Series Champions 2020: Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB/Shout! Factory Blu-ray w/DVD)

Picture: C/C+/B/B- & C+ Sound: C/C+/B-/B- & C+ Extras: D/C+/C+/C+ Main Programs: C+/B/B/B-

PLEASE NOTE: The Tex Avery Blu-ray, like the first volume, is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Next up are our latest family releases, all in time for the holiday season...

Ben's old villain - Vilgax - returns more powerful than ever and threatens the entire universe and only Ben can stop him, but just as Ben goes interstellar, he is suddenly whisked away to a universal trial and he has been mistaken and he is accused of being a villain. Without Ben, Gwen, Grandpa Max must team up with Kevin 11 and must save the Earth until Ben comes back, but can Ben save himself and clear his name?

In Ben 10 Versus The Universe (2020,) Ben is a young ten-year-old gifted with an alien device that allows him to morph into various aliens and fight monsters and villains. However, he has a 'hero complex' in which, he is over confident and totally bored in his usual enemies because he always wins and is looking for a villain which actually will give him a challenge. And when the universe is threatened, he finds a way to power up even more, but when he is suddenly teleported away, he must first prove he is a hero and not a villain. Gwen and Grandpa Max must team up with one of Ben's old rival Kevin and stall Vilgax until Ben returns. Ben must learn to control his new forms and must combine all of them to save the Earth and stop Vilgax.

This series is about your usual super powered boy with an alien device which basically allows him to do almost anything. But for some reason, in the cartoon series Ben 10 is a teenager, for the movie they decided to make him 10-year-old again. The plot was way too simple and predictable. It seemed like the company wanted to remake the Ben 10 series for a younger audience.

There are no extras.

In speaking of universes, another Cartoon Network hit is now entirely on DVD as it has ended its long, successful run. Steven Universe: The Complete Collection (2013 - 2020) has five, long healthy seasons, a Movie version continuation and a sequel series: Steven Universe Future, where he is older.

I had hardly heard of the show, but it was a big hit for the makers and is vaguely a superhero genre show, but he (being the only male part of the group on the show, the Crystal Gems) has a jewel (in his belly button?) has only just received his potential powers and is not exactly able to control them all. In all this, his new friends can, to most of an extent and together, can they have a better life and take on any challenges (or threats?) that face them?

It is a good show, if not a great or particularly memorable one, but it is also remarkably well thought out and consistent, so I can see why fans like or even love it so much. The animation is not bad (though it uses CGI, could not have the detail of a Tex Avery/MGM animated short and does try to have different visuals here and there. I am able to admit that I am not necessarily the audience for this show, but I am impressed that the creators (especially original creator Rebecca Sugar) and the vision pays off. Wish more shows were this consistent. Also, this box set has its discs in a thick paperboard book-like booklet that is very high quality down to its illustrations. Well done.

Extras include various Animatics, several Music Videos, Steven Universe Minisodes, Steven Universe The Movie: Sing-A-Long and Audio Commentary for Select Episodes. Some of these are on a bonus DVD disc.

Next up is Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume Two (1942 - 1957) collects 21 more animated shorts, many classic, that the groundbreaking animator made at MGM and is a worthy addition to the first volume we reviewed (elsewhere on this site) that offers often remarkable upgrades to shorts we reviewed before on the older DVD format. With new 4K scans (see more tech coverage below) and remarkable color accuracy, the set starts with some great one-off shorts, shows Avery and company trying out some new characters, includes some of the best Droopy cartoons ever made and ends with several looks at 'the future' at the time it meant modernism, the look we now associate with malls, now themselves crumbling.

When you can see and hear them this well, they are funnier than ever or make what you might remember all the more hilarious. A true pleasure and one of the best animated releases on Blu-ray this year, the titles includes:




  1. ONE CAB'S FAMILY [a real gem]


















My favorite release on this list, it is a must-have for any serious animation collection and serious fans will not be disappointed.

The only extra is the fine featurette: Tex Avery: King Of Cartoons.

Lastly, we have the latest annual look at the results of The World Series from Major League Baseball. World Series Champions 2020: Los Angeles Dodgers shows how the legendary Brookly... I mean Los Angeles baseball club finding their way to national victory after a particularly horrid year, thanks to the evils of COVID-19 and how it ruined everyone's life (taking a huge amount of lives, still as this posts) and how the entire sports world had to cope with this.

That becomes half of the unfortunate story in this installment, but the players and league overcome the odds and how it lands up being a final showdown between the Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays (of whom you hear little about outside of baseball fandom) and somehow get through it all with hardly any COVID casualties (we did not check on the well-being of members of either team before we posted, but hope they are all well) and do get some interesting moments in here as well as solid baseball. We'll likely never see a year like this one again and for the most part, that's good, but it makes for interesting viewing, even if you are not a fan.

Extras include a ''How They Got There'' featurette, Clinching Moments and Season Highlights.

Now for playback performance. Ironic as it is, the 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Avery rarely show their age, are from new 4K scans of the well-preserved 35mm original camera elements and can exceed my overall rating a good few times. MGM was the #1 studio at the time and though they did not have the animation studio Disney had, was determined to have animated shorts looking as good as any studio around. Thus, they poured the money into their studio, plus the use of dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor and expected everything to look first rate. Built to last, I've seen these films before, some on film (16mm and 35mm film) including brand-new prints and can say the shorts on this disc look as rich and vivid as those film prints. That says something. At least as strong a the first volume, they look great and will stun those who have not seen them in a long time or ever have seen them.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless sound on all the shorts sounds as good as old theatrical monophonic sound of the time can, down to some fine sound effects, sound editing and is as warm, clean and clear as they ever will sound, so the combination is impressive and even defies its age at time.

The 720p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the Series Blu-ray has consistent video quality, but is lacking in color range, detail and some depth, so only expect so much and the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes use music to fill in on all the talking-head interview footage, though game moments sound better. This is on par with past such releases of this series. A DVD is included with an anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound that is passable, but still not as good as the Blu-ray version.

Though it is a new production, the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Ben 10 are a bit underwhelming and disappointing, but the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on al the Steven Adventure shows look better and more colorful, more like it, even for this older format. However, all the episodes are only in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and though clean and well-recorded, are also a bit weak. The Movie that is included is in lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and has a little more detail, but not by much. I wonder how these would all sound in a lossless format?

To order the Tex Avery Warner Archive Blu-rays, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo and Ricky Chiang (Ben 10)


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