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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Satire > CGI > Drama > Animals > Spoof > Slapstick > Supernatural > TV > Scooby-Doo!: The Sword and the Scoob (2020/DVD*)/Victor and Valentino: Folk Art Foes (2019/DVD/*all Warner)/Upside Down Magic (2020/Disney DVD)

Croods: A New Age 4K (2020/DreamWorks/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Lena & Snowball (2020/Lionsgate DVD)/Rick and Morty: The Complete Seasons 1 - 4 (2013 - 2020/Blu-ray Set*)/Scooby-Doo!: The Sword and the Scoob (2020/DVD*)/Victor and Valentino: Folk Art Foes (2019/DVD/*all Warner)/Upside Down Magic (2020/Disney DVD)

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

Here are a new set of family and children's titles for you to know about....

Joel Crawford's The Croods: A New Age (2020) brings back the newer 'stone-aged family' of animation in a (first) sequel story about the family needing a new home. Of course, animation and advanced sound has moved forward since the original film was released, so DreamWorks takes advantage of that and the outing is not bad, if often predictable.

The film runs a viable 96 minutes and quits while it is ahead for some of its predictability, but it is top rate product and like other CGI sequels, keeps the older style of previous releases while improving on them. The original voice cast returns including the under-appreciated-of-late Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Peter Dinklage and Ryan Reynolds. There is much hard work and money that goes on the screen with this one and it is undeniably ambitious no matter the results, so if you like the characters, you'll want to give this one a look. Otherwise, its hard to say what your reaction might be, but it is one of the bigger CGI releases since the pandemic ruined everything, so you could do worse.

Extras in this set include Digital Copy, while the discs add a slew of extras (as thee press release spells out) including:

DEAR DIARY: WORLD'S FIRST PRANKS - In this exclusive original short film, Eep reveals how a comical accident led her and Dawn to discover the joys of tricking their families and set about performing ''the world's first pranks''

FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT: LITTLE RED BRONANA BREAD - In another exclusive original short, join the Croods as they settle down for a very prehistoric family movie night experience. With shadowy figures around every corner, Eep must keep Gran and her delicious Bronana Bread safe from punch monkeys.


TO: GERARD - In this original DreamWorks animated short, an elderly man brightens the day of a little girl through magic.


THE CROODS' FAMILY ALBUM - Meet the actors who portray the Croods and their new cast members, the Bettermans. What makes them tick, how do they resemble their characters and what lessons have they learned from making the film.

THE EVOLUTION OF... - In this fun making of, we hear from the filmmakers and stars of THE CROODS: A NEW AGE about the evolution of the Croods franchise.

HOW TO DRAW: CAVEMAN STYLE - Join one of DreamWorks talented illustrators inside the cave as they demonstrate how to draw our favorite characters.

FAMILEAF ALBUM - Inspired by the prehistoric family album given to guy by the Betterman's, we create a fun video showing you how to make your own using real leaves or green construction paper for pages and string (or even dental floss!) to hold it all together.

STONE AGE ATTACK - A three-part featurette highlighting fun, easy to make recipes that kids and parents can make together.


For more on the first film (now also on 4K Blu-ray) and a book on that film, you can read our Blu-ray coverage at this link:


Brian Herzlinger's Lena & Snowball (2020) could have been a nice, kind, fun tale of a gal and her pet white lion cub, but instead, it lands up involving gunfire, terror, death threats, child and animal endangerment and that is cut with footage of animals being cute. Running a long, long, long, long ,long long 90 minutes, I thought it was awful, not for young children and very cartoonish, disturbingly and problematically so in the face of poachers.

This is not trying too hard, but being exploitive and this is just awful and dumb, so it is not recommended for any age!

There are no extras (surprise).

Rick and Morty: The Complete Seasons 1 - 4 (2013 - 2020) collects the rise of the hit run of the popular animated series, and one we have covered half of before Blu-ray at these links:

Season One


Season Four


So one either really loves the show or at least can see why it is so popular. The one thing we can say is that the popularity of the show has not peaked yet and if you have not seen it every yet, you should really try it out from the beginning.

Digital Copy and a poster are the only extras.

The new animated Scooby-Doo!: The Sword and the Scoob (2020) starts with a guy watching Thundarr on a laptop/table device, then has the Scooby Gang in the U.K., where they accidentally land up in the days of King Arthur. It is an interesting idea and not the first time they dealt with characters from that era, but even at 76 minutes, it does not make the best of its time and this lands up being a bit cliched and has a few missed opportunities.

I won't say the makers are slumming, but there is a new voice actor for Velma and I am not certain she is as good as she could be, maybe being too forward in her voice performance, but you can decide what you think, then look up her name to be fair to her. There have been worse Scooby outings lately, but this one is mixed at best.

Three older episodes of various Scooby shows are the only extras.

Victor and Valentino: Folk Art Foes (2019) is a surprisingly good show with the title characters having a knack of uncovering supernatural things by accident (in each show!?!) and this is a comedy, so who knows if we need a great excuse. They are brothers, so this is like the awful Supernatural series, but with some heart and soul to it.;

This is a great 3.5 hour sampling of the show, so if you and/or your children are interested, this is a great way to be introduced to the world it offers. It may not be a classic, but I could see it being a hit and for its young target audience, that would not be a bad thing at all.

There are no extras.

Finally, 13-year-old Nory (Izabela Rose) one day discovers that she can use magic and shape shift into animals, and she learns of Sage Academy for Magical Studies. She, along with other children gifted in magic goes there to learn and train, but then she discovers her magic doesn't work right and she is grouped with the other problem children with magic. But she will prove that even if her magic isn't normal, she can still be a hero in Joe Nussbaum's Upside Down Magic (2020).

Nory is a magical shape shifter called fluxers, she and her best friend fire user Reina (Siena Agudong) just got accepted into Sage Academy. However, it is there they learn they are worlds apart, while Reina is accepted in as an honors student, Nory is considered the upside-down magic, magic that is abnormal or uncontrollable (she turns into a half cat/half dragon). Sage Academy just sets them aside and teaches them nothing hoping their magic fades, because they afraid (and prejudiced) and believe upside-down magic causes shadow magic and the root of all evil. But truthfully, shadow magic is born from magical discrimination, hatred and ignorance. Nory's best friend Reina becomes seduced to the dark side and the school learns that shadow magic can come from even the best of them. Nory and the others will have to save the school when shadow magic returns for revenge on the school.

This was like a Disney version of Harry Potter, yes, it's another group of kids with magic and they are out to save the world. Why is it always the kids saving the world while the adults sit around (and argue) and do nothing? Extras include bloopers, music videos, deleted scenes and trailers.

Now for playback performance. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 2.35 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Croods is easily the best-looking of all the discs as expected, though some scenes excelled more than others, but not enough of them to give this an even higher rating. The disc definitely takes advantage of the 12-bit color and fans should be pleased. The lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) soundmix appears on both the 4K and regular 1080p Blu-ray, which has some fine moments, but also some odd ones that are a bit silly and that becomes a bit repetitive. Otherwise, soundfield, dialogue, sound effects and music are fine. The Blu-ray looks good, but cannot match the 4K for color range, depth and detail.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Morty looks as good as the previous Blu-ray sets we covered, while the lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mixes are just fine and hold up well on the older shows as the new ones continue to have fine soundfields.

All four DVDs are presented in an anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image and Magic tends to just edge out the rest, while Snowball is the poorest with some motion blur and too many soft scenes throughout. The animal footage looks the best by default. All DVDs also offer lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound that can have some good moments, but it can be a bit disappointing in this lossless sound era.

Extras in this great slipcase packaging include a DigiPak with a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and yet another excellent, underrated essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, feature length audio commentary track (s), Behind The Scenes, Making Of, Isolated Music Score with select Sound Effects, Photo Gallery, Poster Gallery, Stills Gallery, Teasers, Original Theatrical Trailer, TV Spots, Radio Spots, Deleted Scenes, Alternate Scenes, Extended Scenes, Director's Cut, Gag Reel, Documentary, Bloopers, bonus DVD version and miniature reproductions of the lobby cards, Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds BD Live interactive functions, a Making Of featurette

- Nicholas Sheffo and Ricky Chiang (Magic)


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