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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > CGI > Animals > Melodrama > Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space: The Complete Series (1972/Hanna-Barbera*)/Shrek 4K (2001/DreamWorks Animation/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/The Yearling (1946/MGM/*both Warner Archi

Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space: The Complete Series (1972/Hanna-Barbera*)/Shrek 4K (2001/DreamWorks Animation/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/The Yearling (1946/MGM/*both Warner Archive Blu-rays)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Josie and the Pussycats and Yearling Blu-ray is are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the links below.

Here are a batch of classic (or semi-classic) child/family releases in upgraded editions...

Jealous Alexandra is at a photo promo shoot of the band in front of a new-fangled space capsule, instead losing her balance, falling backwards, knocking the entire group gang (but not their instruments) into the capsule (luckily, the door slams shut and air tight) and that leaves Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space: The Complete Series (1972). The only characters from Archie Comics not licensed for an animated series by Filmation was a big hit for Hanna-Barbera, so what to do for a follow-up series.

In fairness, many characters in fiction were going to space since the early 1960s space race, then Kubrick's 2001 (1968) and the work of David Bowie only continued the trend, so you can see why this seemed like a good, fun idea at the time. Star Trek was about to find its permanent audience on syndicated Tv after bombing in its original run, other space and sci-fi programs were going well and the country believed more fully in the great things science could do. Even other Saturday Morning TV shows were jumping in on the cycle.

However, as colorful as the show is and it has a few good moments, it gets played out quickly, especially since they are not performing music anymore, a strange issue for a 'rock band' and the aliens they meet look too much like they were recycled from the likes of Space Ghost and other series the studio had produced a few years before. They still managed to get 16 half-hour shows out of this, which was a common number for most such Saturday shows at the time, but it feels like the show is less energetic and on auto pilot.

Even the lively trend could not turn this into a big hit like its predecessor, so the band was finished until the ever-odd 2001 live-action revival film. For completists only, this is still not awful, but has not aged well and makes an odd curio. The original voice cast did return, though.

There are no extras, but a memorabilia or comic book covers gallery would have been nice.,

The DreamWorks animated classic, Shrek (2001), celebrates its 20th Anniversary with this very beautiful new transfer on the 4K UHD format. This bump up in quality to 2160p from 1080p and HDR shows more definition and texture in the animation then the previous versions of the film that we have seen before. The 20-year-old animated film has aged pretty well and is still as much for adults as it is kids, and still the strongest entry in the long running franchise – although Shrek 2 was pretty strong and introduced fan favorite character Puss in Boots.

The original Shrek features the all star voice cast of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and John Lithgow. The film is written by Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio, who later when on to write the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The film is directed by Andrew Adamson (Chronicles of Narnia) and Vicky Jenson.

The green recluse ogre named Shrek (Myers) lives in a peaceful swamp, but is whisked up on an adventure involving many bizarre fairy tale creatures. Aided by a hilarious Donkey (Murphy), Shrek seeks to rescue the Princess Fiona from a tower guarded by a dragon in order to get people in the kingdom to once to leave him in solitude once and for all. Hired by Lord Farquad (Lithgow) who wants to marry the Princess so he can gain royalty, Shrek and Princess Fiona end up falling in falling love, but do they get the fairy tale storybook ending they desire?

Special Features are plentiful and sure to satisfy Shrek fans including...

Shrek's Interactive Journey

Spotlight on Donkey

Secrets of Shrek

Deleted Scenes

Shrek in The Swamp Karaoke Dance Party

Music Videos

Commentary with Director Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson and Producer Aron Warner


Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Party

Far Far Away Idol

Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos

The Ghost of Lord Farquaad

Scared Shrekless

Thriller Night

The Pig Who Cried Werewolf

Shrek the Halls

Donkey's Caroling Christmas-tacular

Shrek's Yule Log


Episode 1: Hidden

Episode 2: Sphinx

Episode 3: Brothers

Episode 4: Duchess

Episode 5: Adventure

Shrek is a great movie that anyone old or young can watch and enjoy and it's even better now that its on glorious 4K UHD disc with this great new transfer. I would recommend it to fans.

Finally, we have Clarence Brown's The Yearling (1946) with an up and coming Gregory Peck as the father of a small household in rural America where he has a nice wife (Jane Wyman) and their son (Claude Jarman, Jr.) who lands up befriending and loving the title animal, taking care of him and making him part of the family... That is until events make it harder to do so.

MGM promoted the film well, it got two Oscars, did well enough at the box office and was critically pushed as an important film with the idea that this (then rare) family film would be a stepping stone for younger viewers to move onto more 'mature' works in film and print. However, it is an odd film, an incredibly sappy melodrama and when you really think about it, falls in that endless cycle of poor people tales that has them always trapped and have all kinds of unfortunate things happen to them.

I believe many making it were sincere in intent, but I was never a fan of the film, always felt it was overrated and now that I can see and hear it restored, that opinion has not changed a bit. If anything, it just confirms my issues with it.

Extras include the classic Tom & Jerry Technicolor cartoon Cat Concerto, an Original Theatrical Trailer and a radio drama version of the film from the Screen Guild Players in lossless DTS-MA Mono.

Now for playback performance. Shrek is presented in upscaled 4K in 2160p with an HEVC / H.265 codec and a widescreen aspect ratio in 1.85:1 and audio mixes in English lossless DTS: X 12-track sound and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit). The animation is maybe slightly less detailed than later entries, but it still looks fantastic and has aged much. The soundtrack to Shrek has a lot of hits on it from the time and is one of the only aspects that slightly dates it, but that isn't a bad thing. Also included is a 1080p high definition Blu-ray disc with a 1:85:1 aspect ratio and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix. The Blu-ray looks fine but not as much so as the 4K UHD obviously.

The remaining releases happen to both be 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers, with Josie in decent color for a TV production of the time and budget, but all the Hanna-Barbera shows looked colorful at the time and this was near the peak of this for them. Unfortunately, there are more than a few soft parts in the various episodes for some reason, so this does not land up looking as good as the original show on Blu-ray.

Yearling may be a studio-bound production, but was originally shot in 35mm three-strip Technicolor and this transfer reflects that about as well as possible, though it is supposed to be set outdoors, so it also has to be rustic, naturalistic (to the extent it can be) and is not going to be a color-fest. Still, it looks about as good as it ever will here.

Both film also have the same kind of audio in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes. Josie has some distortion here and there, but sounds as good as it ever will otherwise and has less warped moments than the original series when we reviewed it, while Yearling has very old audio and the mix here reveals just how limited it is now. Likely, it sounded better at the time, but there is only so much you can do about it.

To order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays Josie and the Pussycats and The Yearling, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart



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