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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Satire > Martial Arts > Supernatural > Minions: The Rise Of Gru 4K (2022/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

ATHF: Aqua Teen Hunger Force: The Complete Collection (2000 - 2015/Adult Swim/Warner DVD Set)/Checkered Ninja (2018/Synergetic DVD*)/The Old Man Movie (2019/Unearthed Blu-ray/*both MVD)/Minions: The Rise Of Gru 4K (2022/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

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

Now for a new group of animated releases, some of which you likely have not heard of before...

We start with one of the most popular and successful of all Cartoon Network and Adult Swim original series, ATHF: Aqua Teen Hunger Force: The Complete Collection (2000 - 2015) which is a show that fans and other people still talk about. Its dark satire holds up and even if you are not a fan or big fan of the show (including myself, who catches some of it on occasion, but was never into its post-modern comedy) and this new set is the ultimate chance to catch or catch up again with it.

To give you an idea of the kind of series it is and how it works, here is our coverage of several of the past DVD releases by one of our writers who is a huge fan of the show:

Season Five


Volume Six


Volume Seven


and the Adult Swim In A Box DVD set that includes Volume Two and many of the other hit shows that were on the network at the same time:


Needless to say that some of the ideas and points the show makes along the way are as relevant now as they ever were and it makes you wonder if the show could be made today or greenlit in a way that would not cut back on any of its cutting edge side. This clam-shell-like case nicely houses 20 DVD discs and repeats all the many extras the previous sets kept adding and adding over the years. I do wish this were on Blu-ray and the animation looks good enough here in 1.33 X 1 and solid color, while the sound is lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo for the first six sets, then goes to lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 for the remainder of the series. I am not expecting DTS: X or Dolby Atmos if this ever goes to Blu-ray, but a lossless 5.1 mix could work for the whole show should that happen. As it stands, it looks and sounds as good as it ever will in this format.

The Checkered Ninja (2018) is a fun Danish animated film that isn't necessarily for kids as it's pretty violent and heavy on language as well. The film opens in a Thailand toy making factory where a rich man is shown toy progress at the hands of children workers. When one of the kids uses a checkered scarf for a ninja doll he gets beaten to death and killed. (This is in the first few minutes of the movie and sure to surprise anyone who was expecting this to be a kid's movie.)

The Checkered Ninja is reincarnated via a lightning bolt with the soul of the boy who died and he escapes to the mainland via a delivery truck. Soon, he becomes in the hands of a young nerdy boy who ends up befriending the smart mouthed checkered ninja doll who teaches the boy to stand up for himself at school and to confront his longtime crush. However, unlike many other animated stories in a similar vein, the friendship between the Ninja Doll and the boy is rocky as the Ninja Doll is pretty unpredictable and constantly gets the boy in one crazy mishap after another. Can the two work together to find the deranged man who killed the Checkered Ninja originally? And what if that man happens to be the daughter of the boy's crush?

The film stars Anders Matthesen, Alfred Bjerre Larsen, and Emma Sehested Hoeg.

The animation is pretty solid for this 2018 production and you can tell it had some budget behind it. All in all, I would say this is a PG-13 animated movie. Presented here in standard definition on DVD with an anamorphically enhanced, widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo surround mix, the film doesn't look or sound as good as it would even on Blu-ray. However, you can see how nice the animation is even from this dated transfer.

No extras.

While it would be okay for teenagers, but not young children, The Checkered Ninja is worth checking out if you like coming of age animated tales... or ninjas. Or both.

The first title in the Unearthed Animation series, The Old Man Movie (2019) is a stop motion animated Estonian film that's pretty out there and funny. I would recommend it to fans of weird animated comedies like what you would see on Adult Swim with shows like Aqua Hunger Teen Force, as covered above.

The film is set in an Estonian village, where three kids spend a summer at their Grandfather's farm where his prized cow goes rogue. As the cow (full of the milk the Farmer so desired) goes out into the wildness, the Old Man gets what's left of his wits together and goes out to find the cow before the ''milk-apocalypse'' happens and the backed up cow explodes.

The film stars Mart Avandi and Marilyn Else and is directed by Oskar Lehemaa and Mike Magl.

The Old Man Movie is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and lossless English sound in both DTS-HD MA (Master Audio 2.0 Stereo and PCM 2.0 Stereo mixes with English subtitles. The film looks and sounds as good as it can on the 1080p Blu-ray format and even though the film doesn't have the most detailed characters or world, the animation itself is pretty impressive.

Special Features: Old Man Short Films, a New English Dub, and Trailers

Last but not least, the sixth movie in the ongoing hit films that started with Despicable Me films and is as huge a hit as any of them to date! Minions: The Rise Of Gru 4K (2022) continues the 'so bad they're good' adventures of the most popular new animated characters in current animation (a real coup for Universal, especially as Disney or Warner are the ones who usually pull this off) and it is more of the same, but it is just more elaborate fun for young fans who watch the films in order, building up to this one. I just wonder where they'll go next.

Gru started out as a 12-year-old back in the 1970s, but is now part of the supervillain gang The Vicious Six and the ruler of the Minions. However, other group members push him out of the organization (!!!) and the Minions decide to save him, even if it means they all have to take up martial arts!

Yes, it is that silly, yet has echoes of a Suicide Squad tale, albeit more coherent and a little more effective and consistent. No doubt this takes advantage of the popularity of the Superhero genre and the many supervillain films that have mostly made a mint, no matter how bad they have been. However, this also has as interesting a use of older hit songs, a solid instrumental score and in its biggest coup, no one can ever go wrong by ending their film with a brand new song by no less than Diana Ross, who sounds as terrific as ever.

Yet, this was not the greatest animated feature I have seen lately, though it is not a musical, so it was able to stay on course with its soundtrack-driven non-musical approach. Cheers to the makers for taking a few risks here and there, but they are coasting a little because they know the huge love of the fans and are definitely appealing to them without being condescending or smug. For fans and those very interested, it is worth a look.

Now for the playback performance. As many Minion and 4K fans know, the 4K release of the first Minions film Despicable Me, was the first-ever Dolby Vision release and that is now the high watermark for Ultra High Definition playback. The 2160p HECV/H.265, 2.35 X 1 image on this 4K disc continues that feature, with Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image that looks as good as any fo the films in the series and even has some moments that rate above my letter rating. Color range is great without overdoing it, though sometimes, I wish they had gone further in some scenes.

Still, it is impressive and much more effective than the still decent 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the regular Blu-ray, but that disc just lacks too much of the visual action the 4K version offers.

Both discs have lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) has some fine moments, though it is not always as active or effective as I had hoped for, but it has some fun moments, the money is in it and it is certainly a state-of-the-art soundtrack.

Extras include Digital Code Copy, while the discs (per the press release) add:

POST MODERN MINIONS (MINI MOVIE): Experience one Minion's rise and fall as an artistic genius when he sneaks into a 1970s post-modern art gallery with a fellow Minion and unintentionally creates an explosive new art form that is declared by a snooty art critic as the greatest art he's ever seen. When the critic moves onto the next new artist, our Minion tries everything to get back in the spotlight, which accidentally leads to his next unexpected career.

MINIONS AND MONSTERS (MINI MOVIE): Follow a newbie Minion as he joins three more experienced Minions in playing a 1970s fantasy role-playing game. After struggling to gain the skills needed to master the game, the newbie unexpectedly rises to the occasion and saves the day, earning him the magical crown and the appreciation of his buddies.




    • GRU





    • BIKER

  • GRU-VY ANIMATION: Join Steve Carell and the directors as they take us through the animation process. From Concept Art, through Storyboards and on to the Final Film, with every Gru-vy step in between explained in fun and fascinating detail.

  • THE '70s - FASHION, FOOD & FUNK: A behind the scenes look at the 1970s through the lens of MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU. From fashion to music, cultural phenomenon and back, the cast and filmmakers are bringing the 1970s to a whole new generation.

  • MINION MARTIAL ARTS: In this 1970s inspired martial arts movie throwback, we hear from the film's directors about their inspiration, how they created authenticity in animation, the role the many martial artists in the cast played to bring it to life and how you teach a Minion to fight.

  • HOW TO DRAW (& ANIMATE) WITH BRAD ABLESON: Co-director Brad Ableson shows us how to draw all of our favorite characters.

    • MINION



  • LAIR FLAIR: MAKE YOUR OWN MINION HIDEOUT: The Minions aren't the only ones who can build a secret lair: now you can, too! (And yours doesn't have to be built under Gru's bed.)

    • THE LAIR


    • JET PACK

  • SUPER STYLE SHOP: The Minion uniform of overalls and goggles is timeless. Simple yet functional. But sometimes Minions have a casual day out and can abandon their work attire for something more fashionable. Here's how can create fresh new fashion for YOUR Minions!



- Nicholas Sheffo (Minions 4K, Hunger) and James Lockhart



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