DVD Review "Chuggington: Safari Adventures (Limited Edition)"

Actors: Chuggington Characters
Directors: Sarah Ball
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
DVD Release Date: February 12, 2013
Run Time: 61 minutes

Episodes: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

All aboard! The gang of Chuggington is at it again and taking preschoolers from coast-to-coast in their latest release “Safari Adventures”.  My eight month old daughter really digs this show, especially the theme song.  I love that fact that it is filled with valuable life lessons for her to enjoy as she grows up. This all-new compilation is being released just in time for Valentine’s Day! It comes in two different versions: the standard DVD and also a limited edition release that features a collectible Mtambo toy engine from TOMYTM.  If you are a fan of this show then this release is a no-brainer for sure! CHUGGINGTON!!

Official Premise: Honk Your Horns For The Ultimate Safari Adventure! In these six episodes — plus a bonus Badge Quest episode — Koko helps out a pack of playful squirrels, Brewster investigates banana thieves at the Safari Park, and Wilson hauls a mischievous elephant to its new home. There’s monkey business with Zephie, a royal visitor for Mtambo and jungle camouflage, too. With good friends and helpful adults like Puffer Pete, Eddie and Dunbar, your own little trainees will learn all about problem solving, working together and being patient with the animals, in this collection of fun-filled Safari adventures.

The special features are decent and fun for the kiddies. There is a bonus Badge Quest episode titled “Animal Helper”.  There are also two featurettes called “The Chugger Spotlight”, one called Koko and the other Mtambo (aka the toy car that comes with the DVD). Both very cute. Lastly there are various coloring and activity sheets to print for kids via the your DVD-ROM drive. Props have to go to Disney though cause without them I wouldn’t have found out about this show. The air it weekdays on Disney Channel’s Disney Junior programming block but more importantly daily on their new 24-hour Disney Junior cable.  The series is currently in its third season and I hope to see much more of these DVD’s released in the future.

DVD Review “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic – Adventures in the Crystal Empire”

Actors: Tara Strong, Ashleigh Ball, Tabitha St. Germain
Directors: Jayson Thiessen
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Shout! Factory
Release Date: December 4, 2012
Run Time: 120 minutes

Release: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

When I showed this title to my wife, who grew up with the original 80’s series, the first thing she said is she hated the way the animation looks. I understand where she is coming from but I kind of like of the Japanese anime feel to this new rebooted series. Watching this show with my six month old daughter, she couldn’t take her eyes off the screen. It is like a color and noise explosion for the kids.

There are four episodes includes from “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” series, including “The Crystal Empire Part 1 & 2, Sonic Rainboom, Luna Eclipsed and “It’s About Time”. Though on the same day that this is being release “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic- Season One” is also being released, I would just recommend that one since you get 26 episodes of 5 for only double the price. At the time of writing this review they have aired 57 episodes and are into season three, so Shout Factory better get a move on releasing season two quickly!

Official Premise: In Adventures in the Crystal Empire, a magical empire has suddenly appeared in the arctic north of Equestria, and Princess Celestia needs Twilight Sparkle and her friends to find a way to protect it. While her friends try to keep the Crystal Ponies occupied at the Crystal Faire, Twilight Sparkle searches for the hidden Crystal Heart that is the key to keeping their empire safe from harm!

The show itself is extremely colorful and very eye-catching for kids. The DVD is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and with 2.0 Stereo audio track. If you are looking for more “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”, the series is currently airing on The HUB TV Network. So check it out! The special features are a little light for a kids release but include a coloring sheet and sing-along.

Book Review “The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare”

Author: Sam McBratney
Reading level: Ages 3 and up
Hardcover: 72 pages
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: August 28, 2012

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I am new to the beloved character of Nutbrown Hare but I am already in love with him.  This new book includes four new exciting adventures from the author, Sam McBratney, of the best-selling “Guess How Much I Love You” series.

Synopsis: “Just like young children everywhere, Little Nutbrown Hare likes to explore, play, venture out into the world, and sometimes just savor the comfort of being at home with loved ones. But whatever he does, and wherever he goes, Big Nutbrown Hare is always there to cheer him on. In a beautiful jacketed Guess How Much I Love You storybook, here are four heartwarming new stories that little readers (and their bigger companions) will instantly relate to.”

The illustration is very simplistic yet very warm and soft. The travels of Nutbrown continue as his explores the world around him including the rivers, mountains, fields and trees! This book will give kids the desire to get out and explore the world around them just like Nutbrown Hare. Hopefully this is only the beginning of these adventures with more to come.

Blu-ray Review “Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures”

Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Denholm Elliott, John Rhys-Davies, Kate Capshaw, Cate Blanchett, Sean Connery
Distributed by: Paramount Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 18, 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 482 minutes

Raiders of the Lost Ark: 5 out of 5 stars
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: 5 out of 5 stars
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

“Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures” finally hits Blu-ray on September 18th. This collection marks the Blu-ray debut of the “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”.  This is the first time they have been released in high-def and this release does not disappoint at all. “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” has previously been released on Blu-ray is stunning as well, despite hatred by fans (not including myself). This collaboration between Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford complies the one of the best adventure series to date.  You know that there was a lot of love and supervision for this release by director Steven Spielberg and renowned sound designer Ben Burtt.  Overall this really is a major upgrade in presentation from the last DVD release. If nothing else this release leaves you with one burning question, “Snakes—why did it have to be snakes?”.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is the real star of this release for sure.  It has been meticulously restored in order to preserve the original look, sound and feel of this iconic film. They went back to the original negative scanned at 4K and reviewed frame-by-frame so that any damage could be repaired.  The sound delivered for this release was Burtt’s original master mix, which had been archived and unused since 1981.  When all was said and done this digital restoration was extremely impressive.  The other installments in the franchise also look stunning being presented in 1080p high definition, also presented in there 2.39:1 original aspect ratio.  Even though “Raiders” got the most attention, “Temple of Doom” and “Last Crusade” really do look very sharp on Blu-ray.  Besides the occasional film spots, I was left blown away by these presentations. When you also think about “Indiana Jones”, you immediately start humming that iconic theme song, “Da Da Dah Dahhh Dah Dah Da Da Dah Dahh Dah Dah“.  The sound is very important for this to work.  They have arrived on Blu-ray with a very impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track.  It is perfectly balanced and sounds just amazing over my surround sound system.

The special features are literally flowing out of this release and are very impressive.  Thought I am very surprised that there are no commentary tracks available for any of the films.  There are two newly produced “On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark” featurettes: “From Jungle to Desert” and “From Adventure to Legend”.  Like I said this release is the “Raiders” show, so it gets the best treatment. There are a “Making the Films” featurettes for each film in the series. “Raiders” also  includes the original 1981 “The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark” documentary as well. There are a bunch more of additional behind-the-scenes featurettes as well.  The first three focus on the most important aspects of the series; “The Stunts of Indiana Jones”, “The Sound of Indiana Jones” and “The Music of Indiana Jones”. They are short but definitely sweet. “The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones” takes use through the the work of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). There is a detailed look into everyone’s favorite scene “Raiders: The Melting Face!”, one of the reasons why PG-13 were initialized.

What is Indiana Jones without its snakes and other creatures in “Indiana Jones and the Creepy Crawlies”, it will have you lifting your feet off the floor.  “Travel with Indiana Jones: Locations” takes us through the wonderful locations where these films were shot and details about the shooting.  Like James Bond, there are such strong woman in this series and “Indy’s Women: The American Film Institute Tribute” provides a nice nod to them.  “Indy’s Friends and Enemies” dives into the other characters in the series besides Dr. Jones himself. The last three features are all on “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”…wait don’t turn it off yet, these are decent features.  The first focuses on the “Iconic Props”, which are featured in the last installment.  The next one focuses on “The Effects”, even as iconic as the original trilogy is, this film packs some great effects.  The last focuses on the last sequel road through “Post Production” and the challenges faced. Lastly there are high definition trailers and teasers for each film to close this great release.

“Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures” Blu-ray Giveaway [ENDED]


We are pleased to announce the debut of INDIANA JONES: THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES ON BLU-RAY™ FOR THE FIRST TIME – AVAILABLE ON SEPTEMBER 18, 2012! To celebrate the release, Media Mikes would like to giveaway TWO copies of The Complete Adventures on Blu-ray. If you would like to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email what your favorite Indiana Jones Adventure. This giveaway will be open until September 21st at Noon, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Media Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.

The ultimate adventure collection debuts on Blu-Ray™ with seven hours of bonus features including nearly an hour of previously unreleased behind-the-scenes footage!

Every unforgettable exploit of world-renowned, globetrotting hero Indiana Jones finally comes home with pristine picture and sound when INDIANA JONES: The Complete Adventures debuts on Blu-Ray September 18, 2012 from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Paramount Home Media Distribution. The cinematic classic that started it all—Raiders of the Lost Ark—has been meticulously restored under the supervision of director Steven Spielberg and sound designer Ben Burtt. Additionally, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade have both been remastered alongside 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull making this landmark release the first time all four films in the epic and award-winning franchise have been available together in sparkling high definition.

Complimentary Tickets to see “Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures” Marathon on 9-15-12 [ENDED]


Theatre: Participating AMC Theaters
Date: Saturday, September 15, 2012
Time: Check Local Listing

If you would like to receive tickets to see “Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures” Marathon on 9-15-12, please leave a comment below.  This screening is good for ANY screening at participating AMC Theaters. We will randomly selecting winners this afternoon to receiving tickets to the screening via email. ONLY ONE ENTRY PER PERSON PLEASE! OTHERWISE ALL ENTRIES WILL BE DISREGARDED.

“Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures” Arrives on Blu-ray for the First Time



SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (June 26, 2012) – In June of 1981 director Steven Spielberg and executive producer George Lucas introduced  the world to Indiana Jones when the unforgettable Raiders of the Lost Ark debuted in theaters. Exploding to instant acclaim, the film has now been carefully restored, alongside remastered versions of the archaeologist’s other thrilling adventures—Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  Prepare for excitement, adventure and snakes—why did it have to be snakes?—all with pristine picture and sound when INDIANA JONES: The Complete Adventures debuts on Blu-ray September 18, 2012 from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Paramount Home Media Distribution.

Supervised by director Steven Spielberg and renowned sound designer Ben Burtt, Raiders of the Lost Ark has been meticulously restored with careful attention to preserving the original look, sound and feel of the iconic film.  The original negative was first scanned at 4K and then examined frame-by-frame so that any damage could be repaired.

The sound design was similarly preserved using Burtt’s original master mix, which had been archived and unused since 1981.  New stereo surrounds were created using the original music tracks and original effects recorded in stereo but used previously only in mono.  In addition, the sub bass was redone entirely up to modern specifications and care was taken to improve dialogue and correct small technical flaws to create the most complete and highest quality version of the sound possible while retaining the director’s vision.  The result is an impeccable digital restoration that celebrates the film and its place in cinematic history.

The installments in the franchise have won a combined seven Academy Awards®. Relive every heart-pounding thrill like never before as all four films arrive together, for the first time presented in 1080p high definition with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio accompanied by a collection of documentaries, interviews, featurettes and new bonus features.

About Paramount Home Media Distribution

Paramount Home Media Distribution (PHMD) is part of Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment.  PPC is a unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands.  The PHMD division oversees PPC’s home entertainment, digital and television distribution activities worldwide. The division is responsible for the sales, marketing and distribution of home entertainment content on behalf of Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, CBS and PBS and for providing home entertainment fulfillment services for DreamWorks Animation Home Entertainment.  PHMD additionally manages global licensing of studio content and distribution across worldwide digital and television distribution platforms including online, mobile and portable devices and emerging technologies.

Lucasfilm, Indiana Jones™ and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd.  All rights reserved.  All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.


DVD Review “Iron Man: Armored Adventures – Season 2, Volume 1”

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Distributed by: Vivendi Entertainment
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Episodes: 6
Running Time: 141 minutes

Our Score: 1 out of 5 stars

This show does not work on any level at all. I am a big fan of the character “Iron Man” but this is a waste of time for any real Marvel fan. It will surely entertain young kids, who only do not know any better. The 3D CGI toon doesn’t even look good. It’s animation looks to date back to the days of “ReBoot”. I have a love of the simple hand drawn look of other Marvel shows like “The Super Hero Squad Show”.

This series also focuses on a younger (still cocky) Tony Stark, at the age of 16. It is a look inside early Stark’s life acting as heir of the billion-dollar corporation Stark International. Though he is already sporting the famous iron suit and friends with teenage version of Pepper Potts (who is incredibly annoying in this series). Season two focuses on Tony and his friend fighting to keep control of Stark International. They fight evil who seek to steal the suit and team up with rivals like Black Panther.

When the first season of “Iron Man: Armored Adventures” was released on DVD, it was presented as a complete series with a total of 26 episodes. Now for season two, they have decided to release them in 6 episode intervals. I am not a fan of this decision, it seems like a way to cash in the recent explosion of “The Avengers”. And they seemed like they didn’t want to wait for season two to be completed.   The episodes included are: “The Invisible Iron Man Part 1: Disassembled!”, “The Invisible Iron Man Part 2: Reborn!”, “Look into the Light”, “Ghost in the Machine”, “Armor Wars” and “Line of Fire”.

DVD Review “The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest: Season 1, Volume 2”

Created by: Doug Wildey
Directed by: Mike Milo
Starring: J. D. Roth, Michael Benyaer, Jesse Douglas, George Segal, Robert Patrick, Frank Welker, Quinton Flynn, Rob Paulsen, Jennifer Hale, John de Lancie
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Distributed by: Warner Archive
Running Time: 286 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

If you are a boy and love cartoons, who doesn’t love Jonny Quest, seriously. It has adventure, action and plenty of thrill, especially for a cartoon. This series is revival of the 1960s Hanna-Barbera Jonny Quest franchise. It aired from 96-97, with only a mere 52 episodes produced. It does not pack the same thrill though that the original series had. This reinvention is more the “high-tech” upgrade of the series.  Fans of the original Hanna-Barbera (like myself) might want to remember this franchise more like the original series, though this is not terrible overall.

This series still contains adventures with Jonny Quest, Hadji Singh, and Jessie Bannon as they follow Dr. Benton Quest and bodyguard Race Bannon to investigate strange phenomena, legends, and mysteries. This is where it differs a little bit, some of the action in this series takes place in the virtual realm of QuestWorld, which is 3D cyberspace land. So the series, takes a leap into CG but falls a little short. The late 90’s were a time in animation, where CGI was trying to make it’s presence known but was still a little premature.

In this volume two of episodes, it contains the next 13 episodes completing the first season…finally. Warner released the first thirteen episodes in volume 1 all the way back in February 2009. So fans had to hold their breath for a long time for this one. Luckily, Warner Archive Collection is great with releasing archive cartoon series but I am not sure how long fans are going to have to wait before the second season of 26 episodes is released.

The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest: Season 1, Volume 2 is now available from Warner Archive at http://bit.ly/GXOb0F

Synopsis: Team Quest is Back! In this pulse-pounding second volume, The Real Adventures reinvention of the classic animated adventure series Jonny Quest continues. Jonny, scientist father Benton Quest, bodyguard Race Bannon, paranormal pal Hadji and Race’s daughter Jessie, unravel mysteries and uncover strange phenomena while criss-crossing the globe. The scientific secrets of the dazzling virtual reality domain known as Questworld (rendered in CG sequences that broke ground for the era’s TV animation) receive the full Team Quest treatment as well in this 2-Disc Collection of The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, Season One’s second 13-Episodes. Strap in for suspense and thrills! Special Feature: “Journey into Questworld.”

DVD Review “Adventures in Lalaloopsy Land: Search for Pillow”

MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Distributed by: Lions Gate
Release Date: March 20, 2012
Running Time: 70 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

With my daughter two months away from being born, I look at the film from a different stand point then I normally would. This is an instant hit with kids, especially girls, they will easily eat it up. Lalaloopsy dolls are one hot ticket and are extremely popular with kids. What better than to make a full-length film to cash in on the success. Growing up in the 80’s this reminds me of a modern day “Strawberry Shortcake”. I wouldn’t be surprised if this franchise makes its way to the small screen in a TV series any day now. Either way if you have kids, this will be a must purchase.

When Pillow Featherbed goes missing, the Lalaloopsy girls set out on an adventure to find their friend. This is the first (of I am sure many coming) full-length features and it definitely includes many surprises and challenges for our girls.  It is also a very smart and makes the kids think while watching and figure out problems like dealing with a pending thunderstorm.  Each girl uses their individual abilities and talents and they realize that working together is the best way to find their last friend in time.

For a kids film, I am impressed that there are special features included on this film. There is five additional mini adventures with the Lalaloopsy group. There is also a sing-a-long included. All of these features will easily provides kids busy for a while they hang out with favorites like Jewel Sparkles, Bea Spells-a-Lot, Crumbs Sugar Cookie, Spot Splatter Splash and many more.

Blu-ray Review “The Adventures of Tintin”

Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date: March 13, 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 107 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When I first saw “The Adventures of Tintin”, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The trailer looked “just-ok”. Let me tell you, once I saw it I was blown away. Steven Spielberg’s films have been hit and miss the last few years but this was a sure fire hit. I loved it so much and in fact was one of my favorites from 2011. The performance capture in the film was just so astounding. Some of the action scenes in the film were absolutely breathtaking. This film is not all action though it is also very funny as well. You can tell that a lot of time and effort when into making this film look amazing. I also originally saw it in 3D and I felt it really worked well with the film. If you have a chance to see the film in 3D, I would suggest you checking it out rather than this 2D version. The 2D version still works but the effects really get a lot of depth in 3D and just feels so much more exciting.

The film follows Tintin (Jamie Bell) a young reporter and his dog as they in pursuit for a mysterious model ship. The two travel from Europe to the Sahara and Morocco in hopes to solve the case. They meet up with drunken captain, Haddock (Andy Serkis), who aids them in their search. The team find that Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig), has plans to also find this model ship since it holds the key to finding a long lost treasure. Due to the lack of interest in the US for this film, I am not sure if there will be future additions to the series but I really hope so because this could make such a great franchise.

The film looks perfect in video and really shines. It also looks the best with its performance capture, easily the best that I have seen to date. The audio is beyond amazing DTS-HD MA 7.1 track. This is becoming a tradition for Paramount who has also included 7.1 for “Hugo” and “Puss in Boots”. Besides the Blu-ray copy of the film, this release also includes a DVD Copy, an Ultraviolet digital copy and BD-Live. These are all great features and really gives many options for this film to watch.

The special features includes in this release are great but missing any commentary tracks from Steven Spielberg or Peter Jackson. There is a two part feature called “Toasting Tintin” which celebrates the beginning and the end of the film’s production. “The Journey to Tintin” is a short feature with director Steven Spielberg chatting about his road to bringing “Tintin” to the big screen. “The World of Tintin” is a look into the character of Tintin himself. “The Who’s Who of Tintin” focuses on the character and the performance capture in the film. “Tintin: Conceptual Design” focuses on how the film wanted to stay true to the original Hergé design. “Tintin: In the Volume” is a piece on shooting in 3D and focusing on the production. “Snowy: From Beginning to End” focuses on the dog from the page to the screen. “Animating Tintin” is an in depth look into the films animation. “Tintin: The Score” is a feature on composer John Williams Lastly “Collecting Tintin” is a short features on the films toys.

Film Review “Adventures in Plymptoons!”

Director: Alexia Anastasio
Starring: Bill Plympton, Terry Gilliam, Moby, Tom Sito, Ed Begley Jr., “Weird Al’ Yankovic
I Believe Productions
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 84 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

In the opening of the film, actor Ed Begley Jr., jokingly thinking he is doing an interview with Bill Clinton, ask why they are doing an documentary on Bill Plympton? Well that answer is explained very thoroughly in this documentary. Bill Plympton is an Oscar nominated animator and does not get the respect he deserves.  He creates movies faster than they can be released and he does it all independent. This documentary is really funny and gives great insight into the career to date of Bill Plympton. The film is also  edited really well to tie everything together, kudos to Alexia Anastasio and Kevin Sean Michaels. The interviews are mixed with clips from Bill’s work, which takes us perfectly into the depths of his mind.

There are dozens of interviews included including some really big names like Terry Gilliam, Moby and “Weird Al’ Yankovic. Each person tells really fun and interesting stories about their relationship with Bill. There are also interviews with Bill’s friends and family about his career. I have seen many documentary interviews and these seem very fresh and interesting. I even liked the directors (Anastasio) approach to get opinions from critics of Bill…some who like his work, some who don’t.

You can tell that this film is really a passion piece for Alexia Anastasio (click here to read our interview with her) and a lot of time went into this project. She really seems to have an eye for capturing the documentary subject. I will look forward to her upcoming projects. This film is currently on tour in the film festival circuit, so keep an eye out for me.  Bill Plympton deserves some major attention for his amazing work and hopefully this documentary will assist in that doing so.  Tell your friends and don’t miss a chance to see this fun documentary.

Film Review “The Adventures of Tintin”

Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis and Daniel Craig
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Rated: PG
Running time: 1 hour 47 minutes

Our Score: 5 out 5 stars

In 1981, after reading a review that compared his recent “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with the illustrated adventures of a young man named “Tintin,” director Steven Spielberg began reading the various comics detailing the escapades of the diminutive Belgian investigative journalist. In 1983 he purchased the rights to make a film. The saying goes that all good things come to those who wait. After almost 30 years the wait is over. And well worth it.

While visiting the local market Tintin (Bell) is captivated by a model ship, the Unicorn, being offered for sale. The seller seems eager to move it and the sale is made for the whopping price of one pound. Moments later another buyer identifying himself as Mr. Sakharine (Craig) attempts to buy the ship, offering much more than the original asking price. But a sale is a sale and, despite his best offer, Mr. Sakharine watches Tintin walk off with the ship. Intrigued by Sakharine’s urgent insistence on obtaining the model, Tintin, with the help of his dog Snowy, does what he does best. Investigate.

I will make no secret here that if Hollywood was heaven Steven Spielberg would be my god (little “g” of course). His film “Jaws” is the reason I began my interest in movies and that interest has guided me both personally and professionally, up to and including being able to write film reviews. That being said, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that even if Steven Soderbergh had directed “The Adventures of Tintin” I would still rave about it.

Presented in the format known as motion capture, where the actions of the actors are digitally transferred to a computer, “The Adventures of Tintin” is an adventure film that carries you away in its magic. As Tintin and Snowy begin their quest they run into Captain Haddock (Serkis), whose ship has been chartered by Sakharine for a journey to Morocco. When Sakharine attempts to cause a mutiny, Haddock, Tintin and Snowy escape and make their way by land and air to the African country where they encounter another model of the Unicorn. And a clue that could lead them to a fantastic treasure!

I have never read a “Tintin” comic. In fact, if I hadn’t grown up with a few friends that collected comic books I most likely wouldn’t have heard of them. And I say this because, Tintin fan or not, if you like adventure you will like this film. Director Spielberg has given us sharks and U.F.Os and aliens and dinosaurs. His vision, of course, but helped by brilliant special effects people. And the same goes here. This is the best motion capture film I’ve ever seen. The attention to detail is incredible, so much so that you can even see the small flecks of dust when they are reflected by a flashlight. My biggest complaint about motion capture films had been that no matter how “natural” the characters appeared their eyes always looked creepy. Credit Spielberg and team, which includes “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson, for clearing up that problem. The characters appear as lifelike as a digitally created person can. Especially one who bears a striking resemblance to Spielberg. And, as he has for over twenty films with the director, John Williams provides a brilliant score that captures the on screen story beautifully.

Click here to check out our interview with Wayne Stables, Visual Effects Supervisor for “The Adventures of Tintin”

DVD Review “The Garfield Show: Dinosaur & Other Animal Adventures”

Voices of: Frank Welker, Gregg Berger, Wally Wingert
Episodes: 6
Running Time: 74 Minutes
Studio: Vivendi Entertainment

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“The Garfield Show” started in France in 2008, following its US premiere in late 2009. The show is a different take for the series as it is fully CGI animated. I think that it works rather well in 15 minute episode formats. Each episode is quick and usually packs a good laugh or two. The animation is basic but not bad, with the colors really standing out. It definitely also has a pretty catchy theme song.

There are six episodes from this series included in this set including “Down on the Farm”, “The Pet Show”, “Bone Diggers”, “Underwater World”, “Fish to Fry” and “History of Dogs”. Some of the adventures that Garfield and Ottie deal with are digging up dinosaur bones, working on a farm, working on a farm, exploring the ocean and even attends a pet show.

My favorite on the disc is definitely “Underwater World”, since it has a cool shark named Chomper. I am a sucker for CGI sharks. Overall this show is fun and should definitely hold the interest of children…(and some adult like myself). There are over 100 episodes of this show and they seem to be releasing a new volume many times throughout the year. So keep an eye out for more volumes coming fast.

DVD Review “A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures”

Directed by: Ben Stassen
Starring: Yuri Lowenthal, Melanie Griffith, Tim Curry, Anthony Anderson and Stacy Keach
Rating: Not Rated
Length: 88 Minutes
Studio: Vivendi Entertainment

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Since 2003, whenever there is any movie about talking animals it gets compared to just another “Finding Nemo”. Well, this film is not a total rip-off and is kind of enjoyable. First off the CG effects in the film are decent and really colorful. This originally came from Belgium and was recently released in the UK on 3D Blu-ray. I have seen that edition and honestly prefer it, especially when you watch certain scenes made specifically to shine in 3D.

The story is entertaining for kids but also sets out to deliver a message about the global warming.
Sammy, the sea turtle, takes an incredibly 50 years journey traveling the world. Along his journey he meets many friends, including love interest Shelly and also deals with some serious issues though, which was a bit of downer for me. Luckily, Sammy is really cute when he is younger and the film definitely takes shines more during that time.

The voice cast is notable and includes Melanie Griffith, Tim Curry, Anthony Anderson and Stacy Keach. If your kids notice the voice of Sammy, that because Yuri Lowenthal is also the voice of Ben 10 and Sasuke from “Naruto”. The soundtrack is fun and notable. Overall If you are a fan of this film, I would suggest catching it in 3D if possible. Also if you are looking for a sequel, “Sammy 2: Escape From Paradise” is being released August 2012…but only in France.


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