Blu-ray Review “Angry Birds Toons: Season One – Volume One”

Rated: Unrated
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: December 3, 2013
Run Time: 73 minutes

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

I have to admit, I am totally obsessed with the Angry Birds-mania, which is taking over the world. From what started as a smart phone video game has since expanded into a cultural phenomena. Included in the first volume of the “Angry Birds Toons” are 26 episodes from season one. The show is wordless but if you are a fan of the games you will enjoy seeing these characters come to life.

Official Premise: Life isn’t easy on Piggy Island for the Angry Birds. Red and his fearless feathered companions, Chuck, Matilda, Red, Bomb, Blues and Terence, must band together to protect their eggs – and their future – from the wily plotting of the Bad Piggies.

The animation is very crisp and look great with their 1080p transfers. I have seen these episodes before on my smart phone via the “Angry Birds” apps. So the colors are very sharp and really impressive. The DTS-HD Master Audio tracks are good but if you know the show there is not much in terms of dialogue, more like sound effects..but it still works. I am curious to see how this is going to translate and expand in the upcoming feature film.

In terms of special features, there is some decent content including “Meet the Characters” and “Meet the Flock” Pods. There are three Behind-the-Scenes featurettes on the show. There is the special holiday episode “Wreck the Halls”, which themed perfectly with the upcoming holidays. There is a Character Art Gallery. Lastly there is a bonus Angry Birds Windows PC Game included.

Blu-ray Review “The Odd Angry Shot”

Actors: Bryan Brown, John Hargreaves, Graham Kennedy, Graeme Blundell
Directors: Tom Jeffrey
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Synapse Films
Release Date: August 13, 2013
Run Time: 92 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

“The Odd Angry Shot” is a highly-acclaimed Australian war film taking a look into the hell of Vietnam.  I have to admit, I was not aware of this film prior to this release.  I know that when I see Synapse Films backing a film that it has to be good..or at least worth checking out.  Naturally, I am not a big fan of war films, not sure 100% way though.  I enjoy watching them but I never rush out to revisit again. The film stars Bryan Brown, who then went on to do films like “Breaker Morant” and “F/X” series. “The Odd Angry Shot” has never before been released on DVD in the U.S., so fans of this classic war film should be excited to finally see it getting some love. The film itself shows a different side of the war and really gets down and dirty to show the gritty truth behind it.  Definitely worth a rent for sure!

Official Premise: Tom Jeffrey’s classic Australian film, “The Odd Angry Shot”, is set in the late 1960s during the brutal war Australians shared with the United States: the struggle for Vietnam. Harry (Graham Kennedy), a hard-edged Special Air Service Corporal, meets a new company of soldiers during his second tour in Vietnam. There’s the naïve Bill (John Jarratt), the easy-going Bung (John Hargreaves), the blunt Rogers (Bryan Brown), the pragmatic Dawson (Graeme Blundell), and the youthful and innocent Scott (Ian Gilmour). Because of their training as professional soldiers from Australia’s toughest Army unit, these men believe they can deal with any situation. They pass the time playing practical jokes, getting into drunken brawls and humoring themselves to keep their minds off the war. But, when the first odd angry shot rings out, and an enemy mortar barrage hits their camp causing many casualties, the men realize their protective shield of humor is no defense at all against the harsh realities of armed combat.

For a film dating back to 1979, This film has never looked better with its new high-definition 1080p (1.78:1) transfer which was taken from original vault materials. Since this film has been given a proper U.S. release since VHS. So this should be a real treat for fans of this cult classic.  Same goes for the DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track, which works well showcasing the action from the war. Like most Synapse Films releases “The Angry Odd Shot” also comes with a sharp reversible cover art. The special features included are not spectacular but worth checking out. There is an audio commentary with Producer/Director Tom Jeffrey, Producer Sue Milliken and co-star Graeme Blundell. Worth checking out if you are a fan of the show. There is a featurette “Stunts Down Under with Buddy Joe Hooker”, which looks into how the stunts were performed.  Lastly, there is an original theatrical trailer included.

Book Review “Angry Birds: Hatching a Universe”

Author: Danny Graydon
Hardcover: 162 pages
Publisher: Insight Editions
Release Date: June 4, 2013

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Hatching A Universe” is a perfect name for this book. In late 2009, the first “Angry Birds” gave was released for the iPhone and I remember I bought it and haven’t stopped playing since. This game has not only spawned four sequels including “Angry Birds Seasons”, “Angry Birds Rio”, “Angry Birds Space” and (my favorite) “Angry Birds Star Wars” but also clothing lines, action figures and much more. These “Angry Birds” are everywhere right now. This game has also changed the face of mobile gaming. It just happened to be the right time for “Angry Birds”, it received a success that I am sure every game developer hopes for but not every one gets. This book does a great job of looking into the world that has been created around this game and it is a must buy for any fan of the series.

It is hard to believe that this “little” mobile game has become the giant entity that it has in terms of all media not just mobile gaming. In “Angry Birds: Hatching a Universe” we get to go to see what happens inside of the creative process of this game and backed with some amazing artwork, never-before-seen sketches, concept art and more hidden treasures. If that is not cool enough there is also some interviews with the key players at Rovio. Insight Editions is known for some of the best companion books and this one is just another great example of why I look forward to each of their latest releases.

The author, Danny Graydon, is no stranger the “art of” book genre, though his last one was in 2009 with “The Art of Planet 51”. He really captures the phenonomon of “Angry Birds” and will leave fans satisfied. There is also an encouraging word from the CEO of Rovio Entertainment, Mikael Hed, who gets to tells his story of success. If you are a “Angry Birds” junkie like myself and looking for more in between new updates and games there is a current TV series based on the game, “Angry Birds Toons” and will consist of 52 short 2-3 minute episodes airing through the app, online and through some cable providers. Of course then there is also the upcoming CGI film announced for release on July 1, 2016, which will be developed, produced and financed by Rovio and distributed by Sony Pictures. This franchise is expanding it’s universe every day, so get ready cause there is much more to come!


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