Book Review “Junior Encyclopedia of Animated Characters”

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Grade Level: 1 – 3
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: June 3, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Being parents that are huge fans of Disney and having a two year old, there is nothing more important than getting her exposed to the world that we love with Disney and their amazing characters. I have been exposed to Disney since I was a kid and I want to do the same for my child. “Junior Encyclopedia of Animated Characters” is a fantastic way to introduce your kids to the world of Disney. To be honest, my daughter already knows tons of these characters just from watching the films over the last two years. This is a fantastic encyclopedia of characters and I recommend this to every parent who wants to introduce their kids to Disney.

The encyclopedia gives the low down on every character from A-Z or in Disney terms from Ariel to Zurg. There are over 150 Disney heroes and villains included in this. Even though my daughter knows a lot of characters already, it was great to introduce her to a few new ones as well (or actually older ones from classic Disney films). What I also love is that it isn’t just pictures of the characters, it also features fun facts, trivia, and quotes for each one. Plus this book is extremely current and up-to date with the last latest Disney and Disney*Pixar films including “Wreck-It Ralph”, “Frozen” and even the upcoming “The Good Dinosaur” and more! If that still isn’t cool enough the book jacket reverses to reveal a poster! This is a must buy!

 

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DVD Review “Godzilla: The Complete Animated Series”

Actors: Ian Ziering, Malcom Danare, Rino Romano, Charity James, Brigitte Bako
Number of discs: 4
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
DVD Release Date: April 29, 2014
Run Time: 854 minutes

Series: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Yes…yes, we all know how much the U.S. 1998 remake of “Godzilla” sucked. This animated series was a way to cash in on the Godzilla madness but for those who hated the film didn’t pay any attention to this show. It’s run on TV was ended short airing 38 out of 40 produced episodes. I have to admit, I never watched this during the original airing since I was among those who did quite hate the ’98 film but thanks to Netflix, I decided to give this show a go recently. Yes, it is a cheap 90’s cartoon but I am also a sucker for 90’s cartoons. If you are looking to dumb down your brain and just watch some Godzilla related goodness in animated form, this show isn’t as bad as I would have thought. Plus for the cheap price (you can get it new from Amazon Marketplace for around $5 bucks), it is totally worth it. Also did I mention the star of “Sharknado”, Ian Ziering, also voices the main characer!? Bonus cheese!

Official Premise After helping take down Godzilla, biologist Dr. Nick Tatopoulos (voice of Ian Ziering) stumbles upon his hatchling, who bonds with the scientist as a parental figure. Recruiting his own environmentally-directed research outfit HEAT (Humanitarian Environmental Analysis Team) Nick sets out to study not only this new generation, but also to investigate the increasing reports of monsters of all types and other environmental anomalies menacing the Earth. Each exciting episode is a pulse-pounding monster-hunt driven by Nick’s team accompanied by their 300-foot giant reptile as they travel the globe defending humankind against mutant threats.

Disc 1 includes the following episodes: “New Family – Part 1”; “New Family – Part 2”; “Talkin’ Trash”; “D.O.A”; “The Winter Of Our Discontent”; “Cat And Mouse”; “Leviathan”;, “What Dreams May Come”; “Hive” and “Bird Of Paradise”. Disc 2 includes the following episodes: “Freeze “; “DeadLoch”; “Competition”; “Bug Out”; “Monster War – Part 1”; “Monster War – Part 2”; “Monster War – Part 3”; “An Early Frost”; “What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been” and “Web Site”

Disc 3 includes the following episodes: “Wedding Bells Blew”; “Juggernaut”; “Shafted”; “Trust No One”; “Lizard Season”; “The Ballad Of Gens Du Marias”; “Ring Of Fire”; “Protector”; “Vision”; “Freak Show”. Last but not least disc 4 includes the following episodes: “Metamorphosis”; “Where Is Thy Sting?”; “Underground Movement”; “The Twister”; “S.C.A.L.E.”; “Future Shock”; “End Of The Line”; “Area 51”; “Tourist Trap” and “Cash Of The Titans”. So if you can count these all add up to 40 episodes, so this cheap DVD also includes for the first time ever the 2 unaired episodes and the series available as complete. Calling all hardcore “Godzilla” fans like myself that are in overdrive waiting for this months new film, this is your answer!

Blu-ray Review “Green Lantern: The Animated Series”

Voices of: Josh Keaton, Kevin Michael Richardson, Grey DeLisle, Jonathan Adams, Jason Spisak
Directed by: Sam Liu, Rick Morales
Studio: Warner Archive Collection
DVD Release Date: March 18, 2014
Run Time: 572 minutes

Series: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

Like the “Green Lantern” live-action movie, “Green Lantern: The Animated Series” was also not given the respect that it deserved. The series was cancelled after one season and didn’t even get a chance to pick up some steam. Cartoon Network started their “DC Nation” block and then pretty much canceled all of it including this show, “Beware the Batman (which is actually in limbo) and “Young Justice”. All great shows, just not given any love. This CGI series was slick, well-done and just looked awesome. I thought that they were really going somewhere with the story, which was well-written and had some great arcs. It is action packed and also very funny (like Green Lantern should be). All 26 episodes are included in this release. If you are a fan of DC Comics, I would recommend checking this series out…and be sure to spread the word to your friend so that Green Lantern shines bright.

Official Premise: In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night! Green Lantern shines bright in DC’s radiant, groundbreaking CGI animated series. The Green Lantern Corps patrols the galaxy, fighting evil. But in the farthest reaches of deep space where few Lanterns patrol, a new evil is rising – the Red Lanterns! Hal Jordan and fellow Lantern Kilowog defy The Guardians of the Universe and board a new experimental spacecraft, the Interceptor, and race to the Guardian Frontier to face the evil Red Lanterns head-on! But a menace lurks beyond the Red Lantern invasion and Hal, Kilowog and fellow Green Lanterns Tomar-Re and Aya discover an even greater evil that threatens to extinguish all life. It’s an interstellar race to destroy the mechanical Manhunters, aid Saint Walker and his Blue Lanterns and stop the planet-eating Anti-Monitor! Pick up this exciting double-disc complete series set to see if Green Lantern’s light can defeat these powerful new enemies! If not, the universe will fall into darkness!

Besides being a kick-ass show, “Green Lantern: The Animated Series” also packed a great voice cast including Josh Keaton (“The Spectacular Spider-Man”) as the voice of Hal Jordan/Green Lantern, Kevin Michael Richardson (“Thundercats”) as Kilowog, Grey DeLisle (“The Fairly OddParents”) as Aya and Jason Spisak (“Young Justice”) as Razer. There are also an amazing collection of guest voice stars included as well. Robert Englund (“A Nightmare on Elm Street”), Ron Perlman (“Hellboy”), Clancy Brown (“The Shawshank Redemption”), Wayne Knight (“Seinfeld”), Juliet Landau (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Kurtwood Smith (“That 70’s Show”), Phil Morris (“Smallville”), Brian George (“Seinfeld”) and many more popped in to add their talent to this series.

What I really love about a Warner Archive Collection is that a show like this would normally sit on the shelf for a while and eventually get thrown out on DVD after years of waiting…or never at all. Warner Archive is hoping giving this show a new life by releasing it not only on DVD but also Blu-ray! They have been starting getting into Blu-ray and their releases have been fantastic. The 1080p transfer is solid and the colors are just so vibrant. One thing I loved about this show was the animation style and I feel that it is so sleak and eye-catching. The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track also sounds great with the explosive action-packed episodes. The thing I do not like about Warner Archive is that most of their releases are also bare-bones like this one is, but I am happy we at least have this season now and I am able to spread the word about this great series, so h hopefully Cartoon Network will regret canceling it.

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Just in time for Halloween, Media Mikes and ARC Entertainment are giving two lucky readers the chance to win a DVD of the new animated Halloween tale, “A Monsterous Holiday.” Featuring the voices of Brooke Shields, Jon Heder, Sean Astin, Matthew Lillard and Kyle Chandler the film follows the adventures of a young inventor named Andy who hopes to ask his neighbor to help him win an upcoming science fair. The neighbor is one Dr. Frankenstein. Finding the good doctor not at home Andy finds the next best thing: Frankenstein’s monster who, as luck would have it, is actually a teenager.

For a chance to win a copy of this new comedy just tell us below what your favorite costume was as a kid when you went trick or treating. Two random comments will be chosen on Sunday, November 3rd.

Good luck!

DVD Review “Popeye The Sailor: The 1960s Classics – Volume 1”

Voices: Jack Mercer, Mae Questel, Jackson Beck
Studio: Warner Archive
DVD Release Date: May 7, 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 409 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love Popeye The Sailor? If you are a parent, you should take advantage of his lessons to eat your spinach. When I was a kid, I remember my parents used to always say eat your spinach so you can be strong like Popeye. These shorts are really classics. They are also fun to watch when I was a kid and nothing has changed as an adult. I look forward to sharing these with my daughter as well. This release is volume 1 of the classics Popeye cartoons from Paramount, adding up to 72-episodes. If you are a Popeye fan, this is a great release from Warner Archive. The episodes look great and are well represented here. Sign me up for volume 2…and keep them coming Warner Archive!

With TV reruns of the Fleischer/Famous Studios theatrical shorts proving that Popeye still packed a spinach-powered punch that delivered smash ratings, King Features commissioned a new series of Sailor Man shorts under the aegis of executive producer Al Brodax. The TV incarnation of Popeye made up for its scaled back animation with a broadened narrative scope while still staying true to the source. Thanks to the continued use of voice actors Jack Mercer (Popeye), Mae Questel (Olive) and Jackson Beck (Bluto who was now called Brutus) as well as the use of veteran Popeye animation talents who were then working at Paramount Cartoon Studios, these shorts remained authentic. The addition of a number of Thimble Theater comic strip characters making their cartoon debuts – including King Blozo, Toar, and Sea Hag – only added to the shorts “yam what I yam” charm.

Disc 1 consists of the following episodes ranging from 1960-1961: 1. Hits And Missiles, 2. The Ghost Host, 3. Strikes,Spares An’ Spinach, 4. Jeep Is Jeep, 5. The Spinach Scholar, 6. Psychiatricks, 7. Rags To Riches To Rags, 8. Hair Cut-ups, 9. Poppa Popeye, 10. Quick Change Olie, 11.Valley of The Goons, 12. Me Quest For Poopdeck Pappy, 13. Moby Hick, 14. Mirror Magic, 15. It Only Hurts When They Laughs, 16. Wimpy The Moocher, 17. Voo-Doo To You Too, 18. Popeye Goes Sale-ing, 19. Popeye’s Travels, 20. Incident At Missile City, 21. Dog Catcher Popeye, 22. What’s News, 23. Spinach Greetings, 24. The Baby Contest, 25. Oil’s Well That Ends Well, 26. Motor Knocks, 27.Amusement Park, 28. Duel To The Finish, 29. Gem Jam, 30. The Bathing Beasts, 31. The Rain Breaker, 32. Messin’ Up The Mississippi, 33. Love Birds, 34. Sea Serpent, 35. Boardering On Trouble and 36. Aladdin’s Lamp

Disc 2 continue with shorts from 1961. 37. Butler Up, 38. The Leprechaun, 39. County Fair, 40. Hamburgers Aweigh, 41. Popeye’s Double Trouble, 42. Kiddie Kapers, 43. The Mark of Zero, 44. Myskery Melody, 45. Scairdy Cat, 46. Operation Ice-Tickle, 47. The Cure, 48. William Won’t Tell, 49. Pop Goes The Whistle, 50. Autographically Yours, 51. A Poil For Olive Oyl, 52. My Fair Olive, 53. Giddy Gold, 54. Strange Things Are Happening, 55. The Medicine Man, 56. A Mite of Trouble, 57. Who’s Kiddin’ Zoo, 58. Robot Popeye, 59. Sneaking Peeking and 60. Seer-Ring Is Believer-Ring.

Lastly Disc 3 completed the volume with more episodes but jumps from 1961 back to 1960 for some reason. 61.The Wiffle Bird’s Revenge, 62. Going…Boing…Gone, 63. Popeye Thumb, 64. Where There’s A Will, 65. Take It Easel, 66. I Bin Sculped, 67. Fleas A Crowd, 68. Popeye’s Junior Headache, 69. The Big Sneeze, 70. The Last Resort, 71. Jeopardy Sheriff and 72.Baby Phase.

Blu-ray Review “Cheech & Chong’s Animated Movie”

Starring: Cheech Marin,Tommy Chong
Directors: Branden and Eric D. Chambers
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Run Time: 84 minutes

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

It has been a while since Cheech & Chong released a movie together, in fact it was “Cheech & Chong’s The Corsican Brothers” back in 1984.  I am not sure if you can consider this really a new film from the legendary stoners, since it is really just new animation behind the duo classic skits from their records like “Let’s Make a Dope Deal”, “Sister Mary Elephant” and “Dave’s not here”. I enjoyed seeing some visual behind these skits but it this is not really a movie. It is just separate animated skits put together in a movie form. I don’t blame them for trying since the skits are already there and the animation is very cheaply done. I am sure that there are a lot of stoners out there though will enjoy this but I feel that until you are on a high, this film is a major drag, man. I am down if the duo does an “Up in Smoke 2” finally though!

Official Premise: You’re not hallucinating. It’s the legendary toker jokers Cheech & Chong as you’ve never seen them before — in their very first Animated Movie. Catch the buzz as their most outrageous routines and laugh-out-loud lines from their Grammy Award-winning albums come to life. With help from a , bud-lovin’ body crab named Buster, Cheech & Chong deliver the ultimate comedy high and give you the munchies for more.

The 1080p transfer for this Blu-ray looks clear but the animation really doesn’t deliver the good.  This type of low-budget animation is becoming quite popular but I am really not a fan. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track works for the jokes and the few songs but nothing amazing either. The best part of this release is the special features.  There are three commentary tracks. The first includes both Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, which is a blast and a must listen. The next is with the directors Branden Chambers and Eric D. Chambers and producer Lou Adler. It doesn’t flow as good as the duo but worth checking out. The last one is with Tommy Chong and Paris Chong, which is def for fans. The rest of the extras are an “Low Maintenance Listening Mode”, stoners will appreciate.  “Medical Marijuana Blues” Blind Mellon’s Recording Session is a riot and lastly there is a Cheech and Chong Gallery.

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IT’S HIGH TIME FOR…

CHEECH & CHONG’S ANIMATED MOVIE

Win a copy of CHEECH & CHONG’S ANIMATED MOVIE Available on Blu-ray and DVD April 23

Everyone’s favorite stoner duo is back – and animated – in CHEECH & CHONG’S ANIMATED MOVIE, rolling its way into Blu-ray and DVD April 23 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Directed by Branden and Eric D. Chambers, this high-larious feature-length adventure is the perfect film to watch at home with your best buds!

CHEECH & CHONG’S ANIMATED MOVIE showcases the legendary toker jokers like you’ve never seen them before – in animation. Catch the buzz as their most outrageous routines and laugh-out-loud lines from their ground breaking Grammy Award-winning albums come to life, including the original Ode recordings of “Dave’s not here,” “Let’s make a dope deal” and more. With help from a bud-lovin’ body crab named Buster, Cheech & Chong “the masters of the smokin’ word” deliver the ultimate comedy high and give you the munchies for more.

For your chance to win a copy of CHEECH & CHONG’S ANIMATED MOVIE on Blu-ray, simply answer the following question, let us know your favorite Cheech and Chong skit or movie! This giveaway will remain open until May 3rd at Noon, Eastern Time. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Follow Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment on: Twitter @FoxHomeEnt

DVD Review "Help!…It's The Hair Bear Bunch!: The Complete Animated Series"

Creators: Hanna-Barbera
Starring: Daws Butler, Paul Winchell, Hal Smith, Joe E. Ross, William Callaway, John Stephenson
Distributed by: Warner Archive
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 328 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I am a big fan of pretty much anything Hanna-Barbera. I have to admit, I guess I am too young but I have never heard of “Help!…It’s The Hair Bear Bunch!”, which dates back to 1971. It only lasted one season and 16 episodes on the air. Even though it may not be Hanna Barbera’s best product, they have appeared in various other programs including Hair Bear’s cameo in “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law”. There was even a reference in “The Brady Bunch” to the show. After watching all 16 episodes I have to admit, I went to grab the next disc for more episodes. So to me that means that I really enjoyed this show. It is zany, silly and just plain fun. It also features great voice legends like Daws Butler (who takes a page from his Yogi Bear voice), Hal Smith (who was one of the original voices of Winnie the Pooh). I would recommend checking out this DVD.

Official Premise: In the Wonderland Zoo there are the certain bears who stay at home every night and never quarrel or fight, aw, they don’t even bite! So don’t yell “Help! Help!”, it’s the Hair Bear Bunch! Yep – it’s the heppest, savviest and silliest ursines to ever crash out of a zoo, Hair, Square and Bubi Bear. Their bear cave transforms from stone and straw to a swinging, scientific bachelor bear pad at the touch of a button – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Quick-talking Hair (voiced by Daws Butler), befuddling curlicue talker Bubi (voiced by Paul Winchell) and master of the invisible motorcycle, the zen-drawling Square Bear (voiced by William Callaway) are more than a match for their “keepers” Mr. Peevly (voiced by John Stephenson) and Botch (voiced by Joe E. Ross) – with or without the other delightful denizens of Wonderland Zoo, who are always ready to help the Bears in their bigger-than-the-zoo schemes. This two-disc, 16 episode collection contains all the mod bears madcap extra-zoohicular adventures.

This complete series are said to be newly restored but I am not doing back flips with the transfers. They are good but they look like they are still dated from 1971. The colors are a little muted but work enough to enjoy the series. The episodes are presented in full screen 4×3 with an aspect ratio of 1.37:1. This is the first time that this series has been released on DVD, so I am thrilled enough just to see it get some love. Thanks as always to Warner Archive. They are always responsible for pulling out some very unique and rare shows from the vaults and give them a new life. I can’t wait to see what they come up with yet. This release is available on only on WBShop.com and is MOD, which means “Manufactured on Demand”.  So if you are a fan of this show there is no telling how long they will be available so get it now.

All-new DC Universe Animated Original Movie "Superman: Unbound" Coming May 7, 2013

WHITE COLLAR STAR MATT BOMER DONS THE ICONIC ‘S’

SHIELD OPPOSITE FRINGE’S JOHN NOBLE AS BRAINIAC IN

ALL-NEW DC UNIVERSE ANIMATED ORIGINAL MOVIE

SUPERMAN: UNBOUND

Coming MAY 7, 2013

FROM WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT

 Castle Duo of Stana Katic & Molly Quinn Voice Lois Lane & Supergirl on

Blu-rayTM Combo Pack, DVD, On Demand & For Digital Download

BURBANK, CA (February 21, 2012) – A destructive force is devastating planets across the galaxy – with Earth next in its sights – and even Superman may not be capable of halting the terror in SUPERMAN: UNBOUND, the next entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies. Produced by Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, the all-new, PG-13 rated film arrives May 7, 2013 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as a Blu-ray™ Combo Pack ($24.98 SRP) and DVD ($19.98 SRP), On Demand and for Digital Download. The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack will include UltraViolet™*.

Based on the Geoff Johns/Gary Frank 2008 release “Superman: Brainiac,” SUPERMAN: UNBOUND finds the Man of Steel aptly handling day-to-day crime while helping acclimate Supergirl to Earth’s customs and managing Lois Lane’s expectations for their relationship. Personal issues take a back seat when the horrific force responsible for the destruction of Krypton – Brainiac – begins his descent upon Earth. Brainiac has crossed the universe, collecting cities from interesting planets – including Supergirl’s home city of Kandor – and now the all-knowing, ever-improving android has his sights fixed on Metropolis. Superman must summon all of his physical and intellectual resources to protect his city, the love of his life and his newly-arrived cousin.

The film’s stellar voicecast is led by Matt Bomer (White Collar) as Superman, John Noble (Fringe, The Lord of the Rings films) as Brainiac, Stana Katic (Castle) as Lois Lane and Molly Quinn (Castle) as Supergirl. Additional voices in the cast include Golden Globe Award winner Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under) as Ma Kent, Wade Williams (The Dark Knight Rises) as Perry White, Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show, Office Space) as Steve Lombard, Stephen Root (Boardwalk Empire, Justified) as Zor-El, and Alexander Gould (Weeds) as Jimmy Olsen.

Supervising Producer James Tucker (Justice League, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) also directs the film from a script by Bob Goodman (Warehouse 13, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns).

SUPERMAN: UNBOUND adds an all-new chapter to the growing legacy of animated films featuring the Man of Steel and his epic challenges to maintain peace on Earth,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Home Video Vice President, Family & Animation and Partner Brands Marketing. “Matt Bomer’s voice epitomizes the All-American hero that is Superman, and John Noble counters that tone with a commanding, chilling delivery for Brainiac. A superhero is only as good as the depths of his opposition, and Noble brings out the best in his villainous portrayal of Brainiac.”

SUPERMAN: UNBOUND Blu-ray™ Combo Pack has over 4 1/2 hours of exciting content, including:

  • Standard and high definition versions of the feature film
  • UltraViolet™*
  • Sneak Peek at Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, the next DC Universe Animated Original Movie
  • Featurette“Kandor: History of the Bottle City” – An all-new featurette. Kandor: a peaceful scientific community dedicated toward the preservation of all that is good on Krypton, the home world of Superman.  That is, until the city was ripped from its world and placed into a small glass bottle!  This is the short story highlighting the shrunken city of Kandor.  Its history just as fascinating as it is unique, here is how it ties in directly with the Man of Tomorrow.
  • Featurette“Brainiac: Technology and Terror” – An all-new featurette.  Mostly machine, but part sentient being, Brainiac steals cities and destroys worlds.  Is he the most vile of Superman’s villainous foes?  Experience the Brainiac mythology and find out why Superman barely stands a chance!
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring members of the creative team: Mike Carlin, Bob Goodman and James Tucker.
  • Four bonus episodes from Superman: The Animated Series (“The Last Son of Krypton, Part 1”; “New Kids in Town”; and “Little Girl Lost, Parts 1 & 2”), all handpicked by producer Alan Burnett.
  • Digital Comic – Excerpt from the graphic novel Superman: Brainiac by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.

* Spuerman: Unbound  UltraViolet offer is a limited time offer.  Restrictions and limitations apply.  Go to ultraviolet.flixster .com/info for details.

About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment:

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment’s home video, digital distribution, interactive entertainment/videogames, direct-to-DVD production, technical operations and anti-piracy businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. WBHEG is responsible for the global distribution of content through DVD, electronic sell-through and VOD, and delivery of theatrical content to wireless and online channels, and is also a significant worldwide publisher for both internal and third party videogame titles.

About DC Entertainment:

DC Entertainment, home to iconic brands DC Comics (Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash), Vertigo (Sandman, Fables) and MAD, is the creative division charged with strategically integrating its content across Warner Bros. Entertainment and Time Warner.  DC Entertainment works in concert with many key Warner Bros. divisions to unleash its stories and characters across all media, including but not limited to film, television, consumer products, home entertainment and interactive games. Publishing thousands of comic books, graphic novels and magazines each year, DC Entertainment is the largest English-language publisher of comics in the world.  In January 2012, DC Entertainment, in collaboration with Warner Bros. and Time Warner divisions, launched We Can Be Heroes—a giving campaign featuring the iconic Justice League super heroes—to raise awareness and funds to fight the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa.

SUPERMAN and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © DC Comics. (s13)

About Warner Bros. Animation

Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) is one of the leading producers of animation in the entertainment industry, with an innovative and talent-rich roster boasting some of the most accomplished writers, producers and artists working today. The studio is on the cutting edge of animation technology and has both CG and traditionally animated projects in current production and development. For TV, WBA produces series such as Green Lantern: The Animated Series, The Looney Tunes Show, MAD, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and Young Justice: Invasion, as well as the forthcoming Beware The Batman, Teen Titans Go! and The Tom and Jerry Show for Cartoon Network. WBA also produces series and additional original content — including animated shorts — for Cartoon Network’s multiplatform branded DC Nation programming block. In addition to TV programming, WBA produces theatrically released CG cartoon shorts featuring iconic Looney Tunes characters, rendered in stereoscopic 3D. WBA also creates the highly successful series of DC Universe Original Animated Movies for DVD. Producing for multiple platforms including TV, digital and home entertainment both domestically and internationally, WBA is highly respected for its creative and technical excellence, as well as for maintaining the Studio’s rich cartoon heritage. It is also the home of the iconic animated characters from the DC Comics, Hanna-Barbera, MGM and Looney Tunes libraries. One of the most-honored animation studios in history, WBA has been honored with six Academy Awards®, 35 Emmy® Awards, the George Foster Peabody Award, an Environmental Media Award, a Parents’ Choice Award, the HUMANITAS Prize, two Prism Awards and 20 Annie Awards (honoring excellence in animation).

Blu-ray Review "Jackson 5ive: The Completed Animated Series"

Actors: Joel Cooper, Donald Fullilove, Mike Martinez, Edmund Sylvers, Craig Grandy, Paul Frees
Directors: Arthur Rankin Jr., Jules Bass
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Classic Media
Release Date: January 15, 2013
Run Time: 506 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I can’t say that I was around for the original broadcast of the Saturday morning cartoon series “Jackson 5ive” but I do remember it from its re-broadcast in mid 80’s. Who doesn’t love the songs of Jackson Five. They are timeless and still resonate and entertain throughout the years. This series was a blend of music with the classic animation from the team of Rankin/Bass. It is not the “animagic” puppet style like Rankin/Bass’ other projects but still hold their charm. This series always reminds me of “The Beatles: Yellow Submarine”, since it has that trippy feel and does not include the original band members voices. I did love hearing legendary voice actor Paul Frees take on various roles through the episodes. Overall, the show is presented beautiful thanks to Classic Media and for the first time ever on DVD or Blu-ray. It is must purchase for sure!

Here is the track listing for each of the 46 songs through the complete 23 episodes:
Episode 1: ABC, Goin’ Back to Indiana; Episode 2: I’ll be There, The Young Folks; Episode 3: I Want You Back, 2-4-6-8; Episode 4: I’ll Bet You, Sixteen Candles; Episode 5: My Little Baby, It’s Great to be Here; Episode 6: The Love You Save, How Funky is Your Chicken; Episode 7: Reach In, Can I See You in the Morning?; Episode 8: The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage, Oh How Happy; Episode 9: The Wall, I Will Find a Way; Episode 10: Maybe Tomorrow, Nobody; Episode 11: (Come `Round Here) I’m the One You Need, (We’ve Got) Blue Skies; Episode 12: My Cherie Amour, Honey Chile

Episode 13: Ready or Not (Here I Come), La La (Means I Love You); Episode 14: Darling Dear, Don’t Know Why (I Love You); Episode 15: Petals, She’s Good; Episode 16: One More Chance, I Found that Girl; Episode: 17: Never Can Say Goodbye, Mama’s Pearl; Episode 18: Sugar Daddy, I Wanna Be Where You Are; Episode 20: I’m So Happy, In Our Small Way; Episode 21: Got to be There, Maria; Episode 22: Love is Here, Girl Don’t Take Your Love From Me; Episode 23: Little Bitty Pretty One, If I have to Move a Mountain

The 46 songs included throughout this series have been remastered songs but only delivers a Dolby Digital 2.0 track on the episodes. This is a little bit disappointing to be honest. The 1080p transfers of the episodes look good and deliver the classic animation feel. The animated though is little dated but still looks very impressive for a show that is over 40 years old. My two issues with the release is the box art, it is very focuses a lot on the 46 remastered songs and less on the show itself and zero mention of Rankin/Bass on the front or back. The second thing is that there are no special features included for this, I would have loved to seen included retro TV spots from the series. Though fans of Rankin/Bass and Jackson Five, should still enjoy the chance to finally own this complete series at home.

DVD Review “Police Academy: The Animated Series- Volume One”

Starring: Ron Rubin, Dan Hennessey, Howard Morris, Greg Morton
Studio: Warner Archive
Number of Discs: 3
DVD Release Date: December 11, 2012
Run Time: 658 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

If you were a kids in the late 80’s like myself, then you would have looked forward to coming home from school for shows like this.  I have always been a fan of the “Police Academy” series, obviously shows like this don’t really warrant a animated series but it still is fun and reminds me of the time when afternoon cartoons were the bees knees.  This series fits in between the fourth and fifth movie in the franchise but this does not include any of the original cast voicing their characters.  I am not sure what it is about 80’s animated series but they just have this certain charm. I am glad to finally have these episodes on DVD and I look forward to the next volume to complete this animated series.

There were 64 episodes in this series produced over two seasons.  The first season consisted of 26 episodes, so the 30 episodes presented here cover the first season and a bit of the season. This is the first time that this episodes have ever been released on DVD, thanks to Warner Archive. The episodes have not really been restored for this release but they still look good. They have been manufactured from the best-quality video master currently available.  They are presented in a 4×3 full frame with the original aspect ratio of  1.37:1. The audio track included is a basis mono track but it works, especially with the catchy theme song “They Wear the Blue” performed by The Fat Boys.

Official Synopsis: The wacky rookies are back – and this time their antics are animated! After a bust goes awry in the opening episode, the heinous Capt. Harris gets busted back to the academy. With a serious hate-on for academy alums, Harris drags Mahoney, Jones, Hightower, Hooks, Tackleberry, Callahan, Sweetchuck and Zed back to the academy! In this 30-Episode, 3-Disc collection, the hit cartoon spin-off of the legendary law-and-disorder comedy franchise, Mahoney and Co. are joined by the stalwart members of the K-9 Corps, dog cops who are a few bones short of being top dogs, while battling super-villains like the Kingpin, Lockjaw, Amazona, Numbskull, Mr. Sleaze and the Claw. The noble-but-not-all-there Commandant is on hand as well, aided by new character The Professor and his crazy gadgets. Tip-top hip-hop act The Fat Boys sings the toe-tapping theme.

Gerald Scarfe talks about working with Pink Floyd on “The Wall” and “Wish You Were Here”

Gerald Scarfe is a satirical political cartoonist and is known best for working with the band Pink Floyd on two of their albums “The Wall” and “Wish You Were Here”. He also created the animation used in the film “Pink Floyd: The Wall” and worked with Roger Water on his new tour of “The Wall”. Media Mikes got the chance to chat with Gerald about his work and reflect on its impact with fans.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your revisiting the wall with your book “The Making of Pink Floyd: The Wall”?
Gerald Scarfe: What I think think the weird thing about going through the diary of one’s life is that first of all you forget things and misplace the dates. It was like unraveling a piece of memory or putting together a jigsaw puzzle. But overall it was a fantastic experience looking back working on this project, which was some 30 years ago. I really didn’t feel at the time that it was going to be anything really exceptionable. I knew that Pink Floyd were extremely well known at the time. I worked with them for about five years to produce this thing. People have asked me in the past and asked if working on “The Wall” changed my life but for me then it was just another a job that I did. They have said “Well it has definitely changed my life”. So I think it really did strike a nerve in the public at that time. The young of those days are the older generation today and they are still fans and write to me. There is a guy who recently contacted me to tell me that his entire left arm is being tattooed with my illustrations. So it is still relevant today.

MG: Tell us about revisiting “The Wall” after almost 30 years ago with Roger Water’s new tour? What was your involvement?
GS: It was a fantastic experience. Now it is back up and running again. Roger contacted me about two years ago and said he was going to do the show again and would need new material. I re-designed some new things like the puppets and some bits of film here and there. I also did various lettering and writing for the program, which was projected on the wall. What has changed from when we originally did it is that things were not computerized. Where we were using three projectors on the wall back then now there are seven or eight projecting. They can literally pin point an individual brick on the wall using the computer. Even when we first did it I thought it felt like a Roman circus and was just so spectacular.

MG: How do you compare going from working on “Wish You were Here” to “The Wall”?
GS: When they first approached me, they were touring at the time and I did little pieces of animation here and there. I wasn’t really sure what was needed or wanted of me at the time. I was known in Britain and parts of America for being a satirical artist, making fun of society and poking fun at politicians. I think that is why Roger (Waters) and Nick (Mason) needed from me at the time. I didn’t quite get that and I started to make them these surreal images of men tumbling through the stratosphere and crashing through the sky. They were all rather surreal. I think what they were expecting from me was probably something a little more actual about the world itself in a more precise way. I actually started the flowers (from “The Wall”), way back then in the early days of “Wish You Were Here”. The flowers have some much work in them. I think in some places there are about 24 drawings per second in them, in order to most very slowly. Each one of those drawings probably takes 1-2 days and there are thousands of them. It was very labor intensive and expensive also. So that is how it all began. Later when we came to do “The Wall”, we cannibalized some of these pieces for “Wish You Were Here” and used them like the flowers and so forth.

MG: Your animation in “The Wall” was used to portray Waters’ political expression throughout the songs, did you consider that when creating them?
GS: It was Nick that approached me first in the very beginning.Then Roger got more and more involved. Roger came forward bit by bit and I ended up dealing with him primarily. I felt a little awkward at first working with Waters since I felt like I was denying Nick, he is still a very good friend and I had dinner with him just recently. Roger is very insistent and precise. Roger said to me and this is true “When you hire an artist, you don’t interfere with what that artist does or try and push him your way. You get what you get”. So Roger was very happy for me to interpret his lyrics since we were on the same page. I was able to visualize the whole thing for him. He has not only given “The Wall” an audio personality but I’ve given it also a visual personality. We met many times and drank a lot of a special brew of Carlsberg beer, which is very strong, and luckily we have the same dark wit. That developed into a strong relationship that we have today.

MG: Where did you draw inspiration from for the marching hammers, The Judge and the “Empty Spaces” sequence?
GS: First of all my experiences of judges are that the ministry of the law is a tricky business and they always make mistakes, so to me the law was an asshole, so that was that [laughs]. The hammers were suppose to be the forces of repression. What can you think of that is more cruel and relentlessly mindless than a hammer as it smashes down. That is the kind of way I think. When it came to “Empty Spaces”, I believe that was a stream of consciousness. I made a film prior to this where I just rolled from one image to another, which is actually how I ended up meeting Nick and Roger, it was called “A Long Draw Out Trip”, which I made for the BBC. That was really everything about America that I could think of at the time. I had Mickey Mouse, Playboy, Black Power, John Wayne and Frank Sinatra, which were all morphing one into the other. I took that idea when I came to “Empty Spaces”. Interestingly enough, “Empty Spaces” starts with the flowers, which began like we said from “Wish You Were Here”. Then I just kept adding to it all the time. The flowers end up making love and then I thought well what happens when people fall in love, sometimes they hate one another. So then the female ends up devouring the male and flies away. It grew and grew and was unraveling. It was much of a journey for me, adding a page a day to this unrolling adventure.

MG: I’ve read you saw The Wall back in 1980 at Nassau Coliseum, NY, how do you compare “The Wall” from then to today?
GS: It is difficult really since it was in fact a long time ago and one’s memory has blunted. I remember being very excited. I never worked on theater in this size at all. I remember Roger telling me one night, “You know that you are a rock ‘n roll artist now, right?”. I looked and there were thousands of people applauding my flowers and work. I realized that I was pleasing the audience and that was a terrific feeling for me. Being an artist can be a lonely job. You work alone and don’t see the people who are looking at your pictures generally. So to be in an auditorium like that where they are cheering at your work, it is a really great feeling. Over the years, I have grown used to that feeling having done a lot of opera, theatre and my work with Disney on “Hercules”. It is still a thrill though. I went to Madison Square Garden last year to see the show and I had the same kind of thrill still. The guy who wrote to me and told me about him getting the tattoos on his arm said that he was a Gulf War veteran and told me how much my work has helped him through his difficult periods. It is hard for me to imagine that it actually helps people. I guess the music becomes very personal to some people and it stay with them through their life.

MG: Due to the diminishing role of physical packaging due to digital downloads, what do you see for the role of art playing in the world of music in the future?
GS: Well, I don’t see why animation still cannot be used. In my other job, I am the political cartoonist for the London Sunday Times, where I’ve been for like 45 years, I can see a point where newspapers will be phased out. People will be getting the news online, which is much quicker. I personally am not tremendously computer literate but I have people that help me. All of my work is now electronically sent around the world, once it is scanned in. Going back to music, I don’t see why these images cannot be downloaded with the music. It is exactly the same.

 

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DVD Review “Sky Commanders: The Complete Animated Series”

Created by: Hanna-Barbera
Director: Don Lusk
Distributed by: Warner Archive
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 273 minutes

Series: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Growing up in the 80’s watching daily afternoon cartoons, I always enjoyed shows like “G.I. Joe”, “Thundercats” and of course “Sky Commanders”. This show was short but definitely left an impact on animated cartoons. It is not one of Hanna-Barbera’s best works but if you are looking for a trip back to the late 80’s, this is a great choice. “Sky Commanders” follows Commander Mike Summit as he leads a ragtag team of mountaineers against the forces of General Plague for control of a mysterious new continent and, of course, the world. The complete series is spread out over 2-discs and lasts only a short 13-episodes.

Unlike most Warner Archive releases, this series has not been remastered or restored for this DVD. The colors and animation still look decent but could have used a little extra love. It has though been manufactured from the best-quality video master currently available. The episodes are presented in 4×3 full frame and within its original aspect ration of 1.37:1. The audio includes a mono track like all Warner Archive releases and it works well with the series for sure. Nonetheless, this release should be very much welcomed as it is the first time that “Sky Commanders”, as a complete series, is hitting DVD.

Synopsis: Deep in the South Pacific, a tumultuous and untamed new continent has erupted, spawned by a highly unstable new element, known as Phaeta-7. If this powerful new element could be controlled, whoever possessed it would be the undisputed ruler of the world! One man, General Lucas Plague, is determined to hold that title. And it’s up to a rugged team of mountaineering experts, led by Commander Mike Summit, to stop him. Employing revolutionary new gravity-lock and laser-cable technology to traverse the ever-changing terrain of the High Frontier, Mike Summit’s Sky Commanders, and General Plague’s Raiders, are locked in mortal combat, with the fate of the entire world hanging in the balance! That narration heralded the arrival of a Sci-Fi show that truly boasted sky high action, depicting the battles of a group of hi-tech climbers against a terror militia for control of the planet in this complete 2-Disc, 13-Episode Collection.

Book Review “The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey”

Author: Charles Solomon
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Disney Editions
Release Date: August 7, 2012

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

The “Toy Story” franchise is simply the best animated series in history. It spans over the course of 15 years, has two 2 sequels each one more amazing than the last and is loved by “kids” young and old. It is rare that each film outdoes the one before it and this franchise did just that. It also helped Pixar become the juggernaut that it is today. If “Toy Story” would have flopped, things might have been a lot different for the studio. The author of this book Charles Solomon, also authored “The Art of Toy Story 3” back in 2010, which still sits on my coffee table through today. This book is so much more than just the “Art of” the film, it dives into the development and the stories of what went into creating this wonderful franchise.

Disney Editions has released some really amazing books over the years but still one quite frankly may be their best yet. “The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey” tells the story of select group of incredibly talented visionaries used their imaginations and created, developed and shared with the us – Woody, Buzz, and the world behind “Toy Story”. There are many interviews with the animators, directors, and voice actors that brought these films and characters to life. There is also the production artwork showcased that was the inspiration behind them. If that all isn’t cool enough there is also a few untold details about originally proposed non-Pixar “Toy Story 3”, which is something I never knew. This book is definitely a must for those who love animation and the inside look into the story of about how this franchise was created to be what it is today.

If the book isn’t great enough it has a wonderful foreword from Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki, director of films like “Spirited Away” and “Howl’s Moving Castle”. There is also a very encouraging afterword by Pixar’s own John Lasseter. After “Toy Story 3” wrapped up the trilogy, I was upset with the idea of no more installments but who knows what the future will hold. At least for the time being we get new “Toy Story Toons” shorts every year or two. If for nothing else this book definitely reminds us that we are never too old to use our imagination. Congrats Disney Editions and Charles Solomon for delivering my favorite book of the year.

Zac Brown Band Debut Animated Music Video for ‘The Wind’

Check out the new animated music video for Zac Brown Band’s song “The Wind”. It stars an animated, guitar-shredding, big game hunting robot.

If that wasn’t cool enough it is directed by Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Beavis and Butthead) and produced by Titmouse (Metalocalypse, Motorcity, Superjail!, China, IL, Black Dynamite).

Zac Brown Band’s album ‘UNCAGED’ is available in stores and online on July 10th!