DVD Review “Dragons: Defenders of Berk – Part 2″

Actors: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, T.J. Miller, Zack Pearlman, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: May 27, 2014
Run Time: 220 minutes

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

“Dragons: Defenders of Berk – Part 2″ wraps up the second season of this epic TV series based on Dreamworks Animation hit film “How to Train Your Dragon. These 10 episodes feature all-new adventures and dragons. I feel that as this show has progressed it has gotten a little darker, which I really like. In fact, these 10 episodes were easily the best in the series to date. If you are a fan of the first film, then I highly recommend you getting into this series if you haven’t already. If it does nothing else it will hold you off until “How to Train Your Dragon 2” hits theaters June 13th!

Official Premise: Based on the DreamWorks Animation Academy Award® nominated movie How to Train Your Dragon, there’s action at every turn and excitement on every ride in DREAMWORKS DRAGONS: DEFENDERS OF BERK PART 2 as Hiccup and his fearless friends embark on new adventures and battle to protect their island home. The young Vikings must put their dragon training skills to the test to defeat dangerous and surprising new enemies! The series features original voice talent from the film including Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse and will include Zack Pearlman and more.

Rounding out the second season are the following episodes: “A View to a Skrill Part 2; “The Flight Stuff (Ask Heirheads)”, “Free Scauldy”; “Frozen”; “A Tale of Two Dragons”; “The Eel Effect”; “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”; “Bing! Bam! Boom!”; “Cast Out, Part 1” and “Cast Out, Part 2”. Like other recent Dreamworks Animation shows based on films “Turbo FAST” airs on Netflix. Season three of “Dragons” aka “Dragon Masters” is going to take that route as well the series moves to the streaming site in Spring 2015.

There is also a few great special features that dive deeper into the amazing world of “Dragons”. There is “Dragon Tracker Part 4”, which is an an-depth look at Skrill, Baby Thunderdrums and Speed Stinger dragons, along with a special sneak peek of Snaptrapper from “How to Train Your Dragon 2” “Evolution of Skrill” is a featurette with the visual effects supervisor David Jones explaining the history behind the dragon. Lastly “Here Comes the Fire” is a funny Dragon Mash-up music video.

If you still want more, you got it…if you that purchase the DVD will also get a Digital HD UltraViolet code for the title and Movie Money ($7.50 value) to redeem for tickets to “How to Train Your Dragon 2”. Also you can enter for a chance to win a free dragon racing saddle or a mystery box code for exclusive battle gear and powers to “School of Dragons”. This is an online game from JumpStart based on DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon franchise”. It is a real blast an highly recommended for any fan of the series. For more information, visit http://www.schoolofdragons.com.

DVD Review “Dragons: Defenders of Berk – Part 1”

Actors: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, T.J. Miller, Zack Pearlman, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: March 25, 2014
Run Time: 242 minutes

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

If you are a fan of DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon”, they you need to check out this follow-up animated TV series “Dragons” if you haven’t already. The first season of this show was subtitled “Riders of Berk” and included 20 episodes. The second season which just finished airing this month was subtitled “Defenders of Berk” and also included 20 episodes. This DVD is Part 1 of the second season consisting of first 10 episodes. The last time Fox released both part 1 and 2 at the same time for the first season but this time only we are only getting part 1 for now. This show is getting better and better with each new season. We have plenty more of this great franchise to come with season three subtitled “Dragon Masters” and of course this summer’s “How to Train Your Dragon 2” in theaters this June. Keep them coming!

Official Premise: Based on the DreamWorks Animation Academy Award nominated movie How to Train Your Dragon, “Dragons: Defenders of Berk – Part 1″ follows Hiccup and his fellow dragon trainers as they battle to protect their island home. The young Vikings must put their dragon training skills to the test to defeat dangerous and surprising new enemies! The series features original voice talent from the film including Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse and will include, Zack Pearlman and more.

Here are the listings of the first 10 episodes from season 2″Live and Let Fly”, “The Iron Gronckle”, “The Night and the Fury”, “Tunnel Vision”, “Race to Fireworm Island”, “Fright of Passage”, “Worst in Show”, “Appetite for Destruction”, “Zippleback Down” and “A View to a Skrill Part 1”.

Like the first season, this DVD is also jam-packed with special features that dive deeper into the exciting world of “Dragons”.  First up is “Dragon Tracker Part 3” which is a continuation from the first season DVDs giving an in-depth look at the shows dragons. This one includes the Screaming Death, Fireworm Queen, Flightmare and Skrill dragons. “Evolution of Screaming Death” is a featurette with visual effects supervisor David Jones talking about its history. Lastly there is also a “SuperFly” Dragon Mash-up music video.

I feel like a game show host…but “Wait there is still more…” Along with the purchase of the DVD you will also get a Digital HD UltraViolet code, which is a nice bonus personally to be able to watch these episodes on the go. There is also an offer for exclusive battle gear and one month’s free subscription to School of Dragons, the online game from JumpStart based on DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon franchise. This game rules and is a must play for any fan of the franchise. Visit http://www.schoolofdragons.com for more details.

 

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DVD Reviews “Dragons: Riders of Berk – Part 1 & 2”

Actors: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, T.J. Miller, Julie Marcus, Nolan North
Directors: Joe Sichta, John Eng, John Sanford, Louie del Carmen
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: July 23, 2013
Run Time: 299 / 255 minutes

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

Who doesn’t love “How to Train Your Dragon”? It is easily one of Dreamworks best animated features to date. So when I heard that they were making an animated series, I was really excited. Even more so that it actually contains original voice talent from the film including Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Zack Pearlman, and more. Fox is releasing the first 20 episodes of this exciting and fun show which aired in its first season in a two part DVD set. This show holds the same charm that the animated film has, including action, heart and humor. So if you love the film, then you need to immediately watch this show for sure. Also keep an eye out for the new second season of DreamWorks’ “Dragons: Defenders of Berk” returns this Fall on Cartoon Network (note the new title).

Episodes include on Part 1 are “How to Start a Dragon Academy”, “Viking For Hire”, “Animal House”, “The Terrible Twos”, “In Dragons We Trust”, “Alvin and the Outcasts”, “How to Pick Your Dragon”, “Portrait of Hiccup as a Buff Young Man”, “Dragon Flower”, “Heather Report Part I”, and “Heather Report Part II”. Episodes included on Part 2 are “Thawfest”, “When Lightning Strikes”, “What Flies Beneath”, “Twinsanity”, “Defiant One”, “Breakneck Bog”, “Gem of a Different Color”, “We Are Family Part I”, and “We Are Family Part II”.

There is actually some decent special features included on these DVD as well. Part 1 & 2 included the following: “World of DreamWorks” and Sneak Peaks. Part 1 also includes “Dragon Tracker Part 1”, “Evolution of Thunderdrum” and “Heavy Metal” Dragon Mash-Up, while Part 2 includes “Dragon Tracker Part 2”, “Evolution of Whispering Death”, “Fly High” Dragon Mash-Up. Definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of the series. Also each DVD comes with a code to unlock an ultimate battle pack on DreamWorks’ online and mobile game, “School of Dragons”. For more information, visit http://www.schoolofdragons.com.

DVD Review “Age of Dragons”

Directed by: Ryan Little
Starring: Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones, Corey Sevier, Larry Bagby, Kepa Kruse
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Distributed by: Arc Entertainment
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Running Time: 92 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

If you are fan of Syfy Original Movies, then you might have caught “Age of Dragons” when it aired a few months ago. Well let’s just say it is not one of the better films to ever have graced its network. The draw for me personally besides the dragons was Danny Glover and Vinnie Jones. The film is a re-imagined version of “Moby-Dick,” the classic Herman Melville novel. I think that is a really cool aspect, except it really wasn’t that entertaining and failed to really do justice to the original story.

Set in a medieval era, follows vengeful captain Ahab (Glover) who is leading the dragon hunters including Ishmael (Corey Sevier), Queequeg (John Kepa Kruse) Stubb (Vinnie Jones) and Starbuck (David Morgan) in order to find and kill the legendary white dragon. Ahab’s developed obsession is due to that the white dragon slaughtered his family when he was a kid and left his body scarred and mauled.

Science fiction fans might get a kick-out of this medieval re-imagining of “Moby Dick”. As with all Syfy Original Movies, the quality of the CG effects are limited but still decent or should I say acceptable for this film. But overall, I thought the story was lacking, slow moving and not extremely entertaining. I would call this a Redbox renter and a one-time watcher. To top it off there are no special features included on this DVD.

Blu-ray Review “There Be Dragons”

Directed b: Roland Joffé
Starring: Charlie Cox, Wes Bentley, Dougray Scott, Unax Ugalde, Olga Kurylenko
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Run Time: 122 minutes

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

Just to clear the air, this film has nothing to do with dragons at all. It actually has to do with the Spanish Civil War and a Catholic priest who recent was canonized a saint. The story is very religious packed and is a based on true events of Josemaría Escrivá. The acting is decent but the war scenes are really the only saving factor in the whole film. The Blu-ray video and sound during the war scenes look and sound amazing especially when you have bullets flying by in surround sound. Though, if you are looking for a movie about the Spanish Civil War save yourself the preachy efforts of this film and check out Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth”.

The film follows journalist Robert Torres (Dougray Scott) who is writing a book about Josemaría Escrivá and his possible canonization. Robert seeks the help his father, Manulo (Wes Bentley). Don’t even get me started on how laughable Bentley looks in his “old” makeup. The movie is told in flashback through Manulo’s memories of the Spanish Civil War and his involvement with Josemaría. As details get reveals about his fathers past, he learns that there was much more dark secrets than he expected.

The special features on the film are weak also like the film. The first feature is called “Facing Your Dragons: Inspiring Testimony from Wes Bentley”. It is just Wes Bentley talking about working on the film. Lastly there is 30 minutes of deleted scenes which is really cool, if firstly, you enjoyed the film and secondly, if the scenes were actually worth watching…which they are not. I also want to add that they are not even in HD and are presented in 480i.

DVD Review “Dragon’s Lair: The Complete Series”

Developed by: Ruby-Spears Productions
Voices of: Bob Sarlatte, Ellen Gerstell, Fred Travalena, Michael Mish, Arthur Burghardt, Peter Cullen
Studio: Warner Bros.
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Episodes: 13
Run Time: 279 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Dragon’s Lair” was always an interesting type of arcade game especially since it had you choose you own path and your decisions in the game reflected different results. Now if your wondering how that transfers to a television show, obviously not totally well. The show does present different scenarios that could happen for our hero and it fun because it is usually before a commercial break, so it leaves you waiting to see what happens.  Honestly though, the show has dragons, princesses and knights…and what else do you want in an 80’s cartoon. I think it works for me.

In case you haven’t heard of this show that is due to the fact that it only last 1 season of 13 episodes. The show is well done by the Hanna-Barbera team and the animation is decent for mid-80’s. The voice work is completely over the top and reminds of “The Legend of Zelda” TV series. This DVD release is the first time that this series is seeing the light of day, thank you again Warner Brothers Archive. In general the show is fun and mindless. It is not the best series that ever came out of the 80’s but it is also not the worse.  No extras are included on the disc, which is OK because at least we got the complete series, not a volumized set.

Synopsis: The legendary videogame Dragon’s Lair was a blockbuster (and quarter guzzling) sensation when it first debuted, spawning sequels, imitators, and a beloved Saturday morning cartoon series. Developed by the powerhouse animation crew put together by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, the Dragon’s Lair cartoon made many contributions to the Dragon’s Lair saga, from naming the Dragon “Singe” to rounding out the cast with such memorable supporting players as Bertram the horse (voiced by animation legend Peter Cullen) and Timothy the squire (voiced by Michael Mish). Mimicking the action of a videogame, Dragon’s Lair pauses the action and asks the audience which action Dirk should take next in his never-ending quest to protect the kingdom of King Ethelred and his beloved Princess Daphne. But enough talk! Dirk the Daring faces doom throughout this 13 episode, 2-disc set and he needs YOU to help him decide what to do next!

The DVD is now available at the Warner Archive: http://bit.ly/WB_DRAGON

 

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