Slugterra: Return Of The Elementals Will Impress Any Anime Fan

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Disney XD/Nerd Corps

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Disney XD/Nerd Corps

Disney X D’s Slugterra is one of the most popular series on the Disney Channel’s digital sister station today.  The CG-based series has drawn large numbers for the network and seen a handful of episode compilations since it first debuted.  This week, Shout! Factory released the series’ latest DVD, which is in fact the first non-compilation disc rom the series in the form of Slugterra: Return of the ElementalsSlugterra: The Return of the Elementals is the first “movie” spawned Disney X D’s series.  Those that might not be so familiar with this presentation will enjoy this story for more than one reason.   The first reason that audiences will enjoy this feature is the fact that while it is an anime series of sorts, it can only rightfully be compared to maybe one other series stylistically speaking.  Another reason that audiences will enjoy this “movie” is its writing.  It is a bridge of sorts between the series’ previous episodes and those to come.  And unlike other features of its ilk, it doesn’t necessarily require viewers to come into the presentation with knowledge of the series up to this point.  Last to note of the note of the “movie” is the series’ exhibition of its stylistic difference from the likes of Beyblade, Pokemon, Digimon, Monsuno, and others within that realm.  All three factors taken into consideration, audiences will see in watching this latest release from Shout! Factory and Disney X D, that Slugterra actually proves worth watching by any anime fan.

Disney X D’s Slugterra has proven to be a big hit for the network in its now three seasons.  It is sure to grow in popularity now with the brand new release of its first full length “movie” Slugterra; Return of the Elementals.  The primary reason that this presentation will help increase Slugterra’s popularity is the fact that it can’t necessarily be compared to all of the other series out there today in terms of its look.  Series such as Monsuno, Pokemon, and Digimon have a very specific look about them.  The only series to which one could truly and justifiably compare Slugterra, as evidenced in this DVD, is the short-lived series Hot Wheels Battle Force 5.  This should come as no surprise as both series are produced by the Canadian animation studio Nerd Corps.  Viewers that are familiar with Hasbro Studios’ properties will see a similar trend among its series, too.  So the fact that Slugterra: The Return of the Elementals can be compared to only another series under the Nerd Corps umbrella and not other CG/anime hybrid series makes it stand out right from the start.  It’s only one aspect of this DVD that will impress especially audiences that are new to Slugterra, both in terms of the series and this DVD.

The look of Slugterra: The Return of the Elementals is an important part of this presentation especially among those audiences that are experiencing the series for the first time on this DVD.  Just as worth noting in this DVD is the writing behind the presentation’s story (I.E. its script).  The story behind this feature picks up where the events of the series’ second season leaves off.  The Shane Gang thought that they had gotten rid of Dr. Black and The Goon, and saved the caverns.  So, things seem okay at first.  But when all the slugs start essentially becoming possessed, Eli knows that something is very wrong.  It turns out that things are very bad and are about to get much worse as they didn’t finish the job after all at the end of the series’ second season.  It leads to a perilous hunt for the fabled Elementals, which are essentially the ancestors of all of the slugs in the caverns.  It makes for a fun story within itself and an equally enjoyable bridge between the events of the series’ first two seasons and the potential third season to come.   The inclusion of a series recap before the story even begins enhances the overall viewing experience even more both for viewers that are more familiar with the series than others.  It shows respect for those that might be coming on board for the first time and for those that had forgotten what had happened even having watched the series’ first two seasons.  It’s one more way that Slugterra: The Return of the Elementals proves to be worth the watch by any anime fan at least once.

The writing and the look of Slugterra: The Return of the Elementals are both important in considering the impact of this DVD among its key audiences.  They both help to set this movie apart from the extended features spawned from other series such as Digimon, Pokemon, and Monsuno just to name a few examples.  There is one more aspect of this presentation that makes it stand out from that crowd worth noting.  That last aspect is the “movie’s” stylistic approach.  The stylistic approach taken with Slugterra is rather different from those aforementioned series.  Whereas the series in question center on battles between characters, Slugterra: The Return of the Elementals presents a somewhat different approach.  The series’ characters do use super powered creatures and even keep them in their own special containers as with the other anime series out there.  But unlike those series, Eli and his friends in the Shane Gang, don’t necessarily engage in the same kind of battles per se.  Rather the slugs are used as part of the overall action of the story.  From saving Eli and company from a raging underground river by crafting a web to hold back rocks to protect them from evil attackers and even to heal a person, the slugs are more tools so to speak than the sort of creature used in the other anime series currently populating the television spectrum.   It’s one more aspect of this feature that makes it stand out and in turn makes it even more enjoyable for viewers new and old.  Together with the feature’s script and its overall style, all three elements collectively make Slugterra: the Return of the Elementals even more worth the watch by any anime fan.

The general style or look of Slugterra: The Return of the Elementals is one that can only be compared to its fellow Nerd Corps counterpart in Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 much as the series under Hasbro Studios are quite similar to one another.  The story that makes up Slugterra: Return of the Elementals is full of action and even humor that audiences old and new will appreciate.  Whether viewers are jumping on board for the first time with this DVD or are more familiar with the series at this point, its series recap before the presentation serves as an excellent addition to the overall program.  And rounding out the whole presentation is the “movie’s” stylistic approach. While it is fantastic in its own right and bears a slight similarity to other anime series out there, it still maintains its own identity from those series in how the creatures are used.  All three factors alone make this feature rather interesting in their own right.  Collectively, they prove Slugterra: The Return of The Elementals is a “movie” worth at least one watch whether one is new to the world of anime or is far more a fan of the genre.  Slugterra: Return of the Elementals is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via the Shout! Factory online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-animation/slugterra-return-of-the-elementals.  More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory, Nickelodeon To Release Classic Nicktoon’s Full Series Set This Fall

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Fans of Nickelodeon’s classic 90s Nicktoons are getting a special treat just in time for Halloween courtesy of Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon.  Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon will release Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: The Complete Series on Tuesday, October 8th, just in time to plan those Halloween get-togethers.  The entire series’ four-season run is contained on eight discs in the upcoming release.  The first two hundred people to order the set will receive a free 12” x 18” collectible lithograph.  It can be ordered direct from the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/218263.     

Aaahh!!! Real Monsters follows the adventures of monster friends Ickis, Oblina, and Crumb as they attend scare school and learn how to properly and effectively scare humans.  The classic Nicktoon ran for a total of four seasons from 1994 – 2000.  During its run on Nickelodeon, it received a nomination for a Daytime Emmy in the category of “Outstanding Achievement in Animation.”  The show boasted an all-star voice cast, too.  Charlie Adler (Rocko’s Modern Life, Tiny Toon Adventures, Aladdin), Christine Cavanaugh (Rugrats, Dexter’s Laboratory, Recess), Gregg Berger (Garfield & Friends, The Garfield Show, The Transformers), Tim Curry (Clue, Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, The Rocky Horror Picture Show), and James Belushi (Life According to Jim, Hey Arnold!, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius) round out the cast. 

For more information on previous and future releases from Shout! Factory, audiences can go to the official Shout! Factory website, http://www.shoutfactory.com or the official Shout! Factory Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

New Box Set A Fitting Final Release For The Angry Beavers

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory have had a very successful partnership in recent years, releasing a handful of classic Nicktoons.  The two companies have partnered to release multiple seasons and complete seasons of The Wild Thornberrys, Aaahhh!!! Real Monsters, and Danny Phantom just to name a few.  Now the companies’ partnership has resulted in the release of another complete series in what is one of Nickelodeon’s key cartoons in The Angry Beavers: The Complete Series.

Next to Rocko’s Modern Life: The Complete Series, The Angry Beavers: The Complete Series is only the second complete series released by Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory among the Nicktoons releases put out to date.  For those that are perhaps new to this series, its run from 1997 – 2001 was a very pivotal point for the network.  That is because when this cartoon debuted, it was unlike any of the other Nicktoons still on the air at that point.  Whereas other shows such as Rocket Power, Rugrats, and Hey Arnold! bore a certain heart, The Angry Beavers was more akin to the likes of Cartoon Network’s What A Cartoon show.  That’s because of the all-out, zany story lines of each episode.  From Dagget becoming a forest ranger in Season One to dealing with their sisters and dad in Seasons Two, Three, and Four, the show’s stories are just good turn-off-your-brain entertainment.  This is just as true with every one of the show’s other episodes, too.  Each season’s episodes collectively marked the beginning of a new age of Nicktoons for Nickelodeon.  Of course, the stories were only part of the formula that made the Angry Beavers stand out among the Nicktoons of that time.

The zany storylines of this cartoon obviously garnered the show a solid audience in its run.  That’s evident as its four-season run was right on par with its predecessors and those that were on the air at the same time.  It’s not all that set the show apart from other Nicktoons, though.  The show’s animation also set it apart from other Nicktoons.  As with the story lines, its animation was also more akin to those cartoons that audiences would have seen on Cartoon Network’s What a Cartoon Show.  That factor partnered with the completely off the wall story lines leaves little doubt as to why the show was as successful as it was.  Now that the complete series has been released to DVD box set, there is at least one last factor that helps to make this show a favorite among its fans once more.  That factor is something that has set Shout! Factory apart from other companies from early on.  It is the set’s packaging.

Now that The Angry Beavers: The Complete Series has been released, fans of this standout Nicktoon can finally re-live another part of their childhoods in proper fashion.  That’s because all four seasons of the show have been collected in a single, properly packaged box.  All sixty-two episodes have been culled on ten discs and presented exactly as they were presented in their original stand-alone boxes.  The set’s first and final discs both have their own spaces on the inside front and rear of the box.  All of the set’s other discs each have their own spot on the plastic inserts that have helped conserve space on other releases from Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon.  Those same inserts have also served to protect the discs from being scratched.  This, in turn, allows each episode to be enjoyed for far longer than had they been packaged in older, less ergonomic packaging that other companies use.  So it is one more feather in the cap of both Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon.  The complete series set will be available Tuesday, July 30th in store and online.  Fans can order the set online direct from the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/217521.  Fans that order the box set through this site will also have a chance to receive a free 12” x 18” Angry Beavers lithograph.  Only 200 lithographs were printed.  So they are in extremely limited quantity.  It’s first come first serve.

To keep up with all of the latest releases from Shout! Factory, fans can “Like” the official Shout! Factory Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial or check in daily at the official Shout! Factory website, http://www.shoutfactory.com.  Fans that want to see other Nicktoons such as Rugrats and Doug get a proper release can go to the Shout! Factory Facebook page and bombard the company with messages in favor of getting those most classic of Nicktoons released properly, too.  After doing that, fans can go to the Phil’s Picks Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/philspicks, and “Like” it to keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news.  Fans can also keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Prep & Landing Double Feature Holiday Fun For The Whole Family

Courtesy:  Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Disney’s new Pre & Landing Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is a great holiday set for the whole family.  It includes not just the original adventure of Lanny and Wayne in Pre & Landing but also its half-hour follow-up, Pre & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice

Most audiences have likely already seen both of these enjoyable holiday shorts. But for those who have yet to see them, they’re both entertaining and heartwarming.  They both teach very valuable life lessons.  One even carries on Disney’s long-running tradition of emphasizing the importance of family.  In the original Prep & Landing, audiences first meet Lanny and Wayne when Wayne is teamed up with Lanny after being turned down for a long coveted promotion.  Wayne isn’t too jolly after finding out that he had lost his promotion to another elf.  So when he’s teamed up with the young, inexperienced Lanny, he’s anything but enthused.  But through a series of misadventures, Wayne learns a very valuable lesson about appreciating what one already has and where one is in life, regardless of which stage of life.  It’s a lesson that both parents and kids can learn together.

Equally valuable to the lesson taught in Prep & Landing is the lesson about valuing family taught in that feature’s sequel, Pre & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice. The follow-up to Prep & Landing re-introduces Wayne and Lanny to audiences.  This time the pair has to trace down a conduct calculator lost by another elf a year before at the house of a naughty child.  The child in question wants to use the calculator to break into the elves’ database of naughty kids so as to make a slight alteration.  In the process, audiences are also introduced to Wayne’s brother, Noel, as he joins Wayne and Lanny in their mission.  The long held issues between Wayne and his brother alone makes for a very important lesson about letting go of the past and forgiving.  Those same messages are taught when audiences discover who exactly the naughty child is that the elves have to face off against.  Audiences will have to discover for themselves the secret of the naughty child.  The revelation of the child makes the lesson of family that much more important, relatable, and heartwarming.

The main features presented in this new Blu-ray/DVD combo pack make for a great viewing experience for the whole family.  They’re just part of what parents and kids will enjoy in this set.  Families also get a bonus short in the Emmy award winning short, “Operation: Secret Santa.”  The elves have to help Mrs. Clause get something special from Santa’s office for her.  Why?  Again, audiences will have to find out for themselves if they haven’t already had the pleasure of seeing it.  Even Tiny gets his own little short that will have the whole family laughing.  And the retro style newsreels that teach the elves all about their duties are just as entertaining as bonus features here.  They, along with the pair of bonus shorts included in this new set, are the icing on the cake that is the Prep & Landing double feature BD/DVD combo pack.  Families can pick up the set in stores and online now.  It can be ordered online direct via the Disney store at http://www.disneystore.com/prep-landing-naughty-vs-nice-blu-ray-and-dvd-combo-pack/mp/1323107/1000316/ or at the official Disney DVD website at http://disneydvd.disney.go.com/home.html

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Disney’s New Fairy Tale A Welcome Addition To Disney Fairies Franchise

Courtesy: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

Walt Disney Studios announced before the release of its 2010 movie, Tangled, that the movie in question would be the last of its princess movies for the foreseeable future.  It noted that it wanted to focus more on male audiences.  This announcement sent waves through the entertainment world.  While Tangled may have been the last of Disney’s princess movies for the foreseeable future, young female audiences did still have movies aimed at them in the form of the new Tinkerbell adventures.  These movies have seen their own level of success.  Now another new movie has been released featuring Peter Pan’s fairy sidekick.  It’s called Secret of the Wings

The Secret of the Wings is another good addition to the Disney Fairies franchise.  The first thing that stands out about this new release is that it carries on the long held Disney tradition of emphasizing the importance of family.  The continued tradition is directly linked to the secret that Tink discovers when she sneaks across the border into the Winter Mountains.  She meets “The Keeper”, and another fairy who as it turns out, will change everything that she ever knew about her life.  The secret that she learns the first time she goes to meet “The Keeper” is only one secret.  As a result of this first revelation, Tinkerbell also makes an even bigger revelation at the story’s end.  That revelation is tied into another familiar element that makes this a good movie for its audiences.

As already noted, Secret of the Wings will impress viewers as it maintains the theme of family importance that the company’s older works have held.  There is another long held element that makes this movie just as good as its previous princess movies.  Whether it was princess Jasmine, Ariel, Rapunzel, or any of the others, Disney has always made its princesses relatively headstrong.  That headstrong nature has helped lead to change in their kingdoms.  Tinkerbell is much the same way in Secret of the Wings.  It’s because of her determination to overcome the old ways that change eventually comes both to Pixie Hollow and the Winter Mountains.  Of course, that headstrong nature is also the catalyst for the conflict that would eventually lead to the change, too.

The conflict caused by Tinkerbell’s determination leads to another positive factor for the feature’s audiences.  It teaches audiences about the values of not only teamwork, but also of friendship and the importance of family.  The value of teamwork and friendship is something that both male and female audiences can appreciate.  And in terms of the value of family, young female audiences will especially appreciate this message as it’s directly tied to the secret that Tinkerbell learns in this story.

The central themes of Secret of the Wings are important elements in this feature’s success.  They go a long way toward making a story worth watching again and again.  The computer generated world created here will especially keep audiences watching.  The lush colors of Pixie Hollow and the contrast of the Winter Mountains are expertly designed.  They come together to stand out quite well against Disney’s other CG based features that have previously been released.  The people behind this world’s creation are to be commended for that, as it’s nice to see a CG based movie that doesn’t serve as a mirror image to so many others in its genre. 

So much work went into bringing Secret of the Wings to life.  Both the writing and the time spent creating the computer generated world had to have been intensive.  There is one more element that helped to make Secret of the Wings a success.  That element was the voice acting.  The voice cast for this movie reads like a who’s who of Hollywood A-listers.  Veteran actor Timothy Dalton (James Bond, The Rocketeer) joins Anjelica Huston (50/50, The Darjeeling Limited, Martian Child) who returns again as the voice of Queen Clarion.  Dalton lends his talents as the voice of Queen Clarion’s love interest, Lord Milori.  They aren’t the only well known names on board for this ride.  Lucy Liu (Charlie’s Angels, Kung Fu Panda, Kill Bill Vol. 1), Raven-Symone (The Cosby Show, That’s So Raven) and pop star Jesse McCartney are all on board this time around.  The chemistry between the cast adds another element of enjoyment for audiences of all ages.    That chemistry mixes with all of the aforementioned elements to make a feature that audiences will enjoy both the first and hundred and first time they have seen it.

Secret of the Wings is available now on DVD, DVD/Blu-ray combo pack and a four disc set including the DVD/Blu-ray combo pack, a 3-D Blu-ray, and a digital copy of the movie.  It can be ordered direct via Disney’s online store at http://www.disneystore.com

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Camplified tour celebrates two decades

NEW YORK, NY–The Camplified tour is back!  The leading annual tour for the Justin Bieber generation has announced the plans for its 2012 tour.  This year’s tour will make its way across the country throughout the Summer beginning July 2nd.  It all starts in Ortonville, MI.  Coming along for the ride this year are:  Alabama Capital, The Strange Familiar, Ariana and the Rose, Rebecca McGown, and Brandon & Savannah.  Disney Channel star Trevor Jackson will also make a special one time only appearance at Camp Rolling River in East Rockaway, NY on July 10th. 

Also expected t make special guest appearances along the way is teen pop superstar group, Blush.  The group is expected to make appearances on the tour from July 25 – 28th and August 3rd.  The appearances will be on stops at camps in New Jersey, Maine, and and Long Island. 

Cartoon Network is sponsoring the tour this year’s tour.  As sponsor, it will feature lots of activities, including:  slip ‘n slide human bowling to promote its new Ben 10 cartoon, and a create your own bandana booth to promote its hit show, The Amazing World of Gumball.  Music instrument companies Roland and Epiphone will also be on hand with special activities and promotions for concert-goers. 

Parents and kids can get a full listing of this year’s Camplified tour dates online at http://www.camplified.com.

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Tweens and teens will rock to Radio Rebel

Courtesy: Image Entertainment/Disney

Disney Channel’s recent made for tv movie, “Radio Rebel”, is the network’s answer to Nickelodeon’s hit show iCarly.  In iCarly, everyone loves the show because they know who Carly and Sam are.  But unlike iCarly, no one knows who Radio Rebel is.  She is in reality, mild mannered high school junior, Tara (played by Debby Ryan).  However, when she leads her entire school to its own MORP after causing its prom to be cancelled, Tara has to come clean about her secret identity.  She has to reach down deep and find who she really is, and find out if people will still like her for who she really is.

The message of finding one’s self is commonplace among television shows and movies aimed at today’s tween and teen audiences who are looking for a voice for their generation.  “Radio Rebel” is the latest of the works for those audiences.  It’s also one of the more creative stories to come along in recent years.  It teaches its audiences that it’s okay to be themselves, rather than give in to the cliques that domainate life for tweens and teens.  In direct relation, it also teaches them that regardless of male or female, everyone has a strong, self confident person inside.  It teaches them to embrace who they are regardless of the seemingly overwhelming social pressures facing them today.  If Tara/Radio Rebel can be herself regardless of those pressures, so can everyone else.

“Radio Rebel” is backed by a catchy soundtrack that audiences will enjoy.  And they’ll really appreciate the music of “The G’s.”  “The G’s” is a made up band whose guitarist, Gavin, is Tara’s love interest.  So yes, the romance subplot is there, too.  That aside, the new dvd presentation of “Radio Rebel” includes a bonus feature in which the members of “The G’s” explain that it really is them playing.  They admit they had to learn the songs, so it’s not just them doing a music video style performance. 

Combine the catchy, poppy soundtrack with the story’s positive messages, and “Rebel Radio’s” viewers get a movie that will speak to them.  Even when those same audiences are adults and ahve their own teens, those factors will continue to be great for that audience, too.  “Radio Rebel” is available on dvd now.  Audiences can pick it up in store or online at amazon.com and at http://www.image-entertainment.com

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can also keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.