Disney’s ‘Encanto’ Home Release Does Little To Make The Movie An “Anniversary” Worth Celebrating

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios

For some reason, humans have a fixation on numbers ending in the numbers five and zero.  They seem to make a big deal on this numbers, whether in the case of anniversaries or in general.  To that end, one would think that when Disney released its 60th animated feature, Encanto, late this year, it would have been a hugely memorable work from the studio.  Sadly that did not prove to be the case.  Now Disney is hoping to give the movie a new life with its upcoming home release Dec. 24 on digital and Jan. 26.  The movie’s home release on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and 4K UHD/BD combo pack) adds slightly to its appeal, but only slightly.  That is due in large part to its featured bonus content, which will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content is in fact both a positive and a negative, leading into the movie’s one major unavoidable negative, its story, which will be addressed a little later.  The musical numbers and cast’s voice work comes together to make things even more concerning for the movie.  Sadly when these items are considered collectively, they make Disney’s Encanto just as forgettable in its home release as in its recent theatrical run.

Walt Disney Studios’ Encanto is an anniversary mark for the studio that could have been so much better.  That was already proven in the movie’s theatrical run.  The movie’s forthcoming home release further supports that statement.  That is proven in part through the bonus content featured in said presentation.  The bonus content is expansive to say the least.  There is lots of background in the way of explaining the story’s focus on family.  The is also plenty of focus on Disney’s continued drive to make one of its movies as true to the culture that it represents as possible.  That bonus content that centers of mirroring the people and culture of Colombia is engaging and entertaining.  The content that centers on family is where the problems start to appear.  In watching this content (which is extensive in itself) the movie’s creative heads talk plenty about the noted focus.  If in fact the story is all about family, then one cannot help but wonder why so much of the story is spent focused on the Madrigal family’s “ugly duckling,” Mirabel.  Not to get too far off track here, but the story spends quite a bit of time on her and making her extended family more background dressing than actually important cast.

On another note, the bonus content spends what feels like an inordinate amount of time focusing on the movie’s musical content.  Now for those who have not already seen Encanto, Lin Manuel Miranda (who had his stamp on Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns as well as the uber popular Hamilton and In The Heights among many other stories) plays a big role in this movie’s musical content.  As a matter of fact, one cannot help but wonder how much creative control he had in the movie’s musical side, since it gets more time than the movie’s story, getting back on the subject at hand.  So much of the movie’s bonus content centers on the movie’s musical side, that viewers cannot help but feel like Disney and all involved were just trying to distract viewers from all of the plot holes and other problems posed throughout the story.  This shows in its own way how the bonus content does offer some engagement, but is also just as problematic as it is positive.

Encanto’s trailers made it seem like the movie was going to be some big adventure for its lead character, Mirabel.  The reality is that the story is anything but.  Rather, the story is in question more a coming-of-age piece than action.  Mirabel has to figure out why on the night that the youngest member of the Madrigal family receives his magical gift, the magic in the family’s candle starts to fade.  No one believes what she tells them at first, leading her to go on her mission of sorts.  As it turns out (no to give away too much), the reason for the fade is linked back to the clan in general.  Again not to give away too much here, but audiences realize that perhaps the reality is that the Madrigals who had magical gifts were taking their gifts for granted and just had to come to that realization in the end. 

This is where things get problematic.  In setting up the story, the movie’s writers fail to really fully explain how the candle got its magic.  Audiences know that the candle came into being after Abuela Alma’s (Maria Cecilia Botero) husband was killed by some not so nice people.  From there though, there is no explanation of the magic’s candle.  Was it something tied to the culture of Colombia?  We do not know.  What’s more, the identities of the men who killed Abuela Alma’s husband is never fully revealed, either.  As if this is not problem enough, the whole issue of Bruno and his psychic gift playing into the story just seems so random in itself.  It is as if the writers were just putting all of this together as they went along and hoped that it would stick, which sadly it did not. 

Adding even more to the problems is what happens in the story’s end.  The candle is not there, but the magic is back, as are the magical powers of the Madrigal clan.  So then was the candle never magic to begin with?  Again, those who have praised this movie either ignored this and so many other problems, or they were paid for positive reviews.  Yes, this critic went there. 

If all of this is not enough, the semi-climactic moment when Maribel and Abuela Alma confront one another, and then later share their feelings, leading to the final act, just seems so contrived.  Maribel stood up to Alma and told her that everything that happened was her (Alma’s) fault.  Alma then later tells Maribel that she was right, to which Maribel – after hearing Alma’s sob story – backed down and said she was in the wrong.  This is just so contrived.  The young woman had become empowered, only to stand down from the family’s matriarch.  This is just not believable nor realistic.  Between this and everything else noted here, it should be crystal clear why this movie’s story is in itself just so much a failure.  There is little if anything to like other than the subtle, nearly hidden messages about appreciating ourselves and others regardless of who we are and what are our “gifts.”  Of course for all of the problems that the story poses in itself, things only get worse from here.

Looking at all of this, it should be clear why the story featured in Encanto is just as problematic as the bonus content that accompanies it in its home release.  The story centers on one character even though in the bonus content, the movie’s creative heads reiterate time and again that the story is all about family.  Add in all the musical cues tossed in (again they are the central focus among the bonus content) and the story’s plot holes and problems become even more concerning, as do the bonus features themselves.  All of this in mind, it is still only a part of the trouble with the movie’s presentation.  The noted musical cues and the cast’s voice work are also problematic.

As noted, the musical numbers featured throughout the movie are everywhere.  Sometimes they show up at such random times, as if Miranda and the movie’s crew and creative heads just decided to throw them in for what they thought was “good measure” since they didn’t have any other ideas to flesh out the story. 

The voice cast’s work is troubling in that none of the cast’s work does anything to make any of the characters memorable.  Yes, Maribel is supposed to be the story’s lead.  Yes, voice actress Stephanie Beatriz deserves applause for her work as she makes Maribel a strong lead.  Other than that though, she doesn’t do much to make her memorable.  Though, that circles back to the writing.  The script does not really give Maribel much to develop as a character.  Even the work of John Leguizamo (the Ice Age franchise, SpawnMoulin Rouge) here when he is finally introduced does little to help the story.  Though, again, that is because he is brought in so late and is given so little screen time from there on.  It is like the Madrigal family is there, but that is about it.  None of the voice cast really brings anything major and memorable to the table, but again that is because the story does not really provide much if any opportunity for character development.  So once again we see the problems with the story.  It is all tied in together, and in considering this along with the movie’s other problems and the problems, the whole makes the movie overall such a disappointment in comparison to much of what Disney has released in recent years.

Walt Disney Studios’ forthcoming home release of Encanto does little to improve on the movie from its recent, brief theatrical run.  The improvement is minimal, with the movie’s bonus content proving only slightly engaging and entertaining.  At the same time, they prove problematic because it seems like the extensive focus on the movie’s musical content is an attempt by all involved to distract audiences from all of the plot holes and problems in the story.  Speaking of those problems and plot holes, they are everywhere throughout this story.  The noted musical content and the issues raised through the cast’s voice work add their own problems.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the movie a work that sadly is not the “anniversary” presentation that it could have been for Walt Disney Studios.

More information on this and other movies from Walt Disney Studios is available at:

Websitehttps://waltdisneystudios.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WaltDisneyStudios

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/disneystudios

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

Families Have Lots Of Viewing Options As They Spend The Holidays Together

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/PBS Kids

It’s hard to believe, but there is officially a little more than a week left in the almost old year. For most of the country, it means winter break is here and kids are out of school, getting excited over Christmas and relaxing. That means lots of parents out there are struggling to find ways to entertain their kids and maybe also keep their brains growing at the same time. Phil’s Picks’ final “best of” list for this year will hopefully help with those efforts.

The last of this year’s “best of” lists focuses on the year’s top new single-disc family friendly DVDs and Blu-rays. It features new releases for families from PBS, Shout! Factory, and Nickelodeon, as well as Turner Broadcasting/Cartoon Network, and even 20th Century Studios. It runs the gamut from the educational to the entertaining, too.

Without any further ado, here is the last of Phil’s Picks’ “best of” lists for 2021, this year’s Top 10 New Family DVDs/BDs.

PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY DVDs/BDs

  1. Hero Elementary: Sparks’ Crew Animal Rescue
  2. Wild Kratts: Cats and Dogs
  3. Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island
  4. Molly of Denali: Molly & The Great One
  5. Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows
  6. Victor & Valentino: Folk Art Foes
  7. Ron’s Gone Wrong
  8. Jungle Cruise
  9. Paw Patrol: The Movie
  10. PBS Kids Christmas Collection
  11. Thomas & Friends All Engines Go!: Time For Teamwork
  12. Sesame Street: Things Elmo Likes
  13. Sesame Street: Wonderful World of Friends
  14. Baby Shark’s Big Show!
  15. PBS Kids 15 Girl Power Adventures

That’s it for this year, folks. Again though, there are lots of new titles already announced and scheduled for 2022, so Phil’s Picks is already looking forward to next year for all the new family DVDs and BDs and so much other content. Stay tuned!

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

Kids, Grown-Ups Alike Had Lots To Like From 2021’s New DVD/BD Box Sets

Courtesy: Arrow Video

Between families and grown-ups, plenty of positive content has been released this year on DVD and Blu-ray in the form of newly released box sets. Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon’s full series presentation of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Arrow Video’s classic creature feature collection, Cold War Creatures, and the latest collection of classic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood do well to support the noted statements. Between them and so many others, there is more than enough to create a list of this year’s top new DVD/BD box sets overall. Enter Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New DVD/BD Box Sets.

As with every other list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the top 10 titles from this year as well as five honorable mention titles for a total of 15. There’s already some positive news about new releases coming in the new year about new box sets, but in the meantime, the titles on this list will help people pass the time. Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New DVD/BD Box Sets list.

PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW DVD/BD BOX SETS

1.Cold War Creatures

2. The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: The Complete Series

3. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Mister Rogers Meets New Friends Collection

4. All Creatures Great & Small: Season 1

5. The Watch

6. How To Train Your Dragon: Ultimate Collection

7. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Tigertastic 50 Pack

8. Jekyll & Hyde

9. Spongebob Squarepants: Season 12

10. Rugrats: The Complete Series

11. Star Trek Discovery: Season 3

12. Doom Patrol: Season 2

13. Josie & The Pussycats In Outer Space: The Complete Series

14. Human: The World Within

15. Thundarr The Barbarian: The Complete Series

Okay that it’s for this list. There is still one more list to go for this year. It will come tomorrow in the form of the year’s top new family friendly DVDs/ Stay tuned!

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

Grown-Ups Had Just As Much To Enjoy As Younger Audiences In All The New TV Box Sets

Courtesy: Arrow Video

This year offered lots for families to enjoy together in the way of television and movies.  It also offered plenty for older viewers, whether those audiences needed the occasional break from the more family friendly fare or just needed and wanted something to enjoy.  Between imports and domestic releases, this year’s field of new viewing options for grown-ups offered much to appreciate. 

DC and Warner Brothers’ second season of Doom Patrol, BBC America’s The Watch (It is sadly still unknown if the show will get a renewal for a second season) offered plenty of enjoyment in their own right.  Meanwhile, CBS/Paramount’s third season of Star Trek: Discovery finally got that ship righted.  Along with so many domestic and import releases from PBS and other sets from WB and DC, this year’s field of new offerings for older audiences helped audiences escape and relax every day.  So much new content was released that it gave Phil’s Picks more than enough for another annual list of the year’s top new offerings in said field. 

As with every list from Phil’s Picks, this list offers the Top 10 new entries in said field alongside five additional honorable mentions for a total of 15 titles.  Each entry in this list is deserving of applause in its own right, too.  Without further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2021 Top 10 New Grown-Up DVD/BD Box Sets.

PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW GROWN-UP DVD/BD BOX SETS

  1. Cold War Creatures
  1. All Creatures Great & Small: Season 1
  1. Doom Patrol: Season 2
  1. The Watch
  1. Miss Scarlet & The Duke: Season 1
  1. Human: The World Within
  1. Jekyll & Hyde
  1. Star Trek Discovery: Season 3
  1. Black Lightning: Season 4
  1. Superman & Lois: Season 1
  1. Star Trek Lower Decks: Season 1
  1. Finding Your Roots: Season 6
  1. Finding Your Roots: Season 7
  1. The Twilight Zone: Season 2
  1. Star Trek Discovery: Seasons 1-3

That’s it for this list, but before the attention turns from the box sets, there is still one more category to check in on tomorrow.  That category is the year’s top new DVD/BD box sets overall between the stuff for families and that for older audiences.  From there, later this week, the attention will turn toward the year’s top new family DVDs and BDs to finish this year’s field of year-end lists.  So there’s still plenty to come.  That means as always, stay tuned!

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

‘Ron’s Gone Wrong’ Proves Just As Successful In Its Home Release As In Its Brief Theatrical Run

Courtesy: 20th Century Studios/Disney

Well, that sure didn’t take long.  Less than two months after making its theatrical debut, 20th Century Studios’ CG statement flicks Ron’s Gone Wrong made its way to digital and physical home release early this month (Dec. 7 to be exact).  The movie is no better or worse in its new home release than in its brief theatrical run, which according to Box Office Mojo, grossed more than $60 million worldwide during that time.  Attempts to find the movie’s production budget for comparison were unsuccessful.  For those who have yet to see the movie, its story is reason enough for audiences to give it a chance.  It will be discussed shortly.  While the movie’s story is unquestionably positive, the bonus content that comes with the movie’s home release is just as much a negative that audiences cannot ignore.  It will be discussed a little later.  The story’s pacing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Ron’s Gone Wrong in its recent home release.  All things considered, they make the movie one of the best of this year’s new family DVDs/BDs even with its one primary concern.

20th Century Studios’ recent home release of its family friendly flick, Ron’s Gone Wrong, is a mostly successful offering.  The movie’s success comes in large part through its story.  The story is a two-part presentation that will appeal to younger and older viewers alike.  One half of the story is a clear indictment of big tech, its impact on young people’s mental health, and the unscrupulous measures that big tech will take to exploit those noted users.  The story’s other half centers on the all-too-important message of the importance of friendship and its related topics.  The two halves weave together seamlessly throughout the movie, and together with the pacing (which again, will be discussed a little later) make the story overall fully engaging and entertaining.  The overarching discussion on the invasive nature of social media and its negative impact on young people’s mental health is timeless.  This will remain a concern until such time as young people can pull themselves away from social media and its addictive clutches.  To that end, the story likely will not earn an Oscar®, but will remain timely, making it relatable for generations of audiences.  The movie’s writers clearly went after Apple, Facebook, and so much other big tech and social media in delivering this message.  The companies are not named, but rather spoofed so to speak, through the use of the company, “Bubble” and its antagonistic boss, Andrew.  Andrew is clearly a lifting of Steve Jobs while Marc Weidell is clearly an allusion to Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg.

The connected story about friendship ties directly into the indictment of big tech and social media as lead character Barney (Jack Dylan Grazer – ItLucaShazam) finds himself the only student in his middle school – Nonsuch Middle School – without a so-called B*Bot.  The B*bot, is a digital friend that knows everything about its user, and uses that information to help young people find new friends.  Marc (Justice Smith – Paper TownsThe Get DownJurassic World – Fallen Kingdom) even called the tech the “perfect friend” right in the story’s opening scene.  That immediate message lets people know that one of the key messages in this story is that friends are anything but perfect, but rather perfect in being imperfect.  Barney learns that invaluable lesson when his dad, Graham (Ed Helms – The OfficeVacationThe Hangover) gets Barney his own B-bot (albeit illegally).  In learning its serial number, Barney shortens the bot’s name to just Ron.  Ron is voiced here by Zach Galifianakis (Due DateThe HangoverThe Lego Batman Movie).  His work here is some of his best, and that is actually saying something considering the dumbed down performances that he has presented in the noted movies and others.  Getting back on the subject at hand, Barney and Ron eventually develop a real friendship because Ron is not like all of the other B-bots out there.  What develops will immediately ring a bell with those familiar with the 1986 movie, Short Circuit and its sequel, which came only two years later.  That buddy comedy centered on a robot that developed sentience and only wanted to protect and befriend people.  The good thing here is that this story element does not attempt to just simply rip off said movies, even despite the clear comparison.  What audiences eventually get here is that we should not let tech dominate our lives to the point that we are relying on it to make decisions for us.  We should not rely on it so much that it is doing everything for us, because we know better than technology who we are and what and who we like.  So yes, between this overarching message and that of the almost criminal nature of big tech, the overall story here will remain relevant for years to come.  It also boasts its own share of heart along the way, too.  It makes the story reason enough for audiences to give this movie a chance.

While the story does so much to make Ron’s Gone Wrong entertaining, the bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home release detracts somewhat from the presentation.  That is because of how little content there is and the content itself.  The bonus content, which is featured only in the movie’s BD/DVD/Digital combo pack and 4K UHD/BD/Digital combo pack (no, it is not featured in the DVD platform) comes in the form of a brief sit-down with Galifianakis and Grazer, and a separate “making of” featurette.  The duo’s interview, which runs maybe about five minutes at most, just finds the pair sharing their thoughts on technology and how their generations vary in their views on technology and its role in society.  The slightly more lengthy “making of” featurette simply takes audiences behind the scenes of the movie’s creation.  Viewers learn of the motivation for the story’s creation from its writing team, as well as about how the cast members interacted as they recorded their lines.  It is in itself really a minimalist presentation that neither adds to or detracts from the movie’s presentation.  So audiences who maybe don’t own a Blu-ray player or one of those overly expensive 4K UHD TVs and players will not be missing out on anything without the bonus content on DVD.  For everyone else, the content is worth watching maybe once, but it really does not do anything either way for the presentation.  Keeping that in mind, the movie still stands strongly enough on the merits of its two-part story alone.  Staying on that note, the movie’s pacing is another positive that is worth noting.

The run time for Ron’s Gone Wrong is approximately one hour, 47 minutes.  That is actually a long run time for a family friendly flick.  Thankfully even being as long as the story is and with so much going on, the pacing remains solid.  This is the case even in the story’s final act in which it seems like the writers – Peter Baymham and Sarah Smith – seem to have had trouble deciding how to end the story.  The action and overall content is solid enough that the story keeps moving at a relatively solid pace throughout.  The result is that the pacing ensures the engagement and entertainment of younger viewers just as much as their older counterparts.  It makes the movie’s overall presentation that much more surprising in its appeal.  When this is considered along with the work of the movie’s cast, which is just as deserving of applause as the story’s pacing and the story itself, the whole makes the movie a mostly successful offering even in its home release.

20th Century Studios’ Ron’s Gone Wrong is a presentation that is just as successful in its recent home release as in its very brief theatrical run this fall.  That is proven in part through its story.  The story is a dual-pronged presentation that is both an indictment of big tech and its impact on society (specifically on young people) and a reminder about the need for people to make decisions and friends for themselves.  While the story is fully engaging and entertaining, the bonus content that comes with the movie’s home release (or rather the lack thereof) detracts from the movie’s home presentation at least to a point.  It is not enough to make the movie’s home release a failure by any means.  The story’s pacing (and also work of the movie’s cast) rounds out the movie’s most important elements.  When all of this is considered together, it makes the movie just as largely successful in its home release as in its brief theatrical run.

Ron’s Gone Wrong is available now on digital, DVD, Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and 4K UHD/BD/Digital combo pack. More information on this and other titles from 20th Century Studios is available at:

Websitehttps://20thcenturystudios.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/20thCenturyStudios

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/20thcentury

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

Marvel’s ‘Eternals’ Coming Home Soon

Courtesy: Marvel Studios/Disney

Marvel Studios’ latest addition to the MCU is scheduled for home release this winter.

Eternals is scheduled for release Jan. 12 on digital and Feb. 15 on Blu-ray. The announcement was made Thursday through a news release. A trailer for the movie is streaming here.

Eternals follows a group of heroes that has watched and protected Earth ever since the dawn of man, unseen and also avoiding involvement along the way as much as possible. That all changes when a group of evil beings called Deviants returns to Earth, the Eternals’ hands are forced, causing the group to reunite and protect the planet.

Eternals‘ forthcoming home physical release features a handful of extras, all of which are noted below.

Bonus Features*

  • Audio Commentary – View the film with audio commentary by Chloé Zhao, Stephane Ceretti, Mårten Larsson
  • Immortalized – Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe launches into the cosmos with the Eternals. In this behind-the-scenes documentary, dive deep into the reasons why Marvel wanted to immortalize these superheroes for the MCU.
  • Walks of Life – Eternals unveils Marvel’s biggest and most diverse lineup of Super Heroes in one film. Hear reactions from the cast on being involved in the film and the instant sense of camaraderie that was felt on the day they all joined each other in their costumes.
  • Gag Reel – Watch some of the hilarious mishaps of the charming cast and crew.
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Gravity – Phastos and Jack have a conversation that leads to a breakthrough.
    • Nostalgia – Sprite and Makkari reminisce about humankind while overlooking the ruins of Babylon.
    • Movies – Gligamesh and Kingo connect over movies while crossing the Amazon River with the rest of the team.
    • Small Talk – Sprite confronts Dane in the museum about his interactions with Sersi.

*bonus features vary by product and retailer

More information on the forthcoming home release of Marvel’s Eternals is available at:

Website: https://marvel.com/movies/eternals

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialeternals

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

PBS, Nickelodeon, Others Offered Audiences A Wide Range Of New Family Friendly Viewing Options In 2021

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Maybe it is just this critic, but it seems that increasingly the case that families are becoming increasingly segregated in their own homes. That is due to the advancement of technology and to the fact that there seems to be less programming than ever for families to watch together. Even if there is less for families to watch together, it does not mean that there is nothing out there. PBS and its home distribution arm proved that true this year with their new family DVD box sets alongside Nickelodeon, Universal, Warner Brothers and other companies.

This year actually saw a wide range of enjoyable new DVD and Blu-ray box sets for the whole family to enjoy together, not the least of which was another new collection of classic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood episodes from PBS and PBS Distribution. The first time release of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius from Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory is another great new offering for the whole families that released this year. Even fans of Universal’s How To Train Your Dragon franchise got something special recently in the franchise’s “Ultimate Collection.” All three of these titles and plenty of others make up what are this year’s top new family DVD and BD box sets list from Phil’s Picks. Between these new releases, new offerings from Nickelodeon’s Loud House,Spongebob Squarepants, and The Casagrandes, another new Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood collection from PBS/PBS Kids/PBS Distribution, and so many other releases, this year showed that thankfully there is at least still some programming left for families to enjoy together.

As with every other list from Phil’s Picks, this collection features the year’s Top 10 new releases in the given category and five honorable mention titles for a total of 15. Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New Family DVD/BD Box Sets.

PHIL’S PICKS‘ 2021 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY DVD/BD BOX SETS

  1. Mister Rogers’ NeighborhoodMister Rogers Meets New Friends Collection
  2. Daniel Tiger’s NeighborhoodTigertastic 50 Pack
  3. The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy GeniusThe Complete Series
  4. Spongebob SquarepantsThe Complete 12th Season
  5. Loud HouseSeason 3 Volume 1
  6. Loud HouseSeason 3 Volume 2
  7. The CasagrandesSeason 1
  8. How To Train Your DragonThe Ultimate Collection
  9. Curious George5 Movie Collection
  10. RugratsThe Complete Series
  11. PBS Kids’ 20 Snowy Stories
  12. Garfield & FriendsThe Grumpy Cat Collection
  13. Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space
  14. Thundarr The BarbarianThe Complete Series
  15. Animaniacs Season 1

It should be added as a special note, this year marks the first time ever that Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space and Thundarr The Barbrian have ever gotten a proper, official release. There are DVD releases for those titles, but they are not official releases. They are DVD-R sets that Hannah Barbera and Amazon partnered to release, so they are not official. This year’s BD releases of the series’ are in fact the real deal. They are released through Warner Archives and are well worth the money and the watch. Speaking of the watch, that show is one of the many that made Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New Grown-Up DVD/BD Box Sets list. That list will come Monday, so stay tuned!

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

Shout! Factory, Arrow Video, Others Offer Audiences Plenty Of Alternatives To All The Prequels, Sequels, and Remakes Hitting Theaters, Streaming Services

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

It seems like ever year, audiences everywhere are seeing an increase in the number of classic TV shows and movies that were once popular everywhere they go.  It really is a sad state of affairs.  Of course that is not the only avenue in which older content is getting renewed so to speak.  The originals also get new life every now and then on DVD and Blu-ray through various distributors, sometimes in better form than others and vice versa.  This year saw a handful of classic TV shows and movies get some laudable re-issues and some less so. 

What is most interesting about this year’s field of top new DVD and BD re-issues is the wide range of companies that released said titles.  It shows that along with the likes of Shout! Factory – which has made quite the name for itself over the years in the home entertainment field – other familiar and up-and-coming names are really working to make their names known in that field, too, such as Arrow Video and Corinth Films, making for so much more variety.

From Shout! Factory’s re-issue of Explorers, to Arrow Video’s re-issue of the original Dune, to even Mill Creek Entertainment’s re-issue of the classic, short-lived animated series, The Critic, this year’s re-issues and the companies that released them offered audiences plenty of alternatives to the never-ending ocean of prequels, sequels, and reboots that filled theaters and streaming services this year.  As with every list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the Top 10 titles in the given category with five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15.  This year’s list was not easy to compile but is complete.

Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New DVD/BD Re-Issues.

PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW DVD/BD RE-ISSUES

  1. Explorers
  1. Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series
  1. The Final Countdown
  1. The Belles of St. Trinian’s
  1. Ken Burns’ Baseball
  1. The Rolling Stones: A Bigger BangLive at Copacabana Beach
  1. Dune
  1. Motorhead: No Sleep Till Hammersmith
  1. The Interrogation
  1. The Snake Girl and the Silver Haired Witch
  1. The Transformers: The Movie
  1. Superman: The Animated Series
  1. The Critic: The Complete Series
  1. Star Trek: The Original Series
  1. Emergency: The Complete Series

It should be stressed here that in the case of Emergency and Star Trek, those two series sets are intentionally set at the bottom of this year’s list as, their positives are few.  They are the least of the year’s best new re-issues.  Audiences would do well to largely avoid these sets.  There is a reason they are at the bottom of even the honorable mention titles.  Keeping that in mind, this year’s list of top new DVD and BD re-issues is officially wrapped.  There are still plenty of other lists coming, such as the year’s top new box sets for grown-ups, families, and even family DVDs/BDs.  Stay tuned!

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

PBS Programming Dominates Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New Documentaries List

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

This year’s new music lists are officially done for Phil’s Picks, so now it’s time to move on to the TV and movie side of things as we continue to wind doown 2021. Starting off this year’s lists on the audiosvisual side is the best of this year’s new documentaries.

All of this year’s top new documentaries come from none other than PBS, the last true bastion of worthwhile programming. They come from some of th network’s most beloved series, while others are standalone offerings. From bios, to science, to mother nature and wildlife, the documentaries that PBS has produced this year have proven quite exceptional. They have also proven why PBS remains such an important force in American television offerings.

As with each list from Phil’s Picks, this year’s list presents the Top 10 new titles and five additional honorable mentions for a total of 15. There is nothing bad about that additional set of honorable mention titles. Each is equally deserving of its own applause. So with that in mind, it’s time to get into this year’s lit. Here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New Documentaries.

PHIL’S PICKS 2021 TOP 10 NEW DOCUMENTARIES

  1. NOVA: Saving Notre Dame
  2. NOVA: Can We Cool The Planet
  3. Nature Primates
  4. NOVA: Touching The Asteroid
  5. NOVA: Searching For Life On Mars
  6. American Experience: American Oz
  7. Nature: River’s Bend
  8. Nature: The Alps
  9. Laura Ingalls Wilder: From Prairie to Page
  10. America Experience: The Codebreaker
  11. Nature: Pandas Born to be Wild
  12. NOVA: Nature’s Fear Factor
  13. NOVA: Great Electric Airplane Race
  14. Life at the Waterhole
  15. NOVA: Secrets in our DNA

That’s all for this list, but there is still more to come on the DVD/BD side of things before this year lets out, so stay tuned!

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

MLB Productions, Shout! Factory Continue Their World Series Success With 2021 Collector’s Edition Presentation

Courtesy: MLB Productions/Shout! Factory

Major League Baseball’s 2022 Spring Training session is scheduled to launch Feb. 26, with all 30 of the league’s teams set to take the fields.  Of course, thanks to the league’s current lockout – the first since the 1994-1995 season – that date might get pushed back.  What’s more it may leave 29 of the league’s teams and their fans wondering when “next year” will happen.  There is at least one consolation prize of sorts courtesy of Major League Baseball Productions and Shout! Factory.  It comes in the form of this year’s annual World Series presentation, The 2021 World Series Collector’s Edition.  Scheduled for release Tuesday, the eight-disc set is another success for MLB Productions and Shout! Factory in the companies’ ongoing partnership.  That is due in no small part to its general presentation, which will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content that accompanies the collection adds to its appeal.  It will be examined a little later.  The set’s pricing rounds out its most important items and will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the collection.  All things considered, they make The 2021 World Series Collector’s Edition a presentation that Atlanta Braves fans and baseball fans will enjoy as they wait for the start of the 2022 season.

MLB Productions and Shout! Factory’s forthcoming 2021 World Series Collector’s Edition Blu-ray package is a presentation that baseball fans (and especially Atlanta Braves) will find appealing.  That is due in part to its general presentation.  The general presentation is important because it compiles the entire six-game 2021 World Series along with the whole of Game Six of the National League Championship Series and the 2021 World Series documentary in one setting.  On the surface that might not seem overly important.  However, in the bigger picture, the inclusion of all of that content in one setting will save space and money for audiences.  In years past, the companies separated the World Series and its documentary, meaning audiences had to pay extra and find space on their DVD/BD racks for each.  Now with everything in one package, audiences no longer have to worry about that pricing (which will be addressed a little later) and finding space for the set and a separate documentary.  That makes this collection a win for the companies and for audiences alike.  To that end, MLB Productions and Shout! Factory are to be highly commended.  It is just one of the items that makes this collection successful.  The bonus content that accompanies the set adds to the collection’s appeal.

The inclusion of the 2021 World Series documentary is itself bonus content.  That is, again, because it marks the first time ever that Shout! Factory and MLB Productions have included the documentary with the World Series itself.  The documentary is certain to keep audiences engaged and entertained, this despite the lacking narration of rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges.  He did a much better job working on Jim Henson Company/Lifetime’s 2015 movie, Turkey Hollow.  The documentary follows the Braves’ unlikely run to the World Series title after reaching only 44 wins by the mid-season break.  The note of GM Alex Anthopoulos’ roster moves at that break deserved maybe a little more attention.  Though, the tribute that the team made to the legend himself, #44, Hank Aaron (who died in January) during and after the documentary is reason enough to watch.  Diehard Braves fans will appreciate the note from Manager Brian Snitker of how perhaps Aaron gave the team a little extra help during the season’s second half, noting how the team had 44 wins at the season break, and how the team had 44 runs through the World Series.  That Shout! Factory and MLB Productions ensured the tribute to the legendary baseball star made during the World Series was included in the documentary makes for even more appeal.  Between that and the in-depth story of how the team reached the proverbial mountaintop, the documentary offers audiences so much to appreciate, even if they are not Braves fans.  This is just one of the bonuses that makes the 202 World Series Collector’s Edition so enjoyable.  The trivia-filled booklet that accompanies the collection is its own enjoyable bonus.

This year is hardly the first that MLB Productions and Shout! Factory has featured a companion, trivia-filled booklet with its World Series collections.  It is no less appreciated, either.  Audiences learn so much extra about this year’s World Series through the noted information.  For instance, audiences learn that “through Game 2, teams scoring first in the 2021 postseason had won 26 of 33 games.  Interestingly enough, Atlanta scored first in Game 1 of this year’s Fall Classic, proving the stat even truer.  On another note, in Game 1, audiences learn through the trivia, the Astros’ loss in Game 1 made th team the first to lose five straight World Series home games since the Braves’ teams from 1996-1999.  That is just a small sampling of what audiences learn through the booklet’s trivia.  Viewers and fans also learn that Houston’s win in Game 5 made the team the first this year to defeat Atlanta at home in the 2021 postseason.  Between these bits of trivia and so much more that are spread throughout the collection, the companion booklet once again proves itself to be a solid bonus and then some.  Add the appeal of that item to the fact that audiences once again get audio options from Fox, both teams’ home radio broadcasters, and even in Spanish as yet another bonus, and no doubt is left that the bonus content featured in this collection strengthens the set’s appeal even more.  It is just one more way in which this latest World Series presentation proves so successful.  Keeping in mind the engagement and entertainment that the overall content ensures, it makes the set’s pricing appealing in its own right.

The average price point for The 2021 World Series Collector’s Edition is $47.08.  The price was reached by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Books-A-Million, and Shout! Factory.  In looking at the separate prices, Amazon offers the set at the least expensive price of $41.99.  Book-A-Million’s listing of 59.98 is the most expensive of the listings, far exceeding that average. Walmart’s listing of $46 even is just below the average and exceeds it when shipping and handling are added in to the mix.  Target lists the et at $43.49 while Best Buy lists the set at $42.99.  Shout! Factory lists the set at just above the average, at $47.98.  So while there are some more expensive listings, there is at least one relatively inexpensive listing through Amazon.  Again, considering all of the content featured in the collection, there is no denying that the noted least expensive listing of $41.99 through Amazon is worth paying by any diehard Braves and baseball fan.  When that listing and others just below the noted average are considered collectively with the set’s overall content, the whole makes The 2021 World Series Collector’s Edition a presentation that any baseball collector and diehard Braves fan will appreciate.

MLB Productions and Shout! Factory’s forthcoming 2021 World Series Collector’s Edition is another enjoyable offering from the companies through their ongoing partnership.  The set’s appeal comes in part through its general presentation.  The general presentation is important to the collection because it houses the entire 2021 World Series in one setting for the first time ever.  That includes the annual World Series documentary that MLB Production creates to accompany the World Series presentation.  The bonus content that accompanies the collection (including that documentary) adds to the set’s appeal.  That is because it will ensure audiences’ engagement and entertainment just as much as the general presentation.  The set’s pricing proves appealing for the most part, too.  That is because of the breadth and depth of the content featured in the set and its presentation.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the collection.  All things considered, they make the collection another successful offering from MLB Productions and Shout! Factory, and one more of the best of this year’s family DVDs/BDs.

The 2021 World Series Collector’s Edition is scheduled for release Tuesday through MLB Productions and Shout! Factory. More information on the set is available online along with all of the latest Major League Baseball headlines at:

Websitehttps://www.mlb.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/mlb

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/mlb

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.