DC, WB’s ‘Scooby-Doo,’ ‘Batman’ Crossover Is A Largely Forgettable Addition To Each Franchise’s History

DC/Warner Brothers/Warner Brothers Animation

Almost five decades have passed since Warner Brothers first teamed the Dynamic Duo with Mystery Inc. for the Scooby Doo Movie, Scooby Doo Meets Batman.  The movie also went by the title The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair.  That “movie” saw Mystery Inc. partner with Batman and Robin to stop a counterfitting ring set up by the Joker and the Pengin.  September 16 will mark 46 years since that “movie” first debuted.  Now all those years later, Scooby, Shaggy and the gang have teamed up with the Caped Crusader again, this time to face another of Gotham’s bad guys in Scooby-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold.  While the 75-minute “movie” does present an interesting story at its core, the writing therein proves ultimately to be the movie’s downfall.  While the writing ruins any chance of this “movie” being one of the more memorable of WB’s so many Scooby Doo movies, it can at least be said that the voice cast deserves its own share of credit in the final presentation.  When that work is considered along with the movie’s central story, the two elements together worth at least one watch, but sadly no more than that.

Scoob-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold marks the first time in almost 46 years that Warner Brothers and Hanna Barbera have partnered Batman with Mystery Inc.  The story at the center of the “movie,” which is essentially an extended episode of Cartoon Network’s short-lived series (it lasted only three seasons from 2008-2011) is one of the only saving graces for a presentation that is otherwise a sadly forgettable addition to both franchises.  That is because of its simplicity.  The story follows Mystery Inc. as “the gang” joins an “elite mystery solving group” made up of other well-known DC characters – Black Canary, The Question, Jon Jonzz (The Martian Manhunter) and Plastic Man – after being tested by Batman and Martian Manhunter.  The catch is that the meddling kids didn’t know they were being tested until after the fact.  This is one of the problems with the movie’s writing that will be discussed a little later.  When the group decides on a case for the organization to solve, that quest turns into a journey to solve what is Batman’s only unsolved case.  Making things difficult for everyone along the way is none other than one Det. Harvey Bullock, who fans of Batman The Animated Series will recognize.  What audiences will appreciate about this story is that it shows that more human side of Batman even as he wears his “uniform.”  It shows he can be (and does get) affected by trying to solve cases.  It’s a rarely seen side of Batman that is nice to see.  Obviously the case does get solved, with a surprise twist, which audiences will appreciate, too.  While that twist is something that audiences will appreciate, it leads into a deeper discussion on the writing at the center of the story.  The writing proves problematic throughout the “movie.”

The story’s writing proves so problematic because of the plot holes and pacing issues that arise throughout the movie.  Right from the movie’s outset, one of those many plot holes appears as the gang is investigating a crime (or so they think) at an abandoned theater.  Obviously things are not quite as they seem.  This is only revealed after Batman just randomly appears on the theater’s rooftop to “help” the gang.  Freddy asks Batman what he’s doing there, and in an attempt to explain things away, Batman simply responds that he goes where crime is.  There’s no back story on how the gang came to investigate the “crime,” which obviously was just a test for the gang.  It would have been nice to have had some back story there, considering the outcome.  Had this been any other case, opening so abruptly might have worked, but not here.  As the story progresses, Batman’s super detective friends side with Bullock, just agreeing that Batman appeared guilty in the original case, not even questioning him.  Considering the connection between the group, one would have thought the group would have sided with Batman, not Bullock.  This becomes problematic, too since they just outright believe Bullock.  In the final act, audiences get a resolution as the real villain is revealed.  That is perhaps one of the few positives of the writing because the writing team behind the “movie” does admittedly at least do a good job keeping viewers guessing about the identity of The Crimson Cloak.”  The problem is that it would have made so much more sense to just wrap up the story where it was.  Sadly though, the 13-member writing team couldn’t let go.  They instead lead the story to go on well past where it should have ended, leaving viewers asking when it is going to end and why it didn’t end when it should have.  In the same breath, that final scene that should have been the final scene leads to yet another pot hole involving The Question.  Why did he disappear for such a long time after the bank heist, despite the explanation?  Why did he not rejoin the group and tell them what happened?  That was never explained.  If he had just re-appeared earlier and that point been explained away, it would have created the standard evil twin plot, given.  At the same time, though maybe it would have shortened up the movie, too, but the writers didn’t want to go that route.  Instead they take a route that even in the end leaves more questions than answered.  Even with all of the references to all of the classic Batman franchises (including the beloved series starring the late great Adam West thanks to the gang hanging out in the original Batcave and even an appearance by King Tut) these plot holes and the pacing problems leave so much to be desired here.  To that end, the writing in this story does more damage to Scooby-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold than any good.  The damage is, in fact, so intense that it leaves this story largely forgettable among the endless stream of Scooby-Doo movies.

While the writing at the center of Scooby-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold does significant damage to its presentation, the “movie” does have at least one more saving grace other than just its story.  That other factor is the work of the voice cast.  Matthew Lillard, who played Shaggy in every Scooby-Doo presentation since 2002’s live action/CG hybrid movie, once again returns to voice Shaggy this time out, and he shines again in his role, offering plenty of laughs, even as he don’s Nightwing’s old costume.  Freddy, voiced once more by none other than Frank Welker could have phoned it in, having voiced Freddy for so many decades, yet he gave it his all once again throughout.  The way he handled Freddy’s infatuation with Black Canary makes for plenty of laughs.  His act as he dons Batman’s “Year One” costume makes for one of the best moments as Freddy really does try to take on the strong persona that is Batman.  Freddy obviously fails to have that persona, yet is so endearing because of his effort to be so heroic.  Again, this is an example of a voice actor who fully understands and appreciates his character.  That makes his performance all the more entertaining.  Kate Micuci (Lego Batman: The Movie, Big Bang Theory, Steven Universe) is entertaining in her own right, too as the voice of Velma.  This is not her first time taking on the role, either.  She voiced Velma in the short-lived Scooby-Doo series Be Cool, Scooby-Doo and in the Scooby-Doo movies Scooby-Doo! Shaggy’s Showdown, Scooby-Doo! And WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon and other Scooby-Doo properties.  The way that Micucci handled Velma’s starstruck behavior toward Batman adds even more entertainment to the presentation.  Her reaction to working with Batman is like a child getting to meet his or her favorite celebrity.  That especially comes through as Velma learns that the gang is joining Batman at the Batcave.  Her interactions with Detective Chimp (played by Kevin Michael Richardson – Lilo & Stitch, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Batman) make for even more entertainment as the two clearly talented sleuths try to outdo one another in their investigations.  Those are some subtle yet fun moments that audiences will remember, too.  Between those moments, the moments presented by Welker, Lillard and the rest of the main voice cast, that work offers its own collective enjoyment for audiences.  When the voice cast’s otherwise memorable collective work is coupled with the story at the center of the “movie” the two elements do just enough to save the movie, but not enough to make it more than just one watch.

Scooby-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a fun watch for the whole family, whether for everyone’s favorite K-9 case solver and his friends, for Batman and company or for both.  That is thanks to the story at the center of the “movie” and the work of the voice cast.  While those elements do plenty to make the movie an interesting watch, its writing creates its own share of problems thanks to its pacing problems and plot holes.  When this is all considered together, the end result is a presentation that while maybe fun, is regrettably an otherwise forgettable addition to the ongoing Scooby-Doo movies series.  It is available now in stores and online.

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The Image Revolution Is Not Just For Comic Book Fans

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

With great power comes great responsibility. Regardless of whether or not a person is a Spiderman fan or even a fan of comic books in general, most people know that timeless line spoken by Peter Parker’s uncle Ben.  It is also a piece of knowledge that would have served the founders of Image Comics well when they founded the independent comics company.  That is evident in watching Shout! Factory’s new documentary on Image Comics The Image Revolution.  While it is a documentary that centers mainly on the rise, fall, and re-emergence (of sorts) of Image Comics it is more than just a documentary about a comics company.  It is a documentary about a business.  That being the case, it is a presentation that will reach not just comic book lovers but even those with any interest and/or experience in the business world.  That is the central element of program that makes it worth the watch.  The manner in which the documentary was presented is another element worth noting.  That includes the interviews with those that founded Image Comics and the comic book panel style transitions and the vintage footage incorporated into the documentary.  Last but hardly least of note in this presentation is its bonus interview segments.  The bonus material in question presents the interview material not included in the program’s main presentation.  So basically they round out the documentary in whole.  It’s one more part of the Image Revolution’s whole that makes it such an interesting watch whether one is a comic book fan, an artist, or a business person.  Altogether, all three elements make The Image Revolution an early candidate for a spot on 2016’s list of Best New Documentaries.

The Image Revolution is an early candidate for a spot on 2016’s list of the year’s Best New Documentaries.  The documentary’s subject matter is the main element that makes it such a worthwhile watch.  The documentary’s subject matter centers on the history of independent comic book publisher Image Comics.  It follows the company’s meteoric rise to fame (and that of the men that started the company), its fall, and eventual return to greatness.  The story is one that will appeal not just to lovers of comic books and graphic novels but to artists of all types and even those with any interest and/or experience in the business world.  It is not just a niche presentation despite its subject matter.  It shows how a group of men working for America’s two biggest comic book companies left those companies in order to form a company that was to be the antithesis of those companies yet in its own way became everything that it stood against.  In turn it ended up struggling to a point before enjoying a revival that has continued to this very day.  Those that are lovers of comic books and graphic novels will appreciate the story of how far Image Comics has come as well as the collective story of the men that started Image and the titles that each used to launch the company.  Those that are experienced in art in its various forms will appreciate the discussions on how each man started out drawing his respective title but then found himself growing away and relegating that duty in large part to someone else.  Those that have any experience and/or interest in the business world will find interesting the very story of the financial irresponsibility of the company’s founders.  That irresponsibility would of course serve as a lesson for each as the men grew both by themselves and together.  Whether one focuses on the business aspect of the story, that of the men and titles that launched Image Comics, or the different art styles of each artist, there is something for a number of audiences.  This is just one way in which The Image Revolution proves itself to be such a worthwhile watch and standout documentary.  It isn’t the only element that makes it stand out so well either.  The manner in which the documentary was presented is another important element in the whole of its presentation.

The story that lies at the center of The Image Revolution is in itself an important part of this documentary.  It is a multi-faceted story that will reach more than just the obvious audience base.  This is just one element that stands out in The Image Revolution’s overall presentation.  The manner in which the documentary is presented is just as important to its presentation as the story at the center of the program.  The program is presented through a mix of interviews with Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, and the rest of Image Comics’ founders, classic footage from the company’s vaults, and transitions presented in the fashion of comic book page panels.  The interviews allow McFarlane and company to tell the company’s story in their own words.  While each man chooses his words wisely, none minces words at the same time.  Audiences will laugh as Rob Liefeld does his best impersonations of McFarlane from time to time.  On another note, Jim Lee’s discussion on being asked to take part in Rob Liefeld’s removal from Image is just as interesting.  Audiences can hear it in Lee’s voice and see it in his face how much it pained him to have to be part of that change.  Savage Dragon creator Erik Larson and The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman have their own interesting anecdotes over the course of the documentary.  Audiences will laugh as Kirkman reveals how he got Image to take a chance on The Walking Dead.  That won’t be revealed here.  That is because of its link (so to speak) to The Walking Dead series.  Audiences will actually laugh at Kirkland’s ultimate revelation.  At the same time, said revelation will keep audiences watching the TV series just as rabidly as a result.  Erik Larson’s humility in discussing how he handled the fame and fortune early on and even later on is refreshing.  It shows that he didn’t and hasn’t let any of what he does go to his head.

The interviews that are featured throughout the course of The Image Revolution’s eighty-three-minute run time are their own important part of the approach to the documentary’s presentation.  The classic footage that is incorporated into the documentary adds even more interest to its overall presentation, too.  It is clear that the footage was recorded via VHS camcorder.  That is because it is obvious no attempt was made to clean up the footage.  The footage in question features McFarlane and company at comic book signings that were jam packed with fans at every stop.  There is also footage of how things went in the Image offices on an everyday basis along with much more.  Audiences will love watching all of the vintage footage.  It will transport viewers back to Image’s golden age and really serve to show how high things were for all involved at the time.  At the same time, it helps to heighten the story as it advances.  Speaking of that advancement, the transitions are just as important to the program’s presentation as its interviews and vintage footage.

The transitions that are used throughout the course of The Image Revolution might not seem like all that important of an element to its presentation.  But believe it or not they are in fact quite important to its presentation.  The transitions are presented as panels from the pages of a comic book right down to their animation.  They serve a special purpose in the story.  That is because they really increase the story’s emotion in both directions, thus keeping audiences fully engaged.  Together with the interviews and vintage footage all three elements combine to make the presentation of The Image Revolution rock solid.  Of course they are still not all that makes this documentary worth the watch.  The extended interviews that are included as bonus material round out the documentary.

The approach that was taken in presenting The Image Revolution is in itself a powerful element in the whole of this new documentary from Shout! Factory.  So much thought and work obviously went into its thorough presentation.  That set alongside the documentary’s central story gives audiences plenty of reason to watch this program.  As much reason as they give viewers to watch this documentary, they are not its only notable elements.  The extended interviews that are included as bonus material round out the presentation’s positives.  The interviews in question are, as labeled, extended.  They feature more in-depth discussion than what is presented in the main body of the documentary.  Liefeld, Lee, and Kirkland are all featured in the interviews.  They discuss a variety of topics, too.  From the success of AMC’s The Walking Dead to working on specific books and more, there is plenty for audiences to appreciate here.  There is even a secondary set of interviews with those close to Image comics that adds even more interest for audiences.  Those collected interviews combine with the work put into the documentary’s presentation and the documentary’s primary story to make a nearly ninety-minute presentation that comic book fans will love just as much as artists and even those in the business world.

Whether it be for the story of Image Comics itself or for the manner in which the story was presented, or even for the bonus extended interviews, The Image Revolution presents plenty for audiences of all types to appreciate. In having so much to appreciate, that wide range of audiences will agree in watching this program, that it is easily an early candidate for any critic’s list of 2016’s top new documentaries. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/documentary/the-image-revolution. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

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Old School Action Flick Fans Will Enjoy Lionsgate’s Latest Expendables Outing

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Lionsgate’s new action flick The Expendables 3 is one of the best new movies of 2014. The third installment in the studio’s fan favorite franchise, it held its own quite well against the rest of the annual summer blockbusters that filled theaters this year. While it might not have exactly performed as expected domestically in theaters, those numbers mean nothing. The only reason that it didn’t pull in the numbers of its counterparts from Marvel Studios and others is that it didn’t have the notoriety of those properties. This is despite the fact that it was front loaded with some of the greatest names in the world of action flicks. That in itself is actually one of the reasons that audiences who haven’t yet seen this movie will enjoy it. It will be discussed later. The central reason for the movie’s enjoyment is its writing. This includes the movie’s story and its dialogue. Both elements are classic action flick elements in every sense of the word. Together, they make for plenty of reason for every lover of the action genre to watch The Expendables 3. The acting on the part of the cast adds even more reason for audiences to check out this throwback to Hollywood’s golden era of action flicks. Last of note to the movie’s positive is its pacing. The movie’s run time is just over two hours. To be precise, it is listed at two hours and six minutes. Over the course of that time, the story’s pacing rarely lets up. The rare times when it does it is only in moments that help to advance the story. The end result of that solid pacing coupled with the cast’s wholly entertaining acting and the movie’s writing overall is a movie that is one more great trip down memory lane for any fan of classic action flicks. In turn it proves itself to justifiably be one of the best new movies of 2014.

The Expendables 3 is, on the surface, just one more sequel among seemingly countless others churned out over the course of 2014. While few if any of the sequels thrown out there this year were really worth seeing, Lionsgate’s The Expendables 3 is an exception to that rule. This movie is a fun outing for any lover of action movies. It is especially so for anyone that grew up in the golden age of action flicks. It proves to be so fun thanks in large part to its writing. At the heart of the movie’s writing is the movie’s story. The movie’s story is a time honored element that any classic action flick fan will appreciate. It sees Barney and his team having to hunt down former Expendables co-founder turned bad guy Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson) for war crimes. Believe it or not, this is something from which writers seem to have increasingly strayed in the current era of film making. Whether it be action flicks, dramas, or otherwise, writers today seem to be trying to outdo one another in who can churn out the most convoluted and overly busy script possible. It’s nice to see that lead actor Sylvester Stallone and co-writers Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedict were able to work together and keep the story behind this movie so simple. It’s also nice to see other classic elements incorporated into the story such as the script’s dialogue.

The story that was crafted by Stallone, Rothenberger, and Benedict is a full-on old school action flick story. The story itself isn’t all that’s old school about the trio’s script. The dialogue that is incorporated into the script is a throwback in itself. There are classic one-liners peppered throughout the course of the movie’s run time. And then there is also Stonebanks’ equally classic soliloquy explaining his motives for having gone rogue. Conrad explains that he joined the bad guys’ side because of his hatred for the people that sent The Expendables to clean up their messes and the human cost associated with said missions. That is within itself another throwback. It is a throwback to so many classic action movie villains before. Considering the classic action flick dialogue and the equally classic story line that are used in The Expendables 3’s script, one can’t help but make a slight comparison to another movie released this year. The movie in question is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The reason for the aside is that where that movie teased old school Ninja Turtles fans with references to their childhood favorite series and movies, The Expendables 3 has done the exact opposite, which is why TMNT failed and The Expendables 3 succeeded even if it didn’t do as well as hoped at the box office. It didn’t tease audiences with references to the golden era of action movies or the action movies that some audiences grew up with. It goes for the jugular, giving audiences of all ages another example of what once made action movies so great and what can still make them great again.

As if the direct throwbacks to the action genre’s old days wasn’t enough for audiences, there is one more element to the script that solidifies its success. That element is the commentary on the place of the classic action star in today’s movie market. At one point, the commentary makes for some great self deprecating humor with the younger members of the team throwing out verbal barbs at the team’s older members and vice versa. At another point before that, Barney ruminates on the place of himself and his team mates in their line of work. This is in essence the other side of that discussion on whether or not the old school action star still has a place in today’s action movies. It is a rather interesting moment especially when juxtaposed against the more light-hearted moment that later follows. The ultimate revelation is that there is and always will be a place for action stars of the past and of the future in today’s world of action flicks. Stallone and company don’t come right out and say it with these moments. But it’s pretty obvious that this existential discussion of sorts is what they were using. It just so happened that it worked both as its own discussion and as part of the story in whole, too. And it is a nice addition to the movie’s script. Together with the previously noted factors, it helps to prove once and for all why the writing behind The Expendables 3 is the most important aspect to the movie. While it is the most important aspect of the movie’s success, it isn’t the only factor that makes the movie enjoyable for lovers of real action flicks. The work of the cast in terms of its acting is just as notable to the movie’s enjoyment.

The writing behind The Expendables 3 is a solid foundation for the movie’s success. Resting just as easily on that foundation is the cast’s acting. The cast’s acting is just as enjoyable as the writing. Watching Barney (Stallone) and Hunter (Schwarzenegger) go was itself like watching a time capsule being opened up. At no one point do either of the duo’s portrayals feel forced. And even Drummer (Harrison Ford) is entertaining in a supporting role. Audiences that grew up watching Ford as Indiana Jones and Han Solo will be pleased that Ford wasn’t entirely relegated to the back burner in his role. And Blade himself, Wesley Snipes was just as entertaining in his portrayal of Doc. Watching Doc is just like Watching Blade, especially early on when he is first broken off of the train. While the performances by Snipes, Ford, Stallone, and Schwarzenegger were each impressive in their own right, it is Mel Gibson’s portrayal of Stonebanks that is most notable. Gibson has his own experience in the action realm. But his portrayal here is peculiar. That’s not to say that Gibson did a bad job. Rather, he walks a fine line throughout the movie. He never really goes full classic, hammy action movie villain. Nor does he go the route of say Heath Ledger’s Joker a la The Dark Knight or any other villain. It’s almost like he tried to really channel certain classic action movie villains and those of recent years all into one for his portrayal. While a little bit uneasy, the end result is still a villain that remains believable enough. And set against Stallone and the rest of his team, Stonebanks becomes even more entertaining. The rest of the team is just as enjoyable in its own right. But it really is these core actors that make the acting in The Expendables 3 so enjoyable and an important part of the movie’s enjoyment.

The writing and acting that went into The Expendables 3 are both important in their own right to the movie’s overall success and enjoyment. The last element that makes the movie work as well as it does is the movie’s pacing. Over the course of the movie’s two hour run time, the movie rarely lets up. The only time at which it slows even slightly is when Barney is telling his team mates about breaking up the team. Even in a later moment when they–Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Doc (Wesley Snipes), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), and Toll Road (Randy Couture)–sit ruminating on the development, the pacing doesn’t let up. It would have been so easy to go over the top with this moment. But Stallone and his co-writers don’t allow that to happen. They keep the story moving, allowing for the bulk of the story to be spent on its more important moments. And it is because of this that the movie never loses a step. Because it never loses a step, it allows for more enjoyment of the cast’s acting and of the elements incorporated into the movie’s script. It connects everything, making the movie complete and proving once more why it stands out proudly among Hollywood’s current forgettable crop of prequels, sequels, and remakes.

Hollywood’s current crop of prequels, sequels, and remakes is largely forgettable. They are movies that were churned out by Hollywood’s Power Five studios more for the sake of making money than actually entertaining audiences. The Expendables 3 is not one of those movies. It has proven through the combination of its in depth writing, the acting by its cast, and its pacing, that it actually sets out both to make money and to entertain audiences. It succeeded in both areas thanks to its global ticket sales total and despite being largely covered up by the rest of the blockbusters churned out this summer. Those flash-in-the-pan flicks will largely be forgotten. But this modern blast from the past is one that every true lover of action flicks will remember and want to watch again and again proving once and for all why it is one of the best new movies of 2014.

The Expendables 3 is available in stores and online now. It can be ordered on DVD + Digital via Lionsgate’s online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/search_results.asp?Search=The%20Expendables%203. More information on this and other releases from Lionsgate is available online at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lionsgate

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

eOne’s Latest Geronimo Stilton DVD Is More Mousy Fun For The Whole Family

Courtesy:  eOne

Courtesy: eOne

Geronimo Stilton is back again.  Everyone’s favorite rodent reporter is back in a brand new DVD courtesy of eOne.  Geronimo Stilton: Going Down To Chinatown And Other Adventures is available now on DVD in stores and online.  There is just as much to enjoy about this new DVD as eOne’s previous Geronimo Stilton compilations.  The first factor worth noting is of course the writing that went into each of the four episodes included on this disc.  Also worth noting is the series’ animation.  The original style animation to which audiences have become accustomed on previous Geronimo Stilton DVDs is present here, too.  And rounding out the whole thing is the return of the series’ voice cast once more.  All three of these factors, when taken into consideration both by themselves and collectively, show why any family will want to watch Geronimo Stilton: Going Down To Chinatown And Other Adventures.

The central reason for the overall enjoyment of Geronimo Stilton’s latest DVD compilation is the writing that went into each of the episodes included on the disc.  Stilton is essentially Scholastic’s answer to Indiana Jones.  While he’s a mild mannered reporter by day, he is also quite the adventure seeker.  In the disc’s title episode, audiences see Geronimo and his friends go on an adventure that leads to quite the unexpected end after finding a mysterious old letter and map.  What makes this episode really enjoyable is that it actually incorporates a light history lesson along the way.  That lesson is taught so covertly that young audiences wouldn’t even know.  The series’ writers are to be commended for balancing that educational content so well with the show’s more entertaining side.  The surprising end result will leave a smile on any viewer’s face as it in itself teaches quite the valuable life lesson.  And it’s just one of the wonderful lessons shared throughout these episodes that make them such a joy.  It’s just one lesson taught in this collection of episodes.  The overlying lesson that runs through each episode is that it’s perfectly fine to have a love of knowledge.  That is key to the enjoyment of these episodes more so than any other lesson.  Being that this lessons isn’t shoved down audiences throats, the end result is even more enjoyment of each of the compilation’s episodes.

The writing used in each of this set’s episodes is of the utmost importance in considering what makes the collection work.  As important as the writing is to the overall presentation, it isn’t the only factor to be taken into consideration in the presentation’s overall enjoyment and success.  One would be remiss to omit any mention of the original animation style used in this collection of episodes.  The animation style used throughout the Geronimo Stilton animated series looks to have been actually hand drawn.  While it is possible that there might have been some computer usage, it isn’t clearly evident.  If anything, the animation used in this series is similar to that of the short-lived DC series Krypto The Superdog.  Whether or not there was some computer usage, the fact remains that in an age of cookie cutter CG-based children’s shows, animation such as this stands head and shoulders above the rest.  And together with the continued solid writing, that animation makes this box set stand out among this year’s current crop in its own right.

The animation and writing that went into each of the episodes in this set both play their own role in making Geronimo Stilton: Going Down To Chinatown And Other Adventures enjoyable for audiences of all ages.  Having examined both factors, there is still one factor left to examine that makes this DVD worth the watch.  That final factor is the voice cast.  Included among the talents that worked on the series were the likes of: Brian Drummond, Erin Matthews, Sarah Edmonson, Richard Ian Cox and many other. The significance of the series’ voice cast is that many of them have also worked together on the likes of the hit anime series Inuyasha and Dragonball Z among other TV shows and movies. So, that familiarity with one another helped in its own way here as it helped to create a certain chemistry among much of the cast. The end result of that chemistry is an easily suspended disbelief among audiences. The ability of the show’s cast to make suspension of disbelief easy for audiences couples with the series’ animation and writing to make even clearer why any family not yet familiar with Geronimo Stilton will want to check out this DVD.

Geronimo Stilton: Going Down To Chinatown And Other Adventures is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online now via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K2OBWTM/ref=s9_simh_gw_p74_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1WPBH8WP2DTRA82510SA&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846. More information on all of the latest Geronimo Stilton books and DVDs is available online at http://www.geronimostilton.com. 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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Geronimo Stilton Sniffs Out More Family Fun In New DVD

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

Geronimo Stilton: Intrigue on the Rodent Express and Other Adventures, the latest home release from the short-lived Canadian TV series, is another fun collection of episodes for the whole family. The new DVD contains four more episodes from the series’ twenty-six total episodes. Whether or not one is familiar with the Geronimo Stilton literary series or the TV series spawned from the books, viewers will all agree that there is plenty to say of this new home release. The first aspect worth noting in this group of episodes is its writing. The TV series is an import. But it will translates well enough for audiences of any age to enjoy it. The next factor to be taken into consideration in this compilation’s success is its animation style. One part hand-drawn and seemingly one part flash/CG, it still manages to maintain its own identity among the masses of full-on CG series that pollute the television spectrum today. Last but definitely not least worth noting is the show’s voice cast. Most viewers likely don’t know the cast’s names. But they will definitely recognize the cast’s voices. That who’s who of voice actors, the animation, and the writing all come together to make this DVD another from Entertainment One that is worth at least one watch regardless of how familiar one is with the series or the books on which it is based.

The first aspect of the new compilation from Geronimo Stilton that viewers will appreciate is its writing. The series is an import from Canada. Few may realize it, but there is a difference in the writing (and overall structure) of Canadian-based series and American television series in general. The case with this series is different, though. American audiences will enjoy the episodes on this disc just as much as their Canadian counterparts. It translates so well primarily because of all the action and comic relief tied into each of the four episodes. Geronimo’s globe hopping adventures echo hints of both Indiana Jones and James Bond in one. And parents will appreciate the pop culture references tied into each script.  Those pop culture references include spoofs of Agatha Christie and so many classic kung-fu flicks of the 1960s just to name a couple.  The Agatha Christie spoof comes in the DVD’s opening episode, “Intrigue on the Rodent Express.  It’s a reference to the famed story, Murder on the Orient Express.  The original story was written by Agatha Christie and is not only one of the most famous detective novels of all time, but was also adapted into an equally famous big screen feature.  The spoof of all the classic kung-fu flicks comes in “The Mask of the Rat-Jitsu.”  This one sees Geronimo getting caught up in a web of intrigue centered around a group of ninjas led by an evil mastermind bent on stealing a priceless mask.  Younger audiences won’t get the references.  But their parents (and potentially even grandparents) will appreciate the attempts by the show’s writers to reach them as well as their children and grandchildren.  It’s all a collective example of what makes the writing in this group of episodes central to the success of this DVD.

The writers that worked on all four episodes included in Geronimo Stilton: Intrigue on the Rodent Express and Other Adventures are to be commended for crafting stories that will entertain audiences of all ages.  The series’ animators are just as deserving of applause with these episodes.  They are deserving of applause in that they have largely crafted the cartoon through hand-drawn animation.  There were some potentially computer generated elements to each episode.  But by and large, it looks as if this cartoon was in fact crafted by hand.  There are still hand-drawn cartoons out there today.  But as many studios over utilize computers for their “animated” series, this series incorporating more hand-drawn animation than computer generated gives its episodes more of their own identity, which in turn makes them stand out even more among the masses.  The closest comparison that can be made in terms of the animation in these episodes is perhaps to DC’s short-lived series, Krypto The Superdog.  That it can only be loosely compared to one other series solidifies the originality of these episodes’ animation.  It’s one more reason that this new DVD is worth at least one watch.

The writing and animation that make up this latest compilation of episodes from the Geronimo Stilton animated series are both key to the overall enjoyment of this new DVD release.  There is one more factor that older audiences will appreciate in this latest collection of episodes from the Canadian import.  That factor is the series’ voice cast.  Most audiences might not know the names of the people that make up the series’ voice cast.  But they will recognize the various series on which the cast members work/have worked.  Patricia Drake is one example of this.  Most people don’t know her name.  She voiced the scheming Sally Rasmaussen (pronounced Ras-mousen) in Geronimo Stilton.  She has also worked on the cult favorite anime series Dragonball Z.  She also starred alongside Mandy Moore and Macauly Culkin in Saved as well as voicing characters in recent Barbie CG based features just to name a handful.  And fellow cast member Lee Tockar, who voiced a number of characters through each of the four episodes also has voiced characters in Johnny Test, Slugtera, and Max Steel and a number of others.  Having such experienced cast is important to the episodes on this DVD.  It is important in that it means the ability to properly interpret scripts and present the best possible performance.  That top notch performance means more enjoyment for audiences in the long run, which is exactly the case with these episodes.

Geronimo Stilton: Intrigue on the Rodent Express and Other Adventures is available now ins ores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FWQAOUS/ref=s9_simh_gw_p74_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0N4SB5TCEE2XTG37PZRG&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846.  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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.