WB Home Video’s New ‘Peanuts’ DVD Set Will Entertain Audiences Of All Ages

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Home Video

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Home Video

Peanuts is one of the most beloved franchises both in the print realm and that of broadcast television, so it only makes sense that any number of DVDs and Blu-rays have been released (and re-issued) over the years featuring the franchise’s TV specials and comics adaptations.  Those specials and collections have been released in large part through Warner Brothers Home Entertainment.  Late last month, Warner Home Video released yet another new Peanuts collection in the form of Peanuts: Snoopy Tales.  This new two-disc collection of animated shorts is an intriguing new offering from Warner Home Video that is worth at least one watch.  That is due in part to the writing.  This will be discussed shortly.  The shorts’ artwork is just as important to note here as their collective writing.  That will be discussed later.  The voice cast’s work rounds out the set’s most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the collection’s overall presentation.  All things considered, they make Peanuts: Snoopy Tales a collection that is worth at least one watch.

Peanuts: Snoopy Tales is one of the most intriguing Peanuts offerings that Warner Home Video has released to date.  Even being so unlike almost every one of its predecessors, it is still worth at least one watch.  That is due in part to the collection’s overall writing.  Rather than presenting one or two specific stories, this collection presents 32 separate shorts. The shorts in question are comprised of Peanuts strips presented in newspapers throughout the years.  This means that while the stories are not new per se, the shorts give those strips a whole new life and identity here.  On the surface, this is a good thing.  On another level, the shorts’ segments are in themselves so short that audiences will be forced to devote their full attention to each short in order to fully appreciate each short and segment.  That can be both good and bad.  Keeping that in mind, the general writing involved in these shorts shows why it is so important to this collection’s presentation.  It is just one of the key elements to note in the collection’s presentation.  The artwork used in bringing the strips to life on the screen is just as important to the set’s collection as their collective writing and run times.

The writing and run times of the shorts presented in Peanuts: Snoopy Tales is collectively key to the set’s presentation because they are both good and bad all at the same time.  The segments that make up each short are lifted directly from Schulz’ famed comic strips.  They are also short in themselves, essentially forcing audiences to devote more time and attention to each one in order to appreciate the whole of each short.  It is certain to leave audiences divided.  On a more positive note, the artwork used to bring the strips to life on screen will unite audiences in applauding its look.  It is a near mirror image of the designs used in the segments’ print counterparts right down to the minutia of the segments’ backgrounds.  Even the Peanuts gang itself looks almost identical on screen here as they do in print.  Audiences will love that the animators went to such painstaking lengths to duplicate the look of the strips on screen all the way down to the lines showing Woodstock’s flight paths and his word bubbles complete with little lines to show his “words” among so much more detail.  Between these noted details and so much more, it becomes clear that the artwork used in this collection of Peanuts shorts is its most important positive.  While it might be the set’s most important element, it still is not the only remaining important element.  The work of the shorts’ voice cast is important to note, too.

The writing behind the shorts culled for Peanuts: Snoopy Tales and the artwork therein are both key elements to their presentation.  The writing forces audiences to devote their fullest attention to the shorts.  That can be both good and bad.  The artwork presented in each short is really the shorts’ cornerstone.  That is because it makes each short look just like the strips that are enjoyed every day in print.  Having noted all of this, the last element to note here is that of the voice cast’s work.  The voice cast impresses as it brings to life the Peanuts gang in each short.  While obviously not the same cast that brought the kids to life in the original TV specials (and likely not the cast that voiced the kids in the more recent TV specials from the 90s), this voice cast still does an impressive job of bringing Charlie Brown and company to life on screen.  Even as short as each segment is, the voice cast still entertains, paying homage to the work done by its predecessors.  The end result is a collection of performances that audiences of all ages will enjoy.  When those enjoyable performances are joined with artwork that makes Schulz’s comic strips jump from the page to the screen, what audiences get is an extensive group of Peanuts stories that the whole family will enjoy as long as they fully devote themselves to each adventure.

Peanuts: Snoopy Tales is a collection of Peanuts shorts that the whole family will enjoy as long as they fully devote themselves to the truly short stories.  As long as they do, they will find both the shorts’ artwork and the voice cast’s work to be equally worthy of praise.  Keeping that in mind, the combination of all three of these elements makes Peanuts: Snoopy Tales an enjoyable addition to any Peanuts fan’s home DVD library.  It is available now in stores and online.  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.

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WHV Finally Gets It Right On Its Latest Peanuts DVD Release

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Home Video

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Home Video

Warner Home Video has struggled quite a bit in the past year or so with its home releases. The 2013 releases of Tiny Toon Adventures Volume 4, Taz-Mania: Season 2 Part 1, and Hats Off To Dr. Seuss were all troubled with their own problems. 2014 hasn’t exactly been off to much of a better start thanks to the release of The Flintstone Kids: Rockin’ in Bedrock. That release presented only the main Flintstone Kids shorts minus the companion Captain Caveman and Son and Dino shorts. That alone took off major points from that set. But now WHV has finally started to pick up the ball and get things back on the right track thanks to the brand new release of This is America, Charlie Brown. This brand new double-disc has officially made its own spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new DVDs and Blu-rays for families and children. The primary reason for that the features included in this set are both entertaining and educational. Another reason for the set’s enjoyment is the use of both hand drawn animation and historical photos to help illustrate each “lesson.” The last factor to examine in what makes This is America, Charlie Brown a success is its packaging. Each of the noted factors by themselves, play important roles in the success of the set. Together, they make this brand new release one of the year’s best new box sets for families and children.

The first and most important factor in the success of This is America, Charlie Brown is the combination of both entertainment and education. The eight features spread across the set’s two discs educate viewers in such fashion that it doesn’t even feel like viewers are being taught. Thanks to the legacy of the Peanuts gang, it feels more like viewers are going on a fun field trip through America’s history than just learning about history from another documentary. There are even some fun little pop culture references that parents will appreciate along the way. One of those references is to the command module of the Apollo 10 being named Charlie Brown. Lucy comments on this saying that she doesn’t know where such a name could have come from. The kids also see their own comic strip hanging in the Smithsonian Museum of Art. The little reference there is just as funny. On a more subtle level, audiences that know anything about animation history will appreciate Frank Welker (The Real Ghostbusters, Curious George, Garfield & Friends) as the voice of a number of characters here including Wilbur Wright in “The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk.” Gregg Berger (Garfield & Friends, Aahhh!!! Real Monsters, G.I. Joe) joins Welker as the voice of Wilbur’s brother Orville. This isn’t the only feature to which Berger and Welker offer their talents, either. Lou Rawls joins them in “The Music and Heroes of America” and makes the journey all the more enjoyable even as being an educational journey. It serves as one more example of how the combination of education and entertainment is such an important factor in the success of this set. It isn’t the only important factor to the set, either.

The combination of entertainment and education in the features that make up This Is America, Charlie Brown is a solid foundation for the mini-series in whole. Just as important to the set’s success is the use of both hand drawn animation and historical photos to help illustrate and advance each story. Kids will be entertained by the hand drawn animation. And parents that grew up in the days of true animation will appreciate the original animation style of this Peanuts presentation. Those behind the mini-series balanced the animated segments with just enough historical photos to help drive home the stories in each feature. They even included some vintage video to help advance each “lesson,” too. And that video is just as balanced. The resultant effect is a presentation in each feature that will keep viewers of any age fully engaged from start to finish. It’s one more aspect of the whole mini-series that maintains the set’s value.

The visual presentation of the mini-series’ features and the ability of the features to entertain and educate without being too outright about their educational purpose are key to the success of This Is America, Charlie Brown. There is still one more factor to examine in the set in considering what makes it worth the purchase and the watch. That factor is the set’s overall packaging. Both of the discs in the set are placed on their own spindle inside the case. On one level, this protects the discs from scratching one another, thus increasing their life span. On another level, it minimizes the size of the box used to contain the discs. The bigger picture of this is that it conserves space on any viewer’s DVD rack. So not only is the mini-series in whole educational and entertaining, its case is ergonomic. Sure, there’s little else to the set whether extrinsic or even intrinsic. It’s a bare bones presentation. But these factors together make This Is America, Charlie Brown a much needed win for Warner Home Video and for fans that have waited so many years for this mini-series to get a proper release.

This Is America, Charlie Brown is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct online from the WB Shop at http://www.wbshop.com/product/this+is+america%2C+charlie+brown-+the+complete+series+dvd+1000411223.do. 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.