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  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.   Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Brother Bear 2 A Simple, Fun Story

Courtesy:  Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Disney’s Brother Bear 2 is one of the better of the crop of sequels released by Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.  Unlike sequels such as Mulan II and The Hunchback of Notre Dame II, Brother Bear 2 lives up to the reputation and label of a sequel.  This roughly hour and five minute long movie picks up not long after the events of its predecessor.  Kenai and Koda are enjoying life as bear brothers out in the wilderness.  Enter Kenai’s old childhood friend Nita (Mandy Moore), and just as with other Disney romances, it leads to a very difficult choice to be made by the protagonist (I.E. Kenai).  Kenai is forced to choose between life as a bear or returning to human form so that he and Nita can marry.  Sure, it’s a predictable story.  But the messages of love and sacrifice make up for that predictability.  Add in a relatively short run time, the return of both Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis as everybody’s favorite pair of moose, musical backing from none other than Melissa Etheridge (who can easily be mistaken for Sean Lennon), and animation that is just as solid as the previous movie in this franchise, and viewers get a movie that actually stands out as one of the better sequels in Disney’s modern era.

The central plot of Brother Bear 2 has already been explained.  Just as the story is simple enough for viewers of all ages to understand, so are the messages tied into the story.  The most obvious message of Brother Bear 2 is the same as any romance movie.  That message is that true love conquers all.  Tied directly into this is that true love means true sacrifice.  And a sacrifice (albeit a predictable one) is made.  What that sacrifice is will be left for viewers to find out for themselves.  It’s one from which parents will take more value than their children.  Though, as heartwarming as the story is, the sacrifice in question will mean more to children when they get older as this movie is worth more than just a passing glance once or twice.

The messages contained in Brother Bear 2 are ones that both children and adults will value and appreciate with each viewing.  Appreciation of the messages will also lead to appreciation of the movie’s central story.  It’s a relatively easy story to follow.  This applies to both children and their parents.  And unlike Brother Bear, the story it’s just over an hour long. The run time on the new triple disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack lists this animated feature at seventy three minutes.  The actual feature itself runs just over an hour.  This is a good fit for younger viewers, especially considering the general attention span of the movie’s intended audience.

The story and run time of Brother Bear 2 are the most notable of this movie’s positives.  Though there is more that can be said of it.  Another of its positives is the musical backing of another famous musician.  Melissa Etheridge explains in the movie’s behind the music feature, explaining how she came to be part of the movie and what writing and performing its songs meant to her.  Her discussion of the song played in the movie’s closing minutes (that moment won’t be given away as it would be a spoiler) helps audiences to better understand the importance not just of the music, but of the moment in question.  Understanding this, one can’t help but go back and watch the moment in question again, as well as other important moments throughout the movie.  Watching them again (as Rutt and Tuke note in the bonus commentary from Brother Bear) gives them whole new meaning.  The same applies in watching the movie for its animation.

The animation of Brother Bear 2 is just as impressive as in Brother Bear.  That can especially be noted of the sequences involving the Northern Lights.  One can’t tell if they were digitally created or crafted cell by cell, frame by frame.  And what is believed once more to be the Northern Canadian wilderness is just as impressive as a background to the story.  The detail in the snowcapped mountains and the waterfalls is beautiful.  It shows yet again that digital and hand drawn animation can co-exist and really should rather than letting digital animation take over as much as it has.  It would be wonderful to see not just Disney but every company that sets out to make an animated feature do what this movie and Brother Bear 2 have done.  Brother Bear 2 is available now alongside Brother Bear in a brand new triple-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack.  It’s available in stores and online.  It can’ be ordered online via the Disney Store at and via the Walt Disney Home Entertainment store at

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at