Antboy Is Small, But Has The Heart Of Its Blockbuter Brethren

Courtesy:  Cinedigm

Courtesy: Cinedigm

Cinedigm’s Danish import Antboy is a surprisingly entertaining movie for anyone that is a fan of the superhero genre.  There is plenty to be said of this mostly family friendly flick beginning with the fact that it is indeed family friendly.  This ties directly in to the movie’s script, which will be discussed momentarily.  Just as noteworthy is the work put in to dub the movie’s originally Danish language into English.  Unlike other foreign films that have been dubbed for English audiences, this one actually impresses to a point.  And last but not least, the movie’s comic book on-screen look puts the finishing touch to the presentation.  The combination of all three of these factors together makes Antboy a movie that while hardly a blockbuster caliber work, one worth watching as a family at least once.

The most noticeable aspect of Antboy that audiences will appreciate is that unlike so many of its major blockbuster counterparts, it is actually a family friendly movie.  It seems an increasing trend nowadays for both Marvel and DC to make their movies dark and gritty.  Why?  If not that, then they are being rebooted with an eye specifically towards teen audiences.  The upcoming reboot of Marvel’s Fantastic Four movie and DC’s upcoming The Flash series are prime examples of that trend.  On the avenue of dark and gritty, one look at DC’s Man of Steel and Dark Knight Trilogy are proof of the trend towards darker and grittier movies.  They aren’t the only ones that are following that path, either.  Considering all of this, it’s nice to see a movie like Antboy come along.  It isn’t dark and gritty.  What’s more, it presents some wonderful themes of friendship and believing in one’s own self.  Even better is that the movie’s hero, Pelle, isn’t the standard brooding anti-hero figure that has become so popular among its big brothers in theaters and on television.  This factor alone makes Antboy well worth at least one watch by audiences of any age.

By direct relation to Antboy’s family friendly nature is its script.  It takes a cue from Marvel’s Spiderman.  But it doesn’t go so far as to directly rip off said franchise.  Instead, Pelle is bitten by a genetically modified ant, and ends up developing the powers of an ant.  And fittingly, his arch nemesis is a baddie by the name of “The Flea.”  “The Flea” is a former scientist whose research on ants had been cut by the head of his place of employment.  The story presented by “The Flea” on his origin is actually interesting in that it makes him something of a sympathetic character strangely enough.  He was just a good guy who had been poorly treated by those over him and was pushed too far, thus leading to becoming the villain that he was.  It’s just another part of the script that makes the whole story easier to believe.  Pelle’s eventual realization that it’s okay to not be popular through it all makes the script even better.  It’s another example of how this story at least strives to set itself apart from its big budget brethren.  Those movies see their main characters struggle with their dual identities and lives.  In the case of this story, the main figure embraces his two separate roles.  Having so much difference from all of the major superhero blockbuster is a big plus to this movie.  Add in the fact that it is family friendly and it gains even more footing.  There’s still more worth noting in the movie’s overall success, too.  Another factor to note in the movie’s success is its dubbing.

Audiences will note in watching Antboy that this movie is not originally American.  There are subtitles used in certain scenes.  That’s the first hint.  And watching the actors speak, audiences will note a discrepancy between the movement of the cast’s mouth movements and the actual words being heard.  At first one might think that it’s just a sync issue.  But a closer watch reveals that it’s actually dubbing.  This movie is Danish in origin.  So obviously the actors spoke in their native language.  To the credit of those charged with dubbing it into English, they did quite the impressive job of carrying out their duties.  As noted, the difference in the dubbing and original speaking parts is difficult to notice if one isn’t looking closely.  That is a tribute to the painstaking efforts of those responsible for translating the movie into English.  It’s yet another positive to a movie that while it will likely never be as big as its blockbuster counterparts, is just as good.

The translation of the original speaking parts from Danish to English was done with the utmost expertise. The same care as taken to separate Antboy from bigger name blockbusters. From making it family friendly to giving it its own identity, Cinedigm and all of the other companies responsible for bringing this story to American audiences are to be applauded for their efforts. There is still one more factor involved in this movie for which those companies deserve respect and applause. That final factor is the movie’s look. It was actually made to look like a comic book that had jumped right off the printed page. The animated panels and the movie’s very look together give this movie the truest feel of a real life comic book since 2002’s Sam Raimi helmed Spiderman ironically enough. That look combined with every factor previously noted becomes the final touch on this movie. It rounds out the entire presentation and makes it a movie that every family will enjoy even with just a single watch.

In the end, Antboy will never be as big as the films being churned out by Marvel and DC. But the reailty of the movie is that regardless of this, it is still a largely family friendly film. At the same time, it maintains its own place in the pantheon of superhero flicks. And in the arena of independently released superhero movies, it is one that any audience will appreciate whether it be in one watch or more.

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Shout! Kids’ Latest Pound Puppies Compilation Is Another Great Watch For The Whole Family

Courtesy;  Shout! Factory/Shout! Kids/Hub/Hasbro Studios

Courtesy; Shout! Factory/Shout! Kids/Hub/Hasbro Studios

Shout! Kids released the latest collection of episodes from Hub’s award-winning series Pound Puppies this week.  The latest collection of episodes from this update on the original 1980s series is just as much a jewel as the series’ previous compilation DVDs.  The episodes included in this compilation make it so enjoyable first and foremost because of the episodes’ writing.  By connection, audiences will appreciate the subtle lessons taught through some of the episodes.  Intentional or not, there are some subtle lessons taught through some of this set’s episodes.  It makes the set all the richer.  And last but not least, viewers (especially parents) will appreciate this latest compilation is the list of guest appearances.  Some very big names lend their talents to Pound Puppies in this collection.  Whether it be the guest talent, the lessons, the writing or all three factors together, Pound Puppies: A Perfect Match proves to be another wonderful set of episodes for the whole family.

The writing behind this collection of episodes is the central point of impact for this DVD.  Those that are familiar with this incarnation of Pound Puppies and with the original series from the 1980s know that both series emulate the classic WWII-themed sitcom Hogan’s Heroes in their theme songs.  The new Pound Puppies has taken things to a higher level, actually giving Ace and his canine friends an underground base just like Col. Hogan and his Allied forces friends in Hogan’s Heroes.  As viewers will see in this set’s opening episode, the writers even emulate Hogan’s Heroes in terms of the writing, too.  In “The Yipper Caper”, viewers see McLeash bring in a giant dog feeding machine just to impress his superiors much like Col. Klink would do in Hogan’s Heroes.  Klink was always taking on some wild, hair-brained scheme to impress his higher-ups.  On the other side of things, audiences hear Ace tell Yipper that the Pound Puppies have homes outside the shelter, but they stay there to help others.  Audiences familiar with Hogan’s Heroes will again recognize quite the similarity there.  This writing is a wonderful homage to the golden era of television and takes things one step farther than the original Pound Puppies series.  That homage is just the tip of the iceberg in what makes the writing so fun in these episodes.  Just as impressive to note is the fact that the show’s writers are able to time and again find ways for the Pound Puppies to complete their missions without McLeash ever knowing.  This is the case throughout all five episodes, not just the opener.  Again, this is an homage to Hogan’s Heroes.  It’s one more way to potentially get young viewers started on the road to an appreciation for television’s Golden Era.  And for that, the show’s writers are more than deserving of their applause.

As one should be able to tell by now, the writing behind the episodes included in the latest Pound Puppies compilation DVD is key to the collection’s overall enjoyment.  Even older viewers will appreciate the writing thanks to its throwback to what is one of television’s greatest ever sitcoms.  Just as important to these episodes are the lessons taught through the episodes.  “Hello Kitten” teaches a not so subtle lesson about the ability of people to get along and be friends despite opposing backgrounds.  It does this by having the youngest of the pound puppies help a kitten find his perfect person.  There’s just one problem.  The Pound Puppies’ feline counterparts, led by a feline mirror image of Ace is set out to keep the young kitten from becoming friends with dogs and finding a person for the kitten themselves.  In the end, the cats learn that it’s okay to be friends with dogs.  The secondary lesson taught here is that one must let go of things from the past.  All holding onto the past does is make a person bitter.  “Beauty is only Fur Deep” teaches a lesson about being one’s self when a much talked about dog comes to Kennel 17.  The Pound Puppies have their hands…*ahem*…paws full when the seemingly humble dog turns quite self-centered on getting a new coat of fur.  It creates lots of problems for the Pound Puppies especially when he shoots down the little girl they said was his perfect person. He of course learns a rather valuable lesson from this experience that viewers of all ages will appreciate.

The lessons taught through the episodes culled for Pound Puppies: A Perfect Match and the general writing that pays homage to Hogan’s Heroes both make this latest compilation of episodes just as enjoyable as previous Pound Puppies DVDs. There is one more factor to consider in this DVD that makes its episodes so fun. That final factor is the list of guest stars that lent its talents to each episode. J.K. Simmons (Spiderman 1 3) and Tress MacNeille both share their talents in the episodes included in this DVD. Go figure, Simmons voices a character in “Working K-9 To 5” that is a newspaper man. Hmmmmm, now where have we seen that before? His character is even presented much in the same vein as J. Jonah Jameson from director Sam Raimi’s Spiderman Trilogy. MacNeille (The Simpsons, Futurama) voices a fellow canine in another episode. It’s only a bit part. But parents that know McNeille’s voice will love hearing her voice here, too. And of course, the true queen of comedy herself, Betty White, returns once more as the voice of McLeash’s not so nice mother. These are just some of the guests that appear in the episodes collected for this DVD. Also on board on these episodes are: Tara Strong (Rugrats, The Powerpuff Girls, The Fairly Odd Parents), E.G. Daily (Rugrats, The Powerpuff Girls, Chalk Zone), Diedrich Bader (Batman: The Brave & The Bold, Napoleon Dynamite, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy), Danny Cooksey (Salute Your Shorts, Diff’rent Strokes, Tiny Toon Adventures) and so many others. The fact that so many well-known actors and actresses would lend their talents to these episodes shows just how respected a series it proves to be. Parents will recognize most (if not all) of the names mentioned here. And that alone is enough to give the DVD just one watch if not more. And it is most definitely deserving of far more than just one watch.

Pound Puppies: A Perfect Match is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory and Shout! Kids is available online at and 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