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.

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.   

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.

Shout! Factory, MLB Productions Announce Release Date, Specs For 2021 World Series Presentations

Courtesy: Shout! Factory.MLB Productions

Atlanta Braves fans will get to relive the glory of their team’s 2021 season next month.

Shout! Factory and MLB Productions are scheduled to release The 2021 World Series Collector’s Edition and 2021 World Series Film Dec. 14. The announcement was made Thursday through a news release. The World Series set will release exclusively on Blu-ray while the companion 2021 World Series Film will release on separate DVD and Blu-ray platforms.

The 2021 World Series Collector’s Edition will feature the entire 2021 World Series in its six-game run. Additionally it will feature highlights from the Braves’ post season as part of the set’s eight-disc presentation, along with a companion booklet loaded with extra trivia about the games. Four different audio options will also feature as part of the collection.

The 2021 World Series Collector’s Edition will retail for MSRP of $74.98. The DVD presentation of 2021 World Series Film will retail for MSRP of $19.98 while the BD presentation will retail for $26.98.

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Websitehttps://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

More information on the sets 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.

Shout! Factory’s 35th Anniversary Re-Issue Of ‘The Transformers: The Movie’ Will Appeal To A Very Targeted Audience

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/eOne

It’s hard to believe but this year marks 35 years since the landmark presentation, The Transformers: The Movie debuted.  In celebration of the anniversary, Shout! Factory re-issued the movie again Aug. 3 on separate steelbook and Blu-ray/DVD presentations.  The re-issue, which in fact comes five years after the release of the company’s 30th anniversary re-issue of the movie, is sadly a disappointing presentation.  That is due in large part to its featured bonus content, which will be discussed a little later.  For all that said content does to detract from the presentation, it does have at least one positive to note in its restored look.  This will be discussed shortly.  The one other positive worth noting is the re-issue’s pricing.  It will be discussed later, too.  Each item plays its own important part to the whole of this re-issue.  All things considered, they still make the presentation sadly a disappointing new offering from Shout! Factory that does little to further the legacy of The Transformers.

Shout! Factory’s recently released 35th anniversary of The Transformers: The Movie is sadly, a disappointing offering from the company.  It is another example of how far the company has fallen from its former place as the leader in home entertainment.  It is not a complete failure, though.  The most notable of its very few positives is its look.  As noted on the presentation’s packaging, it is presented this time out in a new, restored look thanks to a 4K scan of the original film.  The restoration’s impact is clear right from the movie’s outset.  The rough, hand-drawn anime look from the original movie is still evident here.  At the same time, there is a certain definition to that look.  That is not to say that the charm of the original hand-drawn look is gone by any means.  Rather, it is just that evident that said look has been improved upon without losing the look of the original cut.  Yes, it is an aesthetic element, but it in itself makes the re-issue worth watching at least once.

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/eOne

While the newly restored footage of Transformers: The Movie is a positive that viewers cannot ignore, it is one of very few positives to this set, next to its pricing.  That item will be addressed later.  The bonus content featured with this re-issue detracts considerably from the presentation.  According to information provided late this summer, this latest re-issue features a handful of so-called new bonus features.  In reality, there are three new bonuses: new feature-length storyboards, new deleted and alternate sequences, and a new interview with singer-songwriter John Bush, who provided much of the music for the movie’s soundtrack.  This all sounds great on paper, but in reality, it collectively does little if anything to enhance the viewing presentation.  The interview with Bush for instance finds him talking about how the song, ‘The Touch’ was created.  There is no real insight into its connection with the movie.  Along with the discussion, audiences also get an acoustic, in-studio performance of the song as well as a performance of ‘The Dare,’ another of the songs featured in the movie’s soundtrack.  The storyboards and deleted scenes are just that.  The deleted and alternate scenes are essentially one in the same.  Just as concerning (if not more so) is that there is no sound in the storyboards, which are their own presentation and the deleted/alternate scenes.  As a result, audiences have to essentially guess as which scenes are alternate and deleted.  If any one good thing can be noted here, it is that these same “bonuses” are featured in the movie’s 4K UHD and Blu-ray/DVD combo packs.  Even that is not enough to offset the negative of the content or lack thereof.  At least the more enjoyable bonus content from the movie’s 30th anniversary presentation is featured in this re-issue.  Keeping all of this in mind, the “new” bonus content featured in this 35th anniversary re-issue of The Transformers: The Movie is more burden to the presentation than boon.

For all of the concerns raised by the “new” bonus content in this presentation, there is at least one more positive for the most devoted fans of The Transformers.  That positive is the pricing.  Speaking more specifically, the pricing for the BD/DVD combo pack is that positive.  The average price point for that platform is $15.  That price was reached by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Books-A-Million, and Shout! Factory’s store.  It was not listed through Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Target at the time of this review’s posting.  By comparison, the average price point for the 4K UHD set is $22.19.  That price was reached by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Books-A-Million, and Shout! Factory’s store.  The movie’s steelbook presentation averages at $24.73.  This is all important to note because the only thing that separates the three platforms is their box art.  Yes, that’s it.  Each platform has the same content right down to the bonus content.  To that end the most devoted Transformers fans will do well to save themselves some money and just get the standard Blu-ray/DVD combo pack if they get this 25th anniversary presentation of The Transformers: The Movie if they buy it at all.  Noting again, the lackluster bonus content against the slightly better look of the film, there is little motivation for most audiences to buy this set if they already own the movie’s 30th anniversary re-issue.

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/eOne

Shout! Factory and eOne’s recently released 35th Anniversary re-issue of The Transformers: The Movie is a surprisingly disappointing new presentation of the classic animated feature.  It is not a total failure, though.  Its restored 4K scan is a noticeable improvement on the look from the movie’s 30th anniversary edition without losing the warmth of the movie’s look from that re-issue.  The major shortfall for this movie comes in the form of its “new” bonus content.  Said content is anything but a real bonus.  That is because of how little it does to enhance the viewing experience in comparison to the bonus content carried over from the 30th anniversary re-issue.  It will appeal primarily to the most devoted fans of The Transformers overall.  Considering that the overall content is featured in each of the re-issue’s three separate platforms (yes, three), it makes the pricing for the movie’s Blu-ray/DVD combo pack positive in its own right.  That is in comparison to the pricing for the movie’s separate 4K UHD/BD set and steelbook set.  Keeping all of this in mind, this latest re-issue of The Transformers: The Movie proves itself a presentation that will appeal to a very targeted audience. 

The Transformers: The Movie’s 35th anniversary re-issue is available now. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available along with the company’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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, Paramount’s ‘Explorers’ Blu-ray Re-Issue Is Fully Deserving Of Being Called A “Shout! Select” Presentation

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Paramount Pictures

When Paramount Pictures’ kid-centered science fiction flick, Explorers made its theatrical debut in 1985, the movie almost immediately bombed.  It was panned by multiple media outlets, with positive reviews few and far between. However as time went on and technology advanced, the creation of home video technology helped give the movie new life and appreciation among fans of the genre.  It has maintained that status quite well in the decades since, too.  This past May, the movie became one of the latest entries in Shout! Factory’s ongoing “Shout! Select” series, and re-issued on Blu-ray.  The re-issue, complete with an expansive amount of new bonus content, is certain to help build the movie’s status even more.  That appreciation will come in part thanks to the movie’s story, which will be discussed shortly.  The noted bonus content that accompanies the movie’s recent re-issue does its own share to build the movie’s appreciation even more. It will be discussed a little later.  The movie’s general presentation in its new re-issue also plays into its appeal and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the re-issue’s presentation.  All things considered, they make this presentation unquestionably one of this year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.

Shout! Factory and Paramount’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of Paramount’s Explorers is a presentation that is well-deserving of its spot in Shout! Factory’s ongoing “Shout! Select” series.  It is just as deserving of a spot in any science fiction fan’s library.  Its story is just one way in which this is proven.  The story follows three young boys – Ben (Ethan Hawke – Training Day, Dead Poets Society, Before Midnight), Daren (Jason Pressen – Gremlins 2, Lady in White, The Stone Boy) and Wolfgang (River Phoenix – Stand By Me, My Own Private Idaho, The Mosquito Coast) – who travel into space and meet a pair of aliens who like themselves, are adolescents.  They also happen to be brother and sister.  The journey happens as a result of messages that the aliens sending messages to Ben in his sleep that instruct Ben on how to build the spacecraft that takes the boys to meet the aliens, Wak and Neek. Getting off topic a bit here, but audiences who watch History Channel’s Ancient Aliens will find this interesting since at least one episode has made the allegation tht aliens have been in telepathic connection with certain humans for centuries. It makes this aspect of the story, in hindsight, more interesting. Getting back on topic, Wak is played by Robert Picardo (Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek Voyager, Innerspace) while Need is played by Leslie Rickert.  The story is relatively simple.  There is no earth-shaking revelation, just a first contact between two species and of course the revelation as to why Ben and his friends were chosen and why Wak, his sister, and other alien beings stay hidden from humans.  That revelation comes as audiences find out that Wak and Neek know what they know as a result of watching human TV shows and movies.  This is really where things actually get interesting.  This statement is powerful because just like humans got a certain vision of aliens from movies, it was those same movies (and TV shows) that led Wak and Neek to believe humans were a certain way.  On a side note, Neek tells the boys that what they have seen of humans on TV and in movies is why they and other alien species have remained hidden from humans.  That in itself is a telling statement and rings so true today.  Sure, as Ben points out, those are just movies and TV shows, but looking at human society today, it would be no wonder that any beings from other worlds would continue to hide from humans.  Humans really are, largely, not ready to be introduced to beings from other worlds. So as simple as the whole story is, there is still some depth to the story.  The whole thing is really just a family friendly celebration of childhood innocence and wonderment about the world beyond Earth that will connect with grown-ups just as much as children even today.  The story’s finale is bittersweet but still happy and fulfilling, and considering how long the original finale was going to be, the featured finale makes for a fitting end to the movie.  This critic will avoid spoilers for those who have yet to watch the movie, but when those audiences watch, they will agree the ending works quite well even though Ben and company do not learn the secrets of the universe.  That finale is addressed in the new bonus content featured in the movie’s new re-issue.

The bonus content featured in the new re-issue of Explorers reveals that the movie’s original end was far different and longer than that presented in the final cut.  It involved the boys going to another planet and getting stranded there, according to the movie’s writer, Eric Luke in the feature, “A Science Fiction Fairy Tale: The Story of Explorers.”  It is a good thing that the noted third act did not happen, considering this.  That is because by Luke’s description, it would have ruined the movie.  On the same note, the deleted final ending cut that is presented in the deleted scenes just makes no sense.  Again, it makes the presented final cut’s ending far more fitting.  On a related note, one of the movie’s executive producers reveals that as the movie progressed, it apparently went over on time.  He never comes out and says it, but the figure in question seems to hint that the movie also went over on budget.  Those two items combined would explain why the movie presented in the final cut was what it was.  Again thankfully though, it is good that audiences got what they did even though allegedly the final cut was “unfinished.”  There are other, lighter notes in “The Story of Explorers” that add their own interest, such as the revelation that Luke’s father (no puns, please) actually worked at NASA when he was a boy, which clearly led to his love of all things science fiction.  It would also explain why this movie, even with its story, also really seems like a love letter to classic sci-fi cinema.  There are references, after all to great classics, such as War of the Worlds, It Came From Outer Space, This Island Earth, and even Forbidden Planet throughout the movie.  Additionally, Luke reveals that the use of the trash can on the Thunder Road came from something in his personal life. Audiences will be left to discover that story for themselves.  It is an anecdote that makes for plenty of smiles and laughs.  Additionally, he reveals that a letter that he wrote to none other than Bruce Springsteen resulted in the use of the name Thunder Road for the boys’ spaceship.  On yet another note, Director Joe Dante reveals through his own comments that this movie was Hawke’s acting debut, and that prior to being offered the role of Ben, Hawke had no acting experience, yet he was so much better to Dante than any of the “fake” (Dante’s own word) other child actors out there at the time.  Hawke’s own discussion on playing Ben and his reaction to the movie’s initial failure shows so much humility from himself.  It is just one more of so many items in “The Story of Explorers” that makes this bonus feature so enjoyable.  The new “Deleted Scenes” feature is also of note in examining the bonus content’s role in the movie.

As already noted, one of the deleted scenes featured in the movie’s new bonus “Deleted Scenes” feature is a long, drawn out finale that clearly while entertaining, was not needed.  It involved Ben and company taking on the bullies from the movie’s opening scene as well as some other items.  Ultimately, audiences will agree that the sequence in question simply was not needed and that the final presentation was a fitting end to the story.  Another deleted scene that really proved unnecessary was the brief family meal scene with Ben, his parents, and his brother.  It is through this scene that Dante reveals Ben’s brother is the same boy who is seen at the drive-in movie with his girlfriend, watching the cheesy “Starkiller” movie.  Though Dante alleges that he felt the scene was needed, this critic’s own view is that the scene was really unnecessary, especially since Ben’s unnamed brother did not even really notice that the Thunder Road was not part of the movie that he and his girlfriend were watching.  Also proving ultimately unnecessary was the birthday party scene and even the extended scene in which the police officers search the forest after the fair ride that became the Thunder Road went barreling past them down the road.  That is a scene that while it would have worked in the final cut, being so brief, was just as easily removed.  Keeping all of these scenes in mind, and Dante’s revelation that they were only some of many more scenes that did not make the final cut, the final presentation really gains even more traction and appreciation.  When everything presented in the “Deleted Scenes” feature and the expansive “The Story of Explorers” feature is considered together, that whole makes the movie’s new bonus content just as engaging and entertaining as the movie itself.  It makes the final cut all the more enjoyable, and is collectively just one more part of what makes this presentation so wonderful.  The movie’s general presentation works with everything noted to make for even more enjoyment and appreciation for the movie.

The general presentation of Explorers presents the movie in its home release and its original theatrical release.  The difference between the two cuts is subtle at best.  It is a difference of roughly three minutes give or take a few seconds here and there.  The two cuts are really separated only through Picardo’s improve “set” when Wak and Need first meet Ben and his friends.  As Dante reveals in “The Story of Explorers,” Picardo’s performance here was fully improve.  He adds that Picardo went on for a bit (as is now know, approximately three minutes or a little more), and that a good portion of that improv set had to be cut along with so many of the movie’s deleted scenes after studio execs pushed up the movie’s release date as a means to cut costs and production time.  This is such a subtle difference between the two cuts, but audiences who watch the “extended” cut will have that much more to enjoy from Picardo as well as the rest of the cast. That Shout! Factory and Paramount would include both versions of the movie here so as to allow audiences to compare the two versions adds that much more appeal to the presentation.  When this is considered along with the impact of the story and bonus content, the whole makes Explorers all the more enjoyable in its new presentation.

Shout! Factory and Paramount’s new Blu-ray re-issue of Explorers is a welcome addition to Shout! Factory’s “Shout! Select” series and to any true science fiction fan’s library.  That is proven in part through its story.  The story is simple and family friendly.  One part story of excitement about space travel and the unknown from a childhood vantage point and one part love letter to classic sci-fi, the whole makes for a relatively quick (but not too quick) take of space travel and friendship.  The new bonus content that accompanies the movie’s recent re-issue makes for its own appeal.  That is because of the background that it provides with the story.  It helps audiences realize what the story might have been and in some cases thankful it was not what it might have been.  The movie’s general presentation, showing the movie in its home video presentation and its original theatrical cut, puts things into even more perspective for audiences, even though the difference between the two cuts is so subtle.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s re-issue.  All things considered, they make the movie fully deserving of its place in Shout! Factory’s “Shout! Select” series and in any sci-fi fan’s library.

Shout! Factory and Paramount’s Blu-ray re-issue of Explorers is available now.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available at:

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Shout! Factory, eOne Partner For 35th Anniversary Re-Issue of ‘Transformers: The Movie’

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/eOne

Shout! Factory will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the original release of Transformers: The Movie this summer.

The home entertainment company, which last re-issued the movie on Blu-ray in 2016, is scheduled to re-issue it again Aug. 3 on a new 4K UHD/BD steelbook presentation. It marks the first time that the movie has seen release on that platform. Additionally, the movie will see release on a standard edition 4K UHD/BD package and separate 35th anniversary BD combo pack platform.

The BD and 4K UHD/BD combo packs will feature the movie in separate HD fullscreen and widescreen presentation. Additionally, the 4K UHD/BD combo pack will feature new bonus content that was not featured in the movie’s previous 2016 BD re-issue as well as the bonus content featured in that release.

The full list of the movie’s bonus content is noted below.

   *New Feature-Length Storyboards, including deleted, alternate and extended sequences

·        *New Fathom Events 30th Anniversary Featurette, including Stan Bush’s acoustic performances of “The Touch” and “Dare”

·        ‘Til All Are One – A comprehensive documentary looking back at THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE with members of the cast and crew, including story consultant Flint Dille, cast members Gregg Berger, Neil Ross, Dan Gilvezan, singer/songwriter Stan Bush, composer Vince Dicola and others!

·        Audio Commentary with Director Nelson Shin, story consultant Flint Dille and star Susan Blu

·        Featurettes

·        Animated Storyboards

·        Trailers and TV Spots

*exclusive to the Limited Edition SteelBook and 4K UHD releases

Audiences in theUK will see the movie’s re-issue come in September. An exact release date is under consideration. Viewers who pre-order the movie now will receive a bonus 18″X24″ lithograph with new art by Matt Ferguson while supplies last.

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available along with the company’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.shoutfactory.com

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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, MLB Productions Hit It Out Of The Park Yet Again With 2020 World Series Collector’s Edition Box Set

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/MLB Productions

The 2021 Major League Baseball season will start on time.  Unlike last year’s shortened season, this year will feature spring training in whole – starting Sunday, Feb. 28 – and the league’s entire 162-game schedule will kick off Apr. 1, with all 30 clubs hitting diamonds across the country.  While audiences still have more than a week left to wait for the start of the 2021 season, MLB Productions and Shout! Factory have just the thing for audiences to pass the time.  The companies partnered to release the 2020 World Series Collector’s Edition last week.  The eight-disc set’s release continues a long-running partnership between the companies and is just as enjoyable as the two sides’ previous full World Series box sets.  That is proven in part through the set’s very presentation.  This will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content that accompanies the set adds to the set’s appeal.  It will be discussed a little later.  The set’s companion booklet rounds out its most important items and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the collection.  All things considered, they make the 2020 World Series Collector’s Edition yet another great presentation for any baseball fan, especially if those fans Los Angeles Dodgers loyalists.

The 2020 World Series Collector’s Edition continues a long trend of successful home releases from MLB Productions and Shout! Factory that goes back many years.  It  has  much to offer audiences regardless of team loyalty,  beginning with its very presentation.  Audiences get here, the whole of the six-game 2020 World Series from its first pitch to its last right from the original broadcasts on FOX.  As with the existing World Series sets from MLB Productions and Shout! Factory, the commercials are gone, shortening the presentation to a point.  Adding to appeal, audiences have multiple listening options.  Fans can listen separately to the FOX broadcast team’s audio throughout the series, as well as from the Dodgers’ own radio affiliate and in Spanish for those audiences, too.  There are some audiences out there who, regardless of team affiliation, have open said over the years that they prefer their teams’ radio broadcasts the TV broadcast coverage.  So once again, that will certainly add to the enjoyment since each broadcast is its own presentation.  Going back to the very presentation of the game, maybe there were those who might have been unable to watch the World Series for one reason or another.  Now those viewers and everyone else can enjoy the game at their own pace, even being able to pause the game when they need to maybe go use the restroom or get a snack.  No doubt, this will appeal greatly to a wide range of audiences.  It will certainly allow viewers to enjoy the annual Fall Classic at their own pace as they count the days to the start of the 2021 season.  It is just one part of what makes the set so enjoyable.  The bonus content that comes with the full world series set will appeal even more.

The bonus content in question comes in the form of the Dodgers’ key wins in Game 3 of the National League Divisional Series and Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.  The Dodgers routed the San Diego Padres in Game 3 of the NLDS to move on to the NLCS to face the Atlanta Braves.  The Dodgers would then defeat the Braves in seven, with that deciding game being close at 4-3 the final.  Audiences are reminded that the Padres and Dodgers had an intense rivalry taking place last season.  That included some moments of heightened emotions during the regular season and the NLDS.  Audiences will see some of those contentious emotions in the Game 3 broadcast, too.  Staying on that topic, that rivalry looks to resume this season, as both teams have been very active in bolstering their rosters during the offseason.  To that end, audiences will likely see more tension between the two sides this year.  On the other side, with the NLCS, the battle between the Braves and Dodgers was obviously hard-fought, going right down to the last inning of the series’ last game.  Audiences will thrill at every at bat and every pitch and catch in this fateful game.  Honestly, real fans (again regardless of team loyalty) will watch those two games before the world series, to really get the full effect and appreciation for the Dodgers’ road to the championship.  When they are considered along with the set’s full World Series presentation, the overall experience that audiences get is fully immersive, engaging, and entertaining.  While the primary and secondary content featured in the 2020 World Series Collector’s Edition goes a long way toward making the set so enjoyable, it collectively is just a portion of what audiences will appreciate about the presentation.  The companion booklet that comes with the collection puts the final touch to the collection’s presentation.

This year is hardly the first that a World Series set from Shout! Factory and MLB Productions has ever included a companion booklet.  Building on that, the booklet featured with this set is just as important to the collection as those featured with the companies’ existing World Series collections.  Audiences get lots of trivia and information that relates to each game within the series that maybe the broadcast teams missed.  For instance, audiences learn thanks to the booklet’s information, Clayton Kershaw passed Justin Verlander for the most strikeouts ever in the post season during Game 5 of the World Series.  There is even a little bit of background information on the NLDS and NLCS games here.  Viewers learn through the companion booklet, that  Los Angeles’ Game 7 win over Atlanta in the NLCS made the team the fourth MLB team to come back from 2-0 and 3-1 separations to win a best of seven series.  That speaks to the team’s never-say-die attitude last season.  It was that attitude (and of course a bad call by Tampa Bay’s manager in Game 6 to change pitchers) that ultimately led the Dodgers to last season’s title.  Yet another interesting fact revealed in the companion booklet is that in Game 1 of the World Series, is that in that game, Mookie Betts became the first player since Babe Ruth to be walked and to steal two bases in the same inning of a World Series game.  That shows talent and respect/fear that the opposing team had for him.  That is a big statement.  When this tidbit is considered along with the other items noted here and so much more information, no doubt is left that the companion booklet that comes with the 2020 World Series Collector’s Edition is just as important to the engagement and entertainment of the set as the rest of the set’s content.  All things considered, the set becomes another must have for any MLB fan.

Shout! Factory and MLB Productions’ presentation of the 2020 World Series Collector’s Edition is a presentation that baseball fans and Los Angeles Dodgers fans alike will welcome into their homes.  Whether watched ahead of the start of the 2021 MLB season, during or even after, this collection does everything right.  Its presentation presents audiences with the full 2020 World Series to watch at their own pace and with three separate listening options.  The pivotal NLDS Game 3 and NLCS Game 7 as bonus content adds even more enjoyment to the presentation.  The games help to show how hard this Dodgers club fought to get to the pennant in 2020.  The companion booklet that comes with the set once again adds its own layer of enjoyment to the whole.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the set.  All things considered, they make this presentation yet another impressive offering from MLB Productions and Shout! Factory that any baseball fan will appreciate.  It is available now.

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

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More information on the sets is available online along with all of the latest Major League Baseball headlines at:

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Shout! Factory, MLB Productions To Release 2020 World Series Next Month

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/MLB Productions

Shout! Factory and MLB Productions will bring the 2020 World Series home next month.

2020 World Series Collector’s Edition is scheduled for release Feb. 9 through Shout! Factory and Major League Baseball Productions. The set will feature the 2020 World Series in whole on separate DVD and Blu-ray presentations. As added bonuses, each platform’s presentation will also feature Game 3 of the National League Division Series and Game Seven of the National League Championship Series to enhance the set’s presentation.

2020 World Series Collector’s Edition is expected to retail for MSRP of $59.98 (DVD) and $74.98 (Blu-ray). Its release follows that of its companion documentary film 2020 World SeriesLos Angeles Dodgers, which was released Dec. 8.

More information on these and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online at:

Websitehttps://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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.