Tiny Toon Adventures Vol. 3 Another Wonderful Piece Of TV Nostalgia

Courtesy:  Amblin Entertainment/Warner Brothers Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Amblin Entertainment/Warner Brothers Home Entertainment

The long wait is finally over, Toonsters.  Nearly four years have passed since audiences were offered their last dose of Tiny Toon Adventures episodes.  This past Tuesday, Warner Home Video released the long awaited third volume of shorts in its own two-disc set loaded with enough laughs, puns, sight gags, and pop culture references to make any classic cartoon fan happy.  Would it have been nice to have a full thirty to thirty-five episode collection as with the previous pair of collections?  Yes.  But something’s better than nothing, considering how long audiences have waited.  And this new set is something.  It boasts some of the show’s best episodes.  The episodes are just one part of what makes this collection so enjoyable.  The original hand-drawn animation will bring back that sense of nostalgia for lovers of classic cartoons, too.  And the use of some of the top voice talent in the industry then and now make for even more enjoyment.  Altogether, it makes for one more must have for any original Tiny Toon fan and even for any of today’s younger viewers.

Tiny Toon Adventures Vol. 3: Crazy Crew Rescues boasts some of the best episodes from this modern classic cartoon.  The show’s original audiences will love seeing classic episodes such as “Kon-Ducki” (which pays a little tribute to The Wizard of Oz and even The Bee Gees), “The Potty Years”, and its own take on the film noir classic, Sunset Boulevard in the episode, “Sepulveda Boulevard.”  There is also a fun episode titled, “Toon Physics” which explains the differences between real physical science and that of cartoons.  It isn’t the first cartoon to ever poke fun at the incredibility of cartoon physics.  But it’s still just as funny as others of its sort.  This episode features revered voice talent Maurice LaMarche (Futurama, The Simpsons, Animaniacs, Pinky & The Brain) as a spoof of legendary actor Orson Welles.  Instead of Welles, his character here is a whale named—you guessed it—Orson Whales (ba-dump-bump-bump).  This set also includes the “controversial” episode, “One Beer” in which Buster, Plucky, and Hampton show young audiences the dangers of drinking and driving.  Along those same lines, there is even an episode that teaches the importance of childhood literacy in “Why Dizzy Can’t Read.”  These are all just a handful of examples of what Tiny Toon Adventures Vol. 3: Crazy Crew Rescues has to offer both its original fans and their own kids.  Everybody will undoubtedly have their own favorites from this set.  And even with just two discs, this set boasts more than its share of great shorts.

The episodes alone make for loads of enjoyment for both the show’s now grown-up audience and for their own children.  Adding to the enjoyment of this set is the continued original hand drawn animation.  So much children’s programming today is not true animation.  It is in large part CG-based programming.  So unearthing this collection provides yet another reminder for older audiences of what real animation looks like. And it serves as an example for today’s younger audiences the importance of maintaining the classic art of actually drawing animation, rather than relying on technology for everything.  The only downside to the animation here is that it isn’t as clear as with the show’s previous releases.  It looks like the quality of the transfers with this set weren’t as solid as with the previous releases.  But it’s not that bad.  So while it does leave at least a little bit to be desired, it’s still nice to have this relic of a bygone era given new life.

The show’s original animation and its equally entertaining episodes make for so much enjoyment for audiences of all ages.  The cherry on top for not just this set but also the show as a whole is the inclusion of some of the top voice actors in the industry.  As already noted, veteran voice actor Maurice LaMarche is among the show’s ranks of well known actors.  Also in the cast are the likes of: Frank Welker (The Real Ghostbusters, Scooby Doo, etc.), Charlie Adler (Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, The Superhero Squad Show, etc.), Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons, Futurama), Cree Summer (The Cosby Show, A Different World, Codename: Kids Next Door) and Don Messick (Garfield & Friends, A Pup Named Scooby Doo, The Flintstones, etc.).  The chemistry between the cast was obvious throughout this new set of episodes, just as with the previous releases.  Whether for the general comedic timing or the interactions with each other, the voice cast of Tiny Toon Adventures was the perfect choice.  It was their interpretations of their characters that put the final touch on what was and still is today one of the best cartoons of the twentieth century.  Tiny Toon Adventures Vol. 3: Crazy Crew Rescues is available in stores and online now.  It can be ordered online via the Warner Brothers store at http://www.wbshop.com/product/steven+spielberg+presents+tiny+toon+adventures+volume+3+1000311856.do?sortby=ourPicks&from=Search.

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Superhero Squad’s Latest (And Last?) Release Is More Kid Friendly Comic Based Fun

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Comic books today aren’t meant for younger readers.  Being a grown up comic book geek, I’ve seen the content in comic books change dramatically over the years.  Perhaps it’s a product of the time, but even the movies on which the comics are based are anything but kid friendly.  Thankfully, Marvel has crated a line of comics that is kid friendly.  And in accordance, there’s even a comics based cartoon called The Superhero Squad Show that is great for young comics fans.

The Superhero Squad Show is great for kids because while it has all the great adventures that have made the characters great over the ages, the general content of those adventures is entirely kid friendly.  It doesn’t have any harsh language, sexuality, etc.  Add in bright, vivid, hand drawn animation, and audiences get another positive in an era when so many “cartoons” are really just a bunch of CG based visuals.   On top of the great artwork and the kid friendly content is a fun comedy element that both kids and parents alike will love, including constantly breaking down the fourth wall.  There are even pop culture references tossed in throughout the show that parents will love, including a reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in what seems to be the series finale.

Yes, Season Two Volume Four seems to be the finale volume from this family and kid friendly comic based series.  All research done on the show seems to point out that the show has ended.  If that’s the case, then it has been wrapped up nicely in this volume.  Volume Four picks up where Volume three left off.  Captain America, Mr. Fantastic, and Ms. Marvel are trying to bring the rest of the squaddies back after being captured.  But it’s not as easy as it seems, as they have to face Baron Mordo, when he breaks into the Squad’s base and captures Captain America.  Eventually, the evil Baron is beaten, and Mr. Fantastic gets the base’s satellite dish fixed and brings back the rest of the squad.

Once the whole team’s reassembled, everything eventually leads up to the final confrontation between the Dark Surfer and the squaddies.  And who would have thought, even Dr. Doom inadvertently helps out, though only for his own benefit.  When both Dr. Doom and the squaddies face off against the Dark Surfer, the Squad is able to get each of the stones away from the Surfer’s duplicates and defeat him…or so they think.  Everything comes down to one final battle between Iron man and Dr. Doom over the Infinity Sword.  The conflict leads them to accidentally destroy the sword.  It’s that destruction that finishes off the Surfer once and for all, and returns him to the form of the Silver Surfer.  And while Surfer admits guilt for what he’d done and the Squad still backs him, knowing he was under a spell, he is still taken away by Ronan (voiced by Michael Dorn).  The squad goes back to Earth, where everything is finally back to normal, and the Scarlet Witch is even accepted as a member of the squad.

The Superhero Squad Show is a great kid friendly introduction to the world of comics.  Given, it may upset some hardcore fan boys as it has no link to the comics in general.  But in an age when so many comics are anything but kid friendly, this seemingly final volume from The Superhero Squad Show makes for one more great introduction for young fans to the world of comics.  It’s action packed without being too edgy.  It has lots of bright hand drawn colors, which is equally appealing.  And the comedy and pop culture references are enough for young and old comics fans alike.  Season two Volume Four is available in stores and online now.  It can be ordered direct from Shout! Factory online at http://www.shoutfactorystore.com.

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