‘League Of Super Pets’ Is Not Super, But Still Worth Watching

Courtesy: Warner Brothers/Warner Animation Group/DC Entertainment

In 2005 when Warner Brothers brought Superman’s canine friend Krypto to the small screen in his own series, it marked the first time ever that any of the DC Entertainment Universe’s animal superheroes had ever gotten its own attention.  Prior to the series’ premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers had only focused on DC’s human and superhuman stars, so it was a key step in the companies’ attempt to expand DC’s comics to screen universe.  The series less than two years from March 2005 to December 2006, spanning just two seasons and even incorporated Krypto’s original Legion of Superheroes cohort Streaky the cat.  After the series ended, Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment largely abandoned any plans for any future Super Pets properties on TV and in theaters.  However, late last month, the companies brought some of DC’s super pets back to the screen again, this time in theaters in the form of League of Super Pets.  The movie, which made its theatrical debut July 29, is a mostly entertaining presentation, though is not perfect.  The main positive in this movie is its story, which will be discussed shortly.  While the story is enjoyable for the whole family (albeit not entirely accurate to the comics), the story does have one troubling aspect, that being the use of some adult language.  This will be discussed a little later.  It is not enough to doom the movie, so to that end, there is at least one more positive to note in the form of the cast’s work.  This will also be addressed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this movie.  All things considered they make League of Super Pets a mostly successful new take on DC’s Legion of Super Pets comic book and new family flick.

League of Super Pets, DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers’ latest addition to the ever-expanding DC Entertainment Universe, is a mostly successful overall presentation.  The movie’s story is really the key to its success.  The story in question finds Krypto, Superman’s canine friend having to assemble a group of super powered animals to help save the big blue boy scout after a guinea pig named Lulu (voiced by Kate McKinnon – Ghostbusters, Saturday Night Live, Bombshell) bent on world domination kidnaps him and the rest of the Justice League members.  The other animals (which are not original members of the League of Super Pets from the 1962 comic book), gained their powers thanks to some orange kryptonite that broke off of an orange kryptonite meteorite and was captured by said megalomaniacal guinea pig.  The unexpected group of heroes ends up saving the day after Lex Luthor turns on Lulu, and Krypto learns a valuable lesson about friendship along the way.  Meanwhile, the other Super Pets – Ace, Chip, Merton, and PB – all end up being rescued and adopted by the other Justice League members.  There is some accuracy and inaccuracy here.  Ace has always been known to be Batman’s dog, while Chip has had a tie to the Green Lantern Corps.  PB meanwhile was never Wonder Woman’s pet.  She was Circes’ pet in the comics, but that can be forgiven.  The very message about the importance of rescuing shelter pets that is clearly tied into the story makes that forgivable.  Shelter pets need forever homes, so having that accented here in a less than preachy fashion is so welcome.  The friendships between Krypto and the group will resonate with audiences of all ages as the group takes on Lulu and Lex.

While the story featured in League of Super Pets is engaging and entertaining, there is at least one problem within the story.  That problem is the use of some adult language throughout the movie.  The language in question comes from Merton (voiced by Natasha Lyonne – Orange is the New Black, American Pie, Slums of Beverly Hills).  Lyonne is not to blame here, but rather the movie’s writers.  There are points where Merton clearly is meant to be using a certain foul word since it is bleeped out.  At other points, she uses clearly other foul language that is also bleeped out.  Merton is not the only one who uses some questionable language.  There is a young kitten (yes, a kitten – IE child) who says to the super pets, “See you in heck” as it tries to kill them.  Considering that this movie is rated PG and is meant to be a family friendly flick, having that language in there, even censored, is still disappointing.  That the movie’s writers and creative heads felt the need to go blue in a family movie really does detract from the movie’s appeal, and parents need to be aware of this aspect. 

While the questionable language that is peppered throughout the movie is problematic, it is not enough to make the movie a failure.  The work of the movie’s cast works with the story to make for more appeal.  Dwayne Johnson leads the way as Krypto.  At first, the announcement that he was going to take on the role was questioned by many, and justifiably so.  That is because of his current body of work.  His current body of work is composed of action flicks and very specific tough guy type roles.  It leads one to imagine Johnson giving Krypto such style persona.  Thankfully that was not the case.  He actually made Krypto endearing, showing his ability to adapt to the role. 

On a related note, Kevin Hart, who has also developed himself into a very specific type of actor, pulls back here, too.  His typically annoying, over the top approach to his roles is nonexistent here, which is appealing.  The vulnerability that he brings to Ace as Ace talks abut how he ended up at the shelter balances well with Ace’s more confident side to make Ace a well-rounded character in his own right.  McKinnon really does well in her own right to bring out Lulu’s megalomaniacal nature, too.  She does so well to make Lulu’s diabolical nature so funny and believable at the same time.  Between the performances put on by Johnson, Hart, and McKinnon, and those of the rest of the cast, the whole makes the cast’s overall work just as engaging as the movie’s story.  Those two items together make the movie in general worth watching at least once, even with the concerns of the occasional unnecessary foul language in mind.

League of Super Pets, the latest addition to Warner Brothers and DC’s ever-expanding universe, is an interesting presentation.  It succeeds in part because of its story.  The story finds Krypto having to form a new group of furry super powered friends to save the Justice League.  Along the way, he also has to learn about friendship and teamwork, which will resonate with plenty of audiences. While the story featured in this movie is accessible for audiences of all ages, the occasional use of some questionable language is disappointing.  That is the case even with it being censored.  There was no need for the movie’s writers to go blue and ruin what is otherwise a family friendly atmosphere throughout the story.  It is not enough to doom the movie but is certainly a concern.  The cast’s work pairs with the story to make for more engagement and entertainment.  That is because the cast’s performances are so believable.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of this movie.  All things considered League of Super Pets proves maybe not super but still worth watching at least once.

League of Super Pets is playing now.  The movie’s home release date is under consideration.  More information on this and other titles from Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment is available at https://dc.com

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

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.


  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.   

‘Scoob!’ Will Leave Audiences Asking Where Is The Real Scooby-Doo

Courtesy: Warner Animation Group/Hanna-Barbera

Scooby-Doo has, for more than forty years, entertained generations of audiences.  From its earliest iteration in Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? to the even more kid friendly A Pup Named Scooby-Doo to Be Cool, Scooby-Doo, to all of the Scooby-Doo movies, Hanna-Barbera’s beloved cartoon canine has remained a key part of America’s pop culture, offering so much entertainment.  Even the many straight-to-DVD movies have offered their own value.  Some have proven better than others along the way, of course.  Warner Animation Group’s latest offering Scoob! is among the least memorable and enjoyable of that mass of Scooby-Doo offerings.  Released through streaming in May due to COVID-19 and later to DVD and Blu-ray, this latest addition to the Scooby-Doo franchise offers little if anything to appreciate.  Its story is its most glaring concern and will be addressed shortly.  The general lack of any bonus content with the physical release is its own concern and will be discussed a little later.  The movie’s general animation style detracts from its presentation, too.  All three elements are their own negatives.  When they are combined, they make Scoob! easily one of the absolute worst entries in an otherwise beloved franchise.

Warner Animation Group’s latest addition to Hanna-Barbera’s beloved long-running Scooby-Doo franchise is a failure and a disservice to the legacy that the franchise has created for itself over the decades.  That is due in large part to the movie’s story.  The story at the center of this movie makes the movie come across as little more than a cash grab for Warner Animation Group and Hanna-Barbera.  The basis of the story is this:  Scooby-Doo learns that he is “the key” to infamous HB villain Dick Dastardly opening the gates to the underworld and getting a bunch of treasure.  Getting the treasure also means releasing Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards the gates of hell.  When Scooby-Doo learns of his place in history, it creates a strain on his friendship with Shaggy.  Of course, the pair parts ways at one point, but eventually reunite at the story’s finale, with the overlying message about the power of friendship tied into the whole.  That element is so schmaltzy that audiences can’t help but shake their head at that presentation.  Now along the way, WAG and HB use the story as a chance to throw in a bunch of references for other classic HB series, such as Hong Kong Phooey, Captain Caveman and even The Flintstones.  Not to give away too much, but the final skull for which the Mystery Inc. gang is searching is called the Slaghoople by Captain Caveman (voiced awfully here by Tracy Morgan — 30 Rock, the Box Trolls, Cop Out).  For those who don’t know, Wilma Flintstone’s maiden name in The Flintstones is Slaghoople.  Even the inclusion of The Blue Falcon (who as it turns out is not the original Blue Falcon here, but rather the more cowardly son of the original Blue Falcon) is in himself little more than another classic HB reference and foil for the bigger story.  The underlying story with this Blue Falcon is not connected at all to the 2013 movie Mask of the Blue Falcon movie, so really, it just comes across as the people at WAG and HB using this character as a way to play to the nostalgia of long-time Scooby-Doo fans.  Simply put, this movie’s story is really just one big contrived composition that is anything but memorable.

As if everything noted is not enough, this is at least the third time that audiences have been “treated” to an origin story showing how Shaggy, Scooby and the rest of the Mystery Inc. gang met has been told.  Audiences were presented with an origin story of sorts way back in 1989 in an episode of the beloved Scooby-Doo series A Pup Named Scooby Doo.  The story of how Mystery Inc. met was again told in 2009 in the TV movie Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins. According to the story in the noted episode of A Pup Named Scoobby-Doo, Shaggy and Scooby had been pals since they were both much younger (I.E. toddlers).  The pair was relatively young to begin with in the series, with Shaggy and company being middle schoolers.  The story presented in Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins presents a distinctly different story, with Shaggy and company being high school students, and the meeting of Shaggy and Scooby being a chance encounter.  In this situation, the group met as pre-teens, all by chance, too, but in a completely different fashion from that of the past stories.  In other words, it’s beyond tiring getting yet another origin story for Mystery Inc. and the friendship between Shaggy and Scooby.

Between the latest reboot on Mystery Inc.’s origin story, the clearly contrived story itself and the attempt by the movie’s writers to play off of older viewers’ nostalgia in an attempt to fool audiences, the story just fails.  It outright fails, and there is no saving it.  It is just one of the problems from which the movie suffers.  The general lack of any real bonus content detracts from the movie’s presentation, too.  The only actual bonus content featured with the movie’s physical release is a “lesson” so to speak on how to draw Scooby-Doo.  Yes, that is the only bonus content that comes with the movie’s physical release.  There is no audio commentary.  There are no bonus discussions on why the movie’s creative heads even decided to go to the lengths of creating the movie’s story.  Their explanations likely would fall short anyway.  Regardless, the very fact that this little “lesson” is the only extra is more proof of the importance of bonus content to movies and TV shows in their home physical releases.  Some bonus featured can make a bad movie or TV show at least slightly better.  Others, such as this one, do nothing at all.  To that end, it does even more to show why Scoob! should stay on the shelves or unwatched on Netflix and other streaming services.  Staying on the “lesson,” the movie’s animation style is its own detriment to its presentation.

The animation style that is used in Scoob! is full on CGI.  While it does look at least somewhat better than the style used for say Mystery Incorporated and Be Cool, Scooby-Doo (those shows’ animation styles were abhorrent), it still suffers from its own problems.  There is just something about the overall designs and the use of colors that makes the animation style problematic.  It is as if those responsible for the movie’s look tried too hard to make the clearly computer generated presentation look like hand drawn.  The end result is that the movie’s look just looks too spit shined.  Audiences know they are watching a presentation that was created on computers.  It decreases viewers’ ability to suspend their disbelief that much more.  When this is considered along with everything else noted here, they combine to leave zero doubt that Scoob! is unquestionably among the very worst Scooby-Doo properties ever created.

Warner Animation Group’s latest addition to Hanna-Barbera’s beloved Scooby-Doo franchise is a completely forgettable entry in that ongoing series of titles.  There is nothing redeeming about this movie.  Its story attempts (unsuccessfully) to play on older viewers’ nostalgia to cover up its completely contrived nature.  The lack of any real worthwhile bonus content with the movie’s home physical release detracts from its presentation in its own right.  The animation style used in this presentation is a display of animators who tries to hard to make the movie look more like a hand drawn cartoon than a CGI feature.  Each noted item is important in is own way to the whole of the movie.  All things considered, they will leave longtime fans of this franchise agreeing that Scoob! is among the worst entries to date in the otherwise beloved Scooby-Doo franchise.  More information on all things Scooby-Doo is available online at http://www.facebook.com/scoobydoo

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://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.