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STUDIO:
Summit Entertainment
MSRP:
$22.99
RATING:
G
RUNNING TIME:
84 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:
Interactive Planetarium Game













The Pitch

Bugs in Space

The Humans

Trevor Gagnon, Philip Bolden, David Gore, Tim Curry, Robert Patrick

The Nutshell

There’s an effort to get America interested in space travel again. Sadly, such endeavors require an attention span that hasn’t been wasted away on misspent youth. So, the young upstarts at Summit Entertainment decided to throw a bunch of Mac II computers together and hammer out a CGI film to compete with Pixar and company. Sadly, this shit didn’t work out.



The Lowdown


I remember when space movies used to excite young people. Max and Jinx were friends in my youth and the generation before that had Star Trek and Star Wars lighting up their cinemas. Fly Me to the Moon offers what used to pass for an animated special twenty years ago. How can you stretch the tale of three tagalong flies for a feature length movie? Simple. You throw in a ton of body humor jokes and pad the rest with sentimental bullshit.



The look of Fly Me to the Moon resembles Delgo if Delgo was made any cheaper. Rounded faces and lack of any real lighting detail makes everything look like Will Vinton’s cast-off work. When you’re done picking apart the lack of a real story and the shoddy animation, there’s always the 3-D work. The actual imaging is decent, but it lacks anything with real bite.



Having spent the afternoon watching both films, the bonus 3-D cut will entertain kids. Nothing is as fun as slapping on a pair of red and blue glasses to watch bugs fart around in space. But, it’s a one-time novelty. After that, you’ve got nothing. So, remember that upon your next trip to the video store.



The Package


Both versions of the film are presented on a non-flipper disc. You get an Interactive game as the sole special feature. Outside of that, the kids can always use the disc as a frisbee.






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STUDIO:
Warner Home Video
MSRP:  $19.97
RATING:  Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 133 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:
• Xtacles Promo

• Political Commercial







The Pitch

An alien supervillain runs for President.


The Humans

Marsha Crenshaw, Stuart Culpepper, Christian Danley, Edward Hastings and Ellis Henican


The Nutshell

Killface is an alien conqueror from another world that failed to destroy Earth with his Annihilatrix. The device failed and pushed the Earth far enough from the Sun to solve Global Warming. Based on that feat, Killface is the new Republican presidential nominee. This season introduces his political posse that includes Lamont the Penguin and Tarquil the Vice President.



The Lowdown

Killface is rather upfront with his otherworldly nature in the documentary asides throughout the first two-thirds of this season. The Frisky Dingo creative team seems more at ease with their creation unlike the first season which ran aground of story ideas at the midway point. Sure, there’s too much time spent on the Xtacles and side-characters that go nowhere. But, the gang knows that the series lives and dies by Killface and Xander Crews.



Sidebar jokes like Xander’s obsession with getting Fred Dryer to be his running mate along with the biting satire about the Bush administration make for a fun run. But, when the season comes to an end on the rampage of Cody Junior, it’s a little much. Too many other series on Adult Swim don’t know how to end a season, save for The Venture Brothers.


The Package

The single disc release comes with a promo for the DVD release and the unannounced series debut of The Xtacles spinoff. Neither one is that exciting, so handle it the best you can.





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STUDIO: Warner Home Video 
MSRP: $14.98
RATING: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 111 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:
•    Nothing











The Pitch

Card games are the only way that Japan can communicate with the rest of the world.


The Humans

Will Bowes and Steven Hart


The Nutshell

Powerful cards are falling out of the sky. Random kids across Earth are finding the cards and connecting with the other card carriers over the Internet. Quicker than you can online child predators, the kids have formed a club. Together they will take part in demonic cockfighting. If you can beat their cards, then you can posses them.



The Lowdown


Bakugan arrives with its first volume entitled Battle Brawlers. Bakugan Drago spends most of the first volume explaining away the rules of the game. People meet and monsters fight. In the end, it’s your typical Japanese after-school cartoon for the last decade. Pokemon really ruined a lot of shit for everyone.



There’s five episodes collected on this first volume, but it plays like a reel out of ToyFair. There’s no reason for anyone that is above the age of six to watch this show. Given the recent glut of card-based gaming and related cartoons. Then, there’s the sheer amount of Anime competing for the kid-friendly dollar. This just feels like a Johnny Come Lately that arrived too late to crap the bed. Forget about it.


The Package




There is nothing on this DVD outside of the main feature. Once the kids burn through those episodes, you are screwed. Unless you’ve got a pocketful of Ritalin.







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STUDIO: PBS Paramount
MSRP: $14.98
RATING: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 78 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • Interactive Games
  • Character Bios









The Pitch

A bald kid teaches us life lessons.


The Humans

Ellen David, Annie Bovaird, Tyler Brody Stein, Ryan Tilson and Vanessa Lengies


The Nutshell

Caillou loves the winter. He can play ice hockey, make snowmen and get hypothermia. What adventures can this little bald kid have with his imagination? Let’s find out together.




The Lowdown

Caillou targets an audience so young, that I hope most parents want to have tolerate it past their child’s third birthday. Winter Wonders is the latest Caillou adventures and its a sample disc that spotlights Caillou’s big bald adventures in the snow. You get a rudimentary introduction to Caillou’s family and the rest of the cast. But, that’s not really fascinating. Honestly, nothing about this show can hold your attention. So, find a small child or a vegetable in your life to watch this. They’ll appreciate the background noise and bright colors.




I love that PBS Kids has such a prescence on the Paramount Home Entertainment wagon. It’s just that there needs to be little things on this disc that makes it practical for parents to buy. Things like not shutting the fast forward button through the forced trailers that start once the DVD is loading. Then, there’s the ill-defined chapter starts and stops on the disc. Have fun with that on sick days, CHUD parents and their spawn.

The Package

You get activity pages, coloring sheets and all sorts of funny goodies. That is if you have the time to load this into our DVD-Rom and print out the activities. Otherwise, you get stuck with character bios and related junk on the main disc. How exciting!





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STUDIO: Paramount
MSRP: $26.98
RATING: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 297 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:

• Episode Commentaries

• Picture Gallery


• Animated Shorts







The Pitch

It’s yet another incarnation of those Transformers.


The Humans

Fred Willard, Lance Henriksen, Frank Welker, Peter Cullen and more!



The Nutshell

Transformed Animated starts its second season with an attempt to continue cashing in on the success of the 2007 film. Nevermind that the setting is in the future. It’s kind of a New Detroit sans OCP attitude that the creative talents were trying to achieve. But, you can’t tell the difference between this release and the other versions of the beloved toy franchise.



The Lowdown


Transformers Animated is
a frail attempt at recapturing the magic of a show that should’ve died back in 1987. But, let’s take a look at the current trappings. Sari is stuck with the Autobots, after Megatron captured her father at the end of the previous season. Now, she works with her new robotic friends to save her dad from impending doom. All the while, we get explosions and other acts of cartoon violence. Stretch that out to fourteen episodes and you’ve got the best picture of what this DVD was like.

Other aspects of the Transformers mythology are touched upon. You get some Constructicons and other Dinobot thingies. But, the real battle is to save Earth and Cybertron. Will they win? Only if you can get your parents to buy the new toy lines from Hasbro.



The Package


The DVD comes with rather short and non-descript audio commentaries for the Season 2 episodes. Then, there’s a photo gallery of assorted shots from the series. If that wasn’t enough, you get a quick dose of animated biographies for each Transformer. Thrilling stuff for the Asperger’s kid in your life.

The Scores


Frisky Dingo – Season Two: 7.8 out of 10
Bakugan Battle Brawlers Volume 1: 1.0 out of 10
Fly Me to the Moon 3-D: 6.5 out of 10
Transformers Animated: Season 2: 4.0 out of 10

Caillou – Caillou’s Winter Wonders: 2.5 out of 10