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Sing (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Sing” is very much an uplifting story with wonderful music, great voice acting and fantastic animation. And the film will no doubt entertain people of all ages. Recommended!d!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Sing

YEAR OF FILM: 2016

DURATION: 1 hr., 48 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080P High Definition 1:85:1, 1080p High Definition, English ATMOS Dolby True HD/DVS 2.0, Espanol Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, Francais Dolby Digital, Engish Dobly Digital 7.1/2.0, Subtitles: English SDH, Espanol and Francais

COMPANY: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: PG (Some Rude Humor and Mild Peril)

RELEASE DATE: March 21, 2017


Directed by Garth Jennings

Co-Director: Christophe Lourdelet

Written by Garth Jennings

Producer: Janet Healy, Christopher Meledandri

Co-Producer: Igor Khait

Associate Producer: Brett Hoffman, Robert Taylor

Music by Joby Talbot

Edited by Gregory Perler

Casting by Allison Jones, Mickie McGowan

Production Design by Eric Guillon

Art Direction: Francois Moret


Featuring the Voices of:

Matthew McConaughey as Buster moon

Reese Witherspoon as Rosita

Seth MacFarlane as Mike

Scarlett Johansson as Ash

John C. Reilly as Eddie

Taron Egerton as Johnny

Tori Kelly as Meena

Jennifer Saunders as Nana

Jennifer Hudson as Young Nana

Garth Jennings as Miss Crawly

Peter Serafinowicz as Big Daddy

Nick Kroll as Gunter

Beck Bennett as Lance

Jay Pharoah as Meena’s Grandfather

Nick Offerman as Norman

Leslie Jones as Meena’s Mother

Rhea Perlman as Judith


From Illumination Entertainment, the studio that brought you The Secret Life of Pets comes an animated comedy about finding the music that lives inside all of us. Sing stars Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey as Buster Moon, an eternally optimistic koala who puts on the world’s greatest singing competition to save his crumbling theater; Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon as Rosita, an overworked and underappreciated mother of 25 piglets desperate to unleash her inner diva; Scarlett Johansson as Ash, a punk rock porcupine with a beautiful voice behind her prickly exterior; and Taron Egerton as Johnny, a young gangster gorilla looking to break free of his family’s felonies. Sing is the musical comedy event of the year!


From writer/director Garth Jennings (director of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and “Son of Rambow”) and Christopher Lourdelet (storyboard artist of “Minions”, “The Lorax”, “A Monster in Paris”) comes the Illumination Entertainment animated film, “Sing”.

Featuring the voices from talents such as Matthew McConaugey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, Jennifer Saunders, Jennifer Hudson, Garth Jennings, Peter Serafinowicz, Nick Kroll, Beck Bennett, Nick Offerman, Rhea Perlman and many more.

The animated film would feature more than 60 classic songs and originally budgeted at $75 million, would go on to make $578 million worldwide.  Ensuring a single slated for 2020.

And now “Sing” will be available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD in March 2017.

The film begins with a young koala named Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey) owning a theater and being congratulated by his father who took him to his first music show as a child.  Fastforward and Buster’s theater has been losing a lot of money due to unsuccessful programs and now many workers are demanding pay.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to various characters:

  • Rosita (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) – A pig who gave up her teenage music dreams to become a wife to Norman and her 25 piglets.  She can sing and is very crafty.
  • Mike (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) – An arrogant small mouse who loves to sing Sinatra classics as a street performer but also known to get into a lot of trouble.
  • Ash (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) – A porcupine who is a punk rocker along with her boyfriend, Lance.
  • Meena (voiced by Tori Kelly) – A teenage elephant with a great voice but is shy and has severe stage fright.
  • Johnny (voiced by Taron Egerton) – A gorilla who wants to sing, but his father, Big Daddy (voiced by Peter Serafinowicz), a thief always wants him to be his lookout and follow his life into crime.
  • Gunter (voiced by Nick Kroll) – A vibrant pig who loves to dance.

As the bank rep Judith is demanding payment or the theater will be closed within a month, Buster comes up with an idea to create a singing competition with a prize of $1,000 which he tells his buddy, Eddie Noodleman (voiced by John C. Reilly), the nephew of Miss Nana Noodleman (voiced by Jennifer Saundres), a popular singer that inspired Buster.

Buster’s assistant, Mrs. Crawley (voiced by Garth Jennings) accidentally puts two zeroes and makes the prize $100,000 and before he could see them, the wind blows the flyers out the window and they fly all over the city.

And everyone interested in singing auditions to be part of the singing competition.

Despite finding about Miss Crawley’s error, Buster, an optimist feels that his singing competition may be able to make the money back.  But can he and his fellow singers pull off a successful production?


VIDEO:

“Sing” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio) and features vibrant animation and wonderful detail.  The hair effects and textures can be seen on the surface of the animals and also the clothing which are animated wonderfully.

Overall picture quality is fantastic and if you want the best version, an 4K Ultra HD version of the film is available.

AUDIO:

“Sing” is presented in English ATMOS Dolby True HD/DVS plus a Espanol Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The film features crystal clear dialogue and musical score.

Because the film’s many songs featured, the music plays a big part of the soundtrack.  But also the sound effects and overall ambiance can be heard through the surround channels.

Subtitles are presented in English SDH, Espanol and Francais.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Sing” comes with the following special features:

  • The Making of Sing – (4:40) Director/writer Garth Jennings discuss how the movie came to be and behind-the-scenes on the making of “Sing”.
  • Finding the Rhythm: Editing Sing – (2:43) Editor Greg Perler discusses the challenge of editing “Sing”.
  • Character Profiles – (12:25) Featuring the various talents/voice actors for each character discussing voice work and being in the studio to record their characters.  And their thoughts about their character.
  • Things You Didn’t Know About – (3:52) The directors, cast and crew are given rapid-fire questions.
  • “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” Music Video – Featuring a music video from Tori Kelly.
  • Making a Music Video with Tori Kelly – (2:52) The making of “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing”.
  • Faith Music Video – (2:43) Featuring a music video from Stevie Wonder.
  • Faith Lyric Video 
  • Set It All Free Lyric Video
  • “Sing & Dance – Faith” – (6:27) Learn the dance moves for “Faith”.
  • The Sing Network – Featuring short featurettes showcasing “Gunter’s Dance Studio”, “The Moon Theater”, “Rosita’s Babysitting Gizmo”, “Miss Crawley’s Matchmaking Service” and “In the News”.
  • The Best of Gunter – (1:03) Scenes featuring Gunter.
  • Mini-Movies: Gunter Babysits – (3:40) Gunter has to babysit Rosita’s 25 piglets.
  • Mini-Movies: Love at First Sight – (4:15) Johnny introduces Miss Crawley to online dating.
  • Mini-Movies: Eddie’s Life Coach – (4:15) A featurette about Eddie watching an informercial.
  • The Making of the Mini-Movies – (5:49) A featurette on the making of the short films.

EXTRAS:

“Gunter” comes with a slipcover, a DVD version of the film and an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


Films about an unsuccessful attraction or production have been featured in past films before, but not with anthropomorphic animals.

As Illumination Entertainment animated films such as the “Despicable Me”, “Minions”, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” films and “The Secret Life of Pets” have done amazingly well in the box office, the company’s latest film focuses on singing animals.

And while singing animals are nothing new to animated films, what “Sing” does differently is incorporate today’s top 40 songs or classics and integrate that to a storyline of singing hopefuls that want a chance to make it in the spotlight.

In today’s world of singing reality TV shows it’s a concept that people know much to well, “Sing” takes those hopefuls, which happen to be animals, trying out for a chance of stardom.  Not knowing that the intention of the singing competition is to save a fledgling theater and also for big money which is an error made by a lizard who’s eye ball pops out and bounces on the zero key on the keyboard twice.

The most important factor of the film is the character development.  “Sing” is a film that makes you care for its characters.

Buster Moon is a koala with good intentions but so far, his business sense has led to failed productions and now he may lose his theater.

Rosita is a pig who can sing but chose to be a mother and wife and wonders if she pursued a career singing.  Mike is an arrogant Sinatra-singing mouse who is a street performer that gets into a lot of trouble.  Ash is a punk rock singer, always in the shadow of her boyfriend and has a troubled relationship.  And Johnny is a gorilla who wants to be a singer but his father, a thief, wants his son to follow his life in crime.

We watch as these individuals go through their own personal struggles, self-doubt but together, they learn to unite and try to put on the greatest show they can.

And as far as its voice acting is concerned, the film features a star-filled talent showcase with Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly and many more.  Also, to hear the music from powerful voices of Tori Kelly and Jennifer Hudson was a major plus as well.

On Blu-ray, the film shows amazing detail, colors are vibrant and the lossless soundtrack whether it be dialogue or the large amount of music featured in the film are all crystal clear.  And there are a good number of special features included as well.

And when you’re done, there are also three entertaining mini movies included featuring the characters from “Sing”!

Overall, “Sing” is very much an uplifting story with wonderful music, great voice acting and fantastic animation.  And the film will no doubt entertain people of all ages.

Recommended!

 

Moana (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 11, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Moana” resonated with me, entertained me but also made me respect the work of Ron Clements and John Musker so much more. Especially for Disney for taking on an animation that involves Polynesian culture, hiring those who are of Polynesian descent but also listening to Pacific Islanders for feedback in regards to the how their culture is depicted. “Moana” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © Disney. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Moana

YEAR OF FILM: 2016

DURATION: 107 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080P High Definition 2:39:1, 1080p High Definition, English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French

COMPANY: Disney

RATED: PG (For Peril, Some Scary Images and Brief Thematic Elements)

RELEASE DATE: March 7, 2017


Directed by Ron Clements, John Musker

Co-Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams

Screenplay by Jared Bush

Story by Ron Clements, John Musker, Chris Williams, Don Hall, Pamela Ribon, Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell

Producer: Osnat Shurer

Executive Producer: John Lasseter

Associate Producer: Nicole P. Hearon

Music by Mark Mancina, Opetaia Foa’i, Lin-Manuel Miranda

Edited by Jeff Draheim

Casting by Jamie Sparer Roberts, Rachel Sutton

Production Design by Ian Gooding


Featuring the Voices of:

Auli’l Cravalho as Moana

Dwayne Johnson as Maui

Rachel House as Gramma Tala

Temuera Morrison as Chief Tui

Jemaine Clement as Tamatoa

Nicole Scherzinger as Sina

Alan Tudyk as Heihei

Louise Bush as Toddler Moana

Chris Jackson as Chief Tui


From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes MOANA, an epic adventure about a spirited teen who sets sail on a daring mission to save her people. Along the way, Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) meets the once mighty demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson), and together they cross the ocean on a fun-filled, action-packed voyage. Bring home the movie full of heart, humor and oceans of bonus extras!


In November 2016, the 56th Walt Disney animated feature film “Moana” was released in theaters.

Earning $587.3 million at the box office, the film reunites directors Ron Clements and John Musker (both were co-directors for “Aladdin”, “The Little Mermaid”, “Treasure Planet” and “The Princess and the Frog”).  The film also features co-direction by Don Hall and Chris Williams (both directed “Big Hero 6”) and features a screenplay by Jared Bush (“Zootopia”).

The film features the voices of Auli’i Cravalho (“Gone Fishing”), Dwayne Johnson (“Baywatch”, “San Andreas”, “Furious 7”), Rachel House (“Whale Rider”, “Eagle vs. Shark”), Temuera Morrison (“Star Wars” – Episodes II and III), Jemaine Clement (“Rio” films), singer Nicole Scherzinger and Alan Tudyk (“Rogue One”, “I, Robot”, “Frozen”, “Serenity”).

The Disney animated film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in March 2017.

The film begins with an introduction to demigod Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), who was planning to give a small pounamu stone (which happens to be the mystical heart of the island goddess Te Fiti) to humanity as a gift.

Instead, Maui runs off with the stone and he is chased and attacked by the lava demon Te Ka.  Maui ends up not just losing his magical fish hook in the ocean but also loses the pounamu stone.

A thousand years later, a young girl named Moana, the daughter and heir of the chief of the Polynesian island Motunui, is chosen by the ocean to receive the pounamu stone/Te Fiti’s heart.  Something he does not feel is necessary as he feels the island provides the villagers everything they need.

But as Moana (voiced by  Auli’i Cravalho) gets older, the villagers are scared as fish is becoming scarce and the vegetation of Motunui is dying.  Moana wants to travel beyond the reef as she feels she can catch fish for the village but her father is against it.  She learns from her mother that her father’s friend died out in sea and fears of Moana going out to the ocean.

Despite her father forbidding Moana to sail past the reef, her grandmother Tala (voiced by Rachel House) tells her that there is a secret cave behind the waterfall and also telling her that the villagers ancestors were once voyagers and traveled and discovered new islands across the world.  But the ancestors stopped voyaging because the demigod MAui stole the heart of Te Fiti and this led to monsters appearing in the ocean.  And now Te Ka’s darkness is spreading from island to island, slowly killing the islands.

Tala gives Moana the heart of Te Fiti.  But not long after, Tala becomes ill and before she dies, she tells Moana to set sail.  So, against her fathers wishes, Moana travels beyond the reef in search of the demigod, Maui.

What will she find beyond the reef?


VIDEO:

So, far the Walt Disney Blu-ray disc animated (as well as theatrical) releases are among the best in picture and audio quality.

“Moana” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio) and Disney has released a lot of animated films that look wonderful in HD, but “Moana” is visually impressive from water effects (which look nearly realistic), lush green and vibrant vegetation, close-up details of Moana and Maui, especially their hair and also Maui’s tattoos and more.

“Moana” will no doubt pleasure the most demanding videophiles (well, unless they are demanding a 4K or 8K release).  Overall picture quality is fantastic!

AUDIO:

“Moana” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio with an English 2.0 Descriptive audio track and a Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack. The film features crystal clear dialogue and musical score.

From its musical sequences and wonderful action, along with magnificent video, you also get magnificent lossless audio.  From the waves crashing, Maui’s transformations to the wonderful crystal clear vocals.  I absolutely loved this soundtrack and just to make things clear, videophiles are not the only ones who will love this Blu-ray, audiophiles will absolutely enjoy this lossless soundtrack on Blu-ray as well!

Subtitles are presented in English SDH, Spanish and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Moana” comes with the following special features:

  • Theatrical Short Film: Inner Workings – (6:26) Featuring an introduction by Leonardo Matsuda and producer Sean Lurie to “Inner Workings” and the animated short.
  • Maui Mini-Movie: Gone Fishing – (2:29) Moana and Maui return in an animated short.
  • Voice of the Islands – (31:13) A featurette about finding the location for “Moana” and the inspiration that came from the island and working with the locals from Tahiti who lent their voice to their characterization in the film.
  • Things You Didn’t Know About – (3:52) The directors, cast and crew are given rapid-fire questions.
  • Island Fashion – (5:13) A costume design featurette.
  • The Elements Of… – (14:14) Creating characters featuring Maui and Mini Maui (tattoos that come to life on Maui’s body depicting his heroism).
  • They Know the Way: Making the Music of Moana – (12:36) The making of the music for “Moana” featuring Mark Mancina and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
  • Deleted Song: Warrior Face with Introduction by Songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda – (3:33) A glimpse of “Warrior Face”, a deleted song from the film with sketched animation.
  • Fishing for Easter Eggs – (2:52) The cast talk about their characters and discuss easter eggs shown in the film.
  • Deleted Scenes – (25:54) Seven deleted scenes with optional introductions with co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker.
  • “How Far I’ll Go” – Music video performed by Alessia Cara
  • “How Far I’ll Go Around the World” – (2:40) A featurette showcasing “How Far I’ll Go” performed by music artists for their respective countries.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker.

EXTRAS:

“Moana” comes with a slipcover, a DVD version of the film and a Disney Digital HD code.


As a fan of works by Ron Clements and John Musker, it’s one thing to be in love with “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin” but you also have to appreciate their approach to animation.  And with the release of the CG animated film, “Monna”, I was very interested in seeing the duo take on this medium but also seeing their style of animation incorporating new animation technologies but also a storyline with humor, action and emotion.

One thing that I was impressed about “Moana” was how the directors and producers wanted to make this film right.  From going to Tahiti and respecting local traditions and costumes, including music but also respecting the island and making sure nature plays a big part in the film.

As an Asian American with 33% Pacific Islander in my blood, one thing that has gotten to me is Hollywood not hiring people of ethnicity for major roles.  With “Moana”, the directors and producers made sure that Polynesian talent were hired for the role.

You have the debut of Hawaiian actress/singer Auli’l Cravalho as Moana and Dwayne Johnson (Black Nova Scotia and Samoan) as Maui.  But you also have Rachel House (Maori, indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand), Temuera Morrison (Maori), Jemaine Clement (Maori) and Nichole Scherzinger (Filipino/Native Hawaiian and Ukrainian).

Hiring talent to play characters who are of Polynesian descent may not seem like a big deal considering it’s a voice acting role, but for those of us who have watched Hollywood pass over people of a ethnicity over a well-known Caucasian talent to play an ethnic role is disheartening. And sure, while “Moana” is an animated film, the casting of these voice talents to play these characters is important and goes a long way.

I was impressed by the voice acting, the singing and the music of the film and the work of Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa’i were fantastic.

Watching the film, I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face because of the attention to detail.  From the hair, the clothing, the tattoos but also the respect of the island.  Directors Ron Clements and John Musker often have said in interviews how visiting the island and meeting with the people changed their lives and influenced them heavily in the making of this film.  And that influence can be seen in “Moana”.  I love seeing that!

As far as watching “Moana”, it’s simply amazing to see how far Walt Disney Animation Studios has come and how much technology when it comes to animation has evolved in the last 10 years.

It’s one thing to expect wonderful skin detail and detailed hair but water has always been a tricky thing to animate and so, seeing Walt Disney Animation Studios taking on a story that deals with a Pacific Islander story and capturing the island vibe, lush greenery and beautiful oceans, I couldn’t wait to see how far animation technology has evolved.

I was impressed and of course, watching it on Blu-ray, seeing the details and the vibrant colors in HD was amazing.  The crystal clear lossless soundtrack was also impressive and there are a good number of special features included as well.

Overall, “Moana” resonated with me, entertained me but also made me respect the work of Ron Clements and John Musker so much more.  Especially for Disney for taking on an animation that involves Polynesian culture, hiring those who are of Polynesian descent but also listening to Pacific Islanders for feedback in regards to the how their culture is depicted.

“Moana” is highly recommended!

 

Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge vol. 2 – Extinction (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

February 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Extinction” is a DVD that I recommend for young fans and the young at heart with the final ten action-packed episodes of the second and final season. If you love the first season of “Power Rangers Dino Charge”, definitely check out “Power Rangers Dino Super Charge” on DVD!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lions Gate Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge vol. 2 – Extinction

TV SERIES (YEAR): 2016

DURATION: Episodes 11-20 [Episodes 33-52] (2 Hrs. and 12 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 1:78:1 Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Lions Gate

RATED: Not Rated

AVAILABLE ON: March 7, 2017


Directed by Charlie Haskell, Peter Salmon, Mike Smith, Jonathan Brough, Peter Burger, Karl Zwicky, Michael Duignan

Written by Judd Lynn, Haim Saban, Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Mark Litton, Jeffrey Newman, Peter Wiseman, James W. Bates, Tanya M. Wheeler, Marc Handler, Ann Knapp

Produced by Sally Campbell

Executive Produced by Judd Lynn, Brian Casentini, Haim Saban

Music by Noam Kaniel

Cinematography by Kevin Riley, D.J. Stipsen

Edited by Allanah Milne

Casting by Iris Hampton

Production Design by Tracey Collins

Art Direction by Davin Voot

Costume Design by Sarah Voon


Starring:

Brennan Mejia as Tyler Navarro/Red Dino Charge Ranger

Camille Hyde as Shelby Watkins/Pink Dino Charge Ranger

Yoshua Sudarso as Koda/Blue Dino Charge Ranger

Michael Taber as Riley Griffin/Green Dino Charge Ranger

James Davies as Chase Randall/Black Dino Charge Ranger

Claire Blackwelder as Kendall Morgan/Purple Dino Charge Ranger

Campbell Cooley as the Mecha Voice

Davi Santos as Ivan

Estevez Gillespie as Wrench

Paul Harrop as Fury

Eve Gordon as Keeper

Adam Gardiner as Sledge

Jackie Clarke as Poisandra

Ryan Carter as Heckyl


The action is supercharged and the adventures are out of this world as the Power Rangers call upon their teamwork and abilities to protect the Energems!


The second season of “Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge” concludes with the final ten episodes as the Power Rangers must take on a new enemy, Lord Arcanon.

Meanwhile, the Power Rangers prepare for their final battle against Sledge and the team gets assistance from the one person that would least likely to help them in the past.  But with the threat of the Dark Energem, can the Power Rangers endure and defeat their enemies?

What is “Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge” about?

In 2015, “Power Rangers: Dino Charge” debuted on television. And as usual with Power Rangers series, a second season follows and in January 2016, “Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge” made its debut.

The 23rd season of the “Power Rangers” series continues with the same actors as season one: Brennan Mejia, Camille Hyde, Yoshua Sudarso, Michael Taber, James Davies, Claire Blackwelder and Davi Santos.

And new antagonists with Heckyl and Snide.

The storyline begins with the opening narration:

Millions of years ago, the evil Sledge tried to steal the greatest power in the universe. But an alien named Keeper entrusted them to dinosaurs. As for Sledge… He was blasted deep into space. Now the Energems have been found, and Sledge returns to battle a new team of heroes; they are…Power Rangers Dino Charge!”

As Heckyl and Snide continues to look for the remaining two Energems, a team of Power Rangers form to find the the Energems before their enemies can and prepare themselves for the battle ahead.

Power Rangers Dino Charge consists of:

  • Dino Charge Red Ranger – Tyler Navarro (portrayed by Brennan Mejia) – The leader of the team and works as the chef at Amber Beach Dinosaur Museum’s restaurant, the Dino Bite Cafe. He commands the T-Rex Zord. His father had gone missing when he was a child and Tyler hopes one day he can find him.
  • Dino Charge Pink Ranger – Shelby Watkins (portrayed by Camille Hyde) – A waitress at the Dino Bite Cafe and knows a lot about Dinosaurs. She commands the Tricera Zord.
  • Dino Charge Blue Ranger – Koda (portrayed by Yoshi Sudarso) – A Cro-Magnon caveman who found the Blue Energem a hundred thousand years ago in a Stegosaurus fossil. He was unfrozen by Kendall and Chase and becomes the Dino Charge Blue Ranger. He works as a dishwasher for Dino Bite Cafe and Amber Beach Museum digger. He commands the Stego Zord.
  • Dino Charge Green Ranger – Riley Griffin (portrayed by Michael Taber) – Works as an intern at the Amber Beach Museum and as a waiter at Dino Bite Cafe. He is calm and very intelligent. He commands the Raptor Zord.
  • Dino Charge Black Ranger – Chase Randall (portrayed by James Davies) – The flirtatious and laid-back member who likes to ride a skateboard. Works as a janitor at Amber Beach museum and is an expert paleontology digger. He commands the Para Zord.
  • Dino Charge Gold Ranger – Sir Ivan of Zandar (portrayed by Davi Santos) – A Mideival knight who served the royal family of Zandar 800 years ago. He commands the Ptera Zord.
  • Dino Charge Graphite Ranger – Prince Phillip III (portrayed by Jarred Blakiston) – The wealthy crown prince of Zandar and descendent of Prince Colin. He is helpful and cares about the environment and wants to become a Power Ranger. He commands the Pachy Zord.
  • Kendall Morgan (portrayed by Claire Blackwelder) – A 26-year-old scientist who manages the Amber Beach Dinosaur Museum and heads the paleontology digging group.

As “Power Rangers: Dino Charge” featured a total of 22 episodes, “Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Extinction” features the last ten episodes of the second season.

Here is a spoilerless summary of “Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Extinction”:

  • Episode 33 – “Love at First Fight” – Can Beauticruel use Poisandra’s magic to make men fall for her?
  • Episode 34 – “Catching Some Rays” – When the team discover Koda’s old cave, they ignore Koda’s grandfather’s warning.
  • Episode 35 – “Recipe for Disaster” – Food Critic Catherine Allister visits the Dino Bite, but what happens when Chase’s dish doesn’t come out as he expected.
  • Episode 36 – “Silver Secret” – The Silver Ranger lands on Earth.
  • Episode 37 – “Wings of Danger” – Doomwing comes to challenge Zenowing.
  • Episode 38 – “Freak Fightday” – What happens when a monster switches the rangers bodies around?  Can the team get back at being their original selves?
  • Episode 39 – “Worgworld” – Why is everyone turning into zombies?
  • Episode 40 – “The Rangers Rock” – What happens when Badussa turns the Rangers into stone?  Can Shelby and Zenowing save the day?
  • Episode 41 – “Edge of Extinction” – The rangers discovers a Greenzilla Egg, meanwhile the team receives help from an unlikely person.
  • Episode 42 – “End of Exctinction” – The final fight against Sledge.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Extinction” is presented in 1:78:1 Widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital and French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio. Picture quality is good, as one can expect on DVD and with most of the film shot outdoors, picture quality is good. Dialogue and music is clear and understandable.

Closed Captions are included.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Extinction” features no special features.

EXTRAS:

“Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Extinction” comes with a slip cover.


For over 20-years, many people have grown up watching “Power Rangers”.

Sure, a lot of the stories are campy but for those who enjoyed the action, the costumes and the good old story of good vs. evil, that concept has remained consistent season after season.

“Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Extinction” continues the trend that Lions Gate did with the last released “Roar” by including the final ten episodes of the season instead of the standard five (note: the two specials are not included and will most likely be released for the complete collection).

As one who has grown up watching the Japanese sentai series and also the original “Power Rangers” and now having a child and nephews that are interested in them, one thing that I am glad to see is that the series retains its action and family-oriented storylines.

Nothing too violent and nothing that would make parents wince. Granted, some may object to the fighting but personally, costumed heroes vs. monsters (people in rubber suits), it’s not exactly something that I worry about in terms of fighting action. As parents, it’s how we teach our children and to not practice Power Rangers moves on other people.

As for this DVD volume, it’s pretty much the final ten episodes of season two and feature stories revolving around each character. From Kendall’s grandmother visiting the area, Chase trying to cook a dessert recipe for a renown food critic, Tyler and Shelby getting closer but the focus is on the return of Sledge and a new enemy, Lord Arcanon.

And as the team are in for the fight of their lives, they receive help from the person they would never expect to help them.

As for the DVD, picture and audio quality is as good as one can expect on DVD and there are no special features. Unfortunately, unlike previous DVD releases, there is no digital HD code included.  But usually, a complete collection is typically released and with those, one should expect all episodes including the two specials episodes.

Overall, “Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Extinction” is a DVD that I recommend for young fans and the young at heart with the season’s final ten action-packed episodes. If you love the first season of “Power Rangers Dino Charge”, definitely check out the second season on DVD!

 

Pinocchio: The Signature Collection (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Pinocchio: The Signature Collection” is the definitive version of “Pinocchio” on Blu-ray to own!  A timeless classic, “Pinocchio: The Signature Collection” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © Disney. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Pinocchio: The Signature Collection

YEAR OF FILM: 1940

DURATION: 88 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080P High Definition 1:33:1, 1080p High Definition, English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (DTS-HDHR), Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French

COMPANY: Disney

RATED: G

RELEASE DATE: January 31, 2017


Supervising Director: Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen

Sequence director: Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney

Produced by Walt Disney

Music by Leigh Harline, Paul J. Smith


Featuring the Voices of:

Mel Blank (voice of Cleo, Figaro and Gideon)

Cliff Edwards (voice of Jiminy Cricket)

Dickie Jones (voice of Alexander, Pinocchio)

Christian Rub (voice of Gepetto)

Walter Catlett (voice of Honest John)

Frankie Darro (voice of Lampwick)

Charles Judels (voice of The Coachman/Stromboili)

Evelyn Venable (voice of the Blue Fairy)


Now a part of the celebrated Walt Disney Signature Collection, the timeless story of PINOCCHIO inspires a new generation with its masterful animation, award-winning music, unforgettable characters and exclusive, all-new behind-the-scenes Bonus Extras! With his faithful friend Jiminy Cricket by his side, Pinocchio embarks on fantastic adventures that test his bravery, loyalty and honesty until he triumphs in his quest for his heart’s desire: to become a real boy.


A timeless classic that has been entertaining audiences for over 75 years, Walt Disney’s “Pinocchio” receives the Signature Collection Treatment on Blu-ray.

Released back in 1940 and is a animated musical fantasy film based on the Italian children’s novel “The Adventures of Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi.  The film is also the second animated feature produced by Disney after their successful release of the 1937 animated film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”.

The film was a box office success as the two million dollar film would go on to make over $84 million.

“Pinocchio” begins with a wood carving puppet maker named Gepetto (voiced by Christian Rub) creating a wooden puppet of a boy which he names Pinocchio. Living with Gepetto is his pet cat Figaro and his goldfish Cleo but for Gepetto, he dreams that his Pinocchio can come to life.

Meanwhile, a cricket named Jimini Cricket (voiced by Cliff Edwards) stays at Gepetto’s place and watches as the Blue Fairy comes during the night and grants Gepetto’s wish and makes Pinocchio come to life.

Of course, Pinocchio (voiced by Richard Jones) is not to knowledgeable of how people live and what is right and what is wrong but the Blue Fairy chooses Jimini Cricket to become his consciousness and to help steer him to make decisions that are good. And if Pinocchio can prove that he can learn to be good and unselfish, he can become a real boy and Jimini Cricket can get the gold badge that he has desired.

When Gepetto awakes and discovers that his puppet has come alive, Gepetto is overjoyed and surprised that his dream has come true. Very quick to get Pinocchio ready for his new life, Pinocchio’s first goal is to go to school.

But unfortunately, Pinocchio befriends to con men (or animals) J Worthington Foulfellow (voiced by Walter Catlett) and Gideo the cat (voiced by Mel Blanc) who pretend to help Pinocchio and pretend to be his friend and lead him to a different path, despite warnings from Jiminy Cricket.

Pinocchio learns the hard way that not everyone he meets are good people but most of all, he learns a hard lesson about making good and bad choices, lying and eventually, having to make the right choices to save himself from harm.


VIDEO:

So, far the Walt Disney Blu-ray disc animated (as well as theatrical) releases are among the best in picture and audio quality.

“Pinocchio” (1940) is a much older release, this film presented in multiplane Technicolor just looks absolutely fabulous on Blu-ray.

For nearly a year, an expert restoration team digitally scanned 380,334 frames of four and half miles of 71 year-old film negative, cleaning 126,778 frames, realigning each scene, removing dirt, scratches and dust and matching colors to the original cels and backgrounds. The clarity of “Pinocchio” is just amazing and I was just impressed how clean the animation was.

From the details of the backgrounds to the vibrant colors used, picture quality was just spectacular.

AUDIO:

“Pinocchio” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and French 7.1 DTS-HDMA and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. The film features crystal clear dialogue and musical score.

So, for those who have been enchanted with songs such as “When You Wish Upon A Star” to “I’ve Got No Strings”, fans of Disney composer Leigh Harline, Ned Washington and Paul J. Smith are going to enjoy how beautiful the music sounds on their home theater setup. The music from “Pinocchio” earned the film two Oscars in 1941 for “Best Music, Original Score” and “Best Music, Original Song” for “When You Wish Upon a Star” which would become Disney’s anthem.

Subtitles are presented in English SDH, Spanish and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Pinocchio” comes with the following special features:

  • The Pinnochio Project “When You Wish Upon a Star” – (3:03) Featuring the making of “When You Wish Upon a Star” sung by YouTube music stars JR Aquino, Tanner Patrick and Alex G.  Music by Tanner Patrick and music producer Philippe Saise.
  • When You Wish Upon a Star Music Video – (2:49) Featuring JR Aquino, Tanner Patrick and Alex G.
  • Walt’s Story Meetings: Pleasure Island – (7:14) A voice recreation from the transcript of story meetings preserved by Walt Disney Archives.
  • In Walt’s Words – Pinocchio – (4:48) An audio recording with archived video sources of Walt Disney discussing “Pinocchio”.
  • Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in “Poor Papa” – (5:18) A classic animated short featuring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
  • Audio Commentary – Audio commentary with Leonard Maltin, Eric Goldberg and J.B. Kaufman. A very informative and also enthusiastic commentary in which the three discuss their feelings of the film, what scenes touched them and also some informative facts about the film. The optional video commentary allows people to have a picture-in-picture display in which you can watch the three discuss the film and then also some interviews with the original crew involved with the film.
  • No Strings Attached: The Making of Pinocchio – Witness the behind-the scenes magic that transformed Carlo Collodi’s popular book into a classic animated film. About an hour long and very informative featurette about how the film cost Disney over $2 million to make but the film didn’t do well in the box office until later as the music became a big part of Disney and people started to discover it’s technical, artistic and musical merit and having become a Disney masterpiece.
  • Deleted Scenes – In the Disney vault, storyboards for deleted scenes and an alternate ending were found. Without spoiling any of these, the following scenes are:
    – The story of the Grandfather Tree – Kindly Geppetto tells Pinocchio about the Great Pine Tree from which Pinocchio is descended.
    – In The Belly Of The Whale –
    The most elaborate of Pinocchio’s deleted scenes that remain in the Disney Archives, these recently discovered storyboards reveal a different version of Geppetto inside Monstro.
    – Alternate Ending –
    A recently uncovered set of small storyboard panels reveal plans for a different version of Pinocchio becoming a real boy.
  • The Sweat Box – The Sweatbox was a small projection room at the Disney studio where Walt critiqued story reels, rough animation, and dailies of films in progress with his anxious artists. This piece traces the history of the Sweatbox and brings to life this important part of Walt Disney’s artistic process.
  • Geppettos Then And Now – A look at the art of toymaking as it has evolved into the 21st Century. A fun featurette showcasing those who make toys, those who still carve wooden puppets to those who have created the Wall-E robot toy and I-Sobot.
  • Live Action Reference Footage – Older footage of how live action was used in the film, especially with the movements of Jimini Cricket.
  • “When You Wish Upon a Star” – An music video starring Meaghan Jette Martin (Camp Rock) performing an all-new version of “When You Wish Upon A Star!” 
  • A Wish Come True: The Making of Pinocchio – (5:06) The original making of “Pinocchio” special feature.
  • Storyboard-to-Film Final Comparison – (3:56) Featuring a storyboard segment (shown at the top) and the final animated version shown at the bottom.
  • Song Selection – This section allows the viewer to listen to the music portions from the film.

EXTRAS:

“Pinocchio: The Signature Collection” comes with a slipcover, a DVD version of the film and a Disney Digital HD code.


For those who have never owned “Pinocchio” will surely enjoy this Blu-ray release of “Pinocchio: The Signature Collection”.

A film which many of us grew up with as child and learning about the love between Pinocchio and his creator/father, Geppetto but also learning a major lesson about lying and also promoting Disney’s “Making Your Wish Come True”.

A timeless classic, this film which is over 75-years-old looks and sounds fantastic on Blu-ray.  And to have a such an important classic animated film released on Blu-ray to look this spectacular is impressive but to go back into the sealed archives of Disney and to find any video or any type of existing artwork or storyboards was quite insightful.

Learning how Walt Disney wanted to immediately change his version of “Pinocchio” from Carlo Collodi’s original 1911 story “avventure de Pinocchio” (which featured an unlikeable, wiseguy Pinocchio and dark stories about abductions and murders) to learning also how strict Walt Disney was in making sure his staff knew what he wanted and did all he can to bring the best out of them.

Now, as a parent, I did watch this film with my child. For those who are not familiar with the classic Disney films, although Disney films are rated G, Disney films from the past versus a Disney film like “Wall-E” or a modern Disney animated film that is generally fine for children will need to know that back then, Walt Disney’s animated films were created for people of all ages and not just children (which was discussed on the commentary).

So, therefore Walt Disney’s first film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” had darker content. Disney’s second film “Pinocchio” has its share of scenes that may make some parents uncomfortable. For example, in one scene, Pinocchio follows a wiseguy who likes to smoke and thus Pinocchio starts smoking a cigar (and of course getting sick by it), scenes with beer drinking and then of course, a scene where the word “jackass” is used a few times. Some may feel the content is inappropriate for their children, so I will leave that up to the parents discretion.

I know the biggest question from Disney fans is whether or not they should splurge on this Blu-ray version if they owned the fantastic 2009 “70th Anniversary Platinum Edition” on Blu-ray.

When it comes to the film and lossless audio, the 70th Anniversary version has the original theatrical soundtrack, the Signature Collection doesn’t, but it offers a French 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack and a Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack which the 2009 version didn’t have.

“Pinocchio: The Signature Collection” also comes with four newer special features and the special features are not spread on two Blu-ray discs like the 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition.  The special features are nearly alike with the exception of the lack of inclusion of the video picture-in-picture video commentary and the remote control games that were popular in the late 2000’s.

So, unlike the “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Signature Collection” which I did gripe a bit because it had less special features compared to the 2009 Platinum Edition, this time around, there are more special features that come with the “Pinocchio: The Signature Collection”.

So, “Pinocchio: The Signature Collection” is the better version of the two.  So, it is worth upgrading to, if special features are important to you.  Otherwise, I’m sure hardcore Disney animation fans will most likely want to own both Blu-ray versions but for those that are primarily wanting this for the film on HD and don’t care for special features can stick with their 2009 Platinum Edition Blu-ray release.

Overall, “Pinocchio: The Signature Collection” is the definitive version of “Pinocchio” on Blu-ray to own!  A timeless classic, “Pinocchio: The Signature Collection” is highly recommended!

 

Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge vol. 1 – Roar (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

December 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Roar” is a DVD that I recommend for young fans and the young at heart with ten action-packed episodes.  If you love the first season of “Power Rangers Dino Charge”, definitely check out this second season on DVD!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lions Gate Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge vol. 1 – Roar

TV SERIES (YEAR): 2016

DURATION: Episodes 1-10 [Episodes 23-32] (2 Hrs. and 12 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 1:78:1 Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Lions Gate

RATED: Not Rated

AVAILABLE ON: January 10, 2017


Directed by Charlie Haskell, Peter Salmon, Mike Smith, Jonathan Brough, Peter Burger, Karl Zwicky, Michael Duignan

Written by Judd Lynn, Haim Saban, Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Mark Litton, Jeffrey Newman, Peter Wiseman, James W. Bates, Tanya M. Wheeler, Marc Handler, Ann Knapp

Produced by Sally Campbell

Executive Produced by Judd Lynn, Brian Casentini, Haim Saban

Music by Noam Kaniel

Cinematography by Kevin Riley, D.J. Stipsen

Edited by Allanah Milne

Casting by Iris Hampton

Production Design by Tracey Collins

Art Direction by Davin Voot

Costume Design by Sarah Voon


Starring:

Brennan Mejia as Tyler Navarro/Red Dino Charge Ranger

Camille Hyde as Shelby Watkins/Pink Dino Charge Ranger

Yoshua Sudarso as Koda/Blue Dino Charge Ranger

Michael Taber as Riley Griffin/Green Dino Charge Ranger

James Davies as Chase Randall/Black Dino Charge Ranger

Claire Blackwelder as Kendall Morgan/Purple Dino Charge Ranger

Campbell Cooley as the Mecha Voice

Davi Santos as Ivan

Estevez Gillespie as Wrench

Paul Harrop as Fury

Eve Gordon as Keeper

Adam Gardiner as Sledge

Jackie Clarke as Poisandra

Ryan Carter as Heckyl


The Power Rangers continue their search for the Energems after Sledge’s defeat, but soon learn that his most dangerous prisoner, the evil Heckyl, survived! In light of this new threat, Kendall creates a powerful new Dino Charger that unlocks the Red Ranger’s T-Rex Super Charge mode! It will take every Zord, Megazord, and Dino Charger in the Power Rangers’ arsenal to finally unite all ten Energems and save the universe!


The second season of “Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge” begins as Heckyl and Snide resume leadership after Sledge’s defeat.  And now the two are after the final two Energems.  Can the Power Rangers find the remaining Energems before Heckyl and Snide?  Also, who is the Aqua Ranger?  And Silver Ranger?  And new enemies….Singe and Fury?

All this and more for “Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Roar”!  Featuring the first ten episodes of the second season!

What is “Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge” about?

In 2015, “Power Rangers: Dino Charge” debuted on television.  And as usual with Power Rangers series, a second season follows and in January 2016, “Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge” made its debut.

The 23rd season of the “Power Rangers” series continues with the same actors as season one: Brennan Mejia, Camille Hyde, Yoshua Sudarso, Michael Taber, James Davies, Claire Blackwelder and Davi Santos.

And new antagonists with Heckyl and Snide.

The storyline begins with the opening narration:

Millions of years ago, the evil Sledge tried to steal the greatest power in the universe. But an alien named Keeper entrusted them to dinosaurs. As for Sledge… He was blasted deep into space. Now the Energems have been found, and Sledge returns to battle a new team of heroes; they are…Power Rangers Dino Charge!”

As Heckyl and Snide continues to look for the remaining two Energems, a team of Power Rangers form to find the the Energems before their enemies can and prepare themselves for the battle ahead.

Power Rangers Dino Charge consists of:

  • Dino Charge Red Ranger – Tyler Navarro (portrayed by Brennan Mejia) – The leader of the team and works as the chef at Amber Beach Dinosaur Museum’s restaurant, the Dino Bite Cafe. He commands the T-Rex Zord.  His father had gone missing when he was a child and Tyler hopes one day he can find him.
  • Dino Charge Pink Ranger – Shelby Watkins (portrayed by Camille Hyde) – A waitress at the Dino Bite Cafe and knows a lot about Dinosaurs. She commands the Tricera Zord.
  • Dino Charge Blue Ranger – Koda (portrayed by Yoshi Sudarso) – A Cro-Magnon caveman who found the Blue Energem a hundred thousand years ago in a Stegosaurus fossil. He was unfrozen by Kendall and Chase and becomes the Dino Charge Blue Ranger. He works as a dishwasher for Dino Bite Cafe and Amber Beach Museum digger. He commands the Stego Zord.
  • Dino Charge Green Ranger – Riley Griffin (portrayed by Michael Taber) – Works as an intern at the Amber Beach Museum and as a waiter at Dino Bite Cafe. He is calm and very intelligent. He commands the Raptor Zord.
  • Dino Charge Black Ranger – Chase Randall (portrayed by James Davies) – The flirtatious and laid-back member who likes to ride a skateboard. Works as a janitor at Amber Beach museum and is an expert paleontology digger. He commands the Para Zord.
  • Dino Charge Gold Ranger – Sir Ivan of Zandar (portrayed by Davi Santos) – A Mideival knight who served the royal family of Zandar 800 years ago. He commands the Ptera Zord.
  • Dino Charge Graphite Ranger – Prince Phillip III (portrayed by Jarred Blakiston) – The wealthy crown prince of Zandar and descendent of Prince Colin. He is helpful and cares about the environment and wants to become a Power Ranger. He commands the Pachy Zord.
  • Kendall Morgan (portrayed by Claire Blackwelder) – A 26-year-old scientist who manages the Amber Beach Dinosaur Museum and heads the paleontology digging group.

As “Power Rangers: Dino Charge” featured a total of 22 episodes, “Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Roar” features the first ten episodes of season two which consists of 20 episodes + two specials.

And this time around, Lions Gate is now releasing ten episodes instead of the usual five with this DVD release.

Here is a spoilerless summary of “Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Roar”:

  • Episode 23 – “When Evil Stirs” – For the Power Rangers, a new enemy emerges.
  • Episode 24 – “Forgive and Forget” – Heckyl launches a new plan to find the Power Rangers base, meanwhile Riley has a new rival at school.
  • Episode 25 – “Nightmare in Amber Beach” – Shelby’s father pressures her to get great grades, so she can take over Watkins Ice Cream.  Meanwhile, they must confront Nightmare, a monster which causes the Power Rangers to fall asleep.
  • Episode 26 – “A Date with Danger” – A new enemy named Singe appears, meanwhile Chase and his girlfriend Kaylee breakup, as she has fallen for his Power Rangers persona, Black Ranger.
  • Episode 27 – “Roar of the Red Ranger” – Tyler takes the Rangers to the campsite that he and his father visited, the last area where he has seen his father.  But as monsters attack Tyler, out of nowhere, the Aqua Ranger has appeared.
  • Episode 28 – “Forged Under Fire” – What happens when Singe has a new plan to defeat the Rangers with power-disabling rings?
  • Episode 29 – “Home Run Koda” – Kendall creates a new Dino Charger, meanwhile Koda becomes a baseball star and Riley manages him.  But will Riley’s passion to become a champ overshadow his commitment as a Power Ranger?
  • Episode 30 – “Riches and Rags” – When Ivan accidentally destroys a thousand-year old suit of armor, thinking it’s a training dummy, the museum is now in debt of two million dollars and the museum may be closed.  How will the Rangers save the museum?
  • Episode 31 – “Besties 4Eva” – Shelby’s best friend Erin always takes credit for Erin’s accomplishments.  But now, Erin is proclaiming herself as the Pink Ranger.
  • Episode 32 – “Gone Fishin'” – The Rangers receive a message from the Silver Ranger, but Fury destroys it before they can receive it.  Meanwhile Riley and brother Matt go fishing.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Roar” is presented in 1:78:1 Widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital and French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio. Picture quality is good, as one can expect on DVD and with most of the film shot outdoors, picture quality is good. Dialogue and music is clear and understandable.

Closed Captions are included.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Roar” features no special features.

EXTRAS:

“Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Roar” comes with a slip cover.


For over 20-years, many people have grown up watching “Power Rangers”.

Sure, a lot of the stories are campy but for those who enjoyed the action, the costumes and the good old story of good vs. evil, that concept has remained consistent season after season.

“Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Roar” is probably a DVD release that I’m quite happy that Lions Gate has made the decision to go with a ten-episode release, versus the standard five episodes.

As one who has grown up watching the Japanese sentai series and also the original “Power Rangers” and now having a child and nephews that are interested in them, one thing that I am glad to see is that the series retains its action and family-oriented storylines.

Nothing too violent and nothing that would make parents wince. Granted, some may object to the fighting but personally, costumed heroes vs. monsters (people in rubber suits), it’s not exactly something that I worry about in terms of fighting action. As parents, it’s how we teach our children and to not practice Power Rangers moves on other people.

As for this DVD volume, it’s pretty much the first ten episodes of season two and feature stories revolving around each character.  From Tyler’s search for his missing father, Shelby having to deal with her best friend who is now proclaiming herself as the Pink Ranger, Koda dealing with his fears of ice and also becoming a baseball player, Riley’s competitive attitude coming to fruition as he has a school rival and also managing Koda during the baseball episode, Chase breaking up with his girlfriend and getting jealous as she has fallen for his Black Ranger persona and Sir Ivan accidentally destroying a historic outfit  that now may force the museum to close down.

The latest season also features four new enemies that the Power Rangers must take on, but it also features the debut of the Aqua Ranger and also a glimpse of the Silver Ranger.

As for the DVD, picture and audio quality is as good as one can expect on DVD and there are no special features. Unfortunately, unlike previous DVD releases, there is no digital HD code included.

Overall, “Power Rangers: Dino Super Charge – Roar” is a DVD that I recommend for young fans and the young at heart with ten action-packed episodes.  If you love the first season of “Power Rangers Dino Charge”, definitely check out this second season on DVD!

 

LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – Complete Season One (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures” is a wonderful LEGO animated series for children, the family and Star Wars fans who are young at heart.  Fun, adventurous and action-packed, if you love LEGO and love “Star Wars”, then this Blu-ray release is definitely worth owning!

Images courtesy of © 2015 The Lego Group. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – Complete Season One

FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: (Episodes 1-13) 299 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio), English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 2.0 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Disney

RATED: TV Y7 FV

Release Date: December 6, 2016


Created by Bill Motz and Bob Roth

Developed by Carrie Beck, Jack Blais, Leland Chee, Keith Malone, John McCormack

Directed by Michael Hegner, Jens Moller, Martin Skov, Frederik Budolph-Larsen, Per Risager

Written by George Lucas, Danielle Witz, James W. Bates, John Behnke, Russ Carney, Ron Corcillo, David Shayne

Producer:Carrie Beck, Jake Blais, Jason Cosler, Irene Sparre Hjorthoj

Executive Producer: Torsten Jacobsen, Bill Motz, Bob Roth, Jill Wilfert, Erik Willstrup

Co-Producer: Vicky Kjaer Jensen, Jacqueline Lopez

Music by Michael Kramer

Edited by Henrik Bech, Kristian Haskjold, Emma Hjulmand Nielsen, Lars Wissing

Art Direction by Mad Tuxen, Jonas Ussing


Starring:

Vanessa Lengies as Kordi

Grey DeLisle as Naare

Nicolas Cantu as Rowan

Matthew Wood as Roger

Eugene Byrd as Zander

Trevor Devall as Emperor

Matt Sloan as Darth Vader

Dana Snyder as Graballa

James Patrick Stuart as Dengar

John DiMaggio as Baash

Danny Jacobs as Raam

Jeff Bennett as Commander Plumestriker

Thomas Lennon as Wick Cooper

Greg Baldwin as Furlac

Richard Kind as Durbin

Kevin Michael Richardson as Jabba

Michal Daingerfield as Han Solo

Julie Dolan as Leia


 Taking place between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, these new adventures follow a family of scavengers who build and sell starships from battle debris strewn throughout the galaxy. When their youngest discovers a natural connection with the Force through an ancient artifact – the Kyber Saber –he and his family are thrown into an epic struggle against the Empire to restore peace and freedom to the galaxy. The Freemakers explore new worlds, meet new and familiar characters and discover the strength of family. Relive all 13 action-packed episodes in LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures Season One.


In June 2016, Disney XD unveiled the latest LEGO Star Wars animation titled “LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures”.

A 13-episode series that was created by Bill Motz (“Swindle”, “The Penguins of Madagascar”, “Rufus”) and Bob Roth (“The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride”, “Mickey’s Twince Upon a Christmas”, “Aladdin: The Return of Jafar”).

And now the first season will be available on Blu-ray courtesy of Disney.

Taking place between “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi”, the series revolves around the Freemaker family which include Kordi, Zander and their younger brother Rowan along with their droid Roger.

The four work in the salvage business and try to salvage parts from destroyed or damaged ships.

But when the two get caught in a battle between the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance, young Rowan discovers an ancient artifact known as the Kyber Saber.

He is immediately found by Naare, a mysterious force-wielder who recognizes that Rowan has a connection to the Force and has the ability to find the artifacts needed to create the Kyber Saber (which was separated into pieces to keep it away from evil hands).  Which both Darth Vader and Darth Sidious are trying to find.

As the Freemakers team up with Naare, thinking she’s a good jedi, the truth is that she is a sith sent by the Emperor to use Rowan to find the artifacts needed to put the Kyber Saber together.  And giving Rowan an idea that he has the potential to become a jedi.

And as the Freemakers travel throughout the galaxy to find the artifacts, they run into a few familiar faces such as Lando, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and more.


VIDEO:

“LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – Complete Season One” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio).   The animation is fantastic and the detail for the space craft and characters are well-done.  The animation is colorful and detailed for a LEGO Star Wars series and there is no doubt improvement seen in the animation of the characters, especially when comparing to past LEGO Star Wars animated series.

I did not notice any artifacts or banding issues during my viewing of each episode.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – Complete Season One” is presented in English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, and also French Dolby Digital 2.0 with subtitles in English SDH, French and Spanish.

While dialogue is crystal clear, as with its musical score and light saber sound effects and action sequences utilizing the surround channels, it would have been awesome to have a lossless soundtrack for the Blu-ray release.  But for the most part, audio is crystal clear.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – Complete Season One” comes with the following special features:

  • The Freemaker Adventures: Meet the Freemaker Family – (2:18) Featuring the voice talent of “Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures”.
  • Freemaker Salvage and Repair – (1:00) The Freemaker Salvage and Repair commercial.

EXTRAS:

“LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – Complete Season One” comes with a slipcover, six exclusive magnets and a DisneyMovieRewards code.


With the latest “LEGO Star Wars” animated series, “LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures” is a series that will no doubt appeal to children thanks to its young protagonist but also appeal to Star Wars fans who will be happy to see familiar faces and vehicles from the “Star Wars” films in this series.

The series revolves around the Freemaker family which consists of Kordi Freemaker, the protective sister; Zander Freemaker, the eldest brother and mechanic who specializes in creating new ships and devices from leftover components and their younger brother Rowan, a 12-year-old force-sensitive boy who doesn’t really listen to his siblings and often gets into trouble.

With the Galactic Empire in search of the Kyber Saber, they have a sith named Naare infiltrate the Freemaker family and to make Rowan think he’s a jedi with potential and that she is a jedi that sees that he is force-sensive and wants to train him.  But in truth, she is using his force-sensitive power to find the artifacts to rebuild the Kyber Saber.

And as the Freemakers look for the crystal artifacts, through their adventures they will run into characters such as Jabba the hutt, Boba Fett, Dengar, Baash, Raam, Lando Calrissian, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa, Admiral Ackbar, Jek-14 (from “LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles”) and more.

And for comedy relief, the series introduces us to Jabba the Hutt’s jealous cousin, Graballa the Hut and under his employ is the bounty hunter, Dengar.

The CG animation for this series is fantastic and close up shows wonderful detail, plastic sheen and for the most part, the animation looks great!  And because of how the characters are designed, it really does a great job of attracting children to the “LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures” toy sets.  The Blu-ray release comes with a few special features, but you do get six exclusive magnets included.

Overall, “LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures” is a wonderful LEGO animated series for children, the family and Star Wars fans who are young at heart.  Fun, adventurous and action-packed, if you love LEGO and love “Star Wars”, then this Blu-ray release is definitely worth owning!

 

 

The BFG (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

For Dahl fans, “The BFG” is a magical, entertaining and delightful film. It’s also a wonderful adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book, brought to life by filmmaker Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Melissa Mathison that will entertain families for generations to come. Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The BFG

FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: 118 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, (2:39:1), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Description Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French

COMPANY: Disney

RATED: PG (For Action, Peril, Some Scary Moments and Brief Rude Humor)

RELEASE DATE: November 29, 2016


Directed by Steven Spielberg

Based on the Book by Roald Dahl

Screenplay by Melissa Mathison

Produced by Frank Marshall, Sam Mercer, Steven Spielberg

Co-Producer: Adam Somner

Associate Producer: Melissa Mathison

Executive Producer: Kathleen Kennedy, Kristie Macosko Krieger, John Madden, Michael Siegel

Music by John Williams

Cinematography by Janusz Kaminski

Edited by Michael Kahn

Production Design by Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg

Art Direction by Chris Beach, Margot Ready, Todd Cherniawsky, Grant Van Der Slagt, Rebecca Milton

Set Decoration by Michael A. Billings, Elizabeth Wilcox

Costume Design by Joanna Johnston


Starring:

Mark Rylance as BFG

Ruby Barnhill as Sophie

Penelope Wilton as The Queen

Jemaine Clement as Fleshlumpeater

Rebecca Hall as Mary

Rafe Spall as Mr. Tibbs

Bill Hader as Bloodbottler


When a mysterious 10-year-old boy, Pete, turns up, claiming to live in the woods with a giant green dragon, it’s up to a forest ranger, Grace, and young Natalie to learn where the boy came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this magical dragon.


Back in 1982, British novelist Roald Dahl (“James and the Giant Peach”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, to name a few) would write “The BFG”.

And in 2016, filmmaker Steven Spielberg (“Saving Private Ryan”, “Schindler’s List”, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”) and screenwriter Melissa Mathison (“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”, “Kundun”, “Twilight Zone: The Movie”) would go on to create a live-film adaptation of Dahl’s popular novel for Disney, which would be Spielberg’s first directorial film for Walt Disney Pictures.

The film would be the final film which Melissa Mathison had written before her death.  And the movie is dedicated to her.

The film would star Ruby Barnhill, Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”, “The Other Boleyn Girl”, “Intimacy”), Penelope Wilton (“Match Point”, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, “Shaun of the Dead”), Jermaine Clement (“Men in Black 3”, “Rio” films), Rebecca Hall (“The Prestige”, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, “Iron Man 3”), Rafe Spall (“Prometheus”, “Life of Pi”, “Shaun of the Dead”) and Bill Hader (“Saturday Night Live”, “Superbad”).

And now “The BFG” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Disney.

The film revolves around 10-year-old orphan, Sophie (portrayed by Ruby Barnhill) and lives in a London orphanage and can’t sleep at nights due to insomnia.

One night at 3:00 a.m., she looked outside the window and sees an elderly giant.  The giant (portrayed by Mark Rylance) who tried to keep hidden realizes he has been seen and so he grabs onto Sophie and takers her to Giant Country.

Known as “BFG” (Big Friendly Giant), he explains to Sophie that she must stay with him for the rest of her life, because he is not allowed to reveal the existence of giants.  She also finds out that BFG can captures and controls dreams, but since she has insomnia, she doesn’t believe that he can control them.

The BFG manages to read her to sleep but gives her a nightmare of trying to escape but being eaten by another giant.

When she awakes, the leader of the man-eating giants, Fleshlumpeater (portrayed by Jermaine Clement), has entered BFG’s home and smells a human (which they call “bean”).  While hungry, the BFG manages to distract Fleshlumpeater from finding and eating Sophie.

As Sophie and the BFG talk about going to the Dream Country, so they can catch dreams together, while traveling, he accidentally wakes up the Bloodbottler (portrayed by Bill Hader) who wakes up the other giants and together, the giants (who are much more taller than the BFG) bully and torment him.

When the storm comes, the BFG and Sophie manages to escape but in the process, she leaves a blanket and when Fleshlumpeater, the Bloodbottler and the other man-eating giants catch the scent of a human, they are now determined in trying to eat Sophie and search for the BFG.

Can the BFG protect Sophie from the man-eating giants?


VIDEO:

“The BFG” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio). The film looks absolutely fantastic as closeups show great detail, especially when Sophie and the BFG first come in contact with the other man-eating giants and you can see the pores and hair on the arms of the giants clearly. Outdoor scenes look lush and the CG was done very well.  Once again, another Disney film that looks simply amazing on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The BFG” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks. The lossless soundtrack is fantastic as the film features quite a bit of action and these scenes manage utilize the surround channels and the LFE very well.  And also, capturing the ambiance of the land (storms) to even the more magical moments of the film. Dialogue and music are crystal clear and for the most part, the lossless soundtrack is fantastic.

Subtitles are in English SDH, Spanish and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The BFG” comes with the following special features:

  • Bringing “The BFG” to Life – (27:09) Actress Ruby Barnhill takes viewers behind-the-scenes of the making of “The BFG”.
  • The Big Friendly Giant and Me – (1:47) An animated story about The Big Friendly Giant and the little “bean”.
  • Gobblefunk: The Wonderful Words of the BFG – (3:09) A tutorial on the language of the BFG.
  • Giants 101 – (4:57) A featurette about the actors who portray the nine giants in the film.
  • Melissa Mathison: A Tribute – (5:53) A tribute to screenwriter Melissa Mathison and how Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall approached Melissa on writing “The BFG” and Spielberg’s working relationship with Melissa.  And how a few of the crew of “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” reunited together for “The BFG”.

EXTRAS:

“The BFG” comes with a slipcover and a Disney Movie Rewards code. Also, included is a DVD version of the film.


For those who have read a book or have watched a film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s work, probably have come to realize by now that his stories are well-written and for the most part, have entertained generations.

From “James and the Giant Peach”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “Matilda”, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” to name a few, the latest film adaptation is “The BFG” directed by Steven Spielberg and a screenplay by Melissa Mathison is well-done, entertaining and me and my son had a lot of fun watching the film.

But while Roald Dahl is known by many who grew up watching his films, for today’s younger generation who are familiar with today’s writers and superhero films, perhaps images of a young girl and an older, elderly giant was not enough to entice them to watch the film, and the lack of familiarity of Dahl’s work may have prevented “The BFG” from being a major box office success.

Which is a sad because Dahl’s stories have entertained generations for decades.  And while the film fortunately earned more than the film’s entire budget, the same situation that “The BFG” experienced happened with the animated adaptation of Wes Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox”.  Critically acclaimed, beloved by Dahl fans and those familiar with Dahl’s work.

But one can hope that similar to “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, “The BFG” is able to attract viewers now that the film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD.    Steven Spielberg and Melissa Mathison did a fantastic job for the adaptation and the storyline is fun, adventurous and one can’t help but laughing and be entertained by the film.  Snozzcumbers anyone?

Young Ruby Barnhill did an amazing job portraying Sophie and as child actors go, she managed to do very well with her lines and showing good emotion towards the BFG and that is one thing that helps when you have filmmaker Steven Spielberg behind-the-helm.  CG is wonderfully done and for the most part, the film is entertaining and enjoyable.

And as Spielberg is a fantastic director, many of us will miss Melissa Mathison’s work as a screenwriter, as this film was her last before her death back in 2015.  So, in a way, this is a reunion of a few of the crew from “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”.

On Blu-ray, the closeups are fantastic as detail can really be seen and videophiles will more than likely be pleased.  Also, lossless audio is fantastic thanks to the abundant live action sequences, John Williams’ wonderful score and overall, magical ambiance that is showcased throughout the film.  And the Blu-ray also includes a good number of special features.

Overall, for Dahl fans, “The BFG” is a magical, entertaining and delightful film.  It’s also a wonderful adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book, brought to life by filmmaker Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Melissa Mathison that will entertain families for generations to come.  Recommended!

 

Pete’s Dragon (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” is a magical, adventurous, live-action family film that may be different from the 1977 live-action, animated musical, but this new story from director David Lowery and co-writer Toby Halbrook is entertaining and so much fun. I absolutely enjoyed it! “Pete’s Dragon” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Pete’s Dragon

FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: 103 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, (2:39:1), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Description Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French

COMPANY: Disney

RATED: PG (For Action, Peril and Brief Language)

RELEASE DATE: November 29, 2016


Directed by David Lowery

Based on the Story by Steon I. Miller and S.S. Field

Screenplay by David Lowery, Toby Halbrooks

Produced by James Whitaker

Co-Producer: Adam Borba

Associate Producer: Carthew Neal

Executive Producer: Barrie M. Osborne

Music by Daniel Hart

Cinematography by Bojan Bazelli

Edited by Lisa Zeno Churgin

Casting by Debra Zane

Production Design by Jade Healy

Art Direction by Ken Turner

Set Decoration by Simon Bright, Adam Willis

Costume Design by Amanda Neale


Starring:

Bryce Dallas Howard as Grace

Robert Redford as Meacham

Oakes Fegley as Pete

Oona Laurence as Natalie

Wes Bentley as Jack

Karl Urban as Gavin

Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Sheriff Gene Dentler

Marcus Henderson as Woodrow

Aaron Jackson as Abner

Phil Grieve as Bobby

Steve Barr as Deputy Smalls


When a mysterious 10-year-old boy, Pete, turns up, claiming to live in the woods with a giant green dragon, it’s up to a forest ranger, Grace, and young Natalie to learn where the boy came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this magical dragon.


Back in 1977, a musical live-action animated film titled “Pete’s Dragon” was released in theaters.

The film would become a classic and as the original storyline was set in the 1900’s and revolved around a young orphan who fled from his abusive hillbilly foster family and had help from a huge dragon named Elliott, the 2016 Disney film is much different.

Directed by David Lowery (“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”, “St. Nick”, “Pioneer”) and co-written with Toby Halbrooks (“Upstream Color”, “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”, “Listen Up Philip”).

Disney would announce a remake back in 2013 and wanted to remake the film by title only and reinvent the story to become a Disney family film.  Having the film set in the 1980s featuring a CGI dragon instead of the dragon being hand-drawn.

The film would star Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World”, “The Help”, “Black Mirror”), Robert Redford (“The Sting”, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, “All the President’s Men”), Oakes Fegley (“This is Where I Leave You”, “Children of the Moon”, “Fort Bliss”), Oona Laurence (“Southpaw”, “Bad Moms”, “Penny Dreadful”), Wes Bentley (“The Hunger Games”, “American Beauty”, “Interstellar”) and Karl Urban (“Dredd”, “Star Trek” films, “The Bourne Supremacy”).

Budgeted at $65 million, “Pete’s Dragon” would go on to earn $141.8 million in the box office and now “Pete’s Dragon” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Disney.

The film begins with Pete, a five-year-old boy at the time on a road trip with his parents.  But as the parents swerve to avoid hitting a deer, the family goes over the cliff and Pete’s parents are killed and Pete survives.

As Pete is confronted by a pack of wolves, the wolves are scared when a huge green dragon comes to save him.  Pete names the dragon “Elliot” after his favorite book.

Fastforward six years later, and we learn that Mr. Meacham (portrayed by Robert Redford) had once confronted a green dragon in the wood, but many of the people in town think his story is crazy.

While his story has become popular and children have come over to listen, Meacham’s daughter, Grace (portrayed by Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, doesn’t believe in her father’s story.

While she goes to the forest, we see an 11-year-old Pete (portrayed by Oakes Fegley) who has lived in the forest all this time, observing Grace and Pete being surprised to see another human in the area.

One day, as a lumberjack crew has come to chop trees near where Pete and Elliot live, Natalie (portrayed by Oona Laurence), the daughter of Grace’s boyfriend, Jack (portrayed by Wes Bentley), has spotted Pete and goes out to the forest to follow him.

As Pete tries to run away from her and climb a tree, Natalie follows him up the tree and both managed to fall.

While both are OK, Grace, Jack and others managed to find the children and everyone is shocked to see Pete and wonder how long he has been living in the forest.

As Grace takes Pete in to stay with her, Jack and Natalie temporarily, Elliot goes looking for the boy in the forest.  This leads to Jack’s brother, Gavin, a hunter and lumberjack to search the forest.

When Gavin and a few lumberjacks find the hiding place and home of Pete and Elliot, Elliot growls and Gavin and the lumberjacks see the dragon on their own for the very first time and now are determined on catching it.

Meanwhile, Elliot tries to search for Pete and worries about where he may be.

As for Pete, he starts to get used to living with other humans despite being cautious around them.  Meanwhile, Grace finds out from the sheriff that Pete is the child of a family who died in an accident six years earlier and will be sent to children’s services.

But before that can happen, Grace wants to know the truth of how Pete was able to survive.  And Pete tells her that Elliot has taken care of him and gives a drawing of a green dragon.

Shocked by Pete’s story, Grace goes to her father about the news.  And Grace, her father, Pete and Natalie want to go the woods to see where Pete has lived all this time, but they are unaware that Gavin and other lumberjacks are in the area, trying to hunt down Elliot.


VIDEO:

“Pete’s Dragon” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio). With the film shot outdoors, the film looks very good in HD as closeups show great detail, skin tones look natural, while black levels are nice and deep. Outdoor scenes look lush and the CG was done very well.  It’s no doubt a challenge to create a dragon, especially one that should be appealing to children and families, but despite the differences between the 2016 film and the 1977 animated musical, I was happy the film retained the green dragon and for the most part, CG looked fantastic. And similar to other Disney films, picture quality is fantastic!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Pete’s Dragon” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks.   The lossless soundtrack is fantastic as the film features quite a bit of action, from Elliot flapping his dragon wings, Elliot crashing into things and releasing his flame to other action sequences of lumberjacks trying to shoot tranquilizer darts to many other sound effects, the film utilizes the surround channels and the LFE very well.  Dialogue and music are crystal clear and for the most part, the lossless soundtrack is fantastic.

Subtitles are in English SDH, Spanish and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Pete’s Dragon” comes with the following special features:

  • Notes to Self: A Director’s Diary – (7:31) David Lowery’s notes from the film.  Featuring behind-the-scenes footage and David Lowery reading his notes.
  • Making Magic – (2:11) A featurette about the magic featured in Pete’s Dragon and the challenges of making the film to make it seem real.
  • “Disappearing” Moments – (9:09) Deleted scenes from “Pete’s Dragon”.
  • Bloopers – (1:28) Featuring outtakes from “Pete’s Dragon”.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director and co-writer David Lowery, co-writer Toby Halbrooks and actors Oakes Fegley and Oona Laurence.
  • “Nobody Knows” Music Video by the Lumineers
  • “Something Wild” Music Video by Lindsey Stirling Featuring Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
  • Welcome to New Zealand – (1:56) A short featurette about filming in New Zealand.

EXTRAS:

“Pete’s Dragon” comes with a slipcover and a Disney Movie Rewards code.  Also, included is a DVD version of the film.


As a person who grew up with the original “Pete’s Dragon”, I have to say that Disney’s decision to have a new story that is more family friendly and to not recreate the original musical was a good decision.

For one, the musical live-action animated film was a product of its time and what director David Lowery and co-writer Toby Halbrook were able to create was a family live-action film that draws one’s attention to Pete and his relationship with the dragon, Elliot.

Using today’s modern technology to create the CG of the dragon and in essence, probably creating a much more effective, entertaining and enjoyable film compared to the older 1977 film storywise.

While not as mesmerizing and visually pleasing as the most recent Disney live-action adaptation of “The Jungle Book”, which showed a great bond between child and animals, “Pete’s Dragon” shows us a different side of a child/dragon living in a logging community and the threat are loggers who want to catch the dragon.

The child, Pete, is reintroduced to being around humans, seeing family and knowing that is where he belongs, but also knowing that in order to protect the dragon that raised him, he has to make a difficult decision.

Young Oakes Fegley did a great job of playing Pete, but the film earns credit on the acting of Bryce Dallas Howard as a forest ranger who tries to help Pete and it helps having Robert Redford in the film as well.

Great use of CG and for the most part, a good balance of action, I found “Pete’s Dragon” to be an entertaining live-action family film.

It’s important to emphasize to parents that this is a PG rated film because of the peril featured, as lumberjacks are trying to capture Elliot by all means necessary and in the beginning of the film, showing how a young boy lost his family.  While there are no disturbing scenes, because of the featured action sequences, the perilous situations earned the film a PG rating.  But I do feel the film is fine for children and as long as they watch with their parents, I do believe it’s an entertaining, not so scary, family film.

On Blu-ray, close-ups show amazing detail while the CG work for Elliot the dragon was well-done.  The lossless soundtrack was also fantastic thanks to its numerous live-action sequences and the film features a good number of special features as well.

Overall, Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” is a magical, adventurous, live-action family film that may be different from the 1977 live-action, animated musical, but this new story from director David Lowery and co-writer Toby Halbrook is entertaining and so much fun.  I absolutely enjoyed it!

“Pete’s Dragon” is recommended!

 

The Wild Life (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are looking for an animated film for the entire family featuring a Robinson Crusoe storyline and many talking animals, you may want to consider this animated film.  It’s not exactly the most child-friendly film but it’s an entertaining animated film worth considering for older children.

Images courtesy of © 2016 Summit Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The Wild Life

FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: 91 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, (2:40:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

COMPANY: Summit Entertainment

RATED: PG (Mild Action, Peril and some Rude Humor)

RELEASE DATE: November 19, 2016


Directed by Vincent Kesteloot, Ben Stassen

Written by Domonic Paris

Produced by Gina Gallo, Mimi Maynard, Domonic Paris, Ben Stassen, Caroline Van Iseghem

Executive Producer: Olivier Courson, Eric Dillens

Music by Ramin Djawadi

Casting by Gina Gallo, Mimi Maynard, Domonic Paris

Art Direction by Vincent Kesteloot, Anthony Leveque


Starring:

Carlos Alazraqui as Long John Silver

Yuri Lowenthal as Robinson Crusoe

Laila Berzins as Rosie

Joey Camen as Scrubby

Jeff Doucette as Mal/Pango

Sandy Fox as Epi

Kyle Hebert as Tom Cat

Marieve Herington as Kiki

Jay Jones as Friday

Colin Metzger as Carmello

Joe Ochman as Rufus

Michael Sorich as Cecil

Doug Stone as Aynsley

David Howard Thornton as Tuesday

Kirk Thornton as Bosun

Debi Tinsley as May


Things are larger than life on a tropical isle where wild animals rule, until a marooned human arrives in the midst of a furious storm and their lives are forever changed.


Way back in 1719, Daniel Dafoe wrote a novel titled “Robinson Crusoe”about a castaway who spent thirty years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad and trying to survive in hopes of being rescued.

As the tale of Robinson Crusoe has received various adaptations, in 2016, a Belgian-French CG animated film titled “Robinson Crusoe” (and renamed “The Wild Life” in North America) was released in theaters in Europe.

And now “The Wild Life” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Summit Entertainment.

The film begins with a red and green macaw named Mak and his friends living in an island in the South Pacific.  Mak is getting bored and dreams of life over the horizon and wants to explore the world.

Also, a pirate named Long John Silver and his crew of pirates rides the seas…

We are then introduced to Robinson Crusoe and his dog Aynsley who book a passage on a ship to explore the islands but when a tropical storm hits, Crusoe, Aynsley and wild and bad cats named Mel and May are locked in the ship’s hull and survive the storm.

When they awake, everyone is gone and Crusoe and Aynsley try to survive on the island.

As Mak and the animals fear the human and his dog, Mel and May try to attack Mak and kill him but he is rescued by Aynsley and Crusoe takes him in and names the Macaw, Tuesday.

But when Mel and May tell the other animals that Crusoe and Aynsley killed Mak, the animals go on a rampage and try to help the wild cats defeat Crusoe but finding out that they have been lied to by Mel and May.  Unfortunately, Mel and May cause an explosion on the remaining ship and in the process, Aynsley is killed.

Now Tuesday and the animals who now want to help the human Crusoe try to create shelter and help him survive on the island but will the evil cats, Mel and May prevent the animals from succeeding?


VIDEO:

“The Wild Life” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). Picture quality for the most part is very good. CG animation is very well-done compared to previous European CG films that I have watched.

There is excellent detail throughout the film. For example, for Mak/Tuesday, you can see the wearing right on its beak and the amount of shading and detail, especially for his feathers.  Another example, is during a rainstorm and seeing the puddles of rain on the ship’s deck.  Fantastic!

Textures are also well detailed along with skin details for human characters.

Granted, many will want to compare with Pixar Animation films which cost many millions of dollars but it’s best not to compare and just enjoy of how good this film looks in CG and the evolving quality of Euro CG animated films.  “The Wild Life” looks great on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Wild Life” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and features crystal clear dialogue and great use of the surround channels and LFE for the film’s many actions sequences.

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Wild Life” comes with the following special features:

  • A Wild World: Making the Wild Life – (9:16) The casting and the challenges of animating the film.
  • Meet the Characters – (10:09)  The voice actors discuss their characters.
  • Tips for Your Trip – (3:58) Robinson Crusoe gives tips of what to do if you are stranded in an island.
  • The Wild Life Musical Adventure – (3:13) A featurette showcasing various scenes from the film and the musical score.

EXTRAS:

“The Wild Life” comes with a slipcover, an UltraViolet code and a DVD version of the film.


Perhaps one of the best things that were decided when the Belgian-French film “Robinson Crusoe” was released in North America is changing the film’s title.

As Robinson Crusoe is a classic novel title, the animated film is less about Robinson Crusoe but a CG animated film that revolves more about the birds and animals living in an uninhabited island which Robinson Crusoe happens to be stranded on.

The film revolves around a parrot named Mak/Tuesday who dreams of going beyond the island and discovering life elsewhere, as he has grown bored of the island.

Meeting the stranded Robinson Crusoe and his dog Aynsley, Tuesday looks to Crusoe in hopes of taking him away from the island, not knowing that Crusoe is actually stranded.

But as the animals on the island fear Crusoe and his dog, you have two wild and mangy (and yes, evil) cats who serve as the film’s antagonists.  These cats remind me of the Gremlins (from the classic 1984 film) and somehow, these two cats are persistent and truly evil that their actions leads to one of the deaths of the film’s characters.  No doubt, earning the film it’s PG rating.  But similar to the Gremlins, these cats spawn and create more evil, mangy looking cats to join them in causing problems for Crusoe and animals.

But as the animals band together to help Crusoe, the film starts to focus more on the animals starting to enjoy Crusoe’s presence, but not all.

Meanwhile, throw in Long John Silver’s presence into the film and you have an interesting adventure for Robinson Crusoe and his bird, Tuesday.

Overall, “The Wild Life” is an entertaining CG animated film.  While it’s story is a tame version of what appears on the original Robinson Crusoe novel and focuses on Crusoe and the few animals that live with him, while in essence, this is an animated film, there are moments of peril and you have one character death.  So, parental guidance is definitely suggested.

Also, I have to say that for a European animated film, this is probably one of the better animated films I have seen in the last five years, when it comes to animation quality and detail.

But the film’s problem lies within its storytelling especially at the end. Despite the film’s adventures, the film ends far too soon and abruptly and tries to end its storyline with a brief narration, with still CG sequencs of what happens to the characters.

But I enjoyed the film for what it’s worth.  If you are looking for an animated film for the entire family featuring a Robinson Crusoe storyline and many talking animals, you may want to consider this animated film.  It’s not exactly the most child-friendly film but it’s an entertaining animated film worth considering for older children.

 

Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Hero (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

For “Power Rangers” fans who wants to take part in the Christmas spirit, “Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Hero” is a DVD that I recommend for the young fans and also the young at heart!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Lions Gate Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Breakout

TV SERIES (YEAR): 2015

DURATION: 92 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 1:78:1 Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: Not Rated

AVAILABLE ON: July 5, 2016


Directed by Charlie Haskell, Peter Salmon, Mike Smith, Jonathan Brough, Peter Burger, Karl Zwicky, Michael Duignan

Written by Judd Lynn, Haim Saban, Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Mark Litton, Jeffrey Newman, Peter Wiseman, James W. Bates, Tanya M. Wheeler, Marc Handler, Ann Knapp

Produced by Sally Campbell

Executive Produced by Judd Lynn, Brian Casentini, Haim Saban

Music by Noam Kaniel

Cinematography by Kevin Riley, D.J. Stipsen

Edited by Allanah Milne

Casting by Iris Hampton

Production Design by Tracey Collins

Art Direction by Davin Voot

Costume Design by Sarah Voon


Starring:

Brennan Mejia as Tyler Navarro/Red Dino Charge Ranger

Camille Hyde as Shelby Watkins/Pink Dino Charge Ranger

Yoshua Sudarso as Koda/Blue Dino Charge Ranger

Michael Taber as Riley Griffin/Green Dino Charge Ranger

James Davies as Chase Randall/Black Dino Charge Ranger

Claire Blackwelder as Kendall Morgan/Purple Dino Charge Ranger

Campbell Cooley as the Mecha Voice

Davi Santos as Ivan

Estevez Gillespie as Wrench

Paul Harrop as Fury

Eve Gordon as Keeper

Adam Gardiner as Sledge

Jackie Clarke as Poisandra

Ryan Carter as Heckyl


Join the Power Rangers on a quest for a new hero! Get set for dino-charged adventure and nonstop thrills as the Power Rangers discover their newest ally, the Purple Ranger! But when the Purple Ranger decides to leave the team, it will take all of the Power Rangers’ skills combined to battle the villainous Sledge – and find a new hero fit for the Purple Energem – in this action-packed collection that features the bonus episode, “Race to Rescue Christmas.”


With the holidays around the corner, fans of “Power Rangers: Dino Charger” will no doubt be looking forward to the release of the upcoming DVD titled “Hero” which comes with a special Christmas episode.

What is “Power Rangers: Dino Charge”?

In 2015, “Power Rangers: Dino Charge” debuted on television.

The 22nd season of the “Power Rangers” series, the series would star Brennan Mejia, Camille Hyde, Yoshua Sudarso, Michael Taber, James Davies, and Claire Blackwelder.

The storyline begins with the opening narration:

Millions of years ago, the evil Sledge tried to steal the greatest power in the universe. But an alien named Keeper entrusted them to dinosaurs. As for Sledge… He was blasted deep into space. Now the Energems have been found, and Sledge returns to battle a new team of heroes; they are…Power Rangers Dino Charge!”

As Sledge continues to look for the Energems, a team of Power Rangers form to find the the Energems first and fight various enemies.

As “Power Rangers: Dino Charge” features a total of 22 episodes, “Hero” is the fifth “Power Rangers: Dino Charge” DVD to be released and contains episodes 17-20 + the Christmas special.

Here is a spoilerless summary of “Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Hero”:

  • Episode 17 – “World Famous (in New Zealand)” – The Power Rangers come in contact with a Purple Ranger.
  • Episode 18 – “Deep Down Under” –  Sledge is after the Plesio Zord…the Rangers must find it first!
  • Episode 19 – “Wishing for a Hero” – Kendall and the Rangers must find one who can bond with the Purple Energem.
  • Episode 20 – “One More Energem” – Sledge has two Energems and the Rangers and Kendall must find a way to defeat him.
  • Christmas Special – “Race to Rescue Christmas” – Poisandra steals Santa’s tablet and the Rangers must get it back to save Christmas.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Hero” is presented in 1:78:1 Widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital and French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio. Picture quality is good, as one can expect on DVD and with most of the film shot outdoors, picture quality is good. Dialogue and music is clear and understandable.

Closed Captions are included.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Hero” features no special features.

EXTRAS:

“Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Hero” comes with a slip cover and HD UltraViolet code.


For over 20-years, many people have grown up watching “Power Rangers”.

Sure, a lot of the stories are campy but for those who enjoyed the action, the costumes and the good old story of good vs. evil, that concept has remained consistent season after season.

“Power Rangers: Dino Charge” is rather interesting because of the dinosaur angle.

As one who has grown up watching the Japanese sentai series and also the original “Power Rangers” and now having a child and nephews that are interested in them, one thing that I am glad to see is that the series retains its action and family-oriented storylines.

Nothing too violent and nothing that would make parents wince. Granted, some may object to the fighting but personally, costumed heroes vs. monsters (people in rubber suits), it’s not exactly something that I worry about in terms of fighting action. As parents, it’s how we teach our children and to not practice Power Rangers moves on other people.

As for this DVD volume titled “Hero”, these episodes revolve around who can be the Purple Ranger.  And trying to stop Sledge, who has managed to get two Energems.

With this volume being a Christmas DVD release, included is a Christmas special which features scenes from past episodes, but most importantly, the Power Rangers trying to save Christmas by retrieving Santa’s stolen tablet.

While I wished there are more episodes than just the standard four, it does help to have the extra special included.   Fans of the series or parents of children who love “Power Rangers: Dino Charge”, will no doubt enjoy this DVD.

As for the DVD, picture quality is as good as one can expect on DVD and there are no special features. Fortunately, an UltraViolet digital HD code was included.

Overall, for “Power Rangers” fans who wants to take part in the Christmas spirit, “Power Rangers: Dino Charge – Hero” is a DVD that I recommend for the young fans and also the young at heart!

 

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