"MARCH OF THE PENGUINS:
LIMITED EDITION GIFT SET"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)

    Rated G
    Studio: Warner Bros.     Available on DVD November 3
    Official Kids WB site

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The emperor penguin has one of the most fascinating procreation methods in the animal kingdom. This process is documented by a French film crew in this award-winning nature film. Beginning as the sun begins its months-long descent in the Antarctic, the emperor penguins movie inland where they lay eggs and huddle together for warmth in biting cold for weeks on end. It’s a fascinating tale of shared responsibilities and the miracle of life.

WHAT I LIKED
Now that films have to compete with the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, the nature documentary really has had to step up its game. This is exactly what “March of the Penguins” did in 2004. It set the bar high for future documentaries and really hasn’t been met with the exception of the excellent work done by the BBC in their “Planet Earth” series.

The pacing of the film is quite well done, never falling into boredom and always switching up the stages of the penguin procreation process. From learning the unique call of their chicks to going weeks without eating, this is fascinating behavior and uniquely photographed for the screen.

Finally, bringing Morgan Freeman in to narrate the film was sheer genius as he has one of the most soothing voices in the business today.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
I don’t take issue with the film, but rather the marketing around it at times. Some parents see a G rating and suddenly assume that means it’s a kids’ movie. While children can watch this and other nature shows without problems, the story might get a little dull for some of the younger kids. Still, it’s not a bad idea to show some quality nature films to your kids now and then to break up the stead diet of video games and Bakugan.

DVD FEATURES
The Limited Edition Gift Set comes with a disc of the original film, which also includes the “Of Penguins and Men” and “National Geographic’s Crittercam: Emperor Penguins” featurettes as well as the penguin-themed Bugs Bunny cartoon “8 Ball Bunny” and the theatrical trailer.

Also included is a bonus DVD with the 69-minute documentary “On the Wings of Penguins,” which focuses on the life of the warm-climate African penguins.

Still, it’s the packaging of the set that will probably catch the eyes of your kids first. Included in the box set is a set of seven penguin postcards and a small plush toy of a baby emperor penguin.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Nature film junkies, most kids and anyone who likes penguins.



"THE JUSTICE LEAGUE:
THE COMPLETE SERIES"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ***** (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Studio: Warner Bros.     Available on DVD November 10
    Official Kids WB site


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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
With the advent of the modern animated superhero cartoon, the makers of the “Batman” and “Superman” animated series have brought in many of the other DC heroes in “The Justice League.” All four seasons of this groundbreaking series are included on 15 discs in two volumes, packaged in a collectable tin.

WHAT I LIKED
I’ve been a DC guy ever since I was a kid. And while I liked watching the “SuperFriends” when I was younger (and have a guilty pleasure of watching it today with my sons), I always felt that the animation was never quite up to snuff... until now.

The new millennium offered a new breed of animated superhero film. And while I’ve never really read the Justice League comics, I saw plenty of cross-overs in the books I did read. This most recent rendition of “The Justice League” brings real human drama and conflict into the series. The characters aren’t all chumming it up at the Hall of Justice. There’s personality conflicts and other interpersonal issues.

What’s neat about the series is that it brings so many of the lesser-known DC heroes to the forefront. Because Superman and Batman have had their own shows, the leadership is given some new faces, including Green Lantern, The Flash, The Martian Manhunter, Supergirl, Hawkgirl and Green Arrow. And it doesn’t stop there. We get some great cameos by the likes of Elongated Man, The Atom, Booster Gold, Lobo and Hawk & Dove.

To keep the storylines interesting, they’re not just about global threats, although that does happen with both the Cadmus organization and the resurrection of the Legion of Doom, complete with swampy headquarters. And speaking of the Legion of Doom, we are treated to some of the classic villains, including Gorilla Grog, Brainiac, Lex Luthor, Sinestro and Solomon Grundy.

Finally, as a red-blooded American male, I enjoy the focus on the female superheroes as well (even if Green Arrow is a bit of a perv at times). Forget Wonder Woman! I’ve always had a thing for Supergirl and Hawkgirl, and they definitely get their due in this series.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Not much. After all, looking at the entire four seasons of the show at once, I can’t say that the creators missed a note. If only the feature films could do the comic book adaptations this well.

DVD FEATURES
The 15-disc box set comes in a collectable tin sleeve and is jam-packed with special features. The seasons are all repackaged from earlier release and include the original special features. These encompass commentaries, making-of featurettes, spotlights on the voice cast, the original promo pitch, an excerpt from “The Amazing Story of Superman” and the new featurette “Unlimited Reserve: Exploring the Depths of the DC Universe” on the fifteenth disc.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Anyone who loves the DC superheroes, or wants to get to know them.



Watch this clip from "Justice League: Unlimited"



"DRAWN TOGETHER:
THE COMPLETE SERIES
PARTY IN YOUR BOX"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ***** (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Studio: Comedy Central

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
In the tradition of the not-so-great reality series, Comedy Central produced the first ever animated reality television show. (Let’s forget that since, the show “Total Drama Island” has given a more family-friendly animated reality show.) In “Drawn Together,” eight fictitious animated characters are forced to live in a house together. Each character is a knock-off of a real animated personality, spoofing everything from the Disney Princesses to SpongeBob SquarePants.

WHAT I LIKED
I love inappropriate humor, and you get plenty of this in “Drawn Together.” It doesn’t help that I can’t stand reality television, especially the forced plays like “Big Brother,” which this show is modeled after. In the beginning, “Drawn Together” went after the easy targets, spoofing the original characters as well as reality shows in general. However, as the series moved on, things went completely off the wall... and that is awesome.

Each character has its own level of raunch, whether you’re dealing with a lesbian relationship between a Josie and the Pussycats wannabe and a Disney-esque princess or the aging patheticness of the Betty Boop knock-off, there are no sacred cows on this show.

What was neat about the series is that it evolved, bringing in new characters but never actually voting off one of the main housemates. Even the more bizarre characters, like Ling Ling the Pokemon derivative, got his spotlight.

There’s something inherently naughty about this series, and it’s not just the overt homosexuality jokes, the scatological references and other bodily fluid references. Anyone who has watched enough Disney movies and read the Archie comics will have a thing for the original drawn characters. Bringing them together in a totally inappropriate way, highlighting lesbian sex and a stint in a strip club probably turns me on more than it should.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go see a therapist about this.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
I suppose I could complain about the raunchiness of the series, or the slaughtering of sacred animated cows in television history, but if you’re going to watch this series you shouldn’t worry about this. However, if there’s ever something that needs a parental advisory, it is this DVD set because I could see some six year old finding it and trying to watch it because it looks like children’s programming.

DVD FEATURES
The “Party in Your Box” complete series set includes all three seasons of the show with the features included in their original release. These include audio commentaries by the cast and creators, deleted scenes, sing-alongs, behind-the-scenes interviews and network promos.

Also included in the set is the “Drawn Together” board game, which has cards, a game board and character pieces to let you experience the zaniness of the show. Even more appropriate for parties is the “Get the DT’s Drinking Game” for each season that includes instructions on how to get drunk while watching the show, complete with novice level and expert level play. Once you’re good and drunk, you can play the “Drawn Together Truth or Dare” game for fun and therapy.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Anyone who hates reality TV or doesn’t mind their sacred animated cows slaughtered mercilessly.




    

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