Saturday, August 13, 2011
Digital Digest: New Sony Releases; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The Complete Season 9 and Tom and Jerry - Flying Fur Adventures, Vol. 2 DVD Reviews
DVD Review - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The Complete Season 9
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The Complete Season 9 (Lionsgate, $14.98) brings all 8 shell-busting episodes from the original series' second to last season, the ninth season, on DVD. Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo, Raphael, Splinter, April are all back to battle a new nemesis--Lord Dregg and Hi-Tech. The turtles even have a new ninja ally named Carter to help them battle Lord Dregg. There is no Shredder and his gang this season, but it's time to shake things up with a new villain!
Starting with season four we started getting season releases. Season 4 set had 39 episodes and season 5 had 18 episodes. Season six had a total of 16 episodes on its set. Season seven had 27 episodes in four collectible "slices." Season eight only had 8 episodes, so we got that on a single disc. Prior to that we were getting volume releases. Here is a recap: Volume 6 had the last 11 episodes from season three, plus the first episode of season four. The third season had a total of 47 episodes, so they decided to split up that season into volumes, so volumes 3, 4, 5, and 6 covered season three. For season 2 there were just 13 episodes, so Lionsgate released that for volume two...so yes, technically the first two volumes were season sets. Season one had only 5 episodes, so that was on Volume 1, with four bonus episodes from the last season (season ten) actually. So do you have all of these? Hope you do dudes!
Here are the episodes with the runtimes on this disc:
1. "The Unknown Ninja" (23:55) - When Lord Dregg, a wanted criminal, successfully escapes his pursuers and arrives in Earth's region of space, he immediately schemes to replenish his power supply with the gold resources found on the planet. The Turtles foil his first attempts, stopping his army of Technogangsters from looting a vault. Meanwhile, the TMNT discover that they have been watched and aided secretly by a mysterious ninja biker, who seeks to learn from them.
2. "Dregg of the Earth" (23:59) - The Turtles and Carter find themselves at odds as their differences in opinion on what qualifies as teamwork threaten to sever their relationship. Lord Dregg makes his presence known on Earth, but dawns the cloak of sincerity, working in service of humanity. Can the TMNT expose him?
3. "The Wrath of Medusa" (23:59) - Lord Dregg summons the criminal bounty hunter Medusa to attack and defeat the Turtles, while his Technogangsters raid the neutrinium mines on Earth without interference. Carter runs into problems with his maverick mutation disease when he accidentally damages a dam, endangering lives.
4. "The New Mutation" (23:59) - Dregg successfully captures the Turtles' uncontrollable mutation problems on camera, and exposes them to the world. When faced with an increase in their powers and their maverick changes, the TMNT square off against Dreggs' Replicon, a being capable of replicating itself with each defeat into multiple forms...
5. "The Showdown" (23:59) - Carter faces an old enemy he helped to expel from their Martial Arts school years ago. However, their grudge takes a backseat when Lord Dregg contacts an alien promoter looking to take the TMNT to his perverse death tournaments. He transports Leonardo, Michelangelo, Carter and his foe, leaving only Donatello and Raphael behind on Earth, to counter Dregg's latest scheme to make use of a new Mutation device.
6. "Split-Second" (24:00) - The Turtles must deal with their increasingly frequent mutations as they battle The Replicon, a battle droid that can regenerate itself upon each defeat. Carter and April take on a slug-like creature known as The Slorr, which is overtaking New York.
7. "Carter the Enforcer" (24:00) - The Turtles battle two mysterious beings attempting to kill Carter. They later learn their names are Landor and Merrik, two time travelers who have come to eliminate Carter before he can betray the Turtles and the Earth to Dregg, who is developing The Star Shield, a weapon capable of enslaving the planet.
8. "Doomquest" (24:00) - The Turtles' mutations continue to cost them dearly when they lose control briefly and tear through Times Square. Dregg finally acquires the vortex crystal, with which he can summon his scattered armada directly to Earth by warping space itself. But one other individual wants the Crystal - his name is Doomquest, an old enemy of Dreggs'. The battle for the vortex crystal leads the Turtles to a startling new discovery, but it also leads to the near destruction of Earth...
The packaging has an outer box that holds a keepcase inside. It is very simple since it is a one-disc set that has just eight episodes. The outer box is a lenticular O-card. It's a hologram type. The cover art has the Turtles in battle mode with Donatello featured and Michaelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael in the background. The color scheme is orange. The show logo is on the top, with "The Complete Season 9" mention in the middle right and the "produced by Fred Wolf Films" all the way on the top. The back of the box has info on the series and set, with a yellow box listing all eight episode titles. Radical! We also have three small episodic photos, along with a nice shot of Michaelangelo. The cover and back of the case are exactly the same as the outer box, so no need to tell you what is on the case. When we open the case, we have the disc on the right panel. There is no artwork or anything on the panels itself, it is just a plain black background. The disc art has Donatello leading the attack (same as the cover art). Bodacious!
The menu screen has been similar to since about season six. First, we get auto-trailers before the main menu appears with trailers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles S8, Thor, Speed Racer: The Next Generation, Battle for Terra and Alpha & Omega. Then after that is done, we come to the main menu screen. The theme song is playing in the background, and it does loop, and the photo is similar to the box art with each turtle. We also have video clips playing in an orange background. The theme song is the new theme song that started in season eight. Weird that they didn't change the theme in season nine, since the lyrics mention Shredder. The menu options are: Play All Episodes, Episode Selection, Trailers. Episode Selection takes us to a submenu with episode #, title, and a screenshot from the episode. Gnarly!
The video is on par with the other volumes, with dust and debris here and there and on par with previous recent seasons, especially season eight. The audio is also on par with the previous releases, not bad...and listenable. It's not remastered, but this is the best we have and it beats our taped VHS versions. The episodes are around 24 minutes, so everything is unedited. The fill one-minute opening theme is on every episode. We get 5 chapter stops per episode again. Sensei Master Splinter likes!
Seasons four and five had extras, but then season six had absolutely nothing! Then for the 25th anniversary set, we had a lot of extras for season seven. We got nothing for season eight and the same goes true for season nine. Last season was the point in time when the Turtles episodes start getting a bit weird, so I guess we should not expect any more extras even if the next release is the final season. There is no Shredder even on this season, so Lord Dregg is in control!
I still urge fans to buy this set even though there are no special features and even if this season is a bit strange. There are only eight episodes, so you could finish this set in a day and if you have all eight seasons so far, then you need this to continue your collection. Only Season 10 remains to be released and we got four of those eight episodes on the first ever release. Seasons eight through ten had 8 episodes each, so expect another one-disc set for season ten, unless they go all out for the final season. Anyway, the tone of the show became darker in season eight and it continues here with new villain Lord Dregg. Yes, Shredder fans will not be happy, but he returns for a few episodes in season ten with Dregg! So that will be fun. The art style changed significantly in season eight and beyond...but it's still our Turtles and you need to get this set dudes to continue your collection! They're heroes in a half-shell and they're green!
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One of the classic "cat and mouse" games of TV has been the classic cartoon Tom and Jerry. Of course, the series is older than TV, and shorts were shown in movie theaters, but through reruns on TV over the decades, we've all gotten to know them. There's Tom, the cat, and Jerry, the mouse. They're always out chasing each other with their never-ending rivalry that often ends very violently. Now, there are 14 episodes on DVD in a single disc collection. Here is our review of Tom and Jerry - Fur Flying Adventures, Volume 2.
DVD Review: Tom and Jerry - Fur Flying Adventures, Volume 2
by Greg Brobeck
Tom and Jerry - Fur Flying Adventures, Volume 2 (Warner, $14.98) The Tom and Jerry cartoon series has always been a favorite of kids and adults alike, as clever mouse Jerry outwits dim-witted cat Tom in constant chases. The series began in the 1940s on theater screens, created by the genius duo of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera for theatrical shorts. Their tradition was carried on by other filmmakers including Chuck Jones, and several TV adaptations were produced as well. What we have with this disc, is a sort of grab-bag from all eras. Animation collectors can pass this disc up for sure, as all of these shorts have been released on previous, better sets. The disc is mainly made up of the Chuck Jones-produced shorts of the late 1960s, which have already had a much better, complete series set released on DVD in anamorphic widescreen. Three shorts from the original Hanna-Barbera theatrical series. However, this disc also contains several cartoons from the recent, inferior Tom and Jerry Tales TV series, which don't hold a candle to the old theatrical shorts. However, if you are a parent, looking for an inexpensive disc of Tom and Jerry cartoons your kids will enjoy, this might be a good route to go.
Here is the list of shorts, followed by the year produced if theatrically released, or the TV series they came from. They seem to be unedited, but have other problems that I will get into later:
1. Tops With Pops (1957, 7:35)
2. Monster Con (Tom & Jerry Tales, 7:16)
3. Tom & Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl (1950, 7:22)
4. Of Feline Bondage (1965, 6:20)
5. Saturday Evening Puss (1950, 6:31)
6. The A-Tom-inable Snowman (1966, 6:30)
7. Surf-Bored Cat (1967, 6:28)
8. Snowbody Loves Me (1964, 7:54)
9. Duel Personality (1966, 6:05)
10. Is There a Doctor in the Mouse? (1964, 7:15)
11. Haunted Mouse (1965, 6:54)
12. The Declaration of Independence (Tom & Jerry Tales, 7:02)
13. Kitty Hawked (Tom & Jerry Tales, 7:27)
14. Which Witch! (Tom & Jerry Tales, 7:42)
The single disc comes in a Viva Eco-case, which is purportedly more environmentally friendly because it contains less plastic and can be recycled. The front of the case has the title of the disc along with a shot of Tom and Jerry playing in a swimming pool. The back has a description of the disc, along with the duo playing a different kind of pool as Jerry tries to keep balance on a cue ball that Tom is about to shoot. The disc itself is metallic with the outlines of the characters along with the Tom and Jerry logo. The packaging is attractive and should appeal to kids and families.
The main menu is a little boring but functional. The background image maintains the pool theme as Jerry has made a hammock between an annoyed Tom's ears. Spike is in the background grilling a steak. The theme from the Hanna-Barbera years plays in the background. Your menu choices are "Play" which will play all fourteen shorts in succession, "Episodes" which will let you choose a short, "Trailers" which lets you choose to view a trailer for The Looney Tunes Show or the Peanuts disc Snoopy's Adventures. "Languages" lets you choose from a wide variety of subtitles (English, French, Spanish, or Portuguese) and spoken languages (English, Spanish, or Portuguese). There are no chapter stops within the shorts themselves, but pressing the "next" button during the Play All function skips ahead to the next short.
Audio and video quality are as much of a mixed bag as the shorts themselves. The correct aspect ratio for almost every short on this disc is anamorphic widescreen, yet only some of the shorts are presented that way. The 1957 short "Tops With Pops" is in widescreen, but you are forced to look at black bars at the top and bottom of the screen even if you own a widescreen television The Tom and Jerry Tales shorts should be in widescreen as well but they are not. Some of the Chuck Jones shorts are in their proper widescreen aspect ratio, but some are not. and the two early 1950s shorts are in their proper full-screen. As far as the actual quality, the recent shorts are unsurprisingly clear and crisp, with stereo sound. Some of the 60s-era shorts are in good quality with remastered audio and picture, but others are grainy and blurry, looking like TV prints from the past.
There are no special features and I wouldn't expect any on a budget release aimed at kids and families.
Overall, if you're looking for something cheap to entertain your kids who like the violence and action of the Tom and Jerry cartoons, then this is definitely a possibility. On the other hand, if you are a collector or just a fan of animation in general, there's already a complete set of the Chuck Jones cartoons which is in much better quality and a DVD/Blu-ray collection of the Hanna-Barbera shorts begins later this year. The Tom and Jerry Tales shorts are completely worth passing up. This disc is designed for a specific audience, and I'm sure will satisfy their needs.
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New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)
09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Friday, October 28
Bunk'd - "Treehouse of Terror" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Zuri, Jorge and Tiffany enlist the support of an unexpected camper to help restore an abandoned treehouse, so they can use it as a new hangout; Emma and Lou and Ravi and Xander get competitive during a friendly game of billiards.
Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse - "Do What You Gotta Do" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Joseph experiences an episode of sexual frustration due to Leslie's vow of chastity.
Friday, October 28
- John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - Watch John on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show/The Good Life) - Drew visits on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He also talks about The Price is Right on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
- Kevin Hart (The Big House/Undeclared) - Kevin appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine?/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Ricky stops by LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
- Colin Hanks (Life in Pieces) - Colin joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
- Melissa Joan Hart (Melissa & Joey/Sabrina, the Teenage Witch/Clarissa Explains It All) - Melissa looks back at her earliest memories on Clarissa Explains It All – and says she was really bossy on People Now at 8:30am.
- Damon Wayans (My Wife and Kids) - Damon is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.