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Review: Rankin-Bass "The Hobbit" and "Return of the King" Remastered DVDs - Classics Revisited

Rankin-Bass Hobbit Smaug

It’s always nice to discover that an old cartoon from your childhood holds up to your fond nostalgic feelings for it. The Rankin-Bass adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit proves to be one of those cartoons. The TV special, first aired in the late 1970′s, was my personal introduction to Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, and while the […]

Review: "Strange Hill High (UK Edition)": Puppet Ghoul School Fun

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Josh Weinstein is the co-creator and show runner of Strange Hill High, an interesting case of an American industry veteran steering a British production. Many will remember Weinstein working with Bill Oakley to run what is seen by many as the final leg of the ‘golden age’ of The Simpsons. Airing on CBBC (who seem to […]

Review: "Planes: Fire and Rescue" Lights My Fire

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My head can rattle off numerous problems with Planes: Fire and Rescue. It’s storyline and character twists just recycle the first Planes movie. Several of the plot twists that aren’t recycled are still predictable from a mile off. It relies a bit too heavily on paper-thin stock characters, if not extremely stale ethnic stereotypes. It […]

Review: "The Legend of Korra - Book Two: Spirits" Blu-ray (Mostly) Does the Thing

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Book 2 of Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra feels like a big good news/bad news joke. I am thankful that it exists at all, if only for being a long-form action cartoon when most other networks are retreating from the format, and for its distinctive female lead character. Like its predecessor, Avatar the Last Airbender, […]

Review: "Date A Live" Decidedly NOT Second-Date Material

Date A Live

Oh, Japan. My love/hate relationship with you will likely never end. Date A Live is based on a light novel series of the same name that is currently running in Japan. 30 years before the start of the series, the first of many “spacequakes” claimed the lives of 150 million people. Date A Live is […]

Review: Disney's "The 7D" and Cartoon Network's "Total Drama Pahkitew Island"

Disney's The 7D and Total Drama Pahkitew Island

Walt Disney Television Animation has been producing some extraordinary stuff for the past few years, starting with the adventures of Phineas and Ferb and moving on to the daring visual invention of TRON Uprising and Motorcity; the endearingly oddball Gravity Falls; the kid-friendly outer-space acid trip in Wander Over Yonder; and the outstanding pre-school shows […]

Review: "Eureka Seven AO" - Needs Less Plot, More Action

Eureka Seven AO Nirvash

Ao Fukai, the lead character of Eureka Seven: AO, has problems. He’s an orphan for starters, and an outsider in a future Okinawa that has real problems with non-natives in general. And by “outsider,” I don’t mean that he’s from some other country: he’s quite literally an alien, or half-alien anyway. That’s not a spoiler, […]

Review: "Outlaw Star - Complete Collection (UK Edition)": Going On The Lam In Nostalgia County

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Maybe it’s just because my most coherent formative years were part of it and that most of the initial Japanese titles I sampled came from it, but I have a soft spot for 90′s anime. There just seems to be an energy in the titles from the decade that I don’t think quite transitioned into […]

Review: "How to Train Your Dragon 2" Soars High

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For a case study in what a good sequel ought to aspire to, look no further than DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon 2. As we’ve generally come to expect and take for granted, it’s certainly a bigger and grander movie than its predecessor, but it also shows that director and scriptwriter Dean DeBlois […]

Review: "Slugterra: Ghoul from Beyond" Doesn't Go Too Far

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Slugterra: Ghoul from Beyond is a mildly disappointing effort in the Slugterra franchise for a few different reasons. Despite its billing as “the first Slugterra movie,” a short running time and average production values makes it look like just a two-part episode of the TV show. It’s also saddled with a drawn out and padded […]

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