National Catholic Register

Arts & Entertainment

Blu-ray/DVD Picks & Passes 11.20.11

BY The Editors

November 20-December 3, 2011 Issue | Posted 11/14/11 at 6:32 PM


Bolt (2008)

Meet the Robinsons (2007)

Looney Tunes’ Platinum Collection: Vol. 1

Shaun the Sheep: Season 2

It’s been a hard year at the movies for family audiences and animation lovers — but this week’s home-video releases include some welcome new offerings.

Aardman fans rejoice! The complete Shaun the Sheep: Season 2 is finally available on Region 1 DVD. For months, American lovers of the Wallace & Gromit spin-off series have had to make do with one-disc collections of seven episodes apiece.

Now, at last, here are all 40 episodes highlighting the Aardman team’s knack for inspired fun with nearly any prop, from a road line-painting machine to the Farmer’s embarrassing hat or hairpiece. One of my favorite bits is a terrific rooftop stunt with skis.

Two of the most charming episodes have the farm animals coming together for the Farmer’s sake on special occasions — his birthday and Christmas. On the latter occasion, the soundtrack features actual Christmas carols (God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen; O Come, All Ye Faithful).

With wordless storytelling and visual wit, Shaun is first-rate family entertainment for even the youngest viewers. Yes, the Season 2 redesign of the characters is a little disappointing, but get over it. There’s still nothing like Shaun.

The Looney Tunes’ Platinum Collection: Vol. 1 consists of three Blu-ray discs featuring 50 classic Looney Tunes’ shorts — some unavailable in the earlier DVD “Golden Editions,” including Bugs Bunny shorts featuring Marvin the Martian, Witch Hazel and the Tasmanian Devil.

The new set is a treasure trove of some of the series’ finest moments, including “Duck Amuck,” “What’s Opera, Doc?” and “One Froggy Evening.” There’s also some less essential stuff, including some latter-day cartoons that don’t compare to the classic material. Still, all in all, a terrific set.

A pair of John Lasseter-era Disney flicks showing early signs of the Pixar honcho’s influence is newly available in multi-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo editions.

Meet the Robinsons was already under development when Lasseter came on board. It’s an inventive, ambitious little story about time travel and family. It’s got heart, but it’s too frenetic and doesn’t quite come together. Some people really enjoy it, but I’m calling it a borderline pass. I’m much more enthusiastic about Bolt, a much more solid tale about a girl and her superdog who isn’t quite. The bond between Bolt and Penny is very sweet, and the supporting cast is very funny (especially a hilariously callow Hollywood agent). Great fun.

Content Advisory: Bolt:Looney Tunes’ Platinum Collection: Slapstick violence, some rude humor and double entendres; occasional scary images. Meet the Robinsons: Slapstick violence and some scary images. Shaun the Sheep: Occasional very mild rude humor; slapstick. All family viewing.