Image Entertainment // 2009 // 145 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker // September 2nd, 2009
Triple the fun for the whole family!
Or, you could play putt-putt.
The Animated Adventure Pack: Triple Feature gives us slightly pedestrian retellings of three classic stories, with animal characters and video gamish 3-D animation.
In Robin Hood: Quest for the King, the famous Prince of Thieves sets out to restore King Richard to the throne, outwitting the evil Sheriff of Nottingham and the fey King John. The Prince and the Pauper: Double Trouble is the Mark Twain story about a royal child who switches identities with an impoverished look-alike. The Three Musketeers: Saving the Crown gives us the story of D'Artagnan and his sister, Kitty, and their adventures with the famed sword wielders.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with the cartoons on this set, there's nothing inventive or special about them, either. The scripts are pretty straightforward, with the usual "quirky" characters you'd expect to find in kids' entertainment like this. The main characters are the usual assortment of wolves, foxes, lions, and cats, with the occasional sheep, mouse, or other mammal tossed in as extras. The various animal renderings pop up from cartoon to cartoon, so the hero in the Robin Hood episode becomes a supporting player in the Prince and the Pauper adventure, and Maid Marian plays D'Artagnan's sister in the Musketeer story.
On the up side, we get the classic stories in their classic settings. This is not "Prince and the Pauper in the 25th Century" or "Robin Hood in Space." These are also not loaded down with tons of pop-culture references or questionable humor.
The animation is decent, but the characters have that unnatural CG look, and their movements not very fluid. For children accustomed to playing video games, this might not seem like much of a liability. Backgrounds are rendered nicely, and there's a good attention to detail.
It would probably be helpful if children were already familiar with these stories before watching, as the cartoons take a few plot shortcuts and don't always introduce the characters thoroughly; it seems that these are geared toward kids 8 and older who have heard of the Musketeers and Robin Hood. Younger children might have some trouble following the plotlines, but they'll likely enjoy the action and comedy scenes.
Each cartoon runs around 50 minutes. All three are housed one disc. The full-frame picture is fine, the stereo audio (English or Spanish) perfectly acceptable. There are no extras or chapter stops.
While not the greatest compilation, these cartoons are perfectly respectable for giving kids something to watch on a rainy day. Through in a little background on the stories, and these become semi-educational.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 145 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated