Sony // 2007 // 267 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // November 26th, 2008
Strap Yourself In For More Sky-High Adventure!
Let's just say it now, so as to get it over with: Storm Hawks: Showdown in the Skies is one fine-looking cartoon. It's not just that the characters are a mixture of cool designs or that the ships they pilot are a merging of old-school and distinctly futuristic-looking aircraft. It's more their implementation in cell-shaded CGI renderings that makes it all so striking.
Of course, those of you like me, who spent their younger days dating the world's most beautiful women, from supermodels to pop stars, will know that beauty is only skin deep. So often the most attractive amongst us can be the dullest. Thankfully, due in no small part to a great sense of humor, Storm Hawks is always entertaining. Goofy, lowbrow, and often just plain dumb, Storm Hawks trades in gags that kids will dig while still being able to tickle the funny bone of all but the most demanding adults. With each episode pitting the Storm Hawks against another villain, usually members of the Cyclonian Talons, it's the show's offbeat nature that helps it stand out from the crowd.
From sending our heroes on a mission to find a frozen yogurt to Guitar Hero-style duels (which see huge cannons powered by musical instruments blasting chunks out of each other), Storm Hawks has just the right amount of quirkiness to avoid being annoying.
Presented in a two-disc set, Storm Hawks: Showdown in the Skies contains 13 episodes of sky-high action:
* "A Little Trouble"
The Storm Hawks are on a mission to destroy Snipe's latest and most powerful version of the Cyclonian Destroyer. Their mission is made all the more difficult as the Storm Hawks have just been put in charge of Junko's nephew, Tynki.
* "Thunder Run"
When a vile creature known as the Colonel kidnaps Junko, the rest of the Storm Hawks are forced to travel to the other end of the Atmos to retrieve some "rozen yoga" in exchange for their friend's release.
Trapped in an escape-proof Cyclonian prison, Aerrow and Radarr must outwit jail warden Mr. Moss to win their freedom.
* "Forbidden City"
Snipe travels to an ancient city to recover the Oracle Stone, a crystal that grants the ability to see the future. Setting out to stop him, the Storm Hawks race to find the crystal first, but a glimpse of the future proves shocking for the Hawks.
The Storm Hawks must join up with a Sky Knight to rescue Radarr, who, along with the Condor, has been swallowed by the terra-sized Leviathan.
Using an artifact retrieved from Snipe, Finn is able to clone himself. However, when Snipe steals the device back, the Storm Hawks are left with a small army of Finn clones and must go after the device to reverse its effects.
* "Terra Neon"
Two producers searching for new talent for their show capture the Storm Hawks, with the exception of Stork. As the producers hunt down Stork, the rest of the Hawks must make their escape and save their friend.
* "The Storm Hawks Seven"
Starling joins up with the Storm Hawks to defeat Ravess and her latest weapon: a giant music-powered cannon. When their initial attack fails, the Hawks, aided by Finn and his guitar, prepare for the ultimate guitar dual.
* "Talon Academy"
When the Storm Hawks discover propaganda materials used to entice youngsters to join the Talons, Aerrow, Radarr, and Piper join the Talon academy to expose the truth.
* "Siren's Song"
The Sky Siren, a witch with the ability to cast illusions, hunts down the Storm Hawks, who she has trapped in the Great Expanse.
* "Calling All Domos"
Left by themselves when the rest of the Hawks take Junko to the dentist, Finn and Stork assist King Agar in retrieving a crystal.
* "The Lesson"
A great warrior named Arygyn boards the Condor and defeats each of the Storm Hawks in battle, before offering to train them against the threat of an even more powerful Cyclonian force.
* "Dude, Where's My Condor"
Finn trades in the Condor for an apparently better model. Despite its appearance, the new ship is a pile of junk that begins to fall apart almost immediately. The Storm Hawks discover the Condor has been sold to the Colonel and challenge him to a race for ownership of the ship.
If I were to level a criticism at Storm Hawks, it would be that watching these episodes in bulk reveals an almost total lack of substance. There is very little to Storm Hawks beyond the cool quips, high-flying action, and excellent animation. In other words, it's perfectly entertaining Saturday morning cartoon fun and nothing more.
Picture quality scores pretty highly, with a sharp, colorful image showing off the excellent animation. The stereo soundtrack packs plenty of punch, lending the numerous aerial battles some extra kick. As a package Storm Hawks: Showdown in the Skies only falls down when it comes to extras. The vehicle transformation videos really don't make for exciting viewing, while calling one of the episodes a "bonus" feels a little cheap.
Review content copyright © 2008 Paul Pritchard; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 267 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* 360-degree Vehicle Transformations
* Official Site