While I am primarily an old school cartoon fan, some of the new offerings on Cartoon Network have caught my interest and find them to offer some much needed laughter while channel surfing. CARTOON NETWORK HALLOWEEN: 9 CREEPY CAPERS ($15) provides a sampling of some of the new and not so new offerings that have been airing on Cartoon Network over the past few years, although not every cartoon in this collection has an appropriate Halloween theme.
From THE GRIM ADVENTURES OF BILLY & MANDY we have Billy & Mandy's Jacked-Up Halloween- which finds the mentally deficient Billy wielding The Grim Reaperís scythe on Halloween, with all the expected disastrous results. Personally, I think THE GRIM ADVENTURES OF BILLY & MANDY this is a genuinely amusing show that should warrant a season set or some other type of dedicated collection on DVD. Next up, from JOHNNY BRAVO we have Bravo Dooby-Doo, which teams that flex-o-matic, self-absorbed nitwit, with the Scooby Gang to solve a mystery. As expected, hilarity ensues. JOHNNY BRAVO is another consistently funny show should warrant a season sets on DVD. ED, EDD, AND EDDY are featured in Dawn Of The Eds, which is not really a Halloween story (except for the title) that finds our three protagonists transversing a junkyard, while under the assumption it is an alien planet.
THE POWERPUFF GIRLS are featured in Boogie Frights and facing the ultra-hip Boogieman that resides in that nighttime world, under the bed or in the closet of every child. COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG is featured in The Demon In The Mattress, in which the perpetually frightened title canine must play exorcist to save his mistress from a possessed mattress. DEXTER'S LABORATORY finds the boy genius facing school Picture Day in his own special way- not even close to being a Halloween themed cartoon, but the TV show itself is worth of being released on DVD in season sets.
COW AND CHICKEN are featured in Cow With Four Eyes, a completely non-Halloween story that has chicken trying to up his intelligence by donning glasses (that he really canít see through). COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG is back in Courage Meets Bigfoot, which is a pretty amusing tale although not really in keeping with the Halloween theme (this is a show that can grow on one, and probably worthy of some form of DVD collection). I AM WEASEL was a sublimely ridiculous show that always managed to tickly my funny bone. The cartoon I Am Vampire finds our intrepid title character, along with his none-too-bright sidekick I.R. Baboon, on a tangy red protein diet and facing the vampire hunter who has shown up in their local haunt of Buttsylvania.
Warner Home Video has made CARTOON NETWORK HALLOWEEN: 9 CREEPY CAPERS available on DVD in the proper 4:3 full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Because of all of the different production styles of the cartoons, the picture is somewhat inconsistent, but all things considered, each and every one of these animated shorts look as good as can be expected. Colors tend to be strongly rendered and without flaws, although the different styles of animation and color schemes come into play in overall consistency. Digital compression artifacts never offer much of a concern.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo surround soundtracks are decent for cartoon material. Occasional sound effects and bits of music make it into the outlying channels, but the sound usually has its strongest sense of presence in the front and center. Dialogue is crisply rendered and is usually totally understandable. Fidelity is good for this type of material and the sound effects are suitably cartoony. A Spanish language track has also been encoded onto the DVD, as have English, French and Spanish subtitles. Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as trailers for a few other animated titles.
CARTOON NETWORK HALLOWEEN: 9 CREEPY CAPERS may not be the ideal spooky holiday DVD, but it has its amusing moments. The cartoons do look better on DVD, than they do on broadcast, so you canít go wrong in that department. However, as I pointed out above, some of these Cartoon Network animated series would be better served by season sets or compilations dedicated to the individual shows.
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