Storm Hawks: Hawks Rise Again
US Release Date: January 15, 2007
The Film - out of
“So we may not be official, but I’m still a Sky Knight, you’re still my squadron, and we’re still friends, right?”
The Cartoon Network’s top rated 3-D animated series comes to home video with two separate releases, each containing 4 episodes plus a bonus episode. This show, created by Asaph Fipke and produced by Nerd Corps Entertainment, premiered on the cartoon network on May 25, 2007 and in the UK on August 6th.
This cartoon tells the story of the Storm Hawks, squadrons of high flying protector warriors who defend the many Terra’s of the Atmos. Each Terra has a unique squadron, ‘Sky Knights’ who face evils such as the Cyclonian’s, led by the powerful arch nemesis ‘Master Cyclonis’ and other strange and mysterious foes.
A new unlikely band of Storm Hawks has formed; five teens that fly their transforming motorcycles with great skill and precision, though not all the time, and search for honor and respect from those they protect as they are not being taken seriously all the time.
The series quickly develops a mythology with the clearly defined heroes, crystals that provide mystic and powerful capabilities and dark and deceptive foes that serve to be nearly constant flies in the Atmos ointment. The creative energy of the show is high, barely taking a breath, with some real excitement infused into the aerial combat sequences. It seems to have been heavily influenced by the Star Wars mythology, with the cartoon’s look and feel taking cues taken from some distinctive scenes from the six movies. Even the handheld weapons, that seem to be a cross between a broad sword and a light saber, pay homage to the glowing swords of the Jedi’s. In fact, come to think of it, while the motorcycle has a Storm Hawks flavor, giving the show some ‘engine growling attitude’ and an easy excuse for some racing scenes – the transformed version of these stallions of the sky is either a nod of the hat to World War I bi-planes or yet another sign of influence from George Lucas’ films – looking like makeshift X-Wings.
The characters are all fairly stock, action cartoon fare, led by the handsome Aerrow who grows into a real leader (versus just having the title) and takes on the burdens of being that leader as the show develops. Other characters include the nerdy and quirky Stork, who doesn’t quite fit in with the others but is good for some self deprecating humor. It has Finn, the surfer-style character who is more interested in the ladies than being the best that he can be. Then there is Piper, the science geek who uses her scientific inclination to outsmart versus out punch and Junko – the muscle of the group who isn’t particularly bright but is extremely strong and kindhearted. And finally, we have Radarr – an odd, furry little animal character serving as Aerrow’s sidekick.
The stories on this disc open the Storm Hawks saga, introducing us to each of the characters, both good and evil, and having some fun exploring other stories, including a good old fashion rescue mission episode and a dueling Sky Squadron episode as the Storm Hawks fight for respect and an exploration of Junko’s power – each with a good sense of humor and some exciting and fun animations.
Age of Heroes (Part One)
Age of Heroes (Part Two)
Gale Force Winds
This set also contains a bonus episode, ‘Tranquility Now’
The video and sound quality on both this release and the ‘Storm Hawks: Tales From The Atmos’ disc are identical. Presented on home video in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The drawn lines are very clean and sharp with no blurring or unnatural distortions. The colors used in the animation are also quite lively and the blending of 2-D and 3-D animation helps them pop off the screen at times. On occasion I noticed some shuttering in the animation, but this could simply be from the animation being slowed down to achieve the right pace of the shot. Outside of that minor quibble – the image quality is very pleasing.
Sony Picture Home Entertainment brings us the Storm Hawks with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio option. The sound is actually a little disappointing. While the center channel is active and clear, there were some missed opportunities for the exciting and vigorous action on screen to have translated into some exciting boom in the bass or whizzing and zipping in the surrounds. Don’t get me wrong, the audio track isn’t lifeless, but as good as the image quality on this release is, the sound just doesn’t match up. Good, but not as good as it should have been.
The Storm Hawks Squadron - (1:27) – A fruitless and utterly disposable musical montage of the Storm Hawks squadron, featuring clips of the heroic characters.
The Storm Hawks Weapons - (1:39) – Another fruitless and utterly disposable musical montage, this time of the weaponry used by the characters, featuring clips of the twin energy blades, battle glider, knuckle busters, energy crossbow, etc
Previews for: Spectacular Spider-Man Animated Series, The Prince and the Pauper, The Waterhorse: Legend of the Deep, The Final Season, Daddy Day Camp, Roxy Hunter and the Mystery of the Moody Ghost, Are We Done Yet? , Surf’s Up, The Last Days of Summer/Shredderman Rules
This show is quite a bit of fun. Top notch animation for a television show and entertaining, if familiar, storylines combine to give the Cartoon Network an enjoyable lively 22 minutes each week.
The action-filled two part series opener helps this show start out strong and gives it momentum enough to beging exploring the mythology of the Storm Hawks and the strange and powerful types of crystals that provide fuel and capabilities for their weapons and vehicles.
The decision to parse out only a few episodes onto an individual release, tacking on a fifth episode as a ‘bonus’ and supplying a sorry excuse for an extra as the only supplemental feature, is disappointing – but if you enjoy the show or love this kind of cartoon and don’t mind shelling out more money than you should have to to get them – this might just be for you.