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HTF DVD Review: Storm Hawks - Tales From The Atmos



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#1 of 1 Neil Middlemiss

Neil Middlemiss

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Posted February 06 2008 - 09:45 AM

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Storm Hawks: Tales From The Atmos




Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Year: 2007
US Rating: TV Y7
Film Length: 107 Mins
Aspect Ratio: 1:78.1
Audio: English Stereo 2.0
Subtitles: Optional Spanish and English




US Release Date: January 15, 2007

The Film - Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image out of Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

“Ahead is Meat-Trap Marsh, the first of the ever-increasing Gorge horrors that all lead to the giant poison-toothed spiny gorge sloth and our inevitable demise”



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 protector warriors who protect 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 despite 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.

There are four episodes included on this disc, plus one additional bonus episode whose stories include Master Cyclonis infiltrating our heroes, a treacherous adventure into the ‘black gorge’, a monster infested cavern and a racing episode across a distinctly tatooine looking landscape:

Episodes
Best Friends Forever
The Black Gorge
Absolute Power
Velocity

Bonus Episode:
Fire and Ice






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The video and sound quality on both this release and the ‘Storm Hawks Rise Again’ disc are identical. Presented on home video in its original aspect ratio1.78:1 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.



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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 Extra's - Posted Image out of Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

The Cyclonians - (1:14) – A fruitless and utterly disposable musical montage of the Cyclonians, featuring clips of Master Cyclonis, Dark Ace, Ravess, Snipe, 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





Final Thoughts

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 episodes on this disc continue to explore the heroic and evil characters that inhabit the Atmos – with the ‘Black Gorge’ episode standing out as being atmospheric and funny.

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.





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Neil Middlemiss
Kernersville, NC

[pg]118912901[/pg]
"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science" – Edwin Hubble
My DVD Collection





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