Studio: Walt Disney
US Rating: Both Rated TV-G
Film Length: 89 Mins & 84 mins
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English Dolby Digital Stereo Surround,
Subtitles: French & Spanish
Review Date: May 17, 2009
The Film - out of
“Oh, I'm gonna hear about this”
Hatching Pete is the story of two best friends who get into a bind over a Rooster mascot. It begins with pathetic Pete Ivey trying to drum up the courage to ask out his best friend’s sister who is a cheerleader for the terrible Brewster High School basketball team. It doesn’t go well since Pete is so forgettable and he has no way to get noticed. Pete’s best friend, Cleatis Poole is the losing team’s Rooster Mascot – and he is terrible at it. When the new Rooster costume flares up Cleatis’s allergies, the lame mascot inhabitant asks his best friend to take over for one night. Pete obliges and is an enormous hit. Suddenly, the whole school is abuzz in excitement over the new mascot and Pete finds himself in an awkward position – being noticed hidden behind the suit but unable to reveal to people that it is actually him that they are impressed with. So Cleatis gets the glory while Pete does all the work. Things become even more complicated when Angela, a new girl to the school that Pete is falling for, falls for the person in the suit but Pete cannot reveal the secret.
The premise of Hatching Pete is preposterous but silly enough to be entertaining so long as you don’t try to find a more meaningful purpose to the production. It is purely escapism without much of a message to it, besides ‘being yourself’ and ‘believing in yourself’ – important notions for sure, but not what this original Disney Channel film spends its time driving home. It really does seem to exist solely to have fun with a Rooster mascot acting boisterous, excessive and manic for the entertainment of the crowd and the audience at home. I am embarrassed to say that it seems to work most of the time – must be the adolescent in me.
Disney Channel familiar faces can be found in the roles with Pete Ivey being played by Corey in the House’s Jason Dolley and his best friend Cleatis Poole being played by Hannah Montana’s Mitchel Musso. Angela is played by Josie Loren, who also appeared in an episode of Corey in the House and the Basketball Team coach is played by a familiar face, Brian Stepanek (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Finally, Edward Herrmann plays Principal Fred Daly.
Hatching Pete doesn’t amount to much, but is playful, family friendly and enough of an entertaining distraction to be enjoyed by kids.
The Film - out of
“How come you’ve never written about me, Huh? How come I’m not a character in your book?”
Dadnapped stars Hannah Montana costar Emily Osment as Melissa Morris, the frustrated daughter of the Author of the ‘Tripp Zoome’ book series. Tripp Zoome is a fictional special agent/hero who has fans everywhere. When Melissa’s father, Neal, promises to take her on a camping trip, just the two of them, she is let down again when he must take a detour to a Tripp Zoome convention in a small town filled with dedicated fans. He must judge a contest to see who has the most knowledge of Tripp Zoome and his multitude of ‘Tripp Traps’ – inventions and MacGyver-esque concoctions. Poor Melissa cannot seem to get her father’s attention and feels perpetually in the shadow of the fictional teen hero in his books – so much so that she imagines ‘Tripp Zoome’ in her head and actually has conversations with him – which aggravates her even more.
There’s a fun plot here and an entertaining vehicle for young Emily Osment to play the ignored teen vying for her father’s attentions quite well, for a Disney TV movie at least. Osment, (who I last reviewed in the Goosebumps DVD movie The Haunting Hour: Don't Think About It, where she was quite different as a gothic girl) is appealing and stays far away from petulant as she engages in an adventure with her father to rescue him from two sets of kidnappers. Playing her father and enthusiastic author of the Zoome character (and oblivious to the neglect of his daughter) Neal Morrison is George Newbern – who serves his character well – both giddy in his love for the works he has created and remorseful when he realizes that he has neglected his daughter.
Recognizable faces from other Disney Channel productions play other characters, including David Henrie as Wheeze and Moises Arias as Andre who, along with The Great Debaters Denzel Whitaker appear as the dedicated kid fans looking to impress the Zoome author. Jason Earles plays sleazy hotel manager Merv and Jonathan Keltz plays the Tripp Zoome character who banters with Melissa.
Director Paul Hoen has fun with angles and movement and helps the film move along briskly. Harmless, good-natured fun that serves as a positive ad for reading and writing is enjoyable and good stuff for kids.
Both features come presented in widescreen 1.78:1 and enhanced for widescreen televisions. Both are bright and colorful – a staple of the Disney channel and come with moderately acceptable black levels and only moderate amounts of detail in the image. Little separates the two movies in this double feature and the somewhat harsh, rough image is acceptable but certainly not the best they could have looked.
Both Dadnapped and Hatching Pete come with Dolby Digital Stereo surround. Nothing exciting from either track but the dialogue is issue free in the center channel – where most of the sound is, and the left and right fronts are good with good movement between them at time. Some of the crowd sounds in Hatching Pete give the audio some depth but little else to raise this above average.
Unmasking the Mascot - (11:21) – A rather standard look at the movie with the cast talking about mascots, a look at a mascot factory (Alinco Costumes) and a close peak at the costume used in the film.
Extended Ending - (1:57) – Additional footage showing a first date between Melissa and Wheez.
Bonus Short: Tripp Zoome: Off The Rails – An Animated Graphic Novel - (8:34) – A fairly good short in the form if an animated graphic novel.
An entertaining double feature presenting two Disney Channel Original movies at a great price that make this an appealing release for families looking for friendly entertainment without stretching the wallet/purse. Good natured, well performed and short enough to not overstay their welcome, I think you will find this good value.