September 9th, 2005


New dollar DVDs in toy section of Wal-Mart

Many anime sites are abuzz about a crop of "anime" dollar DVDs that have shown up in Wal-Mart recently. I went down to investigate and found that most Wal-Mart have added a DVD section in the toy area filled with budget kids DVDs. There were some of the Bazooka Joe DVDs(same old PD cartoons in a branded case with free gum), and some other so obscure I can't name. No disc was over 5.88. They're a bit sparse, but I imagine the must have future plans for the section. The three that I saw took up most of one side of an isle, but were only half stocked with movies.

One surprise was that both Digiview and Genius Entertainment have started putting out the same animated movies based on classic literature that NuTech Digital originally released(and eventually showed up at dollar stores). Some of the titles are even put out by both companies. I didn't re-buy any, so I'm not sure if they retain the excellent sound(DTS!) and print quality that the originals had.

Here are the ones I was able to purchase after selling my precious body fluids. Every title below is from Digiview.

I've googled many of the names in the credits, but really haven't found any info about these(UPDATE: I've contacted the computer graphics producer and found out they were made in 1985. More info soon in a seperate post). There's heart in them and the songs are interesting, but all in all, they seem pretty dated to me. I'll have to test them out on the kids and see what they think. The footage is rendered with very early simplistic computer graphics with no actual animation, mostly just still images. The video and sound quality is atrocious. Every episode has a dark blue background that makes everything muddy, and it doesn't help that it looks like the source is from very old VHS tapes.

Captain Nemo: Vol. 3-Mystery Island & Vol. 4-Dangerous Welcome
These two discs are 24 episodes(12 each) of "The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo" which was an exactly 5 minute mildly educational 1975 Canadian cartoon used as filler children's shows including Captain Kangaroo. All episode have titles and credits. The show shamelessly rips off the original Sealab 2020 series except it's just one adult and two kids. The quality on these is excellent.

Defenders Of Space, Space Thunder Kids, & Protectors Of Universe
These are the discs the anime nerds are all a-twitter about. They seem to be Korean in origin maybe, who knows. They're distributed by IFD Films and Arts Limited and may be made by Adda Audio Visual Ltd. I'm not too big on the anime these days but from what I've read, they all shamelessly rip off many different sources. Various classic anime, Transformers, and even Tron! Definitely some obscure weird material.

Beauty and Warrior & Ali Baba and the Gold Raiders
Both of these are also from IFD and from the research I've done, they're definitely Indonesian in origin. Even more specifically, Ali Baba was made in Yogyakarta. Beauty and Warrior looks just like most typical anime fare, but Ali Baba is low-res flat cel based computer animation with cheesy 3d computer graphics backgrounds. At first I didn't what Ali Baba was because the packaging mimics the other Nutech classic lit titles that Digiview is re-releasing, but then I recognized the title from the IFD website.

I've been on a roll lately on the updates, and I still have a couple more big posts to make. Tomorrow I'll put up either the Passion Productions or Family Value titles that have been showing up at Dollar Tree. If anybody responds, it's their choice. If more that one person responds(gasp!) majority rules. If no one responds...I'll ask the Magic Eight Ball.

New PC Treasures horror double feature dollar DVDs at Target

I read over at Tachyon City that Target had gotten in a new crop of PC Treasures horror dollar DVDs in preparation for Halloween, so I just had to see for myself.

Nightmares: Bloodlust! & Sweeney Todd

There were at least four more two packs, but nothing that crazy interested me or I didn't already have. Some other titles are Dead Men Walk, The Monster Maker, Atom Age Vampire, & Revolt Of The Zombies. The odd thing is that the ones that Papa Shumate found (in Utah)were all in cd case sized slip cases, but the ones at my store were the regular PC treasures DVD case sized cardboard box. UPDATE: N-dawg got back with me to say that he actually found the plain slipcase versions at the goofily named "Honk's $1.00".

The worst part? Not only is the box glued shut(once you open it, that's it) but instead of the DVD being inside of a paper slip in the box, it was glued label side down to the inside of the box with two stripes of that gummy material. Lemme know what you guys find.

The three "Platinum Edition" Family Value DVDs at Dollar Tree

Dollar Tree has been getting in buttloads of new DVDs, many of which I'll note soon, but I want to get out of the way these three "Platinum Edition" discs that they're carrying by Dollar Tree. These actually appear to be licensed, as they all say "(c)Dan Dalton Productions" on the back.

Wyatt Earp:United States Marshall - it says 45 minutes on the back, but it's actually 90. Very basic, cheaply made documentary with lots of still photos and unnamed footage from old western movies. Exactly like something you'd see running continuously off in a corner of a small town old west museum.

What A Friend We Have In Jesus - Amazingly cheap ripoff product. Footage from a life of Jesus movie(Mexican maybe?) interspliced with still photos of various religious images. Some nature footage is also thrown is every once in awhile. During the whole 30 minute running time the soundtrack is only gospel songs by an unnamed group with long pauses between the tracks, just like a record. Even stranger, some of the biblical footage is shown out of order.

The Lost Elvis Home Movies - Mostly for hardcore Elvis fans, this one is actually fairly well done. The home movies are from a family in Waco who's house Elvis would hang out in while he was stationed in Killeen on the Army base in 1958. Stories are told and the same 8mm footage is shown over and over. While very limited in scope and only 36 minutes long, it's an interesting view of how one man impacted this family's life even if it was just in a frivolous way. Elvis would just show up with a bunch of friends unannounced and the homeowner essentially dedicated a whole room of the house for the King to hang out in, even decorating the room in Elvis' favorite colors. Lots of footage of Elvis' girlfriend at the time, Anita Wood.
Since the limited pool of PD material is starting to run dry so much that the budget companies have resorted to just stealing from each other, I like the recent trend of documentary type material coming out on dollar DVD. I just wish it wasn't all so boring and crappy.