The Fairfield Company Target Wrestling Mystery Repack Box Review Break

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Undoubtedly, if you've been to a Target store, you've seen the "cards and collectibles" section at the end of the checkout lanes. It's where you'll find all of the sports cards, Garbage Pail Kids, Wacky Packages, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and all of that other overpriced junk. I almost always look at what's there, but rarely every buy anything as I can't justify the prices - especially considering the "blind bag" nature of these things. If I'm gonna spend $4 to $5 on a few measly cards, I at least want to know what I'm buying.

On a recent visit to my local Target, I saw these red Wrestling mystery repack boxes from The Fairfield Company (a division of Excell Marketing), which I expected to be priced at $15 or $20 each. Imagine my surprise when the price checker showed them to be a mere $4.99 each. I bought all four boxes that my local Target had, as well as another box at a different Target. So, five boxes in total, at a total cost of $25.00 (plus tax). The big draw for me were the Teenymates packs, which my Target was also selling individually for $3.99 each. Getting TWO packs for $4.99, PLUS three packs of cards, and two packs of erasers was a much MUCH better deal than just one pack of Teenymates for $1.00 less. (Note: The photos accompanying this review were taken at different times, so they may not show everything I mention in my text.)

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Each one of these boxes contains the following:
  • 2 packs of WWE Teenymates (2015) (regularly $3.99 each)
  • 2 packs of WWE Eraseez collectible puzzle erasers (2015)
  • 2 packs of Road To Wrestlemania 2014 cards
  • 1 pack of random WWE cards (2010/2013/2014 series, in my case)
That's not a bad haul for the price, but did I really get my money's worth. Let's crack these open and find out.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Collection DVD Review

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This review was originally written on July 7, 2010
Overpriced Old Content That Was Released Less Than A Year Later For Much Less

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Collection (alt listing) consists of the three original live-action Turtles films from the early-to-mid 1990s, and the computer-animated TMNT film from 2007, along with a sheet of temporary tattoos - all packaged in a standard plastic keepcase, with two double-sided pages inside, one disc per side. The tattoos are stored under the literature clips on the inside cover, and there's nothing on the inside back cover.

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Each of the four discs is a bit-for-bit copy (a "disc image") of a previous DVD release. All four movies are 16:9 widescreen, with Turtles 2 & 3 also containing 4:3 fullscreen versions. (Full disc specs are below.) Apparently in the original releases, Turtles 1 & TMNT were dual-sided discs with widescreen on one side and fullscreen on the other - and they only used the widescreen sides for this re-release. That's fine with me.

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These same four discs (with the same disc art) and temporary tattoos are also available in a "25th Anniversary Collector's Edition" box set, which adds in some cloth masks and puts the discs in what appears to be a round CD holder, which is then apparently stored in an outer cardboard box with the masks.

I bought the "Movie Collection" release for $25 at Walmart, which had a sticker on front proclaiming "Only At Wal*Mart - Includes Turtle Tattoos". Since the tattoos are available in the "25th Anniversary Collector's Edition" box set, it must be the standard packaging that's exclusive to Walmart.

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I like that it's in standard packaging, and doesn't include the masks and CD holder that I have no desire to buy, but I wish the price were significantly cheaper. What hurts even more is that less than a year after I bought it, Warner Bros. put out the 4 Film Favorites - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles two-disc DVD set, which includes all of the same video content (one "disc image" per disc side), but usually sells in Target for $9.99 - two and a half times LESS than what I paid!

2017 UPDATE - The discs from the Blu-ray collectors set have been repackaged in the 4 Film Favorites - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Blu-Ray four-disc set, which retails for $20. That's a much better value than any of the DVD sets.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
* Year: 1990
* Runtime: 1:33:23
* Video Format: 16:9 Widescreen
* DVD Production Date: February 27, 2003 (Nero InfoTool gives this date, but it should be 1998 or 1999)
* Region: 1
* Layers: 1
* Audio Languages: English, French
* Subtitle Languages: English, Spanish, French
* Extras: The T-Files (character biographies of Donatello, Michaelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Splinter, The Shredder), Theatrical Trailer, "Sewer Maze" Game, "Monkey Trouble" Trailer, "The Adventures Of Pinocchio" Trailer, "Theodore Rex" Trailer.
* Notes: This is a live-action movie.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES II: THE SECRET OF THE OOZE
* Year: 1991
* Runtime: 1:28:19
* Video Format: 16:9 Widescreen, 4:3 Fullscreen
* DVD Production Date: July 2, 2002 (Nero InfoTool gives this date, but it should be 1998 or 1999)
* Region: 1
* Layers: 2
* Audio Languages: English
* Subtitle Languages: English
* Extras: Theatrical Trailer, "Pick That Flick" Game.
* Notes: This is a live-action movie.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III
* Year: 1993
* Runtime: 1:35:33
* Video Format: 16:9 Widescreen, 4:3 Fullscreen
* DVD Production Date: July 18, 2002 (Nero InfoTool gives this date, but it should be 1998 or 1999)
* Region: 1
* Layers: 2
* Audio Languages: English
* Subtitle Languages: English
* Extras: Theatrical Trailer, "Pick That Flick" Game.
* Notes: This is a live-action movie.

TMNT
* Year: 2007
* Runtime: 1:26:45
* Video Format: 16:9 Widescreen
* DVD Production Date: May 18, 2007
* Region: 1
* Layers: 1
* Audio Languages: English, Spanish, French
* Subtitle Languages: English, Spanish, French
* Extras: Commentary with writer/director Kevin Munroe, Alternate Opening (with forced commentary by Kevin Munroe), Alternate Ending Temp/Scratch Test (with forced commentary by Kevin Munroe), "Mikey's Birthday Party" Full Sequence (with forced commentary by Kevin Munroe), "Raphael's Rough House Fight" Test (with forced commentary by Kevin Munroe), "Monsters Come Alive" Storyboard Comparison (with forced commentary by Kevin Munroe), "Donny's Digital Data Files" Featurette, "Rooftop Workout" Rough Scene (with forced commentary by Kevin Munroe), "Still Wanna Fight" Temp/Scratch Test (with forced commentary by Kevin Munroe), "Splinter Gets Cake" Additional Scene (with forced commentary by Kevin Munroe), Internet Reel, "Voice Talent First Look" Featurette
* Notes: This is a computer-animated movie. The back of the case incorrectly lists a Fullscreen copy, in addition to the Widescreen copy.

That is all.

Fat Albert's Easter Special DVD Review

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This review was originally written on August 2, 2011
Not Very Much Easter-Related, Very Little DVD Content

The Fat Albert's Easter Special DVD by UrbanWorks Entertainment contains just one episode, "The Fat Albert Easter Special", which aired on 4/3/1982 on CBS (according to the insert card), and has an exact runtime of 23:12. This so-called Easter Special really has very little to do with Easter. For a minute or two at the very beginning the kids are painting Easter eggs, and for a minute at the end they're eating hard-boiled Easter eggs, and that's all there is in the main story that's Easter-related. There's a Brown Hornet short (which the insert card says is entitled "Casnac") randomly inserted a few minutes into the episode as a way to eat up some of the special's short runtime, which is the most Easter-related part of the entire special, and it's a trippy adventure in outer space on a planet inhabited by Easter bunnies!

The main story is about the kids deciding to clean up Mudfoot's house and pay his bills, as a kindness for the Easter season. They could have decided to do these good deeds for Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, or just for no particular holiday reason at all. That they SAY it's for Easter is apparently all that's needed to make this an Easter special! Anyway, Rudy attempts to pull a practical joke, but it backfires causing Mudfoot to end up in the hospital. Naturally, Rudy feels bad, so do the rest of the kids. The kids want to visit Mudfoot, but the head nurse won't allow the teens into the hospital. I really can't imagine anyone looking at Fat Albert and thinking that he's a teenager when he's bigger and has a deeper voice than most adult males. Anyway, long story short, as expected, everything works out in the end and the kids are taught a valuable life lesson.

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The DVD includes "Special Features" that aren't very special. On the video portion of the disc is a "Find The Bunny" set-top game. It's a simple guessing game. There's a static screen featuring five of the Cosby Kids, and you have to guess behind which one the bunny is hiding. Since the same animation is played at the start of every game, you can't use that as a clue. In fact, you have NO clues. It's simply a matter of trying each one until you find him. Yes, the game lets you keep trying until you find him. So much for the game having any sort of challenge.

On the DVD-ROM portion of the disc, accessible in a computer, you'll find 3 Printable Coloring Pages (PDF files). The three uncolored drawings are of the whole gang, Mushmouth, and Russell. Neither of these add any sort of added-value to the special's woefully short runtime.

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The back of the case shows a photo of a live-action Bill Cosby segment, but you will not find that in the Easter Special. Since I was looking forward to seeing the live-action Bill Cosby segment, I'm rather annoyed that UrbanWorks would deceive customers like that.

Luckily, if you have any desire to see The Fat Albert Easter Special, it was re-released on DVD in 2009 by Classic Media under the actual on-screen title, The Fat Albert Easter Special, with two bonus episodes ("Junk Food" and "Millionaire Madness"), bringing the total runtime up to 64 minutes. Even though I only paid $2.50 for the UrbanWorks DVD (it was marked down several times), I don't feel like I got my money's worth. A 23 minute episode should not be released by itself, but rather included with a bunch of other episodes in a compilation or season set. The only reason it was released individually was as a cash-in for the Easter season, and that's not right, even though there are other companies that do it, too.

The Fall Guy: The Complete First Season DVD Review

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This review was originally written on April 8, 2008
Poor Paul Williams, Fox Removed Him AND His Music!

What I'm about to write is not only for The Fall Guy: The Complete First Season DVD, but it also applies to The Fall Guy: The Complete First Season, Vol. 1 DVD.

In the pilot movie, during the bar fight scene, you'll notice the band performing in the background is blurred out, and there's some strange editing going on. Fox was trying to hide the fact that they replaced and edited out Paul Williams singing the Patsy Cline hit "Crazy", and the acting scenes he had before and during the fight. Since all traces of Paul Williams were edited out, his name was removed from the guest star credits at the beginning of the movie, and the song credit for "Crazy" was edited out of the end credits.

There's no mention of music replacement on the back of the box, but in their review of the set, TVShowsOnDVD provided some information that may indicate lots more music replacements in the set:
Chris Cook dug up some information from NOMA Music and posted it to the Home Theater Forum. NOMA posted this on their website: "20th Century Fox home video release of "The Fall Guy" starring Lee Majors features eight new songs by Robert Allen, Octane Saints, Don Fisher and Matt King." This, coupled with the odd scene from the pilot, leads me to believe there were some music replacements on the set. (source)
I watched the DVD episode a little more and noticed more instances of music replacement, such as during the restaurant fight, and some score music removed before and after that scene. There are probably lots more, but it would take a lot of effort to compile a complete list.

I taped this episode many years ago in syndication, and although the quality of my copy sucks (it was before I had cable), I have to keep it because it's a more complete copy than what's on the DVD.

It makes me mad that not only did Fox not mention the music replacement on the packaging (reminds me of Anchor Bay with the Grounded For Life sets), AND edit out all of Paul Williams' acting scenes, but that they're charging more than usual for the set - even going so far as to split it into two volumes to make it more affordable - which I presumed was due to music rights, but now I can only assume that greed was the motive.

Dexter: The First Season DVD Review

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This review was originally written on April 8, 2008
Great Show, Poor DVDs, Advertised Content Hidden Online For PC Users Only

Showtime really messed up the bonus material on the Dexter: The First Season DVD set. A bunch of the material is available as online content, but there's NOTHING on the packaging that indicates this, or the fact that you need a PC to view it; you can't view the content on a Mac or Linux machine. You insert Disc 4 into your DVD-ROM drive and if it doesn't run automatically, you can either run start.exe or \bonus\Bonus.exe (the direct route), which compiles information about your computer to generate a unique ID that then grants you access to the Dexter Bonus Content site.

On this site you can enter a contest which expired in January 2008, get a coupon for $25 off a new subscription to Showtime, watch the first two episodes of The Tutors, download a 241MB demo of the "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Hard Evidence" game, download an excerpt from "Dexter in the Dark" by Jeff Lindsay in PDF format, and finally view "The Academy of Blood - A Killer Course" featurette (a 3 minute 20 second piece about a real-life blood splatter expert and not directly related to the series).

The featurette should have been on the video portion of the DVD itself (the two unrelated hour-long episodes of the "Brotherhood" series should never have been included), and the novel excerpt should have been on the DVD-ROM portion of the disc itself. There's no reason to force customers to view these materials online, where they are guaranteed to be taken down at some point in time. On top of that, putting the materials online excludes Mac and Linux users, who wouldn't otherwise be excluded if the materials were on the disc itself.

With the exception of stating that the Tutors episodes were "downloads" (technically Showtime only wants you to view them streaming, not download them), Showtime made no indication on the packing that any of these noted bonus materials were only accessible via online, much less that you need the disc and a DVD-ROM drive in a PC to trigger the access to the site.

Even more annoying is that there are several short cast and crew featurettes created for Dexter that were shown on Showtime On Demand (and probably many more that weren't shown) that should have been included on the DVD in place of the two hour-long Brotherhood episodes. (For the record, the "The Academy of Blood - A Killer Course" featurette was shown on Showtime On Demand back in 2006 where I recorded it in much better quality than the small online video.)

Plus there is a Target exclusive bonus disc that from what I've read contains the Paley Festival Q&A with the cast, which is about 1 hour long. Rather than pandering to the big box retailers, pander to the customers and include this instead of the Brotherhood episodes.

Shame on you Showtime!