THE ADVENTURES OF CHUCK AND FRIENDS: BUMPER UP (DVD)
Shout! Factory / 2010 / 110 mins / TV-Y
If CARS and CARS 2 just wasn't enough talking cars for you, Hasbro has you covered with THE ADVENTURES OF CHUCK AND FRIENDS. Granted there are plenty of CARS knock-off cartoons like AUTO B GOOD or A CAR'S LIFE (no, I'm not making that title up), but CHUCK certainly stands out from the crowd for its simplicity. It won't win any awards for originality in either design or plot, but it'll certainly get an A+ from kids that just can't get enough of cars and trucks.
This latest release features another ten episodes from this animated series. The show follows the adventures of the little dump truck Chuck and his other child truck companions, occasionally asking his truck parents for help with situations. Most of the episodes revolve around standard plots ranging from starting a band to the prince and the pauper. There are a wide-range of characters represented by several different truck models. Though to be brutally honest, none of them are very memorable. They all seem like the same chipper fellows who only really change when the plot requires it.
But what the show lacks in character, it makes up for in just about every other department. The animation is very colorful and fluid with simple yet effective designs. The songs are catchy and a joy to hear. And the high-spirited atmosphere is refreshing for a show with standard stories and morals.
CHUCK AND FRIENDS is perfectly suited for young kids with an affinity for trucks. It has all the playfulness and imagination of playing in the sandbox with toy cars, making up adventures and stories. There isn't a whole lot here for older audiences, but kids will really dig the colorful animation and cool automotive designs. It's a wholesome little talking-car cartoon with some decent morals thrown into the mix without being boring.
The 1.78:1 widescreen video transfer is superb, as to be expected from Shout! for a fairly recent series. The animation shines beautifully on this DVD with bright colors and wonderfully rendered computer graphics.
The 5.1 surround audio bodes especially well for the songs that accompany most of the episodes as well as the extra singalong.
Not many extras can be expected from these single-disc releases, but it's nice that Shout! Factory included a little sing-along for this DVD.
THE ADVENTURES OF CHUCK AND FRIENDS may not be the most original cartoon out there, but it has a harmlessly fun spirit with car designs kids will adore. The animation is great, the songs are catchy and the morals of each episode are solid. All of this is more than enough to make this DVD a high recommendation for the young ones.