Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Axel: The Biggest Little Hero DVD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Arc Entertainment releases Axel: The Little Biggest Hero on DVD on June 3, 2014.  This direct to DVD release features some unusual looking creatures in an adventure story. Adventurous young Boca decides he must do something after coming to the realization that his tribe is starving. Along with his friend Nipop, he heads out in search of a magical plant from the Bonta Forest that will feed everyone and make him a hero, but the adventure is not as easy as he thought it would be. Boca and Nipop are threatened by Liza King who wants to take over the forest, but escapes with the help of a giant ostrich robot. They also become friends with a beautiful and brave princess and continue on their adventure. Will Boca be able  to find the magical plant and save his tribe? Will his dream of becoming a hero ever be realized? The film is rated PG for some scary images, perilous action sequences and mild rude humor.  I am anticipating that my six year old son will be the perfect audience and will appreciate a bit of mild rude humor.

Film (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Axel dreams of being a hero.  He spends his days playing pranks, and catches bugs but has never been tested with an important task.  After a bump on the head, Axel has a vision of a bonta grove.  A sacred cactus is the source of nourishment for Axel’s tribe and this forest could mean unlimited food for his people.  Axel is sure the great Bonta came to him in his vision and showed him the way.  Everyone thinks Axel is fooling around.

After much soul searching, and discussion with his grandfather and tribal elder he decides he must seek out the bonta grove to save his people from   starvation.  A friend tags along, determined to be a helpful sidekick.  On their journey, the pair will encounter mechanical monsters, aggressive locals and other dangers. 

Along the way, they encounter a few strokes of luck to keep them on task and on the right path towards their goal.  Axel and his friend go above and beyond that anyone thought they could do to save their people. The film contains an impressive list of voice actors including Ed Asner, Tim Curry, Matthew Lillard, and George Takei.  

My six year old was thoroughly entertained throughout the film. The mild rude humor the rating warned of was by far his favorite.  The smelly feet and fart jokes had him laughing out loud.  The story got a little complicated during the hero’s journey.  Younger children (ages 3-4) might be initially interested in the visuals but would get bored before the end.  5-7 year olds are the perfect audience and can follow the story to its conclusion.

Video (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Axel: The Biggest Little Hero provides a better than expected video presentation.  Although only available on DVD, the color are bright and bold, and the CGI creatures and environment provides good detail.

Audio (3 out of 5 stars) 
Axel: The Biggest Little Hero offers a surprisingly robust audio track.  The English 5.1 Dolby Digital Sound includes very realistic swirling wind turbines, clicking mechanical creatures and crashing destruction.  When a fortress is under attack the doors slam with believable weight.  The dialogue is even and consistent and is not lost beneath the special effects sounds.

Extras (1/2 out of 5 stars) 
The DVD contains no special features.  The DVD auto plays three previews before the main menu.
·         Previews - Justin and the Knights of Valor, Animals United, and Reef 2: High Tide.

Summary (2 out of 5 stars)
My six year old gives Axel:  The Littlest Big Hero “two thumbs up.”  It was entertaining, strikingly different than the hundreds of DVDs he already owns and watches regularly.  When I asked him what it was about, he summarizes “anyone can be a hero if you keep trying.”  He did point out that he thinks everyone was “a little bit hard on Axel.” The humor was right up his alley and the action included the perfect levels of intensity.  The overall score of 2/5 is low because of the lack of special features.  Ignoring the special features, as many children do, it’s more like a 2.5 or 3 out of 5.  Additionally the previews shown before the film offer ideas for three other movies my son would like to check out.  All parents know that children often get stuck on a few movies they want to watch repeatedly so it’s easy to get excited when your child shows interest in something new.

Order your copy today!

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