DVD Review: WOODY WOODPECKER

WOODY WOODPECKER is a legendary iconic character created by Walter Lantz in 1940. The movie was directed by Alex Zamm and stars Timothy Omundson, Thaila Ayala, Graham Verchere, Jordana Largy, Emily Holmes and Eric Bauza as the voice of Woody.

Woody Woodpecker blends live action and CGI animation to tell the crazy and humorous story of an all-out turf war between the mischievous prankster and a big city lawyer who wants to build his dream home in Woody’s backyard. Woody Woodpecker is back with his signature laugh, wacky antics and wisecracks in his first ever live-action/animated film. Woody must protect his forest home from Lance Walters (Omundson), who starts building his dream mansion in the forest with his son, Tommy (Verchere), and fiancée, Vanessa (Ayala). To make matters worse, Woody must avoid the clutches of two grizzly poachers. With a series of crazy hijinks to sabotage their plans, Woody proves he’ll stop at nothing to defend his turf. Get ready for laughs in this hilarious comedy about everyone’s favorite woodpecker!

When Woody Woodpecker‘s home gets invaded by a big city lawyer and a construction company, he declares war and begins some mischievous attacks on the human invaders. What happens is, Woody ends up befriending the lawyer’s son and the kid helps the charismatic bird fight a war against the people who are tearing down the forest that serves as his home. There’s also a couple of bumbling trappers who are also brought in to try and catch the bird and even though they do finally get Woody in a cage, this is short-lived because Woody Woopecker is just full of tricks, surprises and mayhem. When the lawyer sees just how special this annoying bird really is he decides to call off the construction plans and make Woody part of his small family.

I remember first finding out that we would be getting this live-action Woody Woodpecker movie a few years ago and then it just disappeared from the radar until last year. We started getting some promos for the movie and I honestly thought it would get a theatrical release here but that’s not happening. The movie was a Brazillian production with international flavor and it had a bigger premiere in Brazil but for some reason Universal decided to scale back its international release and here in the U.S. so the movie is only going to be available on DVD and Digital – no Blu-ray is planned. It’s not that it’s a terrible movie but I kind of understand the distributor not wanting to take a huge financial chance on a classic cartoon character that hasn’t seen the light of day in decades – except for old reruns if you can find them airing anywhere. Even if you don’t know who this character is, you’ll recognize his famous laugh.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. The front features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The DVD disc is chrome with no artwork and only features the movie logo. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this standard-definition release were really good. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, this live-action/animated hybrid of Woody Woodpecker doesn’t quite live up to the classic fan favorite cartoon but the kiddos are probably going to like it. We’ve gotten live adpatations of so many classics over the years so why not give the fan favorite hyper-active woodpecker that’s full of mischief a big screen adventure. The story was lighthearted and nothing in it was offensive but it did include a kinf of “save the environment” message. This kind of story is pretty much a rehash from the previous movies like this so it’s all cheesy and predictable. Most of the characters were interesting enough to follow but it’s the famous bird that steals the show. The CGI that brought Woody Woodpecker to life was really impressive and he’s doing all kinds of tricks with the actors so kudos to them for interacting with something that really wasn’t even there. Alex Zamm did a good job telling the story and bringing it all to life on screen. It’s not the best when it comes to classic ‘toons getting live-action upgrades but there’s an audience out there for this silly feature. Woody Woodpecker flies onto DVD (plus Digital) on February 6th.

Distributor: Universal 1440 Entertainment / Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Run Time: 91 Minutes

Rated: PG

DVD Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1)

DVD Audio: English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

Special Features: The extras include three making of featurettes and a digital copy of the movie.

  • Guess Who? The Evolution of Woody – Woody Woodpecker is one of the world’s most iconic animated characters. In this featurette, we explore how Woody’s look and personality have changed since his introduction in 1940. (05:35)
  • The Making of Woody Woodpecker – Filmmakers and cast discuss why this version of the Woody character is so appealing and how his brand of physical humor translates across audiences. (03:12)
  • Working with Woody – Filmmakers, cast and crew reveal the specific challenges of filming a movie whose main character is CGI. (02:50)
  • Digital Copy

 

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