“A B.O.B.Tastic New Adventure!”
It seems as though the trend is here to stay. The trend I refer to is the one wherein children’s shows released on DVD feature selected episodes from a season as opposed to an entire season’s worth of episodes within a single set. Monsters vs. Aliens: Cloning Around fully embraces the trend as it offers episodes from the 2013 inaugural season of Monsters vs. Aliens, the television show based on the 2009 theatrical release of the same name. Unlike their 2009 television specials Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space and Night of the Living Carrots, the current show does not feature any of the original actors reprising their roles.
The premise of the show is simple: there’s a team of government-funded monsters and they protect the Earth from alien threats. The group consists of leader Ginormica aka Susan (Riki Lindhome), the homage to the 50-foot-woman. Next up is The Missing Link, aka Link (Diedrich Bader), the Creature from the Black Lagoon-type monster; Dr. Cockroach, Ph. D. (Chris O’Dowd), the Fly-esque monster; and finally B.O.B. (Eric Edelstein), the just-slightly-smarter-than-the-original Blob.
The premise isn’t really fleshed out to its full potential in these eight episodes, as the focus is on how the team reacts to the American president allowing a (secretly evil) alien named Coverton (Jeff Bennett) to join the ranks. That’s where the hijinks ensue for the most part, with occasional side stories about each character’s own crisis of the day. Aside from the pilot, the episodes break down into two 11 minute stories each, so any tale is quickly introduced and quickly handled. Monsters vs. Aliens: Cloning Around feels average, and nothing stands out to help me recommend it.
Although something does stand out: The video transfer is bad. Really bad. At times the 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen actually looks out of focus. The animation is standard CGI with as few bells and whistles as the show can get away with, leaving the backgrounds looking pancake flat. The one positive note I can give is I enjoy the palette. There’s care taken to distinguish every character. The full Dolby 5.1 Surround track is much better and sounds best during the explosions, of which there are many.
The special features include a digital copy of the episodes as well as a code to use within a free MvA app.
While I’m not the target audience for Monsters vs. Aliens: Cloning Around, the video track is so bad I can’t in good conscience recommend it anyway.