Recess: School’s Out

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

The last bell of the school year has sounded, so T.J. Detweiler is looking forward to a summer packed with adventures, to say the least. But all of his friends have other plans, as they’ve all signed up for various camps, which means they all leave in the morning. As such, T.J. now has a summer of boredom ahead of him, but as always, he’s sure to run into some kind of trouble. As with all kids his age, he thinks he will spend the summer as far away from school as possible, but as it turns out, he’ll be there a lot more than he thinks. As he rides by on his bike, T.J. sees some strange green lights inside the school, but is run off by a mean bald man. Of course, he plans to get a closer look and when he does, he sees an unusual experiment in progress, which has him very concerned. He tries to tell his parents, but they won’t believe him and when he takes the principal there, all the experiment evidence is gone. This means T.J. has to find a way to visit all the camps and get his friends to come back, so they can investigate this mystery together, to get to the bottom of it all. But little do they know what evil plans have been unrolled this summer…

Based on the television series of the same name, this movie continues the adventures of T.J. and the crew, with humorous results. I’ve seen a few episodes of the show, but after seeing this big screen edition, I may have to check out some back episodes. I was surprised at how daring Recess: School’s Out was at times, from rather crude humor to some cool reference dropping. I liked this movie much more than I had expected, but it has some flaws, to be sure. I don’t think much work was done to improve the animation for this feature film, which was a let down, as the series looks pretty average, at best. It looks more than adequate however, as some scenes do use some cool new techniques, to keep the visuals interesting. I am unsure how well an older audience will react to Recess: School’s Out, but it managed some good box office, so I am sure the kids will love it. I recommend this as a purchase to those interested, as this is the kind of flick the little ones will want over and again, so you don’t want to have to rent it all the time, right?

Video: How does it look?

Recess: School’s Out is presented in a 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a superb visual effort from Disney, who can produce some excellent work, when they want to, that is. Here, we have a strong overall presentation, from the smooth animation to the colors and contrast, all of which looks great. The colors look vivid, but never run together at all, while black levels are dead on also, no complaints there, either. The print used is as clean as can be also, which leaves me to score this one high, impressive work indeed. This kind of basic animation isn’t always a visual feast, but as far as this material goes, this is about as good as it gets.

Audio: How does it sound?

As you might expect, this movie isn’t a haven for audio bliss, but it has some moments, to be sure. The included Dolby Digital 5.1 option sounds quite good here, but surround presence is limited to the music and a few moments of subtle use, though nothing too impressive. So the basics are more than covered, you just don’t hear much in terms of bells & whistles with this one. The front channels shoulder most of the burden and don’t falter much, so I doubt anyone will be let down, since the material is handled well. The voice work is crisp and well presented, with no volume errors to discuss at all. This disc also includes a Spanish language track, as well as English subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc has some cool bonus materials, which these kid aimed titles often lack. While studios like Warner won’t even issue widescreen on some of their family films, Disney is consistent with not only anamorphic widescreen transfers, but also some cool extras. You’ll find two brief behind the scenes featurettes, one that deals with the animation process, while the other features the animators talking about their inspiration for the series. These are short featurettes, but offer a nice look behind the scenes, so kids should have fun as they watch them. This disc also includes two music videos (Dancin’ in the Streets and Green Tambourine), a Recess digital comic book, some DVD ROM content, a Recess trivia game, and the film’s theatrical trailer.

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