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Featured DVD Review: DreamWorks Halloween Double Pack

October 26th, 2011

DreamWorks Halloween Double Pack - Buy from Amazon

Scared Shrekless and Monsters vs Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins From Outer Space were first released on September 13th as two separate DVDs and then two weeks later as a double-pack. The screeners arrived very late, but in time for a Halloween review. Are they worth watching for fans of the two movies? Are there enough extras that they are worth picking up?

Monsters vs Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins From Outer Space

An alien craft appears over a pumpkin farm for a brief pit stop, quickly dumping green ooze everywhere before flying off again. The noise alerts the farmer, who thinks it's teenagers making out. When he doesn't see anything, he turns his back, but that's when the Mutant Pumpkins From Outer Space attack him.

Meanwhile back at a secret government facility, the monsters are preparing for Halloween when Gen. W.R. Monger tells them there's been alien activity in Modesto, although they don't know what the aliens might have done. Susan/Ginormica, B.O.B., Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. and The Missing Link have to check it out, without telling anyone of the potential danger, not even Susan's parents. While Susan investigates the farm that was at the center of the alien activity, the other three monsters check for alien activity in town. At least that's their stated mission. In reality, they get distracted by Halloween.

When the Mutant Pumpkins do attack, they have to figure out what they want and how to stop them.

The TV special isn't bad and should entertain kids that liked the original movie. On the other hand, it won't entertain adult aficionados of computer animation. The plot is rather thin, it takes a bit too long to get going, the main villain is poorly defined and lacks motivation to make it compelling. Not enough of the jokes hit their mark and instead rely on a slew of pop-culture references (Children of the Corn, E.T., etc.). There's enough action to pass the time, but it doesn't have a huge amount of replay value.

The Extras

There's two extras, a Karaoke section and a featurette, but both come from the DVD / Blu-ray release for Monsters vs. Aliens so add little value here.

Scared Shrekless

Shrek claims he isn't scared of anything, but Donkey, Puss in Boots and the others don't believe him, so they challenge him to a ghost story contest. Shrek decides it should take place in Castle Doom, Lord Farquaad's haunted castle. Once there, we hear three scary tales.

  1. The Bride of Gingy
    The Gingerbread Man starts the contest. He tells of the night his girlfriend dumped him and he went to the Muffin Man to bake him a new girlfriend, but the Gingerbread Man demands more sugar than last time, more sugar than anyone has ever included in a cookie recipe. Muffin Man warns him that he doesn't know what will happen, but the Gingerbread Man doesn't listen.
  2. Boots Motel
    Donkey and Puss in Boots take turns telling a scary story about a hotel. But instead of trying to scare Shrek, they spend most of the time trying to kill each other in the story.
  3. The Shreksorcist
    Shrek is hired by Geppetto as a babysitter for Pinocchio. He thinks it will be an easy job, but Pinocchio is possessed.
Each of the three stories told only run about five minutes long, which means there's not a lot of depth to them. Each one is basically a parody of a popular horror film (Bride of Frankenstein, Psycho and The Exorcist). There's enough time for a few jokes, a few pop-culture references, but that's it. It's on par with the other TV special on this Double-Pack, but it is not essential viewing for fans of the franchise.

The Extras

The only extra is a six-minute version of Thriller, which is arguably better than the main feature.

The Verdict

If you don't count credits and extras that were ported over from previous releases, the total running time of DreamWorks Halloween Double Pack is only 50 minutes. It should entertain kids, but given the price-per-minute, I think for most a rental will be enough.

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