Blu-ray Review: The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island

If you missed the after school screening of The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island, you’re in luck. The CGI animated movie has been released on Blu-ray.

The Boxcar Children is one of the longest running children’s book series since Gertrude Chandler Warner penned the first entry in 1924. The series deals with the four Aldean kids and their dog. The siblings like to solve mysteries while living with their grandfather. And there’s plenty of mysteries with The Boxcar Children – Surprise Island, CGI animated adaptation of the second book in the series which will receive a special screening on May 8th after school.

Surprise Island takes the Aldean kids off for the summer to their grandfather’s place on an island. It’s a magical little place where the kids think they’ll be alone. But it turns out this won’t be a family only vacation. There’s the mysterious and helpful Joe hanging out there. The kids aren’t sure why he’s gotten away from society. But seeing how the book was written in 1949, Joe’s mystery isn’t too dark or disturbing for small kids. He also helps the Aldeans explore the island and learn its surprises.

The film is done in the same style as the previous The Boxcar Children feature that came out a few years ago. The simple animation allows kids to focus on the story and not get overwhelmed by technical marvels. The voice cast once again features Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now) as the grandfather and J. K. Simmons (Oz & Whiplash) as Dr. Moore. They set an adult tone to give a sense that the kids aren’t completely running wild on the island.

There’s still a bit of summer left so kids should enjoy the summer adventure tone of The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The animation transfer looks for a show about the siblings discovering things on the island. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The levels are great for both the adult and kid voices. The movie is subtitled.

Digital Copy that you can download until August 7, 2019.

The Making of (13:31) reflects on how the orphans deal with the family they are and their adventures. Dan Chuba give details about the books and the author. She wrote the original book to help her immigrant students get a good grasp of English. He talks of how the book isn’t about conflict.

The Music of the Boxcar Children Children: Surprise Island (11:55) sits down with composer Kenneth Burgomaster. He talks of the direction for the music and using not easily recognizable sounds. He breaks out the dulcimer.

Listening to the World of The Box Car Children: Surprise Island (18:10) goes behind-the-scenes with the sound editing and mixing team. Foley artist Joan Rowe demonstrates how she creates the footsteps on the dock scene. This is great for a kid to understand a piece of movie magic.

Theatrical Trailer (1:39) gives a sense that summer fun and mystery.

Shout! Factory presents of The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island. Directed by Daniel Chuba, Mark A.Z. Dippé & Wonjae Lee. Screenplay by: Daniel Chuba. Starring: Gil Birmingham, Dane DeHaan, J.K. Simmons and Martin Sheen. Rated: Not Rated. Running Time: 81 minutes. Released: August 7, 2018.

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