Title: Team Hot Wheel: Origin of Awesome!
HTS Overall Score:
It seems like the film industry is making a movie about everything anymore. We have the “Tetris” movie coming out soon, they are making more movies about Tinkerbell etc, and we even have “Peeps: the Movie” in the works (yes, you read that right, they’re making a movie about Peeps). Now they have decided that those little metal cars that we all grew up with would a good feature film, and with some rather decent results. “Hot Wheels: The Origin of Awesome!” isn’t in the top echelons of animated film works, but it provides some decent Saturday morning style of entertainment for the kids, and even a couple of chuckles for the adults at times.
Hot Wheels city is your everyday normal town, but that all changes when a super powered race car, being driven by a protégé of the mad scientist, Larry (Faruq Tauheed), starts terrorizing the city. It seems this car is a special prototype, being powered by a cloud engine that turns the imagination of the driver into whatever he wants, using the smoke from its exhaust engine (yeah, I know, it took me a minute to wrap my brain around that too). With the help of 4 hotshot kids, Wyatt (Nicholas Roye), Gage (Grant George), Brandon (Ben Diskin), and Rhett (David Lodge), Larry must try and stop this out of control villain.
It seems easy at first, just give the kids souped up hot wheels cars with the help of a backup cloud machine, but the 4 boys have a hard time working together. Soon their inner conflicts start to cloud their judgment and Rev (the villain) keeps getting away, no matter how hard they try. After realizing that they can’t seem to get him by themselves, the boys trek off to Larry’s lab, where they mess around with some mad scientist stuff, causing a whole world of mishaps for the entire second half, including a set of mutant race cars that spiral out of control. When Larry comes back, he reveals the identity of the secret villain to them, and it may just surprise you. To top off the list, someone steals the prototype imagination driven car and is unleashing havoc on Hot Wheels City. Now the 4 boys have to get over their hang ups and band together to save their city.
“Hot Wheels: The Origin of Awesome!” hast its moments, and certainly isn’t a bad movie. It just really feels like a couple of Saturday morning cartoon episodes rolled into one hour and 20 minutes. The first act is filled with an episodes worth of them tracking down Rev, only to have the entire 2nd act be filled with a completely different sub plot where the boys are trying to create faster cars, and end up creating mutant animal DNA infused cars, which they subsequently have to try and get under control. Finally, in the third act the boys band together once more and track down the real villain. As such, it really feels like three 30 minute cartoons one right after the others, and in all honesty, it very well may BE a couple of pilot episodes for a TV series by the looks of it.
Not Rated by the MPAA
The 1.78:1 encoded image is quite pleasing, but still has its faults. The colors certainly pop and the race track is filled with tons of primary colors and silky looking race cars (although with some questionable CGI) that really is eye catching. Almost like a box of crayons, or magic markers that the designers just had fun painting everywhere. Detail can be a bit sketchy, as the Saturday morning cartoon level of animation left some to be desired. We still get some detail, but it’s not drawn with people who are nitpicking in mind. Some of the lines around the characters look a bit sloppy, and the lines on the cars show a few Jaggies. Black levels are nothing to complain about, and contrasts are looking nice, it’s just the slightly weak animation that keeps this one from shining.
The audio is actually pretty impressive as well. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track has some very solid punch as the car engines roar to life on screen. Directionality is quite good, and the surrounds get some rather heavy usage when the cars kick into high gear. During the dialogue heavy sequences they kind of fade into the background, but still get some ambient noise usage when necessary. Said dialogue is clean as can be and shows some impressive clarity, so no one will be able to complain there, and even the LFE channel packs a decent wallop, especially during the copious race sequences. The movie has a decidedly low budget and sometimes that budgets shows its constraints, but the overall track is quite pleasing to the ears and the kiddies will enjoy the roar of the automobiles.
• The Making of Team Hot Wheels: The Origin of Awesome!
• Music Video
I had no problem with the kiddie humor, as this was obviously aimed at the age group that still watches Saturday morning cartoons, while eating fruit loops in their tighty whiteys. The story focuses on the standard kiddie tropes, as the boys have to learn how to overcome their differences and use teamwork to accomplish a goal that they couldn’t accomplish on their own, but the children aren’t going to have a problem with that type of stuff. It’s got fast cars, and an audio track that goes “VROOM”, so if you’re an adult, I might skip it, but this is aimed at pre-teen boys who want to get into a Stock car and roar around the world at 120 million miles an hour, and certainly delivers on plenty of that. Recommended as harmless entertainment for the kids.
Starring: Ben Diskin, Grant George, David Lodge, Nicholas Roye, Faruq Tauheed
Directed By: Matt Danner
Written By: Derek Dressler
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, French DTS 5.1
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 78 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 30th 2014
Buy Team Hot Wheels: Origin of Awesome! Blu-ray on Amazon
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