Category Archives: Fantastic Adventures

Fantastic Halloween Adventure: Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost

thCAEK0OUXThe next stop on our Halloween tour: Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost! This animated movie came straight to DVD in 1999. Like most Scooby-Doo movies, this one revolves around a mystery. In this case, there is a witch’s ghost tormenting the citizens of Oakhaven, a sleepy little town where famed Horror writer Ben Ravencroft goes to write his books. Ben Ravencroft runs into Scooby and the gang after they solve a mystery at a local history museum.
Once Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred arrive in Oak Haven, they immediately begin to investigate the suspicious behavior of the mayor. The gang is skeptical about the Witch’s ghost being real , but once they see it for themselves will they believe in ghosts? Join the spooky adventurers as they try to solve the mystery of the Witch’s ghost!

Fred, Daphne and Velma with Ben Ravencroft
Fred, Daphne and Velma with Ben Ravencroft
300px-Oakhaven_Restaurant
Picturesque Oakhaven! I’m ready for Fall… and food!

Why it is a fantastic Adventure: This movie is one that I view every October to get me into the Halloween and Fall spirit. The town of Oak Haven has a picturesque Massachusetts Fall setting: brown leaves, barren trees, a small Main Street where everyone knows everyone, and even a re-creation of a Puritan village. If you live in parts of the world where the weather doesn’t change much and Fall doesn’t really happen, this is a great way to get yourself and the kids in the proper Fall mindset.
Along the way, the gang meet a group of Gothic witches who are in the rock band, The Hex Girls. This trio provides a few songs in the movie (which are actually pretty good) and help keep the kids entertained through the somewhat plodding mystery story.
Scooby-Doo provides the majority of the movie’s laughs, whether he is scarfing down a gigantic sandwich, begging for Scooby Snacks, or trying to churn butter in the Puritan village. He also provides crucial entertainment value in a story that is somewhat dark for a kids’ Halloween adventure.
On that point, the ghost in this movie is real. She is not someone dressed up in a costume to be de-masked at the end. She has a real thirst for revenge and will do anything to get her way. She brings pumpkins to life and turns them into evil jack-o’-lanterns that try to eat Scooby and the gang.

The plot deals with witches, Wiccans and warlocks, and provides a safe introduction to the topic of real life witches- Wiccans -that you can elaborate on later if you so desire.
The mystery plot is a lot of fun and will keep your kids guessing until the end, especially since the witch turns out to be real (but who was behind the other part of the mystery, and why was the mayor being so suspicious?). There are plenty of eerie locations to keep up the Halloween vibe: abandoned mills, forests full of dead trees, a cabin shrouded in an eerie fog.

Overall, Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost is a great atmosphere setting movie with a fun mystery and a few teachable moments and imagination igniting ideas for your kids. Watch and get ready for Halloween!

Available to purchase on DVD from Amazon.com

The Hex Girls introduce your kids to great music and modern witches!
The Hex Girls introduce your kids to great music and modern witches!

Fantastic Halloween Adventure: Disney’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

legendofsleepyhollowOne of my best childhood memories of Halloween is sitting around the TV turning on the Disney Channel and watching The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. For those who don’t know the story, it basically involves a very superstitious and easily scared school teacher, Mr. Ichabod Crane, being told a spooky story of a headless horsemen by the town prankster. When Ichabod makes his way home after the gathering, he is chased down by this headless horsemen and never heard from again.

This story appeals to such a broad audience because we all love a good unsolved mystery. Kids enjoy it because it is spooky, scary and a stern reminder not to run off alone!

The easily frightened Ichabod Crane
The easily frightened Ichabod Crane

The animation may leave younger kids a bit disappointed as it is not CGI and is actually hand drawn (oh, the horror)! However, they will quickly forget that little tidbit as they are sucked into the world of Sleepy Hollow. The daytime settings are pleasant to look at, which gives you a nice secure feeling. Hold on to that feeling. You’re going to need it.
When night falls on Sleepy Hollow the quiet, melodic town turns into a foreboding maze of dark forests, dimly lit cabins and dark, unlit paths. Of course, this is the part that is most appealing to kids and adults on Halloween night. If you talk to your kids and explain tot hem that the dark is not scary, and that the headless horsemen is not, in fact, real, they will not be frightened and will be able to enjoy the story for what it is.

The sense of fear and adventure stirs something primal in all of us, which is why this story and this cartoon version of it, continues to enthrall us all these years later.
Sit down and put this family friendly telling of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in your DVD player!

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is available on DVD from Amazon.com

Fantastic Halloween Adventure: Costume Quest

costumequestbannerA recent Halloween tradition of mine has been to play the game Costume Quest by Double Fine Entertainment. It’s perfectly detailed Fall environments capture the spirit and feel of Halloween unlike any other experience. I would like to share this wonderful game with you today in the hopes it becomes your new family tradition as well!

Participate in the costume contest inside the mall!
Participate in the costume contest inside the mall!

The game takes place on Halloween night in fictional Schafer County. You play as either Wren or Reynold a sister and brother who set out on Halloween for a night of trick or treating! Unfortunately, your sibling is immediately kidnapped by evil Grubbins! (You can play as either the sister or brother). The Grubbins are sinister monsters who are secretly plotting to take over the entire world and consume all of its candy! Oh, the horror! You now have no choice but to team up with your neighborhood friends and stop the Grubbins before Halloween night is over!

The fun really comes to life in the gameplay. You essentially get to go from house to house trick or treating, collecting candy and using it to buy stamps which can be used to power up your different costumes throughout the game. Of course, it’s not all fun and games when trick or treating, for behind certain doors Grubbins lay in wait ready to pop out and attack! When they do attack, the game play is a simple battle system of tap this button and attack, run away, or use special ability. It is very intuitive and easy for a 10 year old to play!

The visuals capture the perfect Halloween night atmosphere!
The visuals capture the perfect Halloween night atmosphere!

The best part of this game has to be the visuals. Think of Halloween for one minute. What do you picture in your mind? That’s exactly what this game looks like. Every house is covered in Halloween decor, brown and gold leaves litter the ground, jack-o’-lanterns flicker all over the neighborhood, and all of the neighbors have come together to host a giant Halloween block party with apple bobbing, pie contests and more! And if that isn’t enough Halloween spirit for you, the second half of the game takes place in a decked out shopping mall, complete with Halloween costume contest, and the final part of the game sends you to an eerie Halloween carnival!

Take a trip to a Halloween night carnival!
Take a trip to a Halloween night carnival!

There are also Halloween costumes galore. Each costume has a different power up that will help you in battle against the Grubbins. Best of all, you can change costumes any time you wish, helping you get over obstacles and solve puzzles to progress the game forward. Building costumes, collecting candy and fighting Grubbins are all a lot of fun, especially when playing is such amazing environments!

Your kids will fall in love with the perfectly eerie yet cute Halloween visuals, and of course they will be even more excited to go out trick or treating and experience an adventure of their own!
I hope yu are as enthralled with this game as I am. It definitely deserves its place as a yearly tradition for the entire family!

Costume Quest is available on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. It is rated E 10+
Amazon.com Buy Now!

Fantastic Adventure: Shipwrecked

Shipwrecked
Today’s entry in Fantastic Adventures in Family Entertainment is the little known high seas adventure, Shipwrecked.
The story centers around a young boy, Haakon, who sails off as a cabin boy in order to save his family’s home. Little does he know, the ship’s captain and crew have all been replaced by pirates, who need the ship to return to a deserted sand to dig up their gold.
Young Haakon, shipmate Jens and stowaway Mary discover the pirates’ plan and are forced to walk the plank in the middle of a storm. Haakon washes up alone on a deserted island and soon discovers it is the hiding place of the pirates’ treasure. Can he recover the treasure before the pirates return? Will he find his friends? Most importantly, how will he get home?

Why it is a fantastic adventure: A young boy must survive on his own on a deserted island. Your kids will experience all the classic survival stuff: building shelters out of palm trees, weapons out of sticks, and eating coconuts and fish. A sense of exploration is crucial to your kids’ upbringing as creative individuals. They will be in Haakon’s shoes as he creates booby traps, fights for survival and attempts to stop the pirates from getting their treasure.
Haakon is a great young character for your kids to look up to and identify with. He handles himself with poise as he is stranded alone with nothing but his instincts and smarts. Your kids will be itching to go on an adventure of their own, and don’t be surprised if you walk in to your living room being converted into a deserted island.
This movie is a great way to let your kids explore their imaginations and get them to do creative things with whatever they have laying around the house. Since they will be pretending they are on a deserted island they will be making radios out of coconuts and shelters out

Haakon and Jens being held captive by pirates
Haakon and Jens being held captive by pirates

of bed sheets. If you happen to have an indoor palm tree, expect that you will no longer have it in the near future!
Overall, Shipwrecked is a fantastic adventure film safe for the entire family, and your kids will bond with Haakon and his island adventures.

Shipwrecked is available on DVD on Amazon.com

Fantastic Adventure: Scribblenauts Unlimited

I am expanding my fantastic adventures series to include games and outdoor activities! Look forward to even more content and exciting things to do with your family. su

Today I present Scribblenauts Unlimited, a video game for the Wii U console and PCs. What makes this video game a fantastic adventure? It’s educational, but so much fun your kids will forget they are learning to better use the English language.
A pig needs to be cleaned. Type in any object you can think of. In this case, perhaps a sponge, bucket, hose, soap? You name it, the game creates it. Need to fix a broken car? Just write in ‘Mechanic’ and one will pop right into the game world to fix the car. You can also add adjectives to any character to make them complete a task. For example add the adjective praying to a nun, and well, you’ll have a praying nun. Think of Mad Libs as an interactive video game. You approach different characters, objects or animals throughout the game. Each one needs your help. It is then up to you to use your imagination and knowledge of the English language to help!
You and your kids will have a blast helping out the citizens of Scribblenauts’ world, which is done in a colorful, vivid animation style.

The environments are nice to look at, and the animation style will draw in your kids.
The environments are nice to look at, and the animation style will draw in your kids.

The characters are fun to look at and the detail in the cities and backgrounds is visually pleasing.
Your kids will use their imaginations to create any object their heart desires. (No worries, there are vulgarity filters in place). And this, perhaps, is the strongest case for Scribblenauts Unlimited. Anything that gets your kids to think creatively is a plus. Being creative while also playing a game and staring at the TV? It’s the best of both worlds!  Just don’t tell your kids that they are actually learning while playing!

Family Movie Nights on The Hub Network

Monster House
Monster House

Looking to stay in for the evening with the family? I stumbled upon this ad the other day and wanted to share it, as will be a great opportunity to have a memorable family movie night. Most of the films are from the 1990s or early 2000s, so there is a good chance it has been a long time since your family has seen some of these, if at all.
Among some of the films being shown, I would strongly advise watching The Addams Family, Monster House, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Jumanji. 

There will be a different movie every night at 8pm Eastern 5pm Pacific.
Spend some quality time with the family, pop some popcorn and get ready for fantastic adventures!

For more information, visit http://www.hubworld.com and watch the video below!

Fantastic Adventure #15: Hook

hookHook is the next entry in my fantastic adventures series. I would have written about this already, but it was such a huge part of my childhood I assumed everyone has seen this film. While it is popular, there are probably lots of young kids and families who have not seen it. So, I feel I need to get the word out on this amazing adventure!
Hook is a great sequel to the traditional Peter Pan story. What would happen if Peter gave up Neverland to grow old with Wendy’s daughter? It turns out he would forget all about Neverland, the lost boys, and everything about being Peter Pan. And what would happen if Captain Hook made his way to Earth to kidnap the children of the adult Peter Pan? Join in the adventure as Peter rediscovers why being a kid is so much fun.

Why it is a fantastic adventure: If your kids are familiar with the story of Peter Pan, they will instantly recognize a lot of story elements, both from the book and stage play. Your children will feel like insiders and feel like the are in on some sort of secret.
Once the story transitions to Neverland, the sets and action are breathtaking, immediately sucking your kids into the world. Neverland has never been so real.
hook-peter-panEach of your children will immediately find a lost boy they like and relate to, creating an even greater immersion.
Imaginations will soar as your kids will immediately plan their own battle against the evil pirates, creating coconut swords and bamboo armor.
Of course, a land with no parents and no rules is an exciting prospect for any kid. This is a great film for sparking imaginations. There is a make believe feast, and lots of different “games”, which all require the classic kid talent of make-believe.
The acting is top notch from everyone involved. It is almost as if the actors knew they were making a masterpiece. Robin Williams seems a bit out of sorts in the beginning, but comes into his own as a grown up Peter Pan. Dustin Hoffman delivers the best performance of Captain Hook ever put on film. Oddly enough, Julia Roberts is the weakest link, so that tells you how great the acting is.
There is also something for parents to take home. Just the mere thought of losing your children is horrifying, but bonding with your children while rediscovering the fun of your youth is something that will call to your very essence.
Do not miss this masterpiece of imagination and adventure.

Hook is available to own on DVD or Blu-Ray.

Fantastic Adventure #14: Denver, the Last Dinosaur

denverToday’s post in my Fantastic Adventures in Family Entertainment brings us to the late 1980s with a prehistoric twist. Denver, the Last Dinosaur was a children’s television cartoon which paired a group of modern California teens with a prehistoric dinosaur, Denver. The teens found a prehistoric egg on a visit to the La Brea tar pits and were surprised when it hatched and out came a dinosaur! The multicultural group of modern teens – Mario, Jeremy, Shades, Wally, Casey and little sister Heather – all sought to protect Denver from concert promoter Morton Fizback, who wanted to exploit Denver at various concert events.

denver2

Why it is a fantastic adventure: All of the kids in the group bring something different to the table. You have the jock, the extreme sports kid, the nerd, the jug head, and the annoying little sister.  Your kids will quickly find one of the characters to relate to and follow through each episode’s adventure.
Denver, a green rock n roll dinosaur, provides most of the excitement and will get most of the laughs – mostly because he is a dinosaur. Most of the episodes ave great learning moments for your kids in that they deal with issues of responsibility, being environmentally conscious, and they deal with the greed associated with money. All of these topics are woven into the adventure and excitement of the episodes, so it does not seem forced or preachy.
Most importantly and best of all, each episode deals with friendship: how to get along, how to patch things up when someone gets hurt, and all of the joy and responsibility associated with great, lasting friendships.

Denver, the Last Dinosaur is available to own on DVD and available for free on youtube.com

Fantastic Adventure #13: Dennis the Menace

Dennis-the-Menace-17817-413It is somewhat fitting that the thirteenth entry in my fantastic adventures series is a bit of a troublemaker.  The classic character Dennis the Menace made his live action film debut in 1993 in the film Dennis the Menace. The story branches out a bit from the Sunday comics and centers around Dennis’ hometown, which is known for its safety and security,  being visited by a jewelry thief. Dennis, up to his usual pranks, ends up being kidnapped by the thief, who instantly regrets taking such a bratty kid hostage. You also get great interaction with Dennis and Mr. Wilson, as Dennis plays most of his pranks on the unsuspecting Mr. Wilson.

Why it is a fantastic adventure: Aside from having a lot of fun watching Dennis’ pranks unfold, your kids will learn quite a few things along the way. Dennis learns that pranks have their consequences, and may even hurt the people you care about.
This film is a great way to introduce your kids to the great comedy of Walter Matthau. It is all family friendly fun that will have your kid laughing for days.
Another great teaching moment in this film deals with running away. I’m sure every kid has had at least one serious thought of running away from home. After Mr. Wilson gets upset at Dennis for pulling one too many pranks, Dennis runsdenacethemenace  away from home, only to be kidnapped by the evil, scary looking jewelry thief. The scenes with the jewelry thief (brilliantly played by a creepy looking Christopher Lloyd), may be a bit scary for the youngest kids in your home, but your youngsters will be too busy laughing at the jewelry thief and what Dennis does to him, that they will enjoy every moment of the film.
Out of all of the entertaining and tense moments in this film, the touching scenes between Dennis, Mr. Wilson and Mrs. Wilson are the ones that really stand out above the rest. They are heartwarming, truthful and a great way for your kids to see the value of friendships and loved ones.

Fantastic Adventure Christmas Edition: Jack Frost

186604.1020.AJack Frost is a 1998 movie starring Michael Keaton as a talking snowman. Well, okay, it’s more than that. Jack Frost is a singer who’s on the road most of the time so he can’t spend a lot of time with his son Charlie, although they love each other very much. When Jack dies in a car accident, Charlie becomes a very sad young man, until… Jack returns as a snowman! Now they can do all the things they’ve missed when Jack was human.

Why it is a fantastic adventure: The film deals with one major issue, a kid losing his father. If you have kids who have has this happen to them, this film can be a good coping tool, as the end of the movie deals with moving 63848551on and making peace with the fact that dad is never coming back.
Moving on to happier topics, this film also deals with what it is like to be a kid in junior high, and all of the alienation and awkwardness that comes along with that. However,  this movie adds a very Christmas-y twist, as Charlie gets to spend quality time getting back at the bullies with the help of a giant snowman.
Charlie gets to spend extra time with his dad, who wasn’t there too much when he was alive. This not only leads to fun and adventure, it also provides the film with a lot of heart. This is one film that will tug at your heartstrings and let your kids experience a genuinely emotional experience about parents.
The puppet and CGI work all hold up very well, and the snowman really takes on a likable and believable personality. You may have missed this one, as it did not do too well in 1998, so give it a chance this Christmas and believe in magic once again.

Jack Frost is available to own on DVD or rent from Amazon or Netflix.