Another of Disney’s successful young actresses, Selena Gomez has gained famed after starring in a few episodes of “Hannah Montana”, a lead role in "Another Cinederella Story" and now, as the lead of the popular Disney Channel show, “Wizards of Waverly Place”. Gomez plays Alex Russo, who lives in New York with her wizard dad Jerry Russo (David DeLuise), mom Theresa (Maria Canals-Barrera), and two brothers, Justin and Max (David Henrie, Jake T. Austin). While it may sound great having a dad as a Wizard, there’s one catch: only one of his children can keep their powers once they are older.
“Wizards of Waverly Place” follows the Russo’s as Jerry teaches his children magic, while running the family restaurant the rest of the day. The focus is mainly on Alex as she goes to school and deals with her new magic skills, as well as everyday teenage life. Alex and her brothers don’t necessarily get along, but that only adds to the family dynamic and, of course, the plots. While there’s not much in the way of storyline, the series does manage to offer a nice balance between the family life as wizards and the usual day-to-day of siblings doing their best to outsmart one another.
“Wizards of Waverly Place” doesn’t really offer anything new, as it feels somewhat like a combination of “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch” and “Hannah Montana”. What it doesn’t bring in originality, though, it makes up for in performance. Gomez, Henrie and Austin work great off each other. Gomez gives a charming performance as Alex, who’s not like all the other girls at her school . Making Alex unique (in her clothing, her attitude and situation) in comparison to other Disney shows helps set “Waverly” apart. The magic used in the series does add to the story and helps keep the episodes amusing and far from falling flat.
In Disney’s release “Wizards of Waverly Place: Supernaturally Stylin’” you get four episodes. In “Credit Check” Alex is upset because everyone keeps taking credit for her ideas, especially after she takes an internship at a fashion magazine. In “Smarty Pants” Alex wears magic pants that give her answers during a competition, but the more answers she gets right, her friend Harper (Jennifer Stone) gets upset. In “Beware Wolf” Justin goes on a blind date with a werewolf who decides to turn him into one as well. In “Graphic Novel” Alex’s diary is stolen by popular Gigi (Skyler Samuels). When Justin and Max realize Gigi has the diary, they transport her into the fairytale world with a magic spell.
Another Sensation from Disney is animated series, “Phineas and Ferb”. The series follows to creative brothers, Phineas (Vincent Martella) and Ferb (Thomas Sangster) as they spend their summer vacation coming up with new and inventive ways to spend every day of summer before school starts again. They don’t just spend their summer doing your average things, and in Disney’s release “Phineas and Ferb: The Daze of Summer” you get a chance to witness some of their ingenious attempts to make summer count. Some of the things they do include creating a circus for the whole block in “Jerk de Soleil”, cloning themselves so they can do more in “I, Brobot”, setting sail in “The Ballad of Badbeard” and let’s not forget they build a portal to mars in “Unfair Science Fair”.
Phineas and Ferb are likeable characters with lots of ideas, but the show wouldn’t be complete without some standout characters such as their sister, Candace (Ashley Tisdale, “High School Musical”) who’s always trying to get the boys in trouble, and their pet platypus Perry (Dee Bradley Baker) that’s actually a secret agent trying to stop Dr. Doofenschmirtz (series creator, Dan Povenmire) from causing problems.
“Phineas and Ferb” is a bit loud at times, but compared to other children cartoons it manages to offer a lot of creativity and humor that even adults can appreciate. That’s probably due in part to Dan Povenmire who wrote some “Sponge Bob Square Pants” and “Rocko’s Modern Life” as well as directed some “Family Guy” episodes.
Both titles are available separately, and each offers four episodes.
VIDEO: Both titles are offered in 1.33:1 full-frame by Disney. "Wizards" offered broadcast-level image quality, with sharpness and detail that, while not impressive, was equal to the quality of digital cable. A few minor instances of shimmer and pixelation were spotted, but the picture was mostly smooth and clean. Colors also looked bright and lively, with no smearing or other faults. "Phineas and Ferb" was fine, as well, as the 1.33:1 full-frame presentation of the animated series boasted good clarity and spot-on color.
SOUND: Both titles are presented in stereo, and offer crisp, clear dialogue and music.
EXTRAS: "Wizards" BONUS FEATURES included here are “Fashionista Presto Chango!” The cast takes you behind the scenes to look at the wardrobe room where costume designer Julie Rhine talks about the costumes. At just under eight minutes, this will be fun for fan to see some of the costumes from the series and hear the cast talk about their experience wearing them.
Also, look for the sneek peaks for: “Pinocchio: 70th Anniversary Addition”, “High School Musical 3”, “Earth”, “School House Rock! Earth”, “Disney Movie Rewards”, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”, “Hannah Montana”, and “Bolt”.
"Phineas and Ferb" BONUS FEATURES included here is “The Googolplex Mall Science Fair” that takes you to the science fair where you can choose between three entries/activities to attempt. Set up like a game, just follow the instructions and have fun experimenting at the science fair. This is definitely fun for fans of the show. Also, look for the sneek peaks for: “Pinocchio: 70th Anniversary Addition”, “High School Musical 3”, “Earth”, “School House Rock! Earth”, “Disney Movie Rewards”, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”, “Bolt” and “Wizards of Waverly Place”