Roxy Hunter And The Mystery Of The Moody Ghost Movie
R1 - America - Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Rob Fields (21st February 2008).
The Film

One thing I can definitely say for sure: Kid detectives are definitely not a strange concept to me. Back when I was in elementary school, I had the privilege of reading many of the "Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective" series of books written by Donald J. Sobol. Each book had ten cases. The idea was not just to read the stories, but to try and solve them yourself. If you couldn't figure it out, then the section on the back would explain the answer. I was even able to watch a few VHS movies, but I can't remember what they were. Now I am about to meet a new child detective in the form or Roxy Hunter. This is the first "book", if you will, that I am about to embark on. The question is will I be able to solve the mystery before Roxy does? I will let you know further down. Keep in mind, however, that I will most certainly NOT tell you who did it. That goes against my rule about not handing out spoilers.

The synopsis for the "Roxy Hunter and the Mystery of the Moody Ghost Movie" (1:32:50) is that after moving to an eerie old house in the country, nine-year-old super sleuth Roxy Hunter stumbles into a world filled with unsolved mysteries, secret plots and spooky spirits. Now, Roxy (Aria Wallace) and her best friend and boy genius Max (Demetrius Joyette), must race to save their home, re-unite a lost love and uncover the true villain. Is it the Moody Ghost...something even spookier? This movie was also seen on Nickelodeon. Here's the formula for the movie. Stop me if you've heard this one. Roxy and her family move to a new home. Once they are there, they are told that the house is haunted. Does this sound like something you might have seen or heard in an episode of "Scooby Doo, Where Are You!" (1969-1972)? Could be...but, this is how the movie starts out. From here, Roxy and Max assume the roles of Mystery, Inc. (what the Scooby gang called themselves) and proceed to solve the mystery.

I like that even though Roxy Hunter is a child sleuth, she is also a human being. In other words, she doesn't act like a know-it-all running at hundred percent all of the time. Like some kids, she exhibits childhood fears, such as being scared of the dark when in a strange new house. Also, even though Max has the brains and is a little too smart for his own good, he too is human. Still, I enjoyed watching these two working together. In some cases, they are like Fox Mulder and Dana Scully ("The X-Files" 1993-2002), where Roxy is the believer in the supernatural and Max is the skeptic. I also like how Roxy is able to look danger in the eye when it comes right down to it. Also, there certainly are red herrings that can help to throw you off the track. Still, Roxy does crack the case, with help from Max.

The downsides? I only have two. The first is that this film wasn't released around Halloween. It certainly would have helped set the mood. Even though it's in the last third of February, for a time it actually felt like October was here. My recommendation is to definitely watch this movie at night with the lights out. Another downside is the character Ramma (Vik Sahay). I read online that he is a character in the other Roxy Hunter films, some are not out yet. Still, I hope he turns out to be a better character in those films, because he was just a waste of a character in this one. He didn't really help out when it came right down to it. It seemed like all he did was sleep. He wouldn't have made or broken the movie either way.

My final word: Okay, I didn't quite solve the mystery. Turns out there were a few more details that I had overlooked. In any case, "Roxy Hunter and the Mystery of the Moody Ghost Movie" makes for a good mystery. As far as the rest of the disc itself, there are other mysteries to solve as well. Keep reading and you'll find out. This title is definitely worth owning. The children are definitely going to love this one. Besides, they may want to see if there really IS a Moody Ghost.

Video

The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen format (1.78:1 ratio). I've noticed a little bit of grain during a few of the dark scenes. Nothing major, however. The picture looks excellent otherwise. The colors stand out really well, right down to the details. You can even see the dirt and dust on the windows of the vehicles being driven.

Audio

The film features Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtracks in the following languages: original English, dubbed Spanish, and dubbed Portuguese. There is also a 2.0 Dolby Digital stereo soundtrack in dubbed French. There are optional English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Thai, and Portuguese subtitles available. The 5.1 audio makes use of all of the speakers. You can hear the music, background noise, and dialogue in perfect harmony : just like if you were at the cinema.

Extras

Sony has included bonus trailers, 2 music videos, 3 featurettes, a blooper reel, 4 deleted scenes, and 11 Easter eggs round out this package. Spanish and Portuguese subtitles can be utilized for all of the extras (the previews and the music videos are not subtitled). Below is a closer look at these supplements.

The first of the three featurettes is "Creating the Mystery of the Moody Ghost" runs 10 minutes and 24 seconds. Here, you will get some insight from the cast and crew in regards to creating the film. Detail is also given to the story and the characters, especially Roxy Hunter. The right actress had to be found to be able to play Roxy. Actress Wallace also explains some similarities between herself and Roxy. Of course, Max and the other characters get their time in the spotlight.

The second featurettes "Investigating Roxy" runs 5 minutes and 59 seconds. Here, the cast and crew talk about how Wallace was right for the role and that no other actress could have played her. While the first featurette was about the movie itself, this second one is more or less about Aria herself. You also get to go behind the scenes with the costume department.

The last featurettes "Demetrius Joyette & Aria Wallace: Max and Roxy" runs 1 minute and 24 seconds. Here you will see some audition footage with some actual film footage mixed in.

There is a blooper reel which runs for 4 minutes and 41 seconds. Here you will see some general goofiness that took place throughout the film. It's a lot of line flubs mostly.

There are 4 deleted scenes, which can be viewed individually or all together using the 'Play All' option and include:

- "Arrival in Serenity Falls" which runs for 1 minute 16 seconds : This is an extended scene of Roxy, Max, and Sarah arriving in Serenity Falls.
- "Susan and Max Phone Call" runs for 53 seconds : Max gets a phone call from Susan, who asks him to watch Roxy since she won't be home for a while yet.
- "Serenity Falls Archives" runs for 42 seconds : Mr. Tibers, the librarian, offers to show Roxy the archives during her investigation that brought her to the library.
- "Nursing Home" runs for 54 seconds : Roxy enters the nursing home and speaks to a nurse. Then Roxy cleverly gives her the slip.

There are two music videos by Aria Wallace (not subtitled):

- "I'll Figure It Out" runs 2 minutes and 22 seconds.
- "Here I Come To Save Your Day" runs 2 minutes and 38 seconds.

A collection of bonus trailers are also included:

- "The Prince and the Pauper: The Movie" which runs for 1 minute 24 seconds.
- "Daddy Day Camp" runs for 2 minutes 5 seconds.
- "The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep" runs for 2 minutes 33 seconds.
- "The Final Season" runs for 1 minute 58 seconds.
- "Holly Hobbie" which runs for 1 minute 1 second.
- "Monster House" runs for 2 minutes 32 seconds.
- "Surf's Up" runs for 18 seconds.
- "The Last Day of Summer/Shredderman Rules!" runs for 33 seconds.

The 'Hidden Treasures' feature gives you the option to be a detective just like Roxy. The case is that you have to solve is to find 11 more Special Features. You are also told what to look for. In this case, you will be looking for 11 magnifying glasses. These, if found, will lead to more deleted scenes and casting session footage. In other words, there are Easter eggs hidden on this DVD. While I can't give out spoilers, I do have to report how to find these Easter eggs. If you want to find them yourself, then read no further. I feel I must also warn you to NOT look for these BEFORE watching the movie, since some of these hidden gems are spoilers. All have optional Spanish and Portuguese subtitles:

- From the Main Menu, go into the Previews. Now press left to highlight the magnifying glass. Select it to see a 37 second featurette called "Julian Richings: Mr. Tibers". Here, you will see some audition footage.

- From the Main Menu, go into the Languages. You will find two here: Move to the Spanish option and press up to highlight the magnifying glass next to the Languages menu heading. Select it to see a 43 second featurette called "Jayne Eastwood: Mrs. Crabtree". Now watch the audition footage here.
Now move down to the 'Play Movie' option and press left to highlight the other magnifying glass. Select it to see a 1 minute 11 second featurette called "Jessica Booker: Estelle Booker". Now watch the audition footage here.

- From the Main Menu, go into the Special Features. You will find three here:
Move to the 'More >>' option and press either direction to highlight a magnifying glass:
Left : This will give you a 52 second deleted scene in which Susan seems to have run out of gas. Then Jon offers to help her. But then Crabtree sees this and doesn't look too happy about it. Right : This will give you a 2 minute 3 seconds deleted scene in which Jon is playing with a race track. Then Susan comes by to ask him for a favor.
Move to 'Creating the Mystery of the Moody Ghost' and press right to highlight the magnifying glass to the right of this option. Select it to give you a 1 minute 18 seconds deleted scene in which Susan offers to pay Rebecca for painting the house.

- Now move to the second page of the Special Features. You will find three more here:
On the 'Bloopers' option, press right to highlight a magnifying glass to the right of the Special Features header. Select it to see a 1 minute 34 seconds deleted scenes in which Crabtree is talking to Peter Middleton about Susan Hunter. It seems that Crabtree really likes him, but he isn't paying attention.
Now move down to the 'Previews' option and press right to highlight the magnifying glass there. Select it to see a 44 second featurette called "Stephanie Anne Mills: Rebecca". Here you will see some audition footage. You will see some actual film footage mixed in.
Move to the '<< Back' option and press left to highlight another magnifying glass. Select it to see a 1 minute 13 second [b]featurette called[/b] "Vik Sahay: Ramma". Now watch the audition footage. You will see some actual film footage mixed in.

From the second page of the Special Features, select the deleted scenes. You will find the last two here:
From the 'Play All' option, press left to highlight the magnifying glass up top. Select it to see a 2 minute 17 second featurette called "Robin Brűlé: Susan". Watch the audition footage. You will see some actual film footage mixed in.
Move down to 'Susan and Max Phone Call' and press left to highlight the magnifying glass to the left of this option. Select it to see a 59 second featurette called "Yannick Bisson: Jon". Watch the audition footage here between Bisson and Brűlé. You will see some actual film footage mixed in.

Packaging

This DVD is packed in an Amaray keep case with a cardboard slip cover. There is an insert and artwork on the inside of the cover. Although the disc is marked as being region 1 it is in fact coded for 1, 3, and 4.

Overall

The Film: A- Video: A Audio: A+ Extras: A+ Overall: A

 


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