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Universal Studios Home Video presents
Butt-Ugly Martians: Hoverboard Heroes (2002)

"Something crazy always happens when the Butt-Uglies are around."
- Mike

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: July 31, 2002

Stars: Ogie Banks III, S. Scott Bullock, Jess Harnell, Rob Paulson
Other Stars: Charlie Schlatter, Kath Soucie, Robert Stack
Director: Josh Prikryl

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (some bodily humor)
Run Time: 01h:09m:09s
Release Date: July 30, 2002
UPC: 025192225024
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C- DBB- D-

DVD Review

It's hard to believe that the same TV network that produced such wonderful children's entertainment as SpongeBob SquarePants and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius had a hand in creating such an idiotic program as Butt-Ugly Martians.

What makes for good children's entertainment? Well, humor is key. Kids will laugh at just about anything, of course, but worthwhile shows will forgo body humor (or at least not rely on them completely). Usually, the best will include a good mix of sophisticated humor and sight gags, offering something for both the kids and the parents, who are often forced to watch (and re-watch) Junior's DVDs with him. Some sort of moral, lesson, or educational element is nice as well. After all, if kids are going to be vegging out in front of the TV all day, they might as well learn something, right? Heavy-handedness isn't necessary, just look at Jimmy Neutron, subtly promoting self-confidence in your abilities and talents and that learning as cool. Sad to say, Butt-Ugly Martians doesn't meet either of these criteria. But not only isn't it a good children's show, it isn't good entertainment in general—it's boring, garish, and poorly animated to boot.

The premise is at least promising. Three Martians—B-Bop, 2-T, and Do-Wah—are sent to Earth to conquer the planet, but once they arrive, they have so much fun they decide not to complete their mission. They befriend three humans and end up getting them into all sorts of trouble as they try to keep the evil Martian Emperor Bog from attacking Earth for real and try to avoid dopey alien hunter Stoat Muldoon (voiced by Unsolved Mysteries host Robert Stack, and his participation is just that).

The most original thing about the series seems to be the title, however. Each episode follows the same formula, with something threatening to expose the Martians, forcing them to transform (ala the Power Rangers) into the "fighting" modes so they can defeat the bad guy. Sounds like practically every other children's show on television, right? The animation is also downright ugly, with horrid character designs and limited movement. Or was that the point?

This DVD includes three 20-minute episodes of the series. In Damage's Little Girl, the dastardly Martian Damage sends down a spy to infiltrate the B.U.M. In Playback/Payback, Emperor Bog sends a scout bot to earth to judge the B.U.M.'s progress in conquering the planet. Finally, in Once in Love with Angie, when an alien bounty-hunter is sent to help the B.U.M. defeat the earthlings, the visitor falls head-over-heels for one of the trio's human friends.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: D


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Butt-Ugly Martians doesn't look as good on DVD as most other CG cartoons, but the image quality is still fairly decent. Colors are bright and saturated, anyway. Darker scenes show decent black level, but inconsistent shadow detail. The picture has a rather grainy look overall, and artifacts and aliasing are sometimes visible.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: he DD 2.0 mix sounds fine, considering the source material. Dialogue is always clear, and the front soundstage expands nicely with music and sound effects—even if the effects do sound rather harsh and unsupported at times.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 3 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French with remote access
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Mummy: Quest for the Scrolls
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Character Files
Extras Review: Extras are limited to some very brief character bios and a trailer for the direct-to-video animated spin-off of The Mummy entitled The Mummy: Quest for the Scrolls. The back of the box also promises a DVD-ROM game demo, but the feature didn't seem to work on my computer.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Butt-Ugly Martians is a children's show that lives up to the idiocy of its title. Devoid of any genuine humor or originality, and bereft of any educational messages or moral content, I can't see why you'd want your kids watching this, let alone owning it on DVD.


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