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‘Captain Planet’ Hits DVD as Environmental Concerns Remain

18 Feb, 2011 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Captain Planet and the Planeteers: Season One

Shout! Factory, in association with Cartoon Network Enterprises, brings an environmental blast from the past to DVD April 19 (prebook March 22) in time for Earth Day: Captain Planet and the Planeteers: Season One. It is listed at $29.93.

The animated series ran from 1990 to 1996 and presented values about caring for the environment through its conservation-minded superhero, Captain Planet. Helping him fight eco-villains who sought to destroy Earth was his squad of youngsters from around the globe, the Planeteers. Kwame (Africa), Wheeler (North America), Linka (Eastern Europe), Gi (Southeast Asia) and Ma-Ti (South America) possessed the power to control an element: earth, fire, wind, water and heart, respectively.

As “Captain Planet” celebrates its 20th year, executive producer and philanthropist Barbara Pyle said the show is relevant today because the problems addressed in the show, such as pollution, climate change and deforestation, still exist.

“The series starts off with, ‘Our world is in peril,’” Pyle said. “Our world is really in peril now. … Humans [have] crossed the line.”
The first episode of “Captain Planet” was about a manmade oil spill, which caused Gaia, spirit of Earth, to call the Planeteers into action. Now that the show’s young audience has grown, the lessons learned through the show have stuck and these “Planeteers” are mobilizing around the world to improve the environment, Pyle said.

“Anybody who watched ‘Captain Planet’ has a different world view,” Pyle said. “… They know what these environmental issues are.

“I thought we’d lost the battle to save the planet. What’s renewed my hope is knowing that these Planeteers exist, that they’re smart and they’re serious, and they really want to make a difference in the world.”

Michael Ribas, senior director of marketing with Shout! Factory, said he hopes the current younger generation will enjoy “Captain Planet,” which airs on the Mother Nature Network.

“‘Captain Planet’s’ greatest legacy is that it was able to take these really adult issues that applied to all of us and package them really neatly for kids at an impressionable age so they could start thinking about the world in a different way early on,” Ribas said.

“Captain Planet’s” message of sustainability is reflected in the DVD packaging, made of 100% recycled fibers and printed using soy-vegetable-base inks.

“We try to package … in a way that pays tribute to the show and will also appeal to the fans, so in the case of ‘Captain Planet,’ it makes total sense to have eco-friendly packaging,” Ribas said.

The DVD set features 26 episodes on four discs, each ending with insights about how viewers can be a part of the solution. The bonus materials include the Your Powers Combined: The Story of Captain Planet featurette and original concept art.

Many celebrities lent their voices to “Captain Planet,” such as David Coburn (Captain Planet), James Coburn (Looten Plunder), LeVar Burton (Kwame), Whoopi Goldberg (Gaia), Scott Menville (Mai-Ti), Frank Welker (Suchi), Meg Ryan (Dr. Blight), Martin Sheen (Sly Sludge), Jeff Goldblum (Verminous Skum) and Sting (Zarm).

Other executive producers include Andy Heyward, Robby London and Nick Boxer. R.E. Turner created the show, and Will Meugniot directed the series.

A portion of proceeds from “Captain Planet” merchandise went into the Captain Planet Foundation, which gives grants for hands-on projects that foster environmental awareness. Some of the DVD earnings also will go toward the foundation.

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