- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 16, 2001

Jackie Chan has achieved superstardom by dazzling millions of moviegoers with his magical style of martial arts. A relatively new cartoon series, "Jackie Chan Adventures," features the star in an anime-style effort running Mondays through Saturdays on the Kids WB network, and has given him new fans in the younger demographic.

In the show, Mr. Chan acts as an archaeologist and self-studied master of the martial arts. Recruited by a covert police organization known as Section 13, he travels the globe to help defeat the sinister Dark Hand, one of the most dangerous crime organizations in the world.

The obligatory Web site has been revamped, hoping to bring more viewers to the series while complementing its animated action.

Jackie Chan Adventures

Site address: www.jackiechanadventures.com

Creator:

Sony Pictures Family Entertainment in Culver City, Calif., developed the show and maintains the site content.

Creator quotable:

"We created the Jackie Chan Adventures site as a fun and exciting off-air extension of the show. We wanted to provide fans with an interactive experience where they would feel part of the JCA world through fun games and activities as well as a place where they could learn more about the characters and episodes," says David Palmer, senior vice president of marketing and promotions for Sony Pictures Family Entertainment.

Word from the Webwise:

Created for the 6- to 11-year-olds, the site immediately catches their attention with an opening movie featuring theme music and flashing images of the show's primary characters. The front page then loads, showing Mr. Chan, his animated clone, and five sections, including: "Jackie's Files" (offering a synopsis of some episodes), "Who's Who" (short biographies of the show's stars, such as Jackie's niece, an 11-year-old tomboy named Jade), "Games" (with 13 online challenges) and "Fun Stuff" (presenting six mixed-media activities).

Two sections stand out. First, "Games" offers a nice variety of distractions that include a difficult and timed matching challenge, hitting the Win Chun dummy, chasing a turtle by controlling a swimming Jackie, and pounding on the space bar to get Mr. Chan to bust through a board.

Next, under "Fun Stuff," one can find a translator that changes names into Chinese symbols, which then can be e-mailed to a friend, and Ask Uncle, which features some wiseacre answers from the elder spell caster on the show.

I was annoyed that some of the areas, at the time of my review, were not working. "Unveil a Demon," "Sticky Sticker" and the section "Jackie Gear" all had the frustrating "coming soon" screen.

Ease of use:

The site was designed to be compatible with all major browsers, but Macintosh owners using Internet Explorer will see some of the pages break apart and have trouble viewing video clips. Plug-ins required include Macromedia's Flash, Apple's Quicktime and Realplayer.

Considering the site is more than a year old, I found the overall effort a bit lacking in both content and inspiration. I would suggest the designers take a long look at the Cartoon Network Web site (www.cartoonnetwork.com) for how to interactively promote an animated series.

Don't miss:

I really wanted to see the real man behind the magic, and the site does not disappoint. Drop by "Fun Stuff" and find "Hey Jackie" to view six video clips of the star answering questions posed by children. These 30-second revelations range from Mr. Chan working with the late Bruce Lee, his cool years as a child and his love of international films.

Family activity:

The site offers slim pickings for the entire clan, other than watching the animated show together. Children can print out some detailed trading cards, found under "Fun Stuff," but a color printer is needed to really enjoy the illustrations.

I am not sure why even the most basic activity, such as including printable line art of some of the characters for coloring, was not considered. Or, how about instruction for a couple of Mr. Chan's warm-up exercises to keep couch potatoes moving?

Cybersitter synopsis:

Jackie Chan Adventures offers some adventure in the cyber world, but nothing as astounding as the martial-arts expert presents in real life. The site needs much more diversity and content to maintain a child's interest.

A spokesman does say that in the near future, fans will see a new opening cinematic, and the interactive scene builder, "Sticky Sticker" soon will be available.

Overall grade: B-

Remember: The information on the Internet is constantly changing. Please verify the advice on the sites before you act to be sure it's accurate and updated. Health sites, for example, should be discussed with your own physician.

Have a cool site for the family? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at Webwise, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send an e-mail ([email protected]washingtontimes.com).

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