11/24/2017  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Warner Home Video presents
Samurai Jack: Season 1 (2001)

"Do not worry, father, for with the power of this sword I will vanquish Aku, sending him back into the pit of hate from which he came."
- Samurai Jack (Phil LeMarr)

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: May 04, 2004

Stars: Phil LaMarr, Mako
Other Stars: Tom Kenny, Rob Paulsen, Jennifer Hale, Jeff Bennett, Kevin Michael Richardson, Sab Shimono, Lauren Tom
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence)
Run Time: 04h:46m:00s
Release Date: May 04, 2004
UPC: 053939674125
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A A-BB+ B+

DVD Review

Genndy Tartakovsky is a veritable hot commodity at the Cartoon Network cable channel, in that he is responsible for three successful series: Dexter's Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, and Samurai Jack. He has a very distinctive animation style, bordering on true minimalism, and while the offbeat weirdness of Dexter and The Powerpuff Girls are geared strictly for laughs, Tartakovsky really bent the rules into an unrecognizable heap in 2001 when he launched this Yojimbo-eque series about a noble Samurai (voiced by Phil LeMarr), armed only with a mystical sword, who is magically cast from feudal Japan far into the distant future after a battle with the malevolent shape-shifting demon Aku (voiced by Mako).

The towering Aku, the self-professed "master of masters and shapeshifting master of darkness," with wild flaming eyebrows, is the recurring villain throughout the series, though Jack (who gets his name in Episode II) spends most of his time wandering the future doing battle with and hacking the limbs off of assorted armies of menacing robots and monsters as he tries to find a way to return back to his own time. It's a tough row to hoe for Jack, because he is always putting someone else's needs before his own, and as a result he is always forsaking an opportunity to help himself in order to help another. It's the samurai way, baby.

If you have never seen an episode, one of the first things that will likely catch you by surprise is the sparse dialogue, which, on the surface, seems like kind of a daring thing to do in an a half-hour animated series. Jack may go seven to ten minutes (or more) without uttering a single word, with Tartakovsky instead choosing to tell the story strictly on the basis of his unique animation style. Episode VII, in which Jack does battle with a trio of deadly archers, is probably the finest example of this from Season 1, with the use of ambient sounds and sweeping visuals completely replacing the need for dialogue (at least until the final few minutes).

This is serious stuff for the most part, and though humor is used about as sparingly as dialogue, the season ender, Episode XIII, forsakes all the drama and goes strictly for laughs. Aku, miffed at his growing level of unpopularity amongst children, relays some progressively twisted variations of well-known fairy tales, all with Jack as the villain, to a captive group of kiddies. The gags are layered and bizarre (look for a strange appearance by Puss N' Boots and a disturbing Humpty Dumpty scene), and it was kind of fun to see Tartakovsky revert back to the funky strangeness of Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls for at least a few minutes.

All thirteen episodes of the first season are collected here on this two-disc set from Warner, and one can see how, by throwing traditional "cartoon" storytelling devices to the side, Tartakovsky opted for a more cinematic approach with Samurai Jack. By borrowing visual elements and inspiration from an assortment of highly stylized action films, and for action sequences infused with such motion picture techniques as split-frames and widescreen, Tartakovsky's series is less like a cartoon than it is a work of action-movie art.

In the liner notes for this set, he fesses up to a love for Conan the Barbarian, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Star Wars, Blade Runner, and Seven Samarai, and this fan adoration is evident in the dramatic visual look and feel in every frame of Samurai Jack.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: All thirteen episodes are technically presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio, but that certainly doesn't prevent Tartakovsky from veering off into occasional nonanamorphic widescreen sequences for stylized dramatic effect. The transfer itself is well done, with colors looking exceptionally bright and crisp throughout. No compression or pixelation issues to speak of.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, French, Spanishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Warner has issued Samurai Jack: Season 1 in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo surround, and while the mix itself is not overpowering, it really does a nice job showcasing the intricate score elements and sound effects that Tartakovsky employs to help give his series a distinct flying leap over most other animated series (check out Episode VII, where Jack must figure out how to gain access to a heavily fortified fortress). Even without much in the way of dialogue, sound is where this show separates itself, and the presentation here works very well in that regard. Rears perk up on occasion, but this is largely a front-centric mix with decent separation and directional imaging.

French and Spanish 2.0 tracks are also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Jetsons: The Complete First Season, Jonny Quest: The Complete First Season, Justice League: Star Crossed
3 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Genndy Tartakovsky, Bryan Andrews
Packaging: Tri-Fold Amaray with slipcase
Picture Disc
2 Discs
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Creator/director Genndy Tartakovsky and storyboard artist Bryan Andrews provide a full-length (that's just 22 minutes, by the way) commentary for one episode (Episode VII), and it was so enjoyable I wish there had been more. It is sometimes tough to tell who is who speaking, but the content is nonstop, and they discuss the nods to various films and film styles, the challenge of injecting humor into some episodes, and the overall challenges of developing such an adventurous animated series. A great track, but 22 minutes out of over 4 hours worth of material just ain't fair.

Also included is The Making of Samurai Jack (07m:01s), featuring comments from art director Scott Willis, storyboard artists Bryan Andrews and Paul Rudish, voice talent Phil LeMarr, along with Tartakovsky himself. Like the commentary, it is woefully brief, with Tartakovsky's underlying desire for "sword fights, giant monsters, and robots" seemingly the mantra of the whole show.

Trailers, an Original Animation Test (a two-minute sequence with Jack battling some familiar robotic bugs) and an eight-minute automated Original Artwork segment are also included.

Each episode represents one chapter, and subtitles are available in English and Spanish.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

Labeling this inventive animated series, represented here by a two-disc Season One set, as a "cartoon" is a complete disservice to self-respecting animators everywhere. This is cinema. Creator Genndy Tartakovsky has really raised the bar on just how imaginatively a story can be told in 22 minute chunks.

Highly recommended.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store