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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents
Godzilla the Series: Mutant Madness (1999-2000)

"This planet got along just fine without homo sapiens for billions of years and will do so again."
- Alexandra Springer (Linda Blair)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: March 27, 2006

Stars: Ian Ziering, Malcolm Danare, Rino Romano, Tom Kenny, Charity James, Brigitte Bako, Paget Brewster, Kevin Dunn, Joe Pantoliano
Other Stars: Linda Blair, Bobby Holliday, Kevin Michael Richardson, Roger Scott, Michael Chiklis, Nicholas Guest
Director: Christopher Berkeley, Andy Thom, Frank Squillace

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (monster mayhem)
Run Time: 01h:04m:25s
Release Date: March 28, 2006
UPC: 043396142176
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B B-AA D

DVD Review

The HEAT (Humanitarian Enviornmental Analysis Team) is back at it in this followup disc of three episodes from the second and final season of the animated version of the 1998 Matthew Broderick film (sans Broderick, of course). The team's mission is studying mutations, and they have their hands full in this set, with one giant monster after another tackling Godzilla and HEAT: leader Nick Tatoloulos (Ian Ziering), cowardly scientist Dr. Mendel Craven (Malcolm Denare), Hispanic wiseacre Randy Hernandez (Rino Romano), paleobiologist Dr. Elsie Chapman (Charity James), weapons specialist Monique Dupre (Brigitte Bako) and robot N.I.G.E.L. (voiced by artist Tom Kenny), who invariably gets dismembered in one way or another.

Episode 24, S.C.A.L.E. (original airdate 10/2/1999) is one of the most political shows of the series, though there are elements of government paranoia seen later on this disc. The mutant liberation front, Servants of Creatures Arriving Late to Earth,started off as a peaceful environmental group, but in the hands of Alexandra Springer (Linda Blair) it has turned to terrorism, and has set its sights on Monster Island, where many giant mutations are being held by Major Anthony Hicks (Kevin Dunn). Surreptitiously tracking HEAT to Monster Island, the terrorists attack and seize control of the island, releasing the mutants. Instead of conquering mankind, however, they opt for a battle royale. The presentation of this episode is different, since it's in the form of a documentary by television journalist Audrey Timmonds (Paget Brewster), who incidentally is romantically involved with Nick. The featured menace is a giant mosquito that not only drains the blood of the other mutations, but their powers as well, making it unstoppable.

We're back in New York City for episode 32, The Twister (originally aired 2/12/2000). After a long drought, there are sudden weird meterological events, most notably a tornado on the eastern seacoast. HEAT goes into action and discovers a possible connection to a nuclear plant accident in Connecticut. This mutation is really scraping the bottom: a half tornado/half giant killer shrew. It doesn't make any more sense in the program either, but it does have some good suspense sequences as Nick gets sucked into the vortex.

Episode 34, Where is Thy Sting (original airdate 2/26/2000), picks up on a romance hinted at in episode 32 between Elsie and Mendel as they go on a platonic vacation in New Mexico. But things are interrupted before they can progress by reports of a giant acid-spewing scorpion in the desert, and soon the team and Godzilla are called in to investigate. Michael Chiklis guest stars as an army colonel who seems to be oddly protective of the mutation. One of the more violent episodes on the DVDs, it features the acid burning Godzilla and the scorpion repeatedly stinging the burned spot, a sequence that may be somewhat disturbing to younger viewers.

The animation once again seems to demonstrate corners have been cut by making everything move in slightly slow motion. The stories are presented with the assumption that the viewer already knows all about HEAT and why Godzilla is working with them (the first episode explained that this is not the Godzilla of the film, but an egg hatched by HEAT and trained to work with them). The action is plentiful, especially in the Monster Island battles, reminiscent of the Toho classic Destroy All Monsters. The all-important city destruction isn't quite on the level of the companion disc, Monster Mayhem but there's plenty for fans of Big Green young and old to enjoy, even if it's not a guy in a rubber suit.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: Unlike most offerings from Sony/Columbia, there's no sign of artificial edge enhancement. The picture is quite beautiful, with finely delineated linework and brightly vivid coloring throughout. No damage is visible. The only thing keeping it from an A+ grade is minor aliasing visible on curved lines.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround audio is very active and lifelike; Godzilla's characteristic howl echoes through the speakers with great immediacy. There's plenty of solid deep bass and the music by Jim Latham comes across nicely. Very clean, without hiss or noise. An exemplary Dolby Surround track.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Open Season, Zathura
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Other than two unrelated trailers and a handy "Play All" button, there are no extras.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

Three episodes from the second season with a giant creature focus (including one of the daffiest imaginable), featuring an excellent audio and video transfer.

 


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