|Running Time||129:53 Minutes|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None||Dolby Digital||2.0|
|16x9 Enhancement||No||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.37:1||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
As a result, the gods banish Monkey to Earth some thousands of years later, where he is entrusted with the rather challenging task of protecting the young Buddhist priest Tripitaka. Along the way, they confront many adversaries, participate in lots of Kung Fu fights, and generally give lots of badly-dubbed lessons about Buddhist morality. To describe the plot much more than that would spoil the few surprises this series has left, so I will leave it at that. Only two series of this show were produced, both of which were released in the same year, and it is a real pity that more episodes were not forthcoming. Still, fans of the series who have been waiting for it to be immortalized in digital will doubtlessly be happy to see this disc hit the shelves at long last. The sound effects may be quite twee, the acting may be appalling, and the special effects practically non-existent, but these things all just add to the show's insane charm.
This disc contains three episodes of around forty minutes in length, with this volume starting at the very beginning:
The transfer is presented Full Frame, and is not 16x9 Enhanced. The sharpness of this transfer can be described as being good at the best of times, but distinctly average at the worst of times. Obviously, we do not have the luxury of a high-definition master to use as source material for this DVD, so it is reasonable to believe that this DVD is as good as it gets where resolution is concerned. The shadow detail can be described in the same manner as the sharpness, being good at the best times, and distinctly ordinary at worst. Film grain and low-level noise were intermittently present to a somewhat distracting extent, although this is probably inherent in the source material because it mostly seems restricted to special effects shots.
The colour saturation is rather hard to describe, appearing slightly oversaturated in one shot, and then undersaturated in the next. There was no colour bleeding or misrepresentation at any time, but don't expect a consistent or accurate palette, because the source material, which probably wasn't consistent or well-saturated to begin with, has simply aged too much.
MPEG artefacts were not noted in the transfer, although the bitrate rarely rises above five and a half megabits per second, which may explain why some shots appear so grainy and soft. Film-to-video artefacts were surprisingly rare, with little in the way of aliasing. Camera wobble, however, picked up the slack in many a shot, but this artefact was not too distracting when it appeared. Film artefacts were quite prevalent in this transfer, and were especially problematic during the beginning of each episode, but they settled down to a more acceptable level once the introductory sequence was over. A large series of horizontal scratches are present at 40:20 during the first episode, which appear to be inherent in the source material rather than a specific film-to-video or MPEG artefact.
The score music is credited to one Yoshino Micky, and an especially quirky effort it is, too. The show's opening theme is quite reminiscent of all the B-grade Asian martial arts flicks from the late 1970s and early 1980s, but it really does quite an admirable job of bringing an exciting atmosphere to the show. The score music makes it hard to determine whether to take this show seriously, or whether to consider it an outright joke. Still, I have heard far worse scores from films and television shows with much larger budgets.
Being a straight stereo mix, there was no surround channel activity to speak of, which was a pity considering how much it would have helped this soundtrack if the music was separated into the rears. Still, this is quite a serviceable stereo soundtrack, with most of the sound effects having plenty of breathing room. The subwoofer was not specifically called upon, but it took some redirected signal from my stereo speakers to support the music and action sequences, which were surprisingly bass-heavy when they appeared.
The video quality is ordinary, but this is more because of source material limitations than the transfer.
The audio quality is similarly limited by the source material.
The extras are extremely limited.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Speakers||Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|