Power Rangers-Best of: The Ultimate Rangers (2003)
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (74:38)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Power Ranger toys...|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I am not a fan of the Power Rangers; the charitable might say because I was too old when the series started, the uncharitable might say because I have taste (that's a bit unkind, though). Nonetheless, I volunteered to review Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, which I kind of enjoyed, and then Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, which I really didn't. So when this disc popped up, I felt I should have a look at it, and share my ignorance with you all once again.
The previous two discs were movies. This is not. This is a selection of episodes from various seasons of Power Rangers shows. The episodes were voted on by fans, so I guess they are the most popular. It's interesting to see segments from five different series, with five different sets of credits. This doesn't cover all of the versions of Power Rangers, however — the most recent incarnation shown in this selection is Power Rangers Wild Force, but there's at least one other series since then, called Power Rangers Ninja Storm, and probably more to come yet. I'm not going to pretend that I can give the full history of this series, nor that I know anything much about the Japanese shows from which it sprang (I fully expect to see comments on the vast superiority of the Japanese version, the American version, and so forth!).
The episodes on this disc can be played individually or in one long stretch:
It's interesting to see that three of the fans' selections are cross-over episodes, with Rangers from another series appearing to help out.
Although picture quality has improved over the years, it's reassuring (I think that's the right word...) that the monsters are just as cheesy in the most recent episode as in the earlier ones. The special effects are better in places (especially at the start of the third episode), but they are recognisable as Power Rangers effects (I think it's the ability to see through the effect that's so distinctively a feature of them).
Is it just me, or does Carter (Red Lightspeed Ranger) remind you of Riley from Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
This disc is really intended for fans of the show through its various incarnations, but I wasn't bored watching it — the fans have chosen episodes which are fairly entertaining, even if we do miss out on the build-up to each.
This DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is not 16x9 enhanced. This is exactly how the shows originally appeared.
The image quality is quite variable, but a lot of it is really quite poor. The biggest culprit looks like film grain, although the first episode shows horrible pixelisation (probably shot on video?). The image is mostly fairly soft, except in the last episode (which is much sharper most of the time, although long shots are poor). Shadow detail isn't awful, but the darker scenes in the second episode are dreadful. Low level noise doesn't seem to be a problem, but that's mainly because there are plenty of other problems.
Colour is bright, as you'd expect, and fully-saturated. There are a few colour-related artefacts, mostly in the second episode, and mostly a touch of colour bleed.
There are no film artefacts other than the aforementioned film grain.
There is little aliasing, mainly because of the image softness. There's plenty of shimmer in backgrounds. every so often, but you have to look for it. There are no other MPEG artefacts, but there is an artefact I haven't seen before: for example, at 15:46 in the fourth episode there's a person crossing in the background, and she moves very jerkily, as though we were getting only every second or third frame.
Subtitles are provided in English and English for the Hearing Impaired. I watched the latter, and they are rather accurate, mostly well-timed, and easy to read. I spotted a few errors, but the most egregious comes in the last episode, when the subtitle reads "I unveiled you in the Empire", when it should say "I have failed you and the Empire".
The disc is single-sided and dual layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change comes at 74:38, between the second and third episodes. It's invisible on the systems I tried.
The soundtrack is provided in English, in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192kbps, not surround encoded. It may be a 2.0 soundtrack but as far as I can tell it is mono. Some of the sound is not particularly good quality, with more than a few pops and crackles.
The dialogue is mostly easy to understand. There are no audio sync problems, although there are no lips to see missed sync on the Rangers or most of the monsters.
Shuki Levy and Kussa Mahchi are responsible for the score in the first three episodes, with Lior Rosner credited as "additional US music" on the second one. The fourth episode credits all three of them, plus Jeremy Sweet and Inon Zur. The last one is Lior Rosner's work. The music is pretty much the same whoever's writing it, though. Up tempo rock is as good a description as any, with some singing of the title every so often.
This is a mono soundtrack, so the surrounds and subwoofer are not called into action.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are no extras at all.
The menu is static and silent, and only offers Play All, Program Selection, and Subtitles.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 disc was released earlier this year. As far as I can tell it offers the same range of extras (that's none), and the same episodes. It is labelled as being digitally remastered, but reports have its transfer as being no better than this one. Apart from the fact that it is NTSC, and comes with "a collectible mini-poster", it sounds pretty much identical to the R4.
Feel free to get either version — it looks like you won't be able to tell the discs apart.
A collection of (rather good) episodes for fans of the Power Rangers.
The video quality is fairly poor.
The audio quality is adequate.
The extras are, umm, missing.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|