The Ripping Friends (2001)

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Released 5-Dec-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 279:04 (Case: 260)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Kricfalusi
Studio
Distributor
Imagine Entertainmnt
Madman Entertainment
Starring Mike MacDonald
Michael Anthony Kerr
Merwin Mondesir
Mark Dailey
Case ?
RPI ? Music Steve London


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    After getting his big break working on a new series of Mighty Mouse, John Kricfalusi developed his own series that would showcase his unique animation style and humour - and Ren & Stimpy was born. The series was snatched up by cable channel Nickelodeon, whose executives had little appreciation for the humour of the show and the creator was soon fired from his own program. Nickelodeon continued to produce Ren & Stimpy episodes, none of which had the edge of John Kricfalusi's politically incorrect humour. Distancing himself from television, John went on to start his own production company, Spumco, and developed many animated shorts for advertising purposes and music videos. In fact, a brilliant clip was made for Tenacious D which involved the duo tutoring Satan in the finer points of love making.

    The Ripping Friends is essentially John K's homage to the clichéd superhero stereotypes of the 50s and onward, with substantially more gross manliness thrown in. Our heroes are Rip, Chunk, Crag and their leader Slab. Adopted at a very young age and via years of intense training at their Haplessville headquarters, Rip Cot have achieved super-human pain thresholds. The brothers answer to no-one except their foster mother, He-Mom - a sweet little lady who rules with an iron fist. Fans of John Kricfalusi's earlier work may be disappointed to find the humour of The Ripping Friends is slightly more mainstream than his other projects, but there is still much to be enjoyed in this series for both kids and adults.

    There are thirteen episodes contained in this two disc set, each running for just over twenty minutes.

    While these characters and their misadventures may not have the same impact as John Kricfalusi's other projects, there are a lot of good reasons for fans of Ren & Stimpy to check out this very funny series.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer is presented in the ratio in which it was originally broadcast, 1.33:1 full frame. This is a generally good transfer for an animated series, with very few serious problems.

    There is a lot of sharpness present in the animation, as you would expect for such a recently produced series. Colours are always bold and consistent, and show no signs of bleeding or oversaturation at all. There is no low level noise present.

    MPEG artefacts and grain are nowhere to be seen. The most significant issue that I could discern from the viewing experience was the consistent presence of ugly interlacing, most visible during sweeping pans and intense screen activity. This was distracting at times, but I can imagine it would have appeared much worse in a live action film. Aliasing was only very mild when it did occur, and is not worth being too concerned about. The big bonus of most modern animation is the absence of film artefacting, which was thankfully nowhere to be seen here.

    There are no subtitles available.

    Of this two disc set, only disc one is dual layered. There is no pause present in the feature, so I would presume that the episodes are evenly spread over the two layers of the disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one audio track available, a rather ordinary Dolby Digital 2.0 effort that manages to suffice, but at the very least a Dolby Surround encoded mix would have been nice.

    Character voices are always at the top of the very busy stereo track, and are always easy to understand amid the numerous sound effects and music. Audio sync isn't really an issue - the recorded dialogue appears to flow well with most character's lip movements.

    Composer Steve London has contributed an absolutely magnificent accompanying score, reminiscent of the classic years of Warner Bros. animation. Fresh and energetically jazzy one moment, and frenetically expressive the next - this is one of the most impressive scores I have heard from an animated series.

    There are a couple of brief examples of left-to-right panning in the stereo mix, but that's about it. A brief attempt to process the stereo soundtrack with Pro Logic II proved fruitless, so my surround speakers and subwoofer remained unused.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Nothing.

Menu

    The main menu is simply animated, accompanied by an audio clip of the theme to the series.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release of this series contains some minor additional features; a promo spot for each episode, a brief gallery of conceptual artwork, a Spanish dubbed audio track and English subtitles. Serious aficionados of animation may find the gallery interesting, however unless the Region 1 release is totally free of transfer issues I don't see much point in importing this title save for you finding a particularly great online bargain.

Summary

    The Ripping Friends is excellent entertainment for kids and adults - anyone who enjoyed Ren and Stimpy should definitely give it a try.

    The video transfer is good, but suffers from some annoying interlacing.

    The audio track is about as impressive as it would have sounded when it was broadcast.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Friday, October 17, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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