Scourge of Worlds, The: A Dungeons & Dragons Adventure (2003) (NTSC)

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Released 1-Mar-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Interactive Movie Menu Audio
Credits
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 90
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Dan Krech
Studio
Distributor
DKP
Warner Vision
Starring Dan Hay
Lester Rosenthal
Anna Deas
Caroline Lesley
Jack Brown
Sam Cunningham
Chad Nixon
Paul Stodolny
Peter Lepeniotis
Tom Perry
Jos'h R.L. Fuller
Mark Davies
Damian Upton
Case Slip Case
RPI $34.95 Music Steve Pecile
David W. Shaw
Paul Dobson


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Regdar the warrior, Lidda the thief and Mialee the scantily clad sorceress are on a mission to bring back a Cleric who has stolen an ancient map from his own temple. The usual fantasy highjinks ensue with various impossible monsters (you know the kind, gigantic slavering beasts who look like they need to eat a house full of cows every day to survive and yet somehow manage for years at a time on just a few grubs and some dirt) and a few pontificating do-gooders getting in the way.

    Saying too much would spoil the fun, but since this is an interactive movie the plot does change slightly depending on which paths you choose. If you ever read a Steve Jackson 'choose your own adventure' book back in the eighties you know the form. At a particular point in the story, the action stops and you are presented with two choices as to what to do next.

    The problem with doing this as a film is that it means making much more movie than a normal feature in order to fill out each path, and so the solution to the problem of cost is to either make the overall story short or cut down the production values. Scourge takes the first option, which is kind of self defeating as there isn't enough variety in story paths to make the interactive elements really satisfying.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Scourge of Worlds is made and presented in a 1.78:1 widescreen format enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

    Scourge was never intended for theatrical release and was made specifically for the DVD format. Consequently, the sharpness and grain characteristics of the film are excellent. However, someone made a serious mistake in setting the contrast and ambient light levels in the numerous night-time scenes as the shadow detail is quite poor. Given that Scourge is the product of digital animation where every aspect of the image is under total control, this is quite disappointing.

    The colours used in the film remind you more of Saturday morning cartoons than real life - this is no Final Fantasy. Skin tones are not very realistic, however the magic effects are quite nice, although you might start to wonder if Mialee knows any other spell than Magic Missile (Dungeons & Dragons players will know what I mean).

    The only artefacts you'll find in Scourge are the ones the heroes are looking for: as this is all digital and was made specifically for DVD, these kinds of glitches are entirely absent.

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

Audio

    There are two audio tracks included with Scourge, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track for those without a home theatre sound system and a 5.1 track for the rest of us. Both tracks are good with the dialogue easily heard and the effects sounds and incidental music mixed in well.

    With this being an animated production, the lip sync of the dialogue isn't what you'd expect from a live action film. A lot of the time the animation of the characters' mouths doesn't really match what the characters are saying, which may have been acceptable years ago, however there are quite a few software packages around now, with the best being developed right here in Australia, which can sync animated mouths with their dialogue and so this aspect of Scourge could have been done better.

    Music is used sparingly to create mood and tension and is mostly effective and sounds perfect in relation to the rest of the audio tracks.

    Scourge makes some use of surround channels in the 5.1 track, however I found that it actually sounded better in Pro Logic II instead of 5.1 as this spread more sound to the rear channels. The battle scenes in particular could have benefited from more dynamic directional sound.

    The worst aspect of the audio is its use of the subwoofer, which is virtually non existent. There are many sequences during fights and particularly with the sounds of monsters braying where the sub could have been used to greater effect.

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

Extras

Menu Audio

    Not much in the way of extras here. Menu audio! What do I say, it's there and it sounds reasonably atmospheric and inviting, which is I suppose what menu music is supposed to do.

Credits

    The credits are equally uplifting and give credit where credit is due in a sublime and moving way. I was almost in tears.

R4 vs R1

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

    The R1 and R4 versions of Scourge are identical.

Summary

    Basically this is one for the fans (of Dungeons and Dragons) and seeing how there's a lot of them out there it will probably work in a commercial sense. However, as an interactive movie in its own right it lacks sufficient depth, number of story paths, and doesn't really have a very compelling story in the first place. More money and time should have been spent on the script, a fact that should be beaten into the brains of everyone thinking of making any kind of film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© George Soropos (read my bio or the puppy dies)
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using S-Video output
DisplayLOEWE Planus 4670 70cm 16:9. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderMarantz SR7200. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationLuxman LV600 valve hybrid stereo amp for front stereo pair and Marantz SR 7200 for centre and surround channels
SpeakersAltec Lansing Model 15's front stereo, matched Krix Centrix front and rear, Krix matched rear surrounds, Sony rear subwoofer (Altec's provide sub for front)

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