Justice League-The Brave and the Bold (2002)
Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Behind The Brave And The Bold
Featurette-Storyboards For Justice
Trailer-Batman: Animated Series Vol. 2
Trailer-Superman: Animated Series Vol 1
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||
Warner Home Video
David Ogden Stiers
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Varies||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I love comics! Have I mentioned that before in one of my reviews? - I don't think I have, even when I reviewed Death of the Incredible Hulk some time back. Anyway, my love for comics began when I was 6 or 7 years old, and like many other readers I sort of dropped out of the comics scene in my teens. Luckily for me I picked up a few comics about 6 years ago and found to my surprise that they were still good fun. I have been enjoying all of the recent movies based on comics, and decided (with some prompting from my 6 year old son) to try some of the animated series as well.
If you know much about the comic scene you will be aware of the two main publishers and their properties. In the Marvel camp you have characters such as the X-Men, Spiderman, Daredevil, Hulk and The Fantastic Four. Over at DC (or the Distinguished Competition as Marvel call them) you have Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, amongst others. As you can see, a lot of small and big screen heroes in that lot. The Justice League are a DC super hero group comprising some of their big hitters alongside some lesser known characters; the roll call includes Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter.
On Justice League: The Brave and the Bold we have 4 episodes from a popular animated TV show (first produced in 2001, these episodes are from 2002). As is common in the show each story is a 2-parter, so that we have The Brave and the Bold parts 1 and 2, and Injustice for All parts 1 and 2 on the disc. While most of the league show up in both stories Superman is not in The Brave and the Bold.
In the first story arc Flash and the Green Lantern become involved with a group of intelligent (and talking) gorillas and a plot to destroy their hidden city. The repartee between the two heroes is quite enjoyable, I particularly liked Flash commenting "Usually when a city is this empty flesh-eating zombies are involved". At another point the Green Lantern chides the impetuous Flash "Don't heckle the super villain". There is also some good clean mind control fun to be had along with some enjoyable character development.
Injustice for All finds the story focus moving to Batman and Superman in quite a nice exploration of the super hero character. The villains this time around are Lex Luthor and a motley collection of super villains he puts together to try and destroy the Justice League. The story follows Batman, as the only member of the League without super powers, as it shows that super powers are not required to make a super hero. At one time Superman asks "How does he do it?" and part 2 of the story shows us in glorious detail how the bat can succeed where the boy scout (Superman) cannot.
The two stories here are quite enjoyable, with some good modern dialogue, reasonable animation, and excellent rotation among the heroes. Team-up stories are always popular in the comics - you just need to ensure that the threat is enough to justify the involvement, which is probably why Superman is not in the first two episodes on the disc. The kids enjoyed this one a lot, as did their dad. While I am looking forward to a full season boxed set, rather than the random episodes on the currently available DVDs, at a current retail price of around 10 dollars (if you shop around) this one is well worth the money.
The video transfer on this disc is good for a budget TV show; while the animation quality can't compare with, say, a large budget Disney animated feature, what is on offer shows up well on DVD.
Hmm, the aspect ratio. What I can tell you is that the transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, non 16x9 enhanced. What I can't tell you with certainty is the original aspect ratio. From the look of the storyboards shown in one of the Extras it appears that the animation is composed to be drawn full frame and then matted if required for widescreen presentation. I have no idea what the preferred aspect ratio of the creators is, but it seems that the program can be shown at either 1.33:1 or 1.85:1 without compromising the image, though the impact of each will obviously differ. As an aside the opening credits are shown at approximately 1.85:1, non 16x9 enhanced.
The picture is nice and bright with sharp focus, though a few of the animated edges are a little fuzzy at times. Shadow detail is good (as drawn) and there is no low level noise.
The colours are bright and vivid in key areas, though some of the backgrounds are rather bland and lacking in detail (no doubt to keep production costs down). The super heroes look good, with their bright costumes making them stand out nicely.
The picture is in very good shape, with only an occasional hint of aliasing on view, and no artefacts worthy of note.
I watched segments of the program with English subtitles, and with the English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles. Both sets are very good, with some excellent audio cues in the latter (such as "sighs" and "ominous instrumental music"). There is many a big budget feature film out there which could benefit from subtitles as good as the ones on this DVD.
I did not notice the layer change - it is most likely between episodes.
The audio transfer on the disc is quite good considering its source, with all elements of the soundtrack well balanced and a reasonable surround presence for a TV show.
There are three audio tracks on the disc: English, French and Hungarian (!) Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks, all encoded at a bitrate of 192 Kb/s. The tracks are surround encoded and my amplifier refused to play in any mode other than Dolby ProLogic. I listened to the English track in its entirety and to portions of the French. The French track was quite good, though some of the voice acting was not as good as the English equivalent. Another aside; how are DVD languages chosen? Is Hungarian a major language group in Region 4? I have another DVD at home which is a major release and has English and Hindi tracks; go figure.
Dialogue quality is good, with all speech clear and understandable. The excellent voice cast helped add to the enjoyment of the dialogue, with Phil LaMarr particularly strong as the Green Lantern. There are also some great vocal guest stars including David Ogden Stiers (Major Charles Winchester in later seasons of M*A*S*H) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker in that sci-fi flick). Yet another aside - Mark has made a career lately in providing the voice for villains in animated features - gone to the Dark Side?
Audio sync is reasonable for a low cost animated feature (and for once the French track looked as good in the audio sync department as the English).
The music track is suitably buoyant for an action show and the volume is balanced well with the rest of the audio elements. While most of the themes are forgettable the opening theme tune is pretty good.
The ProLogic surround sound field projects a reasonable presence with a few good explosions and atmospheric fight sequences. The sub adds some bass to these moments if configured to do so, but is pretty quiet otherwise. Naturally this is not reference quality but the overall feel is as good as most modern TV shows at the moment.
|Surround Channel Use|
The extras are small in number, and short in running time - the two short features are quite interesting but leave you wanting more. I suppose that with these discs each including an odd assortment of random episodes each one will be accompanied by a limited batch of extras which will build to a decent collection if a boxed set ever sees the light of day.
The menu has audio but no animation and has an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, non 16x9 enhanced. From the menu you can Play All episodes, Select Episode, go to Special Features or to Languages. There are no chapter stops in the individual episodes.
This is a short (7:01) behind the scenes look at the making of the series in general, and then at this episode in particular. Series producer Bruce Timm and other production members offer brief, but informative, snippets of information; what shines through is that they all share a love of comics and are doing their best to keep the show true to its source.
Another relatively brief (7:09) overview of the key role played by the storyboards in the production of the show. Shown at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, it is interesting in light of my earlier discussion that program excerpts shown during this feature are presented at an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1.
Short trailers, each less than a minute long, for some other animation DVDs: Batman: Animated Series Vol. 2 and Superman: Animated Series Vol. 1.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 and the Region 1 versions of this DVD are virtually identical so that there is no preferred version.
This is an enjoyable collection of episodes from the animated Justice League TV show. The stories are interesting, the voice acting excellent, and if you shop around a bit the price should be just fine as well.
The video transfer is bright and colourful.
The audio transfer is effective.
The extras are interesting, but limited.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-K350, using Component output|
|Display||SONY VPL-HS10 LCD projector, ABI 280cm 16x9 screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Kenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|