She-Ra: Princess of Power-The Best of (1985)

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Released 8-Nov-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Trailer-1& 2
DVD-ROM Extras-Script
Music Video-I Have The Power
Storyboard Comparisons
Music Highlights-Sheet Music Sing-A-Long
Alternate Audio-Recording And Spanish Recording
Booklet
Trivia-Trivia And Fun Facts
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 195:23
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (52:47)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ed Friedman
Mark Glamack
Lou Kachivas
Marsh Lamore
Studio
Distributor
Filmation
Madman Entertainment
Starring J. Larry Carroll
Lawrence G. DiTillio
Kathryn M. Drennan
Steven J. Fisher
Bob Forward
Phil Harnage
J. Michael Straczynski
Michael Chase Walker
Linda Gary
Case Gatefold
RPI $34.95 Music Erika Lane
Shuki Levy
Haim Saban


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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

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

Plot Synopsis

    After two solid years of bringing in big bucks with its He-Man range of action figures, thanks in large part to the very successful He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon, it was time for Mattel to bring out He-Man's successor. In a rather bold move, Mattel decided to orient the new line around a female character and in doing so double their potential market for the toys. They were hoping that a set of strong female characters would attract girls to the franchise, while the genre itself (and the odd appearance of He-Man in the cartoons) would keep the boys hooked. The plan well and truly paid off and in the process laid the foundations for the female action hero genre that we are inundated with today. There is little doubt in my mind that Xena: Warrior Princess, another series spun off from a muscle-man action show and the one that is largely given credit for launching the "female invasion" of action shows, took some inspiration from She-Ra: Princess of Power.

    The basic premise of She-Ra is in many ways the opposite of He-Man, though the basic formula for each episode was incredibly similar. She-Ra is part of a rebellion trying to free her homeworld, Etheria, from the Evil Horde. More precisely, Adora is part of the rebellion and has a secret identity. When she holds aloft her mighty sword and says "For the Honour of Greyskull, I have the power!" she becomes She-Ra, a super-powered warrior woman with a knack for kicking Horde butt. The Evil Horde (at least they are honest about the morality of their actions, a few of our world leaders could probably prefix their regimes with the odd "Evil" or "Sinister") are led by the wicked Hordak and intent on keeping their rule over Etheria.

    When She-Ra first aired, I was fairly indifferent about the goodies (let's face it, they were just a bunch of girls!) but loved the bad guys. They seemed so much more evil than Skeletor and his bumbling gang in He-Man. Upon watching these episodes as an adult today, I have a far greater appreciation of the good guys, but it is still Hordak's unruly mob that make the show great. Evil for evil's sake may be silly, but it is a lot of fun to watch.

    This set collates the She-Ra movie The Secret of the Sword along with the 5 best episodes as voted by the show's fans (complete with the cheesy moral at the end from the colourful troll-like mascot Loo-Kee). For most people with fond memories of the show, I would suggest that this set is a good way to go rather than the box sets of episodes that are due to start coming out in March 2007. Many folks after a nostalgia hit will enjoy watching these "top 5" episodes more than the average episode and will probably enjoy them more than a dozen of the less exciting episodes (when a show like this is knocking out 46 episodes a year, they can't all be good ones!).

    The movie is really just the first 5 episodes of the show edited into a 90 minute "movie" that was only ever released theatrically in north America and one or non-English speaking countries. These episodes are continuous enough for it to work reasonably well, but it is incredibly episodic throughout.

    The episodes included are:

Of Shadows and Skulls

    After yet another defeat at the hands of the rebels, Hordak takes his anger out on his witch Shadow Weaver. In retaliation, Shadow Weaver brings Skeletor to Etheria and the two overthrow Hordak. Even She-Ra has trouble stopping the power of these two evil magicians.

Sweet Bee's Home

    A passing spaceship, piloted by Sweet Bee - scout for the bee people, is fooled into thinking that Etheria is a peaceful place and perfect for the bee people to settle on. In reality, Hordak wants the bee people to land on Etheria so that he can enslave them. Luckily for the bee people, He-Man is visiting his sister She-Ra and can help stop Hordak - if all of Adora's friends can stop fawning over him long enough for him to!

Horde Prime Takes a Holiday

    Horde Prime, the mysterious galactic ruler of the Evil Horde, goes on holiday and Entrusts his prize flagship to Hordak (Evil Horde ruler of Etheria) for safe-keeping. Despite explicit instructions not to use the ship, Hordak attempts to use the ship against the rebels in Whispering Woods. He-Man receives word and heads to Etheria to help She-Ra stop the ship. Skeletor gets word and heads over to steal the ship himself.

    This episode also features the most controversial of the closing morals featured by the series, about "inappropriate touching". This one was so controversial at the time that an alternate moral was provided to stations airing the show that could be substituted in if the station was not comfortable airing it.

The Stone in the Sword

    Using his latest weapon, the Doom Balloon, Hordak manages to shatter the stone in She-Ra's sword and in doing so takes the ability to transform into She-Ra away from Adora. Adora must climb to the top of Sky Dancer Mountain and complete a series of trials to restore the stone and bring back She-Ra.

The Price of Freedom

    Prince Adam, aka He-Man, is sent to Etheria to help She-Ra save the village of Dryl. The slave mine workers on Dryl have unionised and united against the Evil Horde to end their slavery. Needless to say, this doesn't impress Hordak who imprisons them all in the mine, He-Man included.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is generally very good for a show of this age.

    Both the show episodes and movie are presented in a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. This is accurate for the show, although the movie was originally release very slightly wider 1.37:1 aspect.

    The video is quite sharp for an older show and there are no issues with grain or low level noise. The colours are evenly transferred and do an excellent job of bringing to life the comic-book appearance of the animation.

    Film artefacts appear reasonably frequently, although there are only one or two sizeable artefacts (eg. a line at 64:23 and a large blob at 75:00) and there are never enough on screen to distract your attention form the story. A number of the film artefacts appear to be a result of the cheap animation rather than the transfer, as the specks of dust move with the characters. There are no noticeable MPEG compression artefacts in the transfer.

    The set is presented on 2 RSDL discs with the feature film on the first disc and the episodes on the second. The layer break occurs discretely between scenes at 52:47 on the first disc. The layer break occurs between the second and third episodes on the second disc.

    There are no subtitles at all in this set.

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

Audio

    There is one audio track, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps).

    The audio generally sounds mono, which would be standard for the era. There is no noticeable use of the surround channels or subwoofer.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to hear. The audio seems in good sync with the video, for a cartoon at any rate.

    The music is reasonably interesting as it frequently, and quite appropriately, shifts back and forth between the She-Ra and He-Man themes. The She-Ra, and He-Man, music was always a good example of a good way to use music to keep the feel of the show together in a TV show and it is no exception in these episodes. The awful "I Have the Power" song used in the feature film, and whose video is included as an extra, is another story, however. The less said about that song, the better... Hey, The Never Ending Story called and want their hook back!

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

Extras

    As well as a reasonable set of extras on disc, this set is presented in a very stylish cardboard digi-pak (one of the nicest I've seen) and comes with a 4 page booklet and She-Ra 2 postcards.

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    A well designed, though fairly basic, set of animated menus.

Audio Commentary

    The feature film has a commentary track featuring Lou Scheimer (producer/creator), Larry DiTillio (writer), Gwen Wexler (director), Alan Oppenheimer (voice artist). It is hosted by Andy Mangles, who basically hosts the commentary like a Q&A session. The commentary covers a lot of the development and production side of things and makes for some interesting listening.

Trailers

    Two trailers for the feature film are included. The first one awkwardly runs through the plot of the entire movie, giving pretty much everything away, over the course of 5 and a half minutes. The second is a far more conventional 100 second trailer, that teases viewers into the movie.

"I Have The Power" Music Video

    Lou Scheimer had his daughter Erika Scheimer, who was also a producer and voice artist on the show, write a song for the movie. The song itself really isn't very good, but there are some great featurettes for it! This includes a Making of featurette that precedes the music video (which itself is hilarious, though overlong). There is also a Storyboard Comparison for the production of the music video, a Sheet Music Singalong for it (sheet music, video and lyrics on screen), a Spanish language version of it, and an Alternate Recording. This extra is a bit silly, but quite fun.

Scripts

    Scanned PDF scripts for the 5 episodes that were edited into the feature film are included as well as those for the 5 episodes on the "Best of" Disc.

Documentary Featurette (26:20)

    A retrospective featurette has been produced for this DVD set. It includes interviews with everyone form animators to producers, writers, directors and voice artists and discusses at the production process, the marketing and visual design of the show and its long lasting appeal. The documentary carefully pretends that the show wasn't about selling toys, which makes it a little less believable than it would have been if it were a little more honest, but is reasonably interesting nonetheless.

R4 vs R1

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

    An identical set, save for NTSC formatting, is available in Region 1 (including the collector postcards, etc).

Summary

    A classic kids show that holds up quite well today for nostalgic 20-somethings. This Best-of format is a great way to get a nostalgia fix without having to wade through dozens of episodes. The packaging is great and extras good.

    The video and audio transfer is good for a show of this age and calibre.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDLG V8824W, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D512
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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