Tripod-versus the Dragon (2008)

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Released 2-Mar-2011

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Bonus Track-Songs
Featurette-Making Of-Making the Show
Featurette-1999 D&D Sketches
Featurette-Tripod Versus the Dragon Notebook
Featurette-Internet Videos : Trailer and Songstyles
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 176:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Neil Gladwin
Studio
Distributor

Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Steven Gates
Scott Edgar
Simon Hall
Elana Stone
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
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

     Musical comedy trio Tripod know their way around a funny song. It would come as no surprise to their devoted fans, particularly those who have hung out at their website, that they also know their way around Dungeons & Dragons. Their latest DVD release, a filmed show from their recent tour, is both mocking and reverential and will have the paper'n'dice brigade chuckling alongside the novices. Tripod have made an art form of improv music so it is surprising that they should even consider tackling a full length (well 70 odd minutes) scripted tale. But fans of Scod (Scott Edgar), Yon (Simon Hall) and Gatesy (Steven Gates) shouldn't panic - the show is still full of improv and asides which serves to chuck in a sense of anarchy to the proceedings.

     Tripod Versus the Dragon is a tale of love and adventure, heroism and betrayal - Tripod style. Dropped off by their partners for a Saturday afternoon round of D&D the boys assume their characters - Scod the Wizard of mighty elemental power, Yon the guilt tripping Priest and Gatesy the Fighter who wants to be a Bard. Gatesy meets and is smitten by the Dungeon Master/Dragon (Elana Stone) and the three lads go on a quest looking for adventure, little realizing that the empty space on the dungeon map is there for a reason!.

     Actually, that’s about it for plot. What holds the show together is the undeniable ramshackle enthusiasm and inventiveness. The boys are in top form in bringing alive the spirit of D&D whilst digging at its clichés. Take, for example, the song about orcs which acknowledges their essential role at the bottom of the D&D food chain. The show is performed front of stage with a white sheet used for rear projection and silhouette. Much of the show’s humour derives from the clever and intentionally amateurish silhouette work.

     For regular Tripod viewers the big change is the addition of Elana Stone. In some quarters, read Adelaide, the change was controversial. That is understandable. For a team that prided itself on the manic, creating cartoon character personalities, here was a woman of incredible singing talent who couldn't help but to infuse feeling, genuine feeling, into her songs. The result is that the show is less gag based and more entertainment filled with the audience stopped in their tracks every time Stone lets fly. It is difficult to imagine how any meaning could be given to the story without the addition of more serious elements.

     Tripod Versus the Dragon was better live but the DVD does a good job of recreating the experience.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Tripod Versus the Dragon was filmed on High Definition digital cameras. It is presented at a widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced. It was filmed at a live show at the Chapel off Chapel in Melbourne. Adjust your expectations to those limitations and you won't come away disappointed.

     This is not a bad looking live comedy show. The usual challenges for DVD presentation - handling the vagaries of live lighting, are present. The colours are a little overbright and the overall image a little soft. There is light digital noise present, particularly in the blacks. The flesh tones, and orc flesh tones, are accurate and pleasing. Overall a nice image quality considering the budgetary confines.

     There are no subtitles.

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

Audio

     The DVD features two soundtracks. Both are English Dolby Digital but one is 5.1 surround running at 448 Kb/s and the other 2.0 running at 224 Kb/s. Quality wise both are pretty good but the 5.1 track is noticeably louder.

     The surround effects are mainly used to create the encompassing effect of the audience and create an overall ambience. The sub-woofer doesn't get a lot of work to do. The dictates of a live show mean that not every throwaway line and song lyric is conveyed with crystal clarity.

     Overall, though, this is a good transfer and the key jokes and songs hit the mark.

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

Extras

     Fans of Tripod and the show are in for a treat in the extras department. This set contains a wealth of extra material. To start with the DVD features an attractive slipcase and appealing design. This may seem the norm for big budget Hollywood stuff but for Beyond to grace this DVD set with such attractive packaging is a credit to them and a show of faith in the sales potential of the title.

Four Bonus Songs

     The four songs : Gods Are People Too, Blow This Town, Sometimes and Messengers Dream come from a variety of sources. The first two were apparently encores at the filming of the show, the third perhaps performed as a warm-up and the last a segment from Paul McDermott’s Sideshow. All are worth a watch. The songs are pretty brief but are accompanied by some comedy.

Making of Documentary

     Anything you might want to know about the origins of the show is told in this laidback feature. The boys, and Elana Stone, are interviewed whilst hanging out (or in the case of Scod whilst Stone is cooking a dinner!). Director Gladwin and other notables also help to detail the history of the show from first ideas, through scripting and multiple cast changes, to the highs of first performance in America and lows of a bad review in the Adelaide press (Stone is the Yoko Ono of Tripod = Ouch!). A pleasant and informative watch. That the film comes from a variety of sources, of varying quality, is acknowledged by a warning at the beginning of the feature - "Don’t Worry - Your DVD isn't busted".

Songstyles

     This is a high quality tribute to the Celine Dion stylings of Gatesy, the balladic triumph Songstyles. Not.

Electronic Notebook

     Tripod Versus the Dragon was clearly a labour of love over many years and the notebook feature allows fans, very serious fans, to scroll through the mad ramblings of the boys as they fleshed out the show.

Tripod Versus the Dragon Trailer

     A high quality internet trailer with the boys in D&D regalia. Not again.

D&D Sketches 1999

     Just to show how long it took to get the show on stage, here are some sketches filmed on an old video recorder as the boys sat around a table and played around with ideas.

Easter Eggs

     There are Easter Eggs on this set. I know this because on the first run through my DVD player defaulted to an Easter Egg and skipped part of the show. I couldn't recreate it though. Help me readers!

R4 vs R1

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

      This is a Region 4 only DVD.

Summary

     Tripod Versus the Dragon is a load of fun, not just for D&D enthusiasts, though it does help if you know just a little about it. The DVD looks and sounds pretty good for a live comedy show in a darkened hall. There are extras to burn for fans of the gang.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Saturday, May 07, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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