Sitting Ducks-Volume 1: Duck Cravings

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Released 19-Nov-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Childrens Featurette-Where's Aldo?
Biographies-Character
DVD-ROM Extras-Game-Grab The Duck
Featurette-Test Animations (2)
Trailer-2
Rating ?
Year Of Production ?
Running Time 74:47
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Walt Kubiak
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring None Given
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Kick Productions
Riccardo Mulhall
Terry Neale


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German 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 Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Maybe I am having a bad run, or worse, maybe Region 4 is sinking to new lows. This is the third disc in a row that has had some problem with the content that was a conscious choice by someone somewhere. To be fair, this is a disc for the kiddies but I don't really think that is a good enough excuse to pan and scan the transfer. The original seems to have been somewhere around 1.85:1 as shown by the letterboxed image in the musical trailer included in the extras. A quick comparison to the 1.33:1 main feature shows that the sides have been chopped.

    We have all seem that wonderful poster by Michael Bedard with the duck sitting on the deck chair looking over his shoulder at the bullet holes in the wall behind him. Michael Bedard has also written a children's book based on the same character with the addition of a crocodile. This TV show is based on those books. Michael Bedard's posters and sculptures shows a great sense of humour, at times a very dark humour and at times very light. A cartoon attempts to convey more with less - cartoons are life distilled to a series of simple lines that are used to convey information. This is often humour, and the greatest of cartoonists can create an incredible depth of message with the simplest of images. You can read so much into the famous sitting duck poster even though its style is very simplistic. The same applies to traditional animation, or in this case 3D computer animation. The animation is styled very much after the posters and is instantly recognisable.

    In the world that this story inhabits there are two towns near each other; one is Duck town, the other Alligator town. Those in Alligator town just love to eat those in Duck town. A function of the natural order as it were. Our story revolves around two characters, one from each town. Bill is a duck, a slightly smaller-than-average duck who, through a strange series of events, ends up best friends with Aldo, an alligator from Alligator town. Each episode explores this strange relationship and the reactions of their friends and relatives.

Running Duck (10:35)

    The premiere episode where Bill and Aldo meet. If the author of a certain fable about a mouse and a lion were still alive there might be copyright questions being asked.

Hic Hic Hooray (10:35)

    Bill is having a family get-together to play a rather complicated board game, when one of his relatives cries off leaving them one player down. Aldo wants to sit in but Bill has not yet told his family that he has made friends with someone further up the food chain. Aldo convinces Bill to let him attend disguised as a duck. An unfortunate case of the gigups (alligator hiccoughs) threatens to derail the entire evening.

Peeking Duck (10:35)

    Aldo is having a little difficulty adopting to life in Duck town, in particular with not eating the residents. After being asked to house-sit for some neighbours of Bill's, he comes under suspicion of having eaten them.

Midnight Snack (10:35)

    After a little sleep eating, where Bill nearly becomes a snack, the friends set out to try and 'cure' Aldo of his craving for duck meat. They try aversion therapy and a psychotherapist, neither of which works, and nearly end up having to break up a great friendship until a solution is found.

Ducks On Ice (10:35)

    A nice little stroll down to the frozen lake that separates the two towns leads to Bill and his friends being blown across the lake to Alligator town. They are roped into a local game of ice hockey with some young alligators and must play for their lives.

Great White Hype (10:35)

    At a boxing match between an alligator and a duck, something just has to be going on behind-the-scenes.

All In A Day's Work (10:36)

    Aldo is very reluctant to admit what his actual job is at the bowling ball factory. Bill decides to infiltrate and find out and gets into more than a little trouble.

 

    My thanks to the designers of this disc for not putting the full opening and closing credits on each episode, but only at the start and end of them all. I get very tired of hearing my son asking for another episode as the opening credits roll again and again on some discs.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     The transfer is presented at a panned and scanned aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and of course is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is somewhat down on this disc and I cannot decide if this is inherent in the source material or a transfer issue. There is a very smooth look to the animation, similar to the artwork mentioned before, but this goes a little beyond what I would have thought was correct. There is also some loss of resolution during movement such as at 14:25. Shadow detail is good as are the black levels, but there is some low level noise present.

    Colours are very good with bright and fully saturated colours abounding - plenty here for young kids to watch. The colours are slightly affected by some posterization in some scenes.

    While there are no big MPEG artefacts, there is a fairly large amount of minor pixelization and some posterization. At 10:53, the background is clearly affected by these problems and a lot of other scenes have this problem as well. The constant mosquito noise can be a bit distracting on a large screen. There are also a few problems with loss of definition during pans such as the big blocks half way up the building at 10:42 - the black lines in between the blocks appear and disappear over a number of frames. Again, I wonder if this is a source rendering fault or a transfer problem. While this should be a direct digital transfer, I do wonder if it is perhaps not. There are no film artefacts but the noise is very reminiscent of video noise that has been digitised.

    There are no subtitles.

    This is a dual layered disc. The layer change must be between episodes as I could not see it while watching the content.

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

Audio

     There are three Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks on this disc. One in English, the other two are French and German.

    There are no problems with the dialogue nor with the audio sync.

    The music is quite fun and blends well with the overall theme. Kids will enjoy the upbeat feel.

    There was no surround nor subwoofer activity.

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

Extras

Menu

    After an initial screen prompting you to select your language of choice, we are presented with a static menu with a picture of three of the characters from the cartoon. There is no audio and after a time the main feature starts automatically.

Bonus Episode (12:00)

    Another episode from the series. In this one, Bill and Aldo have a falling-out and Aldo disappears from Duck town. Bill and his friends decide to try and disguise themselves as alligators and find Aldo with predictable results. Also presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Character Line Up

    A static page with a very small amount of text concerning ten of the characters in the series. The text is accompanied by a picture.

Game

    A very silly little game written as a flash presentation. The object is to move a static picture of Aldo across the street and pick up Bill, all the while avoiding falling milkshakes.... ad infinitum. As soon as you get Bill to the other side, the score increments by one and he is back on the wrong side. The menu entry when selected tells you to click on the .exe file in the top directory of the DVD for Windows and on another file for Macs.

Test Animations

    Two test animations, one by Creative Capers (1:05) and one by Krislin Elliot (3:09) both presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer (1:05)

    Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. This trailer advertises three videotapes of the series.

Music Trailer (1:07)

    Presented at 1.85:1 letterboxed and not 16x9 enhanced with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, this is a number of clippings from the series set to music.

R4 vs R1

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

    There does not appear to be a Region 1 version of this disc available at this time, leaving by default a Region 4 winner.

Summary

    While this series seems to start a little slowly it does gather pace towards the end of the first season. It is also currently playing on the ABC at some unreasonable hour of the morning and manages to keep my son entertained while we get ready for work. Later seasons seem to be even better with the humour becoming a little darker and sharper.

    The video is a little disappointing.

    The audio suits the material.

    The extras are a nice inclusion.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Saturday, November 23, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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