|Category||Anime||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, not 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0|
|Rating||Other Trailer(s)||Yes, 11 - ADV Film releases preview trailers|
|Year Released||1999||Commentary Tracks||None|
(not 60 minutes as stated on packaging)
|Other Extras||Character Biographies
Menu Audio and Animation
Scene Selection Audio and Animation
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||No||Dolby Digital||2.0|
|16x9 Enhancement||No||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, during credits|
One of the unfortunate aspects of anime, however, is that occasionally it descends into the depths of commercialism gone stark raving mad. Just as Tekken - The Motion Picture was based upon a very popular video game, so this little effort is thus derived. Whilst I am no devotee of the video game genre, even I am not unaware of such things as Sega games, and the fact that Sonic was (and probably still is) one of the biggest franchises in the genre. Accordingly, this suffers from the fact that it would help if you knew the game upon which it was based, and that the story is exceedingly derivative. It is also a sad fact that this is aimed at a fairly young market, which would possibly not be the most promising of demographics for a DVD release - other than the fact that like a slightly more recent release, the kids will quite possibly be pestering you to acquire this.
The broad story here is that Sonic has his little vacation interrupted by a call to see the president of Planet Freedom. This turns out to be a little ruse by Sonic's arch enemy Dr Robotnik to trick Sonic into heading to the Land of Darkness to save it from an evil Metal Robotnik. Of course, all is not what it seems and it is up to Sonic to work it all out and save the day - as is usual apparently. Along the way he has to overcome the evil Metal Robotnik and a host of traps, including his evil duplicate Hyper Metal Sonic, all with the help of his friends Tails and Knuckles. All of this also happens with the subplot of the president's daughter Sara who also happens, apparently, to have a romantic intent.
Not exactly the greatest story of all time, but if you switch off the brain, this actually is not a bad way of spending fifty odd minutes. Frequent, repeated viewings however would not be wise, otherwise plot holes and goodness knows what else will start eroding the pleasures somewhat. The animation style is a little mixed with some detailed sequences interspersed with some quite simplistic stuff, but that is probably indicative of the origin of the characters.
Obviously this is a made for video effort and the transfer is presented in a Full Frame format, and is not 16x9 enhanced.
The overall transfer is in general quite sharp and well defined throughout, although there are a few sequences with intended softness which are a little jarring compared to the rest of the film. This is a quite clear transfer and there are no problems at all with low level noise in the transfer. The only real problem is the inherent lack of resolution as a result of the NTSC format.
The colours are nicely rendered, with some nice, brightish, vibrant colours on offer - although in general not as bright and as vibrant as I was perhaps expecting. The colours are sharp, with no hint of oversaturation and nothing remotely resembling colour bleed.
One thing that immediately stands out here is that just as with Tekken - The Motion Picture there is nothing much wrong with the transfer as far as MPEG artefacts, film-to-video artefacts nor noticeable film artefacts are concerned. This is a very clean transfer in all respects and in general ADV Films seem to be doing a fine job, on the basis of two discs at least! The only regret is that again this is an NTSC format disc and it would be very interesting to see how much better this would look with the superior resolution of a PAL transfer.
There are two audio tracks on the DVD: an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and a Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Whilst I am no expert, it sounds as if both soundtracks use the same source material, with the only difference being the addition of the different vocal tracks into the mix. They are that consistent in sound and style. Since my Japanese is non-existent (well, okay I can get goodbye to work), I nonetheless listened to both it and the English soundtrack, although obviously the Japanese soundtrack needed the English subtitles on as well.
We once again will have the usual apoplexy amongst purists who bemoan the inclusion of the English soundtrack, but that is the great advantage of DVD for anime: you can have it all ways - Japanese with no subtitles, English with no subtitles, Japanese with subtitles or English with subtitles. As is terribly usual, it is interesting to listen to the English soundtrack with the English subtitles on - as once again one is amused by the non-correlation! Even the main protagonist goes by a different name here.
The dialogue was always clear and easy to understand.
Naturally the animation suffers from the usual "audio sync" problems.
The original musical contribution comes from Mitsuhiro Tada and is nothing especially memorable.
The soundtracks are quite nice efforts, with nothing really too dynamic happening in the sound picture and obviously with nothing from either the surround channels or the bass channel. These are really very stereo sounding efforts and this just occasionally makes you wish for some surround encoding to add a bit of bite to the sound. Still, everything is free from distortion and the overall resultant sound picture is generally quite decent for a straight stereo effort, although the English track is more natural sounding than the Japanese track, although this may of course be cultural bias!
A good video transfer.
A good audio transfer.
A decent extras package if not entirely DVD orientated.
© Ian Morris (have a
laugh, check out the bio)
23rd April 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|