DVD Review-Samurai Jack: Season 1

Yippee! Great collection and some good extras

I just finished watching this two dvd collection and it was great.

Samurai Jack started in 2001 on the Cartoon Network and I've watched the majority of the series. The problem is just my available time and it's violent so I'd rather not watch it in front of my daughter. "Jack", not his real name in the series but we don't actually know what it is, is on a mission to destroy a powerful, evil entity named Aku. In a time long ago, Aku dominated the world and was almost defeated by a Samurai wielding a magic sword. In a desperate move to save himself, Aku flung Jack into a future where he (Aku) is master of the world and more. Jack's mission is to get back to the past and defeat Aku to keep him from taking over the world.

The cartoon is wonderfully crafted. It uses wide and split screens when needed. The dialog is sparse and the stories are told by the animation and by the clever sound effects. I know this sounds like a "d'uh" but it's great how they make the show. We get takeoffs from spaghetti westerns and homages to all kinds of movies. The creators let the audience watch and experience the show instead of dialoging us to death in order to explain every single detail. Look, just watch one episode and you'll understand me.

This DVD collection has the 13 episodes that comprise season 1. The sound is excellent and the video is sharp (great colors) except for some compression artifacts when there's quick movement. It's annoying but not enough to keep me from heartily recommending it. It's subtitled and close-captioned. The subtitling is well-done and I watched a bit of the close-captioning to see that they include captioning for non-dialogue events like wind blowing and what-not when it's important to the story. I've been watching more shows using subtitling or close-captioning. Many of the shows I like to watch have violence or adult scenes that I don't want my kids watching so I watch them at off-hours. This lets me keep the volume a bit lower than I would normally have to have it set. I find that I also have difficulty hearing some dialogue so I appreciate the subtitling/CC'ing. I didn't notice any spelling mistakes which is really irritating (as in the FarScape DVD's close-captioning... c'mon, people).

I've read some reviews where people were whining about the lack of extras. I dunno'... it has enough for me. Leave 'em wanting a bit so when later seasons come out people will be achin' for more. There's a very nice commentary on one of the episodes and they go into a lot of detail as to their reasons behind the episode. It tracks right along with the episode, too. I also enjoyed the documentary about the creation of the series and we get a bit of the voice actors. There's an animation "test" (looks pretty finished to me!) and original artwork showcased in a nice way.

Good stuff, Maynard.

Posted: Sat - May 15, 2004 at 12:01 AM