FREEDOM FIGHTERS FOREVER!
The short review: Way Past Cool! If you're a fan of the series you have to have this DVD collection!
The long review:
For anyone who's had to stand watching cut or badly recorded episodes from TV, I can't express how good it feels to watch these in clear stereo with no tracking lines and perfect picture. I can even see the paintbrush strokes in the background art it's so clear! So far as I can tell, everything has been restitched back together wonderfully and I can see no weird edits. It's just like I remember in Ben Hurst's words "fresh - like watching it for the first time!"
A few people have complained about the lack of bonus features, but I can't say good enough about them. The series was produced 10 years ago, since then most if not all of the artwork in the vaults has been lost, sold online (I've seen a number of cels pass by there) or locked away. The fact they managed to find even a small amount of high-quality artwork makes it well worth the trouble. I too wish there was more, but the stuff they did find is very good. I believe there are really only two bits of the extended/deleted scenes that are truly new material but it's all well archived and the one silent animatic has the script super-scripted in so it's easy to follow. The concept art is beautiful, there are a few new model/expression sheets in the interview with Hurst and tons of background art that will blow you away. This is the same quality one would expect in feature post production work. Both of the interviews are engaging, enlightening and even a little tearful at times, especially Ben's moving speech about Season 3 and his support for the fans. Considering how hard the crew at FUS has worked to get this DVD, they deserve it. The DVD menus themselves are a blast -- I have seen a number of poorly produced menus with "craptastic" art in them and these blow me away. They are thoughtful and even funny! In one part Snively hits the "Bonus Features" button. It's the little things like that which show the effort and care they put into making the DVD.
Okay so some of the artists who contributed art are very young and aren't what you would call "good artists". But to me, it's refreshing to see a company that actually WANTED and ACCEPTED input from the fan base. It shows that we are all united together as fans of Sonic, no matter what our background is. You can tell each of the artists was excited and trying their best to make something to show how much they love the show. I go as far to say a few of these artists ARE exceptional, some of them even drawing "on-model" as we in the animation business say. Ken Penders (while not really a fan per se since he's worked professionally on Sonic Artwork) did a pretty good job with the cover, as it did include most of the cast and it doesn't show anything that isn't there (Thank Goodness his arms aren't blue either :D). Compared to the first test cover, this final one is much better. Dr. Robotnik is the best part of the cover, he's very well drawn.
Just so you know where I'm coming from, I was prime age when SATAM came out, being 10 at the time, and it is a big reason I am who I am today and certainly a reason why I'm going into the animation industry. That being said I can't express enough why it's important to support this release. They did a fantastic job. And I think it's worth buying this for any Sonic fan, especially if you know someone who likes Sonic X --
In Sonic's words, "Get ready to rock, cause this will knock your socks off!" :)
If you're new to Sonic and like this series, I highly recommend checking out Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, and Sonic Underground as well (the other two shows produced by DiC, the predecessor to SATAM and it's later cousin, respectively.) A lot of fans would say otherwise but I just can't get enough of the blue blur!
- Joanie /^>