Monthly Archives: June 2012

DVD Review: Power Rangers Samurai: Volume 2 “A New Enemy”

Article By: Alex J. Rosolowsky
EDITORIAL

On The Disc

  • Day Off
  • Sticks & Stones
  • A Fish Out of Water
  • There Go The Brides
  • Extras
    • Bloopers
    • Ask A Ranger
    • Weapons Gallery
  • Trailers
    • Power Rangers Super Samurai DVD and Direct Download Trailer
    • Wolverine and the X–Men DVD and Blu–Ray Trailer
    • Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow DVD and Blu–Ray Trailer
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) DVD Trailer
    • Fred 2: Night of the Living Fred Trailer
  • Audio
    • English 5.1 Surround Sound
    • Spanish 2.0 Stereo Sound
    • French 2.0 Stereo Sound

REVIEW

Packaging:
Once again, the foil O–card looks absolutely gorgeous, and is worthy of special praise. Unfortunately, this also means that the packaging itself suffers from the same problems associated with the packaging for volume one. As I noted in the review of volume one, Lionsgate decided to use so-called eco–friendly packaging, which does a poor job of protecting the disc inside of it. Furthermore, as I also noted in the review of volume one, the eco–friendly packaging isn’t eco–friendly if I have to replace it in order for it to function properly. Thus, Lionsgate’s beautiful O–foil card counterbalances a lousy DVD case. Predictably, I’m once again forced to give the packaging a rather average three out of five.

Episodes:
As with pretty much everything pertaining to Power Rangers Samurai, the technical quality of this release is outstanding. Day Off, Sticks & Stones, A Fish Out of Water, and There Go the Brides are all free from alterations; this is in sharp contrast to volume one in which only one episode was presented exactly as it originally aired. Additionally, the 5.1 surround sound mix really comes through for these episodes making them sound even better than they did originally. Overall, this is a huge improvement over volume one, and it’s deserving of a five out of five rating.

Extras:
First up are the bloopers, and much like the audition tapes on the previous DVD, these aren’t “pure” RAW bloopers; the Bulk and Spike theme has been added to make them more accessible to children. These are still an excellent, fun extra though, and are definitely worth one’s time.

Next up is a segment entitled Ask A Ranger, which is basically a nice little question and answer session with the cast. Like the Power Rangers Swarm video, the majority of these clips were posted on Saban Brands’ official YouTube channel, so if you’ve been following that and are familiar with the Power Rangers Swarm video, you’ll probably be familiar with these as well. Still they’re a nice extra, and one that I’m glad was included on this disc.

The last real extra is the Weapons Gallery. Basically, this could be described as the “Power Rangers Samurai Technical Manual,” and it’s definitely my kind of bonus feature. Although this is similar to the Character Gallery on volume one, it’s a much more comprehensive extra. This particular bonus feature includes reference material for weapons, Power Discs, individual Zords, and Megazords, broken down into various categories.

Once again, it’s possible to view the trailers from the extras menu, and once again, I have to give the extras a five out of five; Lionsgate really did make sure that there was something for everyone here.

Picture Quality:
As with volume one, volume two’s picture quality is simply superb; once again, it easily earns a five out of five.

Sound Quality:
Yet another easy five out of five for these DVDs. Power Rangers Samurai is known for exceeding technical expectations, but the DVDs take this feat to a whole new level. The 5.1 surround sound simply trounces the mix used on all Nick channels, and this is coming from someone whose watched the episodes in HD and SD, and from two different providers at that. Simply put, the audio is perfect.

Final Thoughts:
This is an incredibly solid release, and one that I can highly recommend purchasing. If not for the so–called “eco–friendly” case, this would be an absolutely perfect release. Even with the poor quality case though, this release is still worth picking up; besides, a new high quality case can be had for just a few dollars. All in all though, I feel comfortable recommending this disc to even the most critical “Samurai” fan.

Final Rating: 4.6 out of 5

How The Power Rangers Samurai Times rates DVDs:
DVDs are rated on a scale of 1–5 with one being the lowest rating, and five being the highest rating. The rating is determined by averaging the rating of the packaging, episodes, extras, picture quality, and sound quality, all of which are rated on a scale of 1–5 with no decimal points, fractions, or negative numbers. If multiple contributors review a disc, their individual ratings will be posted followed by the final rating, which will be an average of the aforementioned individual ratings. (Obviously averages may contain decimal points.) Finally, when rating episodes, only the technical details of the episodes are rated; these include alterations, as well as sound and picture quality.

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DVD Review: Power Rangers Samurai: Volume 1 “The Team Unites”

Article By: Alex J. Rosolowsky
EDITORIAL

On The Disc

  • Origins – Part 1
  • Origins – Part 2
  • The Team Unites
  • Deal With A Nighlok
  • Extras
    • Auditions
    • Train Like A Ranger
    • Power Rangers Swarm
    • Character Gallery
  • Trailers
    • Power Rangers Super Samurai DVD and Direct Download Trailer
    • Wolverine and the X–Men DVD and Blu–Ray Trailer
    • Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow DVD and Blu–Ray Trailer
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) DVD Trailer
    • Fred 2: Night of the Living Fred Trailer
  • Audio
    • English 5.1 Surround Sound
    • Spanish 2.0 Stereo Sound
    • French 2.0 Stereo Sound

REVIEW

Packaging:
The foil O–card looks absolutely gorgeous, and is worthy of special praise. Unfortunately, the actual case is an entirely different story; Lionsgate decided to use so-called eco–friendly packaging, which does a poor job of protecting the disc inside of it, and isn’t eco–friendly if I have to replace it in order to fix this. The O–card is worthy of a five out of five, but it’s cancelled out by the actual DVD case, which is only worth a one out of five, bringing the packaging’s rating to an average three out of five.

Episodes:
Origins – Part 1 is the first episode on the disc, so that should negate a lot of complaining from the get–go. With that in mind though, Origins – Part 1 is shown with the “wrong” credits; Antonio wasn’t in the original credits on Nick, and his addition to the credits on NickToons is annoying at best, and wildly inaccurate at worst. So much for negating complaining; the subject of the complaint has merely been modified. There really is no excuse for this though; Lionsgate had plenty of time to request the correct opening from Saban Brands. Having said that, the rest of the episode appears to be unaltered, with fades intact where they belong, and no other alterations to the footage. If Power Rangers Samurai is ever released in box set format though, I do want to see these credits corrected; given that the credits for Origins were unique to those two episodes, there exclusion is inexcusable.

Origins – Part 2 is no better than part one when it comes to the credits; once again, Antonio, Bulk, and Spike are credited before there introduction in the actual series. As I noted before, this is inexcusable. Likewise, the rest of the episode appears to be unaltered, at least at first glance. (I haven’t put these episodes “under the microscope,” so to speak, at least not yet anyway.)

The Team Unites is the third episode on the disc; I wish I could say that this episode was better than the previous two, but that would be a lie. This time it’s not the opening credits that are a problem, instead it’s the intro sequence. The Team Unites originally premiered with an extended intro sequence, which is absent from the current DVD release. I seriously hope that this is corrected before any potential box set release, because I honestly was expecting better from Lionsgate. Yet again, the rest of the episode appears to be unaltered.

Deal with A Nighlok: Finally, an episode that appears to be properly presented in its original format, without alterations to the intro or opening credits. All in all this is a step up from the previous three episodes, but then again, this episode lacked alteration’s from the get–go.

At the end of the day, I unfortunately have to give the episodes themselves a two out of five. Although the technical quality is superb, (see below,) the pointless content alterations are unforgivable, as is the fact that they occurred on three of the disc’s four episodes.

Extras:
There are short clips of each cast member auditioning for their Ranger roles, (sans Steve Skyler auditioning for Antonio,) as well as clips for Bulk and Spike. It’s worth noting however that these aren’t “pure” audition tapes; music has been added to make them more accessible to children. Each tape provides some insight into the show itself; for example, Alex’s audition tape shows that he’s a much more natural actor than we’re normally led to believe. Najee’s audition tape is taken verbatim (sans character names,) from The Blue and the Gold, while Erika’s tape appears to be a variation on the script from There Go the Brides. Hector’s tape is clearly meant to be read as a scene with the Red Ranger, and is the “second half” of Alex’s tape; the scene appears to be an early draft of Origins – Part 2, while Brittany’s tape looks like it was taken from an early version of Sticks & Stones. Finally, Paul and Felix’s tape appears to have been specific to the auditioning process.

Moving on, Train Like A Ranger is a series of short exercise warm–ups; I’m not going to lie, I appreciate what Saban is doing here to promote a healthy lifestyle among children, although there are plenty of adults who could benefit from this as well.

Power Rangers Swarm is Saban’s well–known YouTube video set to Ron Wasserman’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie theme song. Many of our readers have probably seen this, but it’s still an awesome extra.

The Character Gallery consists of Ranger bios, and is incredibly well done. This is definitely a nice extra for newcomers to the show, but one that long time fans can appreciate as well.

I’ve already mentioned the trailers, but they can be accessed from the extras menu for those who may want to view them again. Overall, I give the extras five out of five stars; they’re definitely solid, and there really is something for everyone in them.

Picture Quality:
Simply put, the picture quality on this disc is absolutely stunning. Even on my 42″ HDTV, this standard definition DVD looks amazing; the picture quality is crisp and clear, and not a spec of detail is missing. For standard definition content, this disc is beyond perfect, even rivaling my cable provider’s HD cablecast. The picture quality easily earns a five out of five.

Sound Quality:
Much like the picture quality, the sound quality is absolutely superb. Like the picture quality, it earns a five out of five.

Final Thoughts:
For $12.99 on Amazon, this is probably a worthwhile purchase, but don’t pay more than $15 dollars for this; it’s just not worth your money. I really wanted to give this release high praises, but in good conscience, I just can’t do so. Although the extras are excellent, as is the technical quality, I just can’t overlook the packaging flaws or the unforgivable episode alterations. The math may work out to a four out of five rating, but the episode content issues honestly make this feel like a three out of five release. As I stated previously, I sincerely hope that these issues are addressed in the event of a box set release.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5

How The Power Rangers Samurai Times rates DVDs:
DVDs are rated on a scale of 1–5 with one being the lowest rating, and five being the highest rating. The rating is determined by averaging the rating of the packaging, episodes, extras, picture quality, and sound quality, all of which are rated on a scale of 1–5 with no decimal points, fractions, or negative numbers. If multiple contributors review a disc, their individual ratings will be posted followed by the final rating, which will be an average of the aforementioned individual ratings. (Obviously averages may contain decimal points.) Finally, when rating episodes, only the technical details of the episodes are rated; these include alterations, as well as sound and picture quality.