DVD Review: Power Rangers Samurai: “Monster Bash”

Article By: Alex J. Rosolowsky
EDITORIAL

On The Disc

  • Party Monsters
  • Trick or Treat
  • Life’s A Masquerade
  • Extras
    • Halloween Safety Video (16:9 “Widescreen”)
  • 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 2.0 Stereo Sound
    • Spanish 2.0 Stereo Sound
    • French 2.0 Stereo Sound

REVIEW

Packaging:
As with previous Power Rangers Samurai releases, Monster Bash once again comes packaged inside of a so–called “Eco friendly” case that does little to actually protect the disc. Although the case is still protected by an O–Card, one notable difference from past releases is that the O–Card lacks the shiny “foil” design of previous releases. The packaging earns a two out of five instead of the usual three out of five for two reasons: First, the lack of a foil O–Card makes Monster Bash stick out like a sore thumb next to previous Power Rangers Samurai releases, and second, the sleeve that houses the artwork for the case literally tore when I pulled on the piece of tape that said “pull” so I could actually open my DVD.

Episodes:
Monster Bash contains one episode of Power Rangers Samurai, and two episodes of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers; the “Mighty Morphin'” footage is almost 20 years older than the “Samurai” footage, so it’s simply unfair and unrealistic to hold everything on this disc to the same technical standard. Given that Party Monsters is the “feature” of this disc, while the “Mighty Morphin'” episodes are considered “bonus episodes,” I’m going to focus on the “Samurai” footage first.

If you’ve purchased Monster Bash, or are considering purchasing it, you’re probably buying the disc for Party Monsters. Keeping that in mind, this particular release honestly leaves a lot to be desired. For starters, the episode is presented in the 4:3 “full screen” aspect ratio, even though the footage was framed for the 16:9 “Widescreen” aspect ratio. As can be expected, the change in aspect ratio effectively results in the sides of the footage being “chopped off.” I’m not going to lie, I find this annoying; the original Nickelodeon cablecast, the NickToons reruns, and even the Netflix stream are all presented in the correct 16:9 aspect ratio—only the Lionsgate DVD and its direct download counterpart are presented in the wrong aspect ratio. Likewise the 2.0 Stereo Sound is okay, but it leaves a lot to be desired after hearing the 5.1 Surround Sound mix on previous releases. Lionsgate clearly wanted to make Party Monsters look and sound as much like the “Mighty Morphin'” footage as possible, and the end result is a substandard release of the aforementioned “Samurai” episode. Having said that, I can only hope that Party Monsters sees a proper release at some point.

The two “bonus” episodes of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers included on this disc are Trick or Treat and Life’s A Masquerade. Both episodes look decent given their age. Remember, this is material that was shot on film and mastered onto digital tapes almost 20 years ago; as long as people don’t press their noses against a 42″ flat–screen, these episodes will look fine. It’s worth noting that the episodes on this disc are presented in reverse–chronological order; Life’s A Masquerade originally aired on October 30, 1993, and Trick or Treat originally aired on May 3, 1994.

If your planning on buying Monster Bash for either episode of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, my advice would be not to do so. Life’s A Masquerade can be had for under $20 dollars on Shout! Factory’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers – Season 1, Vol. 1 release, and Trick or Treat will be available on the “Season 1, Vol. 2” release coming next month for a similar price. Likewise, both episodes are available for under $40 dollars on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season One complete box set, and for higher prices on the complete series box set, and seven season set, all of which are available through Time Life. The episode quality is comparable on all releases, and the Shout! Factory discs offer a better value for your money.

I give the overall episode quality on these releases a three out of five. Party Monsters was so poorly handled that I can’t give it anything higher than a two out of five, while the “Mighty Morphin'” episodes are easily worth a four out of five given their age and the quality of the material that was used.

Extras:
Lionsgate doesn’t actually consider the “bonus” episodes to be extras, so the only “extras” on the disc are the Halloween Safety Video and the trailers. The Halloween Safety Video features the Samurai Rangers offering tips for safe Trick–or–Treating, and is a nice bonus for younger viewers. Older fans who enjoyed the old Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers PSAs will probably enjoy this extra as well. Monster Bash‘s extras section earns a four out of five; there’s only one real “extra” here, but it’s new, and it’ll definitely appeal to certain fans. It’s also worth noting that unlike Party Monsters itself, the Halloween Safety Video is presented in its proper 16:9 aspect ratio.

Picture Quality:
The image clarity for Party Monsters is excellent, however the aspect ratio alterations really ruin the overall image quality. The picture quality for the “Mighty Morphin'” episodes varies from scene to scene, but nothing is worse than it’s ever been. At the end of the day, the picture quality earns a solid three out of five; “average” describes it perfectly.

Sound Quality:
The use of 2.0 Stereo Sound in Party Monsters is a let down when there’s a 5.1 Surround Sound mix readily available. What’s worse, the mix sounds tinny in some areas and flat in others. In contrast, the 2.0 Stereo Sound for the “Mighty Morphin'” episodes is excellent, and sounds just as good as it did when the show was new. The “Samurai” sound quality earns a one out of five, especially when placed next to the “Mighty Morphin'” sound quality, which deserves a five out of five. Those two extremes effectively skew the rating of the sound quality to a solid three out of five.

Final Thoughts:
At the end of the day, the only reason anyone should buy this disc is if they’re interested in owning a copy of Party Monsters. Keeping that in mind, if Party Monsters ever sees a proper 16:9 release with a 5.1 Surround Sound mix, I would recommend skipping Monster Bash entirely. Anyone whose considering this for Life’s A Masquerade or Trick or Treat should seriously look at Shout! Factory’s offerings instead. Compared to Lionsgate’s other offerings, Monster Bash leaves a lot to be desired.

Final Rating: 3 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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