Joined: 09 Jul 2005
Location: Mt. Haven
|Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 5:23 pm Post subject: Visionaries DVD Review
|Let me start by saying that I never watched Visionaries as a kid. Mostly because the show didn't air in my area, but also because I saw the toys and thought they were kind of lame. After G.I. Joe and Transformers, to suddenly see these 6" tall figures of old men whose only claim to fame was a hologram on their chest--well, I just thought the cartoon better be awesome to get me to buy the toys.
So we've established that I never saw the show before, and I walked into this DVD with an automatic bias against it.
However, I'm a huge fan of Flint Dille and Buzz Dixon, two writers who did a lot of fantastic G.I. Joe episodes. And my pal HooveR pointed me at this set, reminding me that Dille and Dixon were responsible for the majority of this series. So I gave it a try.
I'm so glad I did. For those of you who are fans of the Sunbow animated shows (Transformers, G.I. Joe, Jem, Inhumanoids) but haven't seen this one, it's truly a lost gem of the '80s. From what I understand, Dille and Dixon had pretty much free reign on the series, and they truly polished the stinky concept that was the Visionaries toy line.
There are other websites that can tell you what the idea of the show is, so I'll just point out the reasons why it shines in particular:
- Great characterization. As usual for Sunbow shows of that era, Dille and Dixon do a superb job of delivering the pertinent info on the characers quickly, with just enough subtle shading in their dialogue that they don't feel flat (well, some of the good guys do, but they're still entertaining).
- Unique approach for a Sunbow show. Unlike G.I. Joe and TF, which were mostly straight-up good vs. evil conflicts (though the good guys occasionally had to work with the bad guys), Visionaries has a lot of episodes where the Spectral Knights have to work with the Darkling Lords to stop some other menace. Makes for some great episodes, particularly "Horn of Unicorn, Claw of Dragon."
- Darned good animation for its time. Visionaries came out in 1987, same time as the third season of Transformers and the second of G.I. Joe. While TF's and Joe's animation were getting worse and worse (aside from a few fantastic ones in TF season 3), most of the 13 episodes in the Visionaries series are pretty good. Some are even great.
- Sunbow voice cast. Chris Latta, Neil Ross, Sue Blu, Mike McConnohie, Peter Cullen. All delivering fantastic performances, as always. Peter Cullen is especially great as Cindarr.
The best thing of all is it was discovering a whole new show from that era and finding out it was just as good as the ones I grew up with. That doesn't happen often.
Now, onto the DVD itself. To the best of my knowledge it can only be obtained from the UK here.
But for those of us in the US, there are DVD players that can play them. Cyberhome and Apex models are known to do this, and they can be found cheap. More info on them can be found at http://www.videohelp.com/
I got my copy of Visionaries for around $20, postage included. It has 2 discs which contain all 13 episodes of the series. The transfer is very nice--not digitally remastered nice, but very nice. Like brand-new vhs nice. Sound is pretty good, too. I was one of those people who complained when the TF Season One box set came out with the re-done audio. I want to experience these old cartoons the way I did when I was a kid--please don't fool with the sound thinking you'll impress me!
There's not a lot of special features on this set, and no extra stuff in the case. The discs have scripts for every episode, though--kinda neat, especially given that I love the writers who did them. I would've liked to see interviews with someone, but they did Dixon and Dille interviews on a G.I. Joe boxed set. And Mike McConnohie on a TF one. Sue Blu would've been a good interview, but alas...just scripts.
All things considered, though--$20 US for thirteen eps of a great show. I can deal without the extras.
It's nowhere near as fancy as the He-Man DVD set that just came out. But if you're looking for an awesome Sunbow series you may have missed--this is well worth the money.
Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Location: Dublin, Ireland
|Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:16 am Post subject:
Got this myself a while ago not quiet remembering a whole lot other then the kick ass Knights who had cool Holograms that came to life!
Really liked it - another great toon that was unfortunately way too short for my liking.
I must disagree about the toys though. I remember having a few and really like them, to each their own I suppose!
Again good review and great toon!