Star Wars - Ewoks Animated Adventures DVD Review
PictureWell, much as with Droids, the visual transfer is pleasant without being anything special. Coming at you in full screen 4:3, you'll notice immediately the warm and evocative use of colour and the consistent stability of the backgrounds. Whilst there is a lovely palette to the colour scheme, it is somewhat muted and a touch washed-out. But, given the age of the material and the un-taxing medium it was designed for, this is to be expected and is totally forgivable. There is a degree of fuzziness to the edges and a smattering of fine grain but, unlike Droids, the colours did not seem to bleed too badly and although there was some slight over-saturation of the bolder colours, the overall image was quite acceptable. But, as with Droids, I did find evidence of artefacts and that same blurry patch dogging some centre-stage action. Again, I hope that this is relegated purely to the check disc and not the retail copies. Fast action experienced some very slight trailing but, to be fair, the target audience will notice nothing to detract from their entertainment. And you Star Wars completists out there (like me, really) should not bemoan the lack of a THX transfer, either. These are old TV cartoons and they look just fine. Trust me ... I'm a Jedi. According to the census form, anyway.
SoundPresented with Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround, Ewoks is a mixed bag, really. The first set of shows, The Haunted Village, actually has a little bit in the way of surround and a nice, warm enveloping sound design - all forest noises and punchy dynamic voices, action and effects. It features a pretty well delivered deep base rumble, too. Sadly, Marco D'Ambrosio's naff score comes through all too well, and will drive you insane with its repetitive use of bad signature themes. The second set of shows, Tales From The Endor Woods, actually takes a bit of a dive though, consigning most of the sound to the front and centre. Even the sub gets neglected this time around. It makes me wonder if this is just the check disc though. However, the sound is altogether better than that accompanying Droids - more engrossing and dynamic and with better surround use. And Ben Burtt didn't supply the sound effects this time around. Mind you there aren't any TIE Fighters or laser bolts rattling through the woods now that Han, Leia and Chewie have left.
VerdictGiving Ewoks 6/10 would have seemed mighty generous to me before seeing the disc and now, afterwards, it actually seems a little harsh. This is, without doubt, great entertainment for young kids. A terrific slice of dark fantasy with interesting stories, an engaging cast of characters, a mythical fairytale approach and some sublime visuals. Oh yeah, and a few life lessons, as well. And, much as I can't believe it myself, I loved it. It contains that fabulous little cosy Saturday morning ease and breeze that just washes over you and yet, if you like, there is a welcome element of darkness to raise the interest level a bit more. But, in the real world, there are those for whom their hatred of all things Ewok-ian cannot be reversed. I once considered myself of a similar leaning. Now, I cannot claim that my enjoyment of these cartoons has in any way, shape or form, altered my loathing for the creatures in the movies - Jedi especially, but even their own cinematic outings are ropey to say the least - but, in their own world and unencumbered by human, Jedi, droid or storm trooper, they work perfectly well. And this, of course, is where they should be allowed to remain. Little furry people having big adventures on the small screen. Children will be enormously entertained and for them alone I would award Ewoks 8/10. The child within us all should fall for them also but I'm not that naïve as to believe that a lot of the hardnosed Imperialists out there can change as easily as I did. Tell you what, if the Dark Side came wrapped in fur and whispered “Beecha wawa,” in my ear I think I'd fall quicker than Anakin. So, overall, Ewoks is a great way to while away a couple of hours. It's better than Droids and would actually be great viewing even for kids who have no knowledge of the Force. Although, with Revenge Of The Sith just around the corner, there can't be many of them about.
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