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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
92 of 95 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic Indeed3 Mar. 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
This series lasted for two seasons, from 1994 to 1996, for a total of 26 episodes. The first season was quite forgettable, both in terms of story content and animation quality. In one of the few instances of an animated series being retooled in the middle of its run, the second season saw the show rebuilt almost from the ground up, with the only similarity being the voice cast (although Brian Austin Green was replaced by Quinton Flynn as the Human Torch). The animation was first rate, and stories were often taken directly from the comics work of Stan Lee & Jack Kirby and John Byrne. Of special note, the first episode of the season, "And a Blind Man Shall Lead Them," guest-stars Daredevil. Later episodes in year 2 guest-starred Ghost Rider, The Mighty Thor, and even The Incredible Hulk. The season finale is another Lee/Kirby adaptation and features the Silver Surfer. Bottom line, the sublime grandeur of the latter thirteen episodes of this set makes it worth every cent. Not to be missed by any true Fanatic of the Fantastic.
44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
NOT ON A PAR WITH SPIDERMAN BUT STILL GOOD10 Jun. 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
In the mid-90's many of Marvel's characters came to the small screen on Saturday mornings after the success of X-men and Spiderman. One of those was Marvel's very first group of Superheroes, the Fantastic Four. With the movie due to come out in a few weeks, it's great to have these episodes on DVD finally. The set contains all 26 episodes of the run. While I agree that the first season (And I have them on VHS because I am a geek) was inferior to the second season, the first season is not without its merits, mainly in the presentation of the group's origin as well as the two part "Silver Surfer and the Coming of Galactus" episode. This is one of the key moments in Marvel's silver age history and I thought they did a very nice job with it. I also enjoyed the Behold the Negative Zone episode as I loved the goofy villains Annihilus and Blaastar.
Things do pick up in season two in 1995 with several outstanding episodes including:
The Three part Inhumans Saga where the FF battle the Frightful Four and then eventually travel to the hidden Great Refuge of the Inhumans.
To Battle the Living Planet - The FF enlist the Aid of Galactus to battle Ego, the Living Planet, but at what price? Thor co-stars.
When Calls Galactus - Galactus is back to devour the earth and only the sacrifice of Frankie Raye saves the earth as she becomes his new herald named Nova.
Nightmare in Green - The Thing battles the Hulk! Nuff said!
Doomsday is an adaption of one of my favorite stories as Dr. Doom captures the Silver Surfer and steals his power to battle the FF.
While the animation on the Fantastic Four wasn't quite as good as Spiderman or the X-men, it was still pretty good and the show really seemed to be hitting its stride when it ended after just two seasons. And of course this is vastly superior to the two earlier cartoon versions of the 60's and 70's. Herbie the robot anyone?
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
It was half-right25 Oct. 2006
Sanford S. Williams
- Published on Amazon.com
Marvel had to follow DC and WB's success with BATMAN, and this was the best they could do. The first season was a bit weak, mostly because the episodes were adaptations of the classic Stan Lee/Jack Kirby stories, mostly by screenwriter Ron Friedman of G.I. JOE fame. I only wish this was done in the mid 1980s, because that's where most of the dialogue belonged.
The second season was a great improvement, moreso because of a revolving door of screenwriters. Even though the stories were still adaptations of works by Lee and Kirby, the staff managed to adapt three stories from John Byrne's run, which gave it some depth. The voice acting was on point.
Although now there's an anime-esque FF series on the Cartoon Network now, I still prefer both this set and the 1967-68 Hanna-Barbera animated FF as their best outings in animation. I hope the 1960s FF and SPIDER-MAN & HIS AMAZING FRIENDS will be collected on DVD anytime soon in the near future. The same for IRON MAN, SPIDER-MAN (1980s solo and 1990s solo series), the HULK and X-MEN/X-MEN: EVOLUTION. I can't forget the SILVER SURFER series, too.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Mixed Bag of Tricks20 May 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
This is one of those rare boxed sets that I had been savoring for quite some time. It turns out that I somehow managed to completely overlook this series when it was originally syndicated for broadcast television- probably on account of Batman and X-Men The Animated Series' which ran at the same time.
To clear the air, I've always had a bit of difficulty with the Fantastic Four source material, feeling that it had aged much less gracefully than some of the other comic stories that had spawned around the same time (in some cases, even earlier). I had never fully grasped why the solar radiation that bombarded the spacecraft had affected each of the crew members' DNA in such diverse means. Mutations I can understand, but the net result of the exposure had absolutely nothing in common with how it affected a person seated a mere foot away. Add to this names like Mr. Fantastic and the Fantastic-car and it doesn't take long to realize that Marvel has their hands full in this day and age with trying to represent a much more innocent era of human society to one that is far more jaded. But I digress, this is comic animation after all so let us put aside such technicalities and focus on the two-season boxed set at hand.
Regardless of how you view the team itself, the opening credits to the first season will recreate the group's origins through a cheesy pop jingle that will cause even the most diehard FF fans to question their devotion. Once the credits fade and the program begins, there is little in the way of an improvement to report. The plot execution and character development are simply terrible throughout the first two discs.
For whatever reason the animation is choppy and primitive paling even to its sister series, X-Men which began a full two years earlier. What's worse is that like Superfriends which aired a full two decades earlier, the first season of the Fantastic Four is riddled with ridiculous dialogue and cliché sound effects. Many times characters will over-explain themselves to the audience in dialog like "The impact has made me become visible. I must find a way out." Or villains will talk us through their world dominating schemes in step by step simplification. The story plots are sloppy and full of laughable situations. This isn't to suggest that it's impossible to sit through all thirteen episodes but be forewarned that the delivery here is best viewed with very low expectations.
Fortunately, discs 3 & 4 of the boxed set switch gears dramatically as the second (1995) season had gone through a complete retooling which included a new host of creative and development staff, improved animation, and even a new theme song. The animation itself was vastly improved to levels witnessed with other leading animated series' of the time. The character designs were also crafted to darker outfit motifs with more subtle voice work. The new opening credits are a vast improvement in their own right; providing a more epic feel to the whole concept. The show's writers were also wise to adapt plots right from the pages of the original Stan Lee/ Jack Kirby comics. Apparently the FF's originators knew well what worked and what didn't when laying out scenarios with their team.
The second season also does a nice job of incorporating a host of cameos in the form of both heroes and villains: Daredevil, Scarlet Spider, Ghostrider, The Hulk, and the X-Men all make appearances (just to name a few).
Sadly, however, is that this set comes to us from Buena Vista which immediately means a few nagging complaints. The first of which is that the set is basically completely devoid of features or extras. There are several-second intros read by Stan Lee himself before each episode but the effect is pretty lackluster in action. Other than that, zero, zip, zilch as far as extras are concerned. Also Buena Vista is known for its poor menu design. Fantastic Four is no exception with cobby navigation and a completely out of place sound score. Finally paying near $35 to own this set doesn't earn us immunity from Disney's promotional efforts as the set begins with some previews for other Disney films and DVDs (which thankfully can be skipped over with a well timed button press).
The episodes are presented in their original full-frame aspect ratio with no pixelation, edge enhancement, or other common transfer flaws. And like the video, the sound is crisp and clear, with the Dolby Digital 2.0 surround treatment to boot.
Overall this is a difficult series to rate. Season One earns a 2.5 score, Season Two deserves at least a 4 star rating, and the set itself, although beautifully packaged, earns a solid 3 for lack of extras and poor menu work. Since Amazon doesn't allow a score of 3.5 stars, I will round up to a 4 overall. Included on this set are the following:
The Origin of the Fantastic Four, Part One
The Origin of the Fantastic Four, Part Two
Incursion of the Skrulls
Now Comes the Sub-Mariner
The Silver Surfer & the Coming of Galactus, Part One
The Silver Surfer & the Coming of Galactus, Part Two
The Mask of Doom, Part One
The Mask of Doom, Part Two
The Mask of Doom, Part Three
The Silver Surfer and the Return of Galactus
Behold the Negative Zone
And a Blind Man Shall Lead Them
Inhumans Saga, Part One: And the Wind Cries Medusa
Inhumans Saga, Par Two: The Inhumans Among Us
Inhumans Saga, Part Three: Beware the Hidden Land
Worlds Within Worlds
To Battle the Living Planet
Prey of the Black Panther
When Calls Galactus
Nightmare in Green
Behold, a Distant Star
The Sentry Sinister
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Get it for the second season!6 Jun. 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
First off, be aware that the first season of this show is AWFUL! Terrible animation and lackluster action. The actors doing the voices are great though, but the cartoon is still very, very difficult to watch. HOWEVER, the second season is quite terrific! The animation and designs greatly improved, as did the use of the characters' powers, especially Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic. The same actors did the voices, with the exception of Human Torch, but the scripts were much better than the first season. If the first season of this series would have been as high-quality as the second season, this show probably would have lasted longer than it did. I suspect many fans gave up during the dreadful first season.