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4.8 out of 5 stars109
4.8 out of 5 stars
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2008
I have to say that when I originally watched this cartoon around 20 years ago, I became absolutely hooked. I couldn't believe how good it was. That was the general consensus of most people who watched it, it really was compulsive viewing!

Now having purchased it from HMV & watched it, it's even better than I remember it. The visuals are stunning & the music adds to the feel of the cartoon better than any other I have ever seen, but the storyline is what really hooks you.

I would have to describe this as a 'what if'. What if Eldorado really existed? What if there really was a city of Gold built by an advanced ancient civilisation? This is the cartoon that explores this thesis. Heavily based on historical fact, this combines it with a fantasy element, though not so much as to make it ridiculously unbelievable (as many other programmes and films have), rather it serves to educate the viewer in a mature & entertaining way. Combined with a historical piece at the end of each episode, it teaches you many things you were unaware of.

Okay, so nothing is perfect and it does have one or two flaws. The most obvious one being the dialogue. Sometimes it does indeed come across that the characters are reading from a script because the tone is somewhat fast and flat at times and I noticed that on occasions the characters will be walking single-file at a distance of about 50 or so feet and the last in line appears to hear what the first is saying, but that is soon forgotten in the brilliance of the piece.

Overall though it is a stunning piece of animation and the message that comes across over & over again during the 39 episodes is that love & compassion should always take presidence over greed & self interest. In a word, Unmissable!
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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2008
"Mysterious Cities of Gold" on DVD! Who'd have thought? I remember being at uni in 2000 and having to watch the episodes in RealPlayer format as nobody knew who held the copyright to the series! To whoever sorted out the copyright mess, THANK YOU.

This is a box set that has been lovingly put together. Nothing is lacking, they've put everything in here that you could possibly want, including the hilarious moment when Philip Schofield and Gordon the Gopher sang along to the theme tune (which I remember from the first time around).

Some cartoon series don't hold up to adult viewing but this one does. Apart from the interesting factual clips at the end of each episode, the series does not skip over the darker side of history and the characters actually have some depth. But I know I'm preaching to the choir. Buy it, treasure it, show your kids how cartoons used to be made.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The Mysterious Cities of Gold - a delightful Japanese/French co-production, is an epic anime series, obviously aimed at the younger viewer, but intelligent enough for us grown-up children still to enjoy! The action takes us from 15th century Spain to the New World, where the Spaniards are desperate to plunder the legendary golden treasures. The child characters - Esteban, Tau and Zia, are noble and selfless, whereas the adults tend to be greedy and ruthless. The most well-rounded of the latter is Mendoza the navigator. His initial motives are less than altruistic. He finds redemption though by protecting the children and is content to settle for a modest share of the plunder. The out-and-out boo-hiss villains are Gomez, Gaspard and the Olmecs (more on them later). Comedy value is added by the stammering Sancho and the rather chimp-like Pedro, not to mention the plump, chatty and rather precocious parrot Kokapetl. A particularly nice feature is the brief but informative mini-documentary at the end of each episode that explores South American native culture. The tale starts with a fair degree of historical accuracy, as the Spaniards sail West, intoxicated with gold-fever. As the tale unfolds though, more fantastic elements are introduced - ancient technology (Erich Von Daniken style) and the mythical realms of Hiva (Mu) and Atlantis. That I could live with. The Solar ship and golden condor were undeniably spectacular and were suitable Macguffins with which to advance the plot. What I found more hard to swallow though was the recasting of the Olmecs - in reality one of the earliest but most inventive South American civilisations, as villainous aliens (or possibly deformed humans). But enough nit-picking! The great thing about TMCoG is that it doesn't shy away from the darker elements of human nature and the 40 or so episodes will give you a great many hours of adventure. There's even a satisfyingly happy ending. Oh, and don't forget the terrific theme tune, which will be stuck in your head for days!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2009
This box is a nice buy. It consists of 6 dvd's which are folded into a cardboard foldable section. The amount of extras that are with it are rather funny. Cards, overview map etc.

De quality of the dvd's itself is excellent, the only minus I found was that there are no subtitles whatsoever. Normally I don't mind national subtitles (I am a dutch person) but I prefer to have english subtitles just for the convenience of putting the sound a little lower.

Other than that, the series were exactly as I remembered, funny, well written en the extras on the dvd are also a nice thing to have. I really wonder why series like these, which are rather educational even, are not shown on television anymore.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2011
This is one of the shows that I remember best from my childhood. Intelligent, well written and exciting. Unlike other cartoons shows of the era which were essentially individually packed episodes, this truly is an epic story told over the whole series. At the end of every episode there is a short (about a few minutes) non-animated documentary explaining some of the factual basis behind the themes of the episode. These were excellent.

I really wanted the HMV 'special edition' of Cities of Gold when it was first released on DVD, but I missed the opportunity at the time. I finally decided to get the deluxe edition from Amazon and I was (pleasantly!) surprised that it contained the poster and six postcards that I expected the HMV only version to contain. I guess this is the difference between the slimline version and the more expensive one on Amazon and may influence the decision of some of the more nostalgic out there.

I don't have children, but when I do, I'll be making them watch this show so they can understand how good TV for my generation was. Damn I sound old
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Mysterious Cities of Gold is one of those cartoons that for some reason I never really got into as a child, probably because it came to the BBC at a time when I was growing out of such things. The DVD release has shown me (much to my shame) just how much I missed back then but has also given me the opportunity to make amends.

Centred around Esteban (a boy who seems to be able to command the sun), Zia (a young Inca girl), Tao (the last descendent of the lost Hiva Empire), and the Spanish gold-hunters Mendoza, Pedro and Sancho, the series follows the group as they search for the seven Cities of Gold. Whilst the children are on the adventure for their own personal reasons, the Spaniards want nothing less than the wealth of the Americas and may, or may not, see the children as nothing more than a means to get it. As with any good drama, you'll be left guessing as to some of the character's true motives until the very end. Add into the mix the ruthless Spanish governor Pizarro and his minions, Gomez and Gaspard, all of whom are searching for the same gold and will go to any lengths to get it, and you have a story that's a great mix of adventure, exploration and sci-fi.

The people who re-mastered the series have done a really fantastic job, so much so that you'd be forgiven for thinking the print was only made last week. The colours are vibrant and clear without a hint of any digital artefacts, and although the original 4:3 aspect ratio remains, it upscales well enough on an HD TV to do the material justice. I did find the sound to be quite low throughout all the discs and had to turn the volume up to compensate, although this was nothing to get too worried about. This version of the series was originally recorded in French so the English cast have had to fit their lines into the French lip-syncing, which makes for some fast dialogue at times. This dialogue also isn't particularly clear in one or two scenes and the series doesn't have subtitles, so viewers who are hard of hearing or for whom English isn't their first language may have a slightly more difficult time with the show.

The producers have added some nice bonuses as well, including interviews with each of the main English-speaking cast members and the writer, Jean Chalopin. These give a great insight into how and why the series was made, and the pitfalls the makers had to overcome to get it to our shores. There's also the infamous `Phillip Schofield Broom Cupboard' sing-along, a treat for those of us of a certain age.

The series itself has stood up very well over the years, much better then some cartoons from the same era. Each of the 39 episodes ends with a short but very interesting documentary film giving some historical detail focussed around the place or event shown in the episode itself. It's a little dark in places (although nothing compared to some of the things you see today that the broadcasters feel are fit for children) and doesn't try to gloss over history at all, but generally it seems fine for children of almost all ages. As a show it's charming, well-meaning and even when things look bleak you know everything's going to turn out ok - the perfect antidote to some of the dross that calls itself modern kids' television and much better than I remember.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2009
This is just fantastic. Had been looking for it for a while and found it here. I wanted it to be posted to Sri Lanka so i could use it in my class topic day about explorers and encounters. I didn't pay extra for quick delivery but it arrived within 14 days, sooner than I had expected, time for me to have a quick look and decide which episodes i wnated the children to watch. The children watched the first 3 episodes today and gave it a big thumbs up... so much so i've been pestered for the rest of the day to watch the rest as the topic continues. Thank you Amazon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2009
The dialogue isn't amazing, though the majority of the voices aren't too annoying. One annoyance is the number of times you can count Zia shouting "Esteban!" - there's too many times this happens to easily count! One thing most people will remember about this series though is it's memorable theme tune. As a special feature this theme tune is available with words for Karaoke. The rest of the music has an Andean feel to it, and some of the incidental music such as the piece for the Golden Condor is good to listen to.

In terms of animation it isn't as detailed as you would see today, but it is very symbolic of the style of children's Anime that was about at the time. On the 6 DVDs in the boxset there are the original documentaries that featured after every episode, deleted scenes, production documentary, biographies of cast and crew, original storyboards, a 32 page booklet, a double sided poster, and 6 postcards.

It's a fantastic boxset for a brilliant cartoon series that many will remember from their own childhood. To some degree it's even educational and opens you up to different cultures.

All I can really conclude with is that if you enjoyed this series before, then you're bound to enjoy it on DVD too! I enjoyed re-watching them, and you probably will too!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 September 2009
There are no words strong enough for how much I used to long for this to come out on video, and then DVD. This played only once (that I can recall) in the UK, and I remembered it with passionate intensity, always annoyed when I told someone about it and they had no idea what I was talking about. It was my absolute favourite cartoon of the 80s. It had everything. A rich storyline, well fleshed out characters, gorgeous settings, beautiful and atmospheric music, sublime quality of animation. It made you laugh, it made you cry! All of it was added together to make an instant classic.

Then I found out it was coming to DVD. I literally screamed outloud, like a crazed fanboy. And I dont feel the slightest bit ashamed to admit it.

Having this boxset is an absolute joy. The quality is every bit as good as I remember, and I can finally relive the glorious experiences of my childhood, curled up on the sofa with my feet up, singing along to "Children of the Sun"

To anyone that still doesnt have this, you simply MUST buy it. Even if your not a child of the 80s like me, its still a fabulous cartoon to behold. They just dont make them with this kind of quality anymore.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2010
I remember watching this series back in the day when Children's BBC was presented from a broom cupboard with Andi Peters and two arms known as The Butler. As there are 39 episodes and there was one shown a week it seemed to go on forever, but I'd rush home to see the next installment of The Mysterious Cities of Gold. I bough this box set collection recently for pure nostalgia.

It's an exciting storyline and subject for children, three children constantly outwit adults to find their way to hidden cities built from gold and, in two cases, search for their long lost fathers.

Well, after all these years it's still entertaining, not least the theme music, (superb!) however, the story does lose its way in parts what with a futuristic race freezing themselves looking for a cure to their old age using technology beyond the 21 century in the 16 century but as a child I think you'd overlook that.

I'm sure my children will enjoy to watch these as I did when I was their age, the question is, will I force them to sing every time the theme tune comes on?

Yes, yes I will.
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