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Another of the Gods' tests?
on 12 October 2004
For all UK-based Ulysses 31 fans, it has been a long, long wait. But was it worth it?
Well, about 9 months ago I bought the French 5-disc boxed set, not knowing if, or when, the English version would be released on DVD. The French packaging is lavishly designed with images taken straight from the cartoon, and there's a handful of extras on each disk. You have the option of full opening and closing credits with each episode (albeit in French), and each episode has been digitally remastered so the colours and effects can be seen in all their intended glory. It's quite simply a quality piece of work.
Truth be told, the UK release suffers badly by comparison. By cramming all 26 episodes onto 3 discs, Fox have had to truncate the opening and closing credits. This is a real pity, because every fan will tell you that the theme is one of the most memorable things about this series. The box art is shoddy (sorry 'Extremist', whoever you are), and gives the impression of one of those cheap Disney rip-offs where the characters have obviously been plagiarised, but don't look *quite* right.
As for the quality of the transfer, my initial impression is that it's just not as clean or crisp as the French release, but I might be wrong. Could it be that Fox has released an un-remastered version? I'd love to be able to find out for sure, but since [...] (the distributor) was taken over by The Contender Group, you can't get specific product details on the website any more. Throw in a complete lack of extras, and some pointlessly re-named episodes (I'm certain that 'Trapped Between Fire And Ice' was originally called 'Scylla And Charybdis'), and you end up with something that is only so-so when it could have been GREAT, purely because someone, somewhere, decided to cut corners unnecessarily.