Top positive review
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A truly great show with a few odd changes.
on 20 October 2007
I have been a huge fan of Dick Spanner ever since it was originally on television back in the 80's. I even spent years tracking it down on video. The advent of the internet made my search significantly easier and I procured a copy, early in 2006.
Obviously, when I heard that it was coming out on DVD I was rather excited. However, when I finally got it (the release date was continuously put back for some reason) I was utterly perplexed: The picture quality was, for the most part, on a par with my VHS copy. I presumed that the master tape had simply deteriorated so there was not scope to produce sharper visuals. There are some moments, however, where the picture slows and stutters, I presume to cover up glitches in the original tape.
The thing that was really strange to me though, was the fact that the sound had been altered quite drastically. The original series was made to a tight budget and the music was all done on a synthesiser. This version, however, has got a lounge jazz band playing through the whole thing. The original music has been stripped out completely, I assume to prevent the series being dated by the electronica of the original.
Now, I don't want to sound like a purist, but the original music was far more quirky and less generic than the new soundtrack and it gave a much better atmosphere to the whole thing (I miss the original “10 Finger Rag” piano piece, too). It also appears that when they stripped out the music, they seemed to lose some of the original sound effects, some of which were crucial to getting certain jokes (The one that stood out was the recurring joke about the unseen man trying to machine gun the cockerel that sounded in the mornings – The man shouting and his machine gun are present, but not the cockerel... So the whole thing made no sense if you'd not seen it before!).
What I did appreciate was the fact that they had returned the format to its original episodes, rather than the video version which threw each of the two series together into single features. Along with this, a few scenes have been replaced that were absent from the video recording.
The extras are, well, not great. The interview showed that the interviewer had done very limited research and this evidently frustrated Gerry Anderson. The music video is just tripe.
However, now that I have finished my rant I would like to point out that this is possibly the funniest and sharpest animation projects I've ever seen. It's incredibly funny and has it's tongue wedged firmly in its cheek and I still have to whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone.
All in all, it's still a wonderful example of grown up animation – I just wish it had been left alone more.