Saturday, May 15, 2004

Invader Zim DVD Review

I pre-ordered the Invader Zim DVD off, and just received it last night. It was my opinion that Invader Zim is second only to Ren & Stimpy as the greatest network TV show aimed at kid's television since The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse, so I was more than excited to get the DVD. Sure, I already had all the episodes downloaded burnt on CD-ROM, but that was only because I didn't think there was an ice cube's chance this thing would ever make it to DVD...

First of all, as is expected, the quality of the episodes is great. No flaws whatsoever, no odd sound or something like that. All perfect. It features the first 9 episodes, and because most of the episodes were actually two 15-minute shorts, that's 17 episodes total, PLUS the original pilot episode. So you're getting quite a bit of Zim for your buck.

The presentation is lacking, in my opinion. The intro screens for Media Blasters and Anime Works are horrendously annoying... the DVD presentation art is okay, but with no moving pictures, and the looping music during the scene selection that restarts each time you press "Next" gets REALLY old REALLY fast. Also, in order to go straight to your favorite episode, you're required to go through Scene Selection, rather than just a menu that lets you select a toon. It's an odd set-up, I was expecting something more in the vein of the Simpsons DVDs or the Looney Tunes Gold Collection. But once you figure it out, it's sufficient.

The animatics are your usual animatics... probably not interesting unless you're (a) an animation geek or (b) a cartoonist. I'm both, so I enjoy it, but even I get a little bored after a while. That's not really the fault of the feature itself, just the nature of that sort of extra, and it's nice that they threw it in there.

The original pilot episode is all right, simply interesting for what they did and didn't change, but it is unpolished. Online, people keep saying it looks a lot more like "Ren & Stimpy," much squishier... admittedly, you only notice this in one or two scenes. What I do notice is much more comic-book-influenced stuff, like jagged-line boxes behind characters and things like that. Also, Billy West is not a great Zim... no offense to him, but there's a definite reason they changed the voice actor.

The commentary is quite good, I really enjoy it. They have a healthy bunch of people, including series creator Jhonen Vasquez, and a slew of other voice actors and such. Some commentaries are plagued with nothing for the people to talk about, but this is actually pretty interesting... obviously, there's the average amount of the cast goofing around, but for the most part I'm pleased with it.

The DVD is worth the price if you dig Invader Zim, which is really what it's all about. It isn't perfect, but then again, this thing really doesn't have the stature, influence and importance of something like Looney Tunes, so maybe it doesn't have to.

Of course, if you're like me, the chance to hear Jhonen Vasquez insult fans who create their own Invaders when they don't exist in the show on the commentary is worth the 20+ bucks alone.

   - posted by Tyler Sticka @

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