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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Full Frame
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • Deleted scenes - #1 Original Episode
  • Teaser trailer - RoboTech, Transformers, Voltron
  • Theatrical trailer - 8 G-Force Ads
  • Audio commentary - #14 Race Against Disaster
  • Cast/crew biographies - Casey Kasem
  • Photo gallery - Mark and the G-Force Team
  • Booklet - Episode Guide
  • Interviews - with Casey Kasem
  • Jacket picture
  • Fact file - Marks Weapons and Vehicles

Battle Of The Planets - Collection 1

Madman Entertainment/AV Channel . R4 . COLOR . 400 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

I have come to realise that the fond memories of things from my childhood are often severely quashed upon revisiting; like facing the fact that Showbags are a rip-off, and that the rolling fields of the local park near where I grew up is nothing more than a vacant house-block.

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The G-Force Team.

That being said, there are few Retro DVDs that I will pick up with as much anxiety and apprehension as I did this one. I used to love settling down to watch Battle Of The Planets every afternoon, and part of me wanted to relive those carefree days.

The pessimist in me expected disappointment, but I just couldn't avoid hoping that this time it would be different. That this time, when I glanced back through the rose-coloured glasses of my youth, that it would be just the way I remembered it. And this time I was not disappointed...

This Box Set is AWESOME!

My anxiety peaked as I looked over the beautiful cover artwork. This looked promising. With great trepidation, I opened the case. I was faced with more amazing artwork - and three snazzy DVDs. I carefully took the first DVD from its mounting...

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The mighty Phoenix arrives!

A wave of disco theme music begins. A flash of colour. Five young, caped heroes leap deftly onto the screen: Battle Of The Planets. Mark, Jason, Princess, Keyop and Tiny (well, okay, Tiny doesn't exactly leap). They are G-Force! And who could forget the Phoenix fighter plane and it's mysterious 'Transmute' conversion into the flaming bird - the Fiery Phoenix?!

Ahhh... It takes me back - it was exactly as I remembered it! Complete with corny dialogue and bad jokes...

"It's Magno-Electric kelp! Get us out of here Tiny..."

In the very near future, Earth is constantly under attack by alien invaders from the dying planet Spectra. Under the power-hungry leadership of Commander Zoltar, the forces of Spectra plan to take over the Earth and strip it of it's resources - but with G-Force there to stop them, it won't be an easy task!

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Zoltar plots his evil take-over.

G-Force's constant vigilance help protect Earth and it's galaxy from the repeated attacks from Spectra. In this set of stories, we meet a myriad of mechanical monsters, including: A giant robot lobster; a swarm of radio-controlled squids; an oversized metal goblin; a vicious mechanical peacock; and of course, the terrifying technological Terrapin - to name but a few!

In late 1977 when Sandy Frank was searching for a new show for young American audiences, he came across a Japanese Anime called "Kagaku Ninja-Tai Gatchaman" (Science Ninja-Team Gatchaman). Frank and his team heavily modified the original Japanese episodes to remove excessive violence in order to produce a palatable cartoon to meet US censorship requirements.

Riding on the back of the success of "Star Wars" released in cinemas earlier that year, Frank decided to introduce a space theme, not present in the original premise; and a robot (7-ZARK-7) to provide book-end sequences and continuity voice-over to prevent the highly edited plots from becoming potentially confusing.

Fantastic machines, and evil villians in flared pants; Battle of the Planets engages our imagination and transports us in the Fiery Phoenix to amazing places!

Traaaansmute!

  Video
Contract

Created for late 70s Television, the Feature transfer in 4:3 Fullframe, which is fine and understandable - even if a little unfortunate!

As with most film stock from the 1970s, there is a slightly blue tinge. This, however, is the way it appeared on TV when it first aired in the early 80's. Colour across all the Episodes is pretty good for 1970's film. And, being generally bright and well saturated, allows appreciation of the magnificent painted backdrop images incorporated into each of the Episodes.

The cartoon outlines can be a little soft but, again, are not inconsistent with the original film prints.

The only slightly disappointing transfers are for the Alternative Episodes on Disc 3. Although very watchable they tend to suffer from some compression issues and grey, washed out colours.

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Some of the wonderful Artwork.

For the main features, the image quality is bright and clear for a show of this vintage - I hope that this is evident from the screen grabs I have provided. Finally, it must be said that the Gallery images, included on Disc 3, are simply excellent - it's just a pity there aren't more of them!

  Audio
Contract

Again, as expected for it's age, the audio track is only Dolby 2.0 mono. However, the audio is crystal clear and the volume is well balanced within each Episode - but explosions still pack a punch through the sub-woofer.

Something else to appreciate is that the volume levels are consistent across all Episodes,which is nice, as the stories play end-to-end.

Character dialogue is always clear and discernible from the pacing score, and the pound of weapon fire - and the eerie cry of the Fiery Phoenix can be heard across the land...

  Extras
Contract

This First Season Box Set release contains the first 17 thrilling Episodes of this amazing 85 Episode cartoon series. And, being the first of five Seasons, this Boxed Set is dedicated to the first of the G-Force Team, Mark: G-Force Commander. Here is the Episode listing:

Disc 1:
#1 Attack of the Space Terrapin
#2 Seige of the Squids
#3 Decoys of Doom
#4 Mad New Ruler of Spectra
#5 Peril of the Preying Mantis
#6 Giant From the Planet Zyr
#7 The Thing with 1000 Eyes

Disc 2:
#8 Fastest Gun in the Galaxy
#9 Panic of the Peacock
#10 Raid of the Space Octopus
#11 The Space Rock Concert
#12 Mammoth Shark Menace
#13 The Fiery Lave Giant
#14 Race Against Disaster

Disc 3:
#15 A Whale Joins G-Force
#16 Rescue of the Austronauts
#17 Big Robot Gold Grab

Episode #14 Race Against Disaster on Disc 2 also contains a commentary with Ronny Schell:Jason, Janet Waldo:Princess, Alan Young: Keyop. Unfortunately, the conversation by the stars is interesting but a little bewildering. One of them even admitting not watching the series before let alone this particular episode. The only one who seemed to enjoy it was Janet - good on you Princess!

Of special interest amongst these extras is the Episode 1 Comparison. The original Gatchaman series was reworked into two entirely different shows: Battle of the Planets and G-Force. The Japanese version was deemed too violent for US audiences, and a modified version was required leading to the creation of Battle of the Planets. Years later, the series was re-worked again to create G-Force with most of the original violent footage being reinstated, but the dialogue was dumbed down for the younger audience. So to showcase the differences in content, the three versions of the first Episode are included complemented by an Essay by Jason Hofius (Battle of the Planets historian) to help us understand some of the finer details. It is excellent to see that the original first 'Gatchaman' Episode made it onto this disc - complete with English subtitles!

With each new adaptation, came new Episode names, the different Episode 1 versions included are:

  • Battle Of the Planets: Attack of the Space Terrapin
  • G-Force: Attack of the Space Stegasaur
  • Gatchaman: Gatchaman vs Turtle King

    Two further Alternate Episodes of episode #2 Seige of the Squids and episode #4 Mad New Ruler of Spectra are also included. These are Battle of the Planets episodes but have different start/end title sequences and contain a little bit more of the violent action. Unfortunately the quality of these two episodes is quite poor.

    Being a Box Set dedicated to the leader Mark, the next lot of extras focus mainly on him, with a Character Profile providing a few paragraphs about Mark and his history. Also included is a collection of sketches and paintings in the Character Gallery, and a Weapons & Vehicles Profile gives us some info about Mark's Jet and Sonic Boomerang.

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    Transmute!

    And who could forget Casey Kasem - the voice behind Mark. Included is an Interview with Casey and how he landed the role of Mark, as well as a brief Casey Biography. Kasem is also well known for other famous voice roles including: Robin from Batman and Robin; Shaggy in Scooby Doo; and of course, music fans will remember his voice from the American Top 40 radio show.

    To round out this collection of Extras are Vintage Promo Spots featuring eight original TV promos of varying quality, and the usual Madmad Propaganda previewing some other anime titles such as Robotech, The Transformers and Voltron.

    Finally, it must be said that the DVD Box Set itself is nothing short of brilliant, with wonderful artwork and an incredible attention to detail - and this is only the first Season Set!

    Madman have once again provided more than just a box of old Episodes, and provided packaging and attention to detail worthy of such a memorable and wonderful epic.

  •   Overall  
    Contract

    Battle of the Planets has easily stood the test of time - and the continuous attacks from Spectra. The Episodes still have the power to entice viewers of all ages.

    Each Episode is entrancing, cleverly constructed and exceedingly enjoyable. The fantastic concepts and depth of characters shows complexity uncommon for similar shows of the time.

    G-Force!!


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=4633
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      And I quote...
    "Fantastic machines, and evil villians in flared pants, Battle of the Planets engages our imagination and transports us to amazing places!"
    - Michael Sammut
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS730P
    • TV:
          Sony 76cm Widescreen KVHR32M31
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB790
    • Lifestyle System:
          Sony SAVE835ED 5.1 Speaker Package
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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