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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - January, 2011

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"Swat Kats, The Complete Series" (DVD) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-january-2011-kats

Synopsis

Megakat City has many evils to defend against.  It seems like every week there’s a dinosaur, deadly bacteria, a doomsday machine or some other seemingly insurmountable threat.  Protecting the city are the Enforcers led by an incompetent commander named Feral (these are cats after all).  Where the Enforcers fall short, the Swat Kats come to the rescue.  By day they are mechanics working out of a junkyard.  But their shop hides a fantastic secret in the form of the Turbokat, a high-tech plane and fighting machine.  When danger looms, Jake and Chance become T-bone and Razor flying straight into the face of huge monsters and maniacal villains.  When the bad guys come to town, you can bet the fur will fly!

Specifications

  • Hanna Barbera
  • 1993-94, Color, Not Rated, 8 Hr 48 min
  • Aspect Ratio:  1.37:1
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • 480i
  • English, Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Starring the voices of:  Barry Gordon, Charles Adler and Gary Owens
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Cartoon Variety
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

This is another Hanna-Barbera classic but for the older kids.  While there is plenty of comedy, the action is probably too intense for the youngest children.  There are plenty of sci-fi B-movie moments and the bad-guys are typical 1950’s fare.  The story lines are well-thought out and even a longtime action movie fan like me can find something to enjoy.  Each episode is around 20 minutes so you can sit back and chew on a few of these without engaging your mind too often.  It’s popcorn action at its colorful and cartoonish best.

Technical

The sample I received came on DVD-R discs instead of mass-produced ones.  Though they will work in the majority of players, be sure yours supports DVD-R before you buy or rent this title.

The DVD transfer was reasonably free of dirt and scratches but I did see ghosting around black lines and some softness.  The clarity was inconsistent from scene to scene ranging from sharp to moderately soft.  Color was bright and vivid in the best traditions of hand-drawn animation.  This is pure pen and ink with nary a hint of computer-enhanced trickery.  My hat’s off to a very talented team of artists.  I did see some edge enhancement which seemed to reduce sharpness and increase jaggies in many instances.

The stereo soundtrack was very dynamic and to the fore at all times.  I even had to reduce the volume from my usual starting point which is a rare occurrence.  The music accompanying the Swat Kats is pure 80’s rock which really brought back some memories of my youth.  The dialog showed a high degree of fidelity with hints of reverb added to increase the sense of space.  It’s some of the best cartoon audio I’ve ever heard.

Extras

The only extra is a montage of scenes from the series’ episodes arranged in a documentary format.