Captain Planet & The Planeteers – Season One (Shout! Factory DVD Set)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C Episodes: B-
and early ‘90s had a ton of interesting animated series, most of which only
lasted a season or two. One series that
had a great impact on children of the time was Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
The series uniquely focused on the troubles of pollution and the efforts
of a group of supercharged environmentalist who were out to stop it at all
Captain Planet’s group of ‘Planeteers’ posed the
powers of Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, Earth, and Heart; with all but ‘Heart’
being self explanatory and to be honest I still don’t get it. Essentially the group of youngsters are
granted their powers by a set of ‘magical’ rings given to them by The Spirit of
Earth, Gaia (voice of Whoopi Goldberg).
Gaia is a ‘Mother Earth’ figure who guides the planeteers in their
efforts to save the world from eco-hazards.
It is when the power of the rings are combined, however, that the true
magic happens. The rings have individual
powers, but all together they call upon Captain Planet (voice of David
Coburn). Captain Planet is essentially
the eco-friendly version of Superman, being all powerful with few weaknesses;
making it even odder that the troop of good doers don’t call upon him until all
hope is lost. I suppose there is
something to be said for trying your best before calling for help, but with the
same formula being used again and again you would think they would learn.
(in a strange set of events) was created by none other than Ted Turner and
partner Robert Larkin III. It is said
that Turner had a real passion for the project, but with all his eccentricities
I suppose it shouldn’t be any big surprise.
The series inspired a generation and brought the issue of
environmentalism to the forefront; even later trying to tackle the issue of
HIV/AIDS is one very special episode. The
series utilized classic superhero/villain archetypes each episode with an
environmental twist. The villains were
the likes of Hoggish Greedly (voiced by Ed Asner), Rigger (voiced by John
Ratzenberger), Looten Plunder (voiced by James Coburn), Sly Sludge (voiced by
Martin Sheen), Verminous Skumm (voiced by Jeff Goldblum), Dr. Blight (voiced by
Meg Ryan) and many more. Needless to
say, Ted Tuner’s pull in the industry on top of the ‘save the world’ theme of
the series didn’t hurt in pulling in big names to help out. The sheer amount of talent that joined
together for this series is to this day astonishing. Along with the main theme of the weekly
adventures, each episode ended with two 30second clips that were more direct
about the environmental concerns and how we could help change the world.
love to say the series has completely held up over the years, but in truth Captain Planet: Season One is just as
odd and cornball as many of the other series of the time. Sometimes fond memories are better left that
way and I am sad that Captain Planet has
not stood the test of time. On the other
hand I see exactly what was going on, it was a simple way to express concern
for growing trends that were hurting the earth.
Children are the future and like exposing them to a new language at a
young age, Turner’s efforts to push environmentalism may have been a great
start even if it only impacted limited numbers.
technical features on Captain Planet are
nice although not perfect. The picture
on this 26 episode set is presented in a full screen transfer that obviously
came straight from analog tape without much effort to clean up the image at
all. The colors are muted, there is grit
and grime galore, and blacks are from inky.
The sound is a simple stereo presentation that is far from perfect and
often sounds distant and muffled, this on top of crackles and screeches that
more of a ‘bootleg’ quality than this reviewer would have expected.
extras are nice as they contain a featurette entitled ‘Your Powers Combined:
The Story of Captain Planet’ that has a host of behind the scene looks and
interviews. Also included are a bunch of
story board segments and a Concept
Art Gallery. Nothing overwhelmingly fantastic, but more
than most series get. As a nice touch
the 4-Disc set comes in a 60% post-consumer recyclable and compostable, 100%
recycled fiber case (in other words…paper case).
its faults, I loved this set. It brought
back good memories and still remained fun; I even think younger audiences could
learn a lot from Captain Planet.
- Michael P. Dougherty II