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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Children > TV > The Simpsons - Bart Wars (Fox DVD)

The Simpsons Ė Bart Wars


Picture: C†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: C+†††† Episodes: B-



While I may not be the carnosaur of knowledge as our famous Simpsonís Geek critic for this site, The Simpsons hold a special place in my memory bank as well, which is why I was glad to be able to review Bart Wars.This is a single disc collection of four Simpsons episodes, which is a bizarre entry considering that Fox has been issuing The Simpsons as seasons on DVD for quite some time, although they are certainly taking their good oleí time about it.Perhaps, this is a solid sale for someone who doesnít want to drop half a fortune on an entire season, but would still like to have a few episodes to frequently revisit and reminisce.


For me, going back on some of these episodes reminded me of how much the show gradually shifted over its course in time as these episodes range from 1992 up to around 1998.One thing is for certain is that by the time 1992 came around the show had drastically shifted from what itís initial conception was either before it became itís own show or even season one.You can find reviews for the seasons on this site as our Simpsonís Geek can further elaborate on the actual show.


I will not even dare to try to drone on with infinite knowledge about the show, but my memories of its earlier days were well sealed.I remember how huge the show was and very controversial, yet I also remember the barriers the show broke down as it charted new territory as an animated show that was Öa family show?Was it a family show?Perhaps at first it was almost like an animated version of Married With Children, but then the show evolved into a much smarter, tighter, and all the more funnier show as it began to parody and mock just about everything pop culture and cult culture alike.Letís face it Öthe show covered almost everything.It is no wonder why the show has remained a hit on some level for so long.


Going back to this particular DVD release, itís strange that Fox would issue something like this and the way that it is marketed is even more bizarre.First as most can tell the title Bart Wars is a obvious intention to play with the Star Wars idea and even the front cover has Bart (Luke Skywalker) in a sword fight with Homer (Darth Vader) and the back cover has Marge (Obi Won) with Lisa (Princess Leia) and Maggie (Yoda) on it.However, none of the episodes actually have this content, although one episode does feature a little bit of Star Warís intervention in a Sci-Fi convention with Mark Hamill.




Dog of Death - A very funny episode in which everyone wants to play the huge jackpot lottery and the Simpson clan is no exception, however Santaís Little Helper ends up sick and needs and expensive operation.They agree to cut back some of their spending in order for the dog to have the operation, which he gets and is all better, but the things that everyone gave up to save the dog end up causing them to have a bit of spite towards Santaís Little Helper, so he runs off finding new refuge with Mr. Barns, who (in A Clockwork Orange fashion) turns the dog against the world as an attack dog.Is the familyís love strong enough to win back their dog though?


The Secret War of Lisa Simpson - Bart and Lisa end up in a military school together where Lisa is put to the test of her abilities.What she thought would be the perfect place for her due to the strong disciplinary guidelines ends up causing her more strife than she thought.Can she be the next G.I. Jane?Or will Bart save her from her own torment?


Marge Be Not Proud - This is one of those more Ďmessageí oriented episodes in which Bart is caught stealing the hottest video game and ends up disappointing Marge.Marge realizes that Bart is growing up and canít keep treating him like a child anymore.There are some really great moments in this one though that really plays off of society and marketing.


Mayored to the Mob - This is a great episode that really tackles that nature of Homer Simpson the best.He ends up saving Mark Hamill at a convention, which earns him the new position of bodyguard and begins taking the role a bit too serious, which has the entire family in upheaval.Will they settle for Homerís new role, or will the family end up needing a bodyguard to keep them from one of their own?


While these episodes do hold charm, it is doubtful that many will really want just a sample of fun.After watching these four you become thirsty for more.There is also one little extra as well, which is an animated breakdown and storyboard version of Mayored to the Mob, which enables the viewer to better appreciate the animation process from initial conception to final product.This was pretty cool!


All of the episodes are kept to their original broadcast TV aspect ratio of 1.33 X 1 and look ok, but certainly not stellar.You can notice a bit of interlacing problems that occur with this Ďcombingí effect that happens occasionally.You may not notice it depending on what you are watching it on.A tube television may not be nearly as bad, but anything that is High Definition, projection, or even Flat Panel might cause a problem.I even noticed, and this could be the animation, that colors were often a bit off.Even during the opening title sequence you can see parts where the green glowing radiation stick is not always green, but at times looks yellow.Also, the car when pulling into the driveway does not stay a consistent color, which once again this could be the difference between seasons.


I also noticed that the show appears to have a washed out quality at times that I never remember the show having during broadcast, which could be a problem in the transfer or perhaps the conversion from that source onto DVD.Overall, colors seem weak, softness is abundant, and detail is not very sharp all of which make for a rather so-so experience.We are able to have some forgiveness with the understanding that this is animated and also over 10 years old in certain episodes, but is a restoration possible or some sort of cleanup?


The sound is also nothing to fly a flag high about as the shows are presented in a Dolby Surround setting, which is more Stereo in itís origins anyway.Since the shows are mostly dialogue based this is forgiving and the shows never had a huge sound design to begin with, but there is some minor fidelity issues and even a bit of distorted sound here and there.While this is nothing overly detrimental I would suspect it was just a matter of not have a totally clean source to begin with.


If you canít wait for all the seasons to come out and/or donít feel like dumping a ton of money into the franchise, than this may be a decent disc to have in your collection.Serious fans will have it just to have it, but the majority of people will probably see right through what seems like a marketing scheme to just throw a few shows onto a disc just to get it out there in time for the release of Star Wars Episode III.Letís hope Fox stays away from that trend.



-†† Nate Goss


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