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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Action > Fantasy > TV > The Legend Of Prince Valiant: The Complete Series, Volume One (1991/Animated)

The Legend Of Prince Valiant: The Complete Series

Volume One (1991/Animated)

 

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

 

 

Hal Fosterís Prince Valiant is an all-time iconic comic strip character and hero, created back in 1937.There are fans of the 1954 Robert Wagner film to the point that both a DVD and CD soundtrack of the film (both reviewed elsewhere on this site) have been issued and a failed 1997 feature did not revive the character.Still, approaching its 70th anniversary, a more interesting incarnation happened towards the end of the life of the animated studio Filmation.The Legend Of Prince Valiant: The Complete Series, Volume One covers the first half of the two season of the show.

 

The character is part of the King Features Syndicate/Hearst Publishing family, one Filmation did interesting work with.Back in 1979, their animated Flash Gordon (also reviewed elsewhere on this site) was a hit and until the latter season, was some of the most cutting edge animation on U.S. TV.Filmation had created an amazing series of hit animated and live-action childrenís shows.This time, they had Patty Duke join their in-house crew and the result was a decent show.

 

Like Flash Gordon, the complex art of the comic strip had to be simplified to make the show affordable, but this show did even more rounding of angular designs than its predecessor for a more naturalistic variant of the classic strip.Known for their great use of color back when Technicolor did their earliest prints when their animation was simplest and cheapest, the studio kept higher color standards long after Hanna-Barbera, newcomer DIC and other studios threw in the towel.

 

This set has 33 shows on nine sides of five DVD with extras, we join Valiant as the son of a King who is attacked by the evil Cynan.They have to flee their castle, but a dream of Camelot and King Arthur lead shim to aligning with Merlin The Magician and the hunt for Camelot begins.You can imagine the rest is a set up for action and adventure.Though even the recent Antoine Fuqua King Arthur feature film (also reviewed elsewhere on this site) did not do as well as expected for eliminating the magic angle, though cutting it from R to PG-13 was a mistake by Disney, there is constant interest in the subject long after The Lord Of The Rings films concluded.

 

This is a good version, if not great.As compared to the 1979 Flash Gordon, whose earliest episodes hit the nail on the head about the characters and storyline, this Prince Valiant is not exactly perfect, but creator David J. Corbett was very ambitious and sincere in taking the characters in new directions and that is why it holds up so well over 15 years later.At least Filmation went out on top in the quality department.

 

The 1.33 X 1 image is in decent shape for its age, even if there are some slight detail issues.Though the color is not knockout beautiful, it is not overly dark, cheap or phony, showing the conclusive evolution of what the company was doing.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is not bad for its age, has no surrounds, but is pretty clean and clear.Extras are many and include a nicely-illustrated episode guide inside the DVD case, five episode teleplays in the PDF format for DVD-ROM, storyboard gallery, slideshow of character & background art, an interviews featurette and two audio commentary tracks.Corbett and writer Brooks Wachnel can be found in both of the latter, with comic strip Rick Norwood talking about the original strip on camera and voice actor/artist Noelle North on the commentaries with first hand observations about the making of the show.

 

Once again, BCI Eclipse has done a great job releasing a show long overdue on DVD and loaded it with terrific extras everyone can enjoy.I did I mention how child-friendly the show is?

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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