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Buffy Season 1 SetChicken Run

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BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER – SEASON 1 • Back to top Rated: 15
"If the apocalypse comes, beep me"

The Episodes

Buffy The Vampire Slayer is never predictable. Just take the title: it suggests cheap, tacky fodder for kids - Scooby Doo meets Sabrina. In fact, it's one of the most sophisticated shows on TV, a smart blend of drama, horror and comedy (and lots more), which boldly trounces the established rules, while touching all the emotional bases. Laugh out loud funny, spine tinglingly scary, chokingly moving but always hip, clever and intelligent, Buffy deserves the mass international following who are hooked on a show that's still going strong in its fifth year.

If you're a fan, then this box set is a chance to return to its roots, when Buffy Summers (Gellar) and her mother Joyce (Sutherland) move to Sunnydale, where Buffy enrols at the high school. As students begin to die at the fangs of the local vampire population, Buffy meets librarian Rupert Giles (Head), who confirms her destiny as The Chosen One - a Slayer for this generation, who must rid the world of bloodsuckers, monsters and evil spirits.

This first season follows Buffy's battle against the Vampire Master (Mark Metcalfe), which culminates in the prophecy of her own death. Along the way there are dark spells (The Witch), a She-Mantis (Teacher's Pet), Hyena Spirits (The Pack) and demons (I Robot, You Jane, The Puppet Show). Twelve diverse episodes, but hardly a duff one among them.

With a splendid supporting cast (Brendon is delightful as the king of fast patter Xander, Carpenter is endlessly quotable as bitchy Cordelia, while Boreanaz is magnetic as the troubled Angel), this is unmissable TV that dares to be different. 5 stars - Digital Dynamite

The Extras

The stunning gatefold pack contains three discs, each offering four episodes. The fullscreen picture is to be expected, but the quality is a little grainy - probably not because of a substandard transfer, more likely a sign of the cheaper film stock used during the first two seasons.

Each episode can be accessed through around 11 or 12 chapters; play from the start and there's a fun soundbyte from the story (eg "If the apocalypse comes, beep me", from Never Kill A Boy on the First Date).

Disc One offers the best additional value: an audio commentary by creator/writer/director/producer Joss Whedon on Welcome to the Hellmouth and The Harvest, a series trailer, web links and a screensaver for DVD-ROM users, plus the script for the pilot episode. (That's the regular episodes as narrated by Joss, not the unscreened presentation - Web Ed)

Disc Two has a photo gallery of 27 colour stills (a large number posed shots, but some episodic) plus the video for I Quit by Hepburn, which blends film of the band in with footage of Buffy in action.

Finally, Disc Three contains 50 pages of cast bios. Odd to think that, before Buffy, most of them (with the exception of Head) were unknowns. Now busy film careers loom… The inclusion of the unscreened pilot presentation or some deleted scenes could have tipped this set to five stars. All the same, it scores a healthy… 5 stars - Damn Good Disc

David Richardson

Credits
Buffy Season 1 - Buy this at Black StarBlackstar

Cast
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Alyson Hannigan
Nicholas Brendon
Anthony Stewart Head
Kristine Sutherland
Director • Various
Year • 1997
Duration • 528 mins
Screen Ratio • 1.33:1
Anamorphic • No
Audio • Dolby Digital Stereo
Chapters • 12 per episode
Languages • English, French
Subtitles • French, Dutch, English for the hearing impaired
UK Release •
December 4 (revised)
Distributor • 20th Century Fox

 
 

Highlight

Chapter 5 of – Angel (Episode 7)
Buffy gets close to the mysterious Angel - and discovers his secret…

 
Note: This product was reviewed using incomplete check discs of the box set.
 

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This review from Ultimate DVD #12

CHICKEN RUN • Back to top Rated: U
Nick Park's first feature: no turkey

The Movie

A group of imprisoned but plucky individuals, an evil tyrant and a reluctant hero. These would seem like the perfect ingredients for a powerful WWII drama, so prepare to be amazed when serious stalwart actors are replaced with 900kg of plasticine.

Considering that Nick Park's previous adventures in Play-Dough have only ever lasted up to half an hour, you'd be forgiven for assuming that dragging an initial concept out to a full-length film would be pushing it. You'd be wrong: this playful pastiche on The Great Escape perfectly captures both the adventure and the immense watchability of Park's amazing creations.

Everything's there; the voice characterization (Gibson, Sawalha and Horrocks come out tops), the fowl gags and the superb visuals give this a unique look, which makes for compelling viewing for all ages.5 stars - Damn Good Disc

The Extras

After you've navigated your way through the fun menus, you can sample an array of egg-cellent extra material. Begin by choosing from three Chicken Run trailers - teaser trailer, regular trailer and Chicken Impossible trailer - and then move on to the impressive Aardman Archive. Select from 15 clips of Park's previous animated achievements, ranging from an amateur 18mm cartoon entitled The Rat and the Beanstalk, through the days of Morph, British Gas and Peter Gabrielle's Sledgehammer video, and finally to an early Rex the Runt attempt and A Close Shave.

Then make your way over to the featurettes. The first with Park and Lord entitled Chickens Go In, Pies Come Out, is an audience with the director/ animators on set as they talk you through the process. The second - Fowl Play - is a more full-feathered approach, with excerpts of interviews with all the cast and an in-depth study of the laborious process, which makes you appreciate the incredibly accomplished film all the more.

Finally, aside from the trailer for the console game you've got the director's commentary. There's just one problem here. While the end result is superb, the process which brought Chicken Run to the screen is incredibly, incredibly dull, and having this explained by Park and Lord over an extended period just isn't enthralling. That aside, the extra content is more than enough to make the DVD a must-buy. 5 stars - Damn Good Disc

David Richardson

Credits
Chicken Run - Buy this at Black StarBlackstar

Cast
(voices)
Mel Gibson
Julia Sawalha
Miranda Richardson
Director • Nick Park, Peter Lord Year • 2000
Duration • 81 mins
Screen Ratio • 1.85:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 24
Languages • English
Subtitles • English for the hearing impaired
UK Release • December 4
Distributor • Pathé

 

Highlights

Chapter 9 – Poultry in Motion
The gang start to get into shape under the wing of Rocky, who pointlessly attempts to teach them how to fly.

 

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from Ultimate DVD #12

Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction

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