By Craig Fuqua, © 2004 and 2006
Trust me, the DVD set is well-worth the wait and the price. Buy it now! It looks
like the digital masters created by Turner Entertainment around 1996 were used for
this set, which is great in terms of picture quality. Beautiful colors. You just
don't realize how much purple was worn back then until you watch these old JQs!
Race uses his P.F. Flyers Magic Ring to signal Jonny for help in a 1964 commercial.
Colors in the DVD set are excellent, as demonstrated here.
JQ fans will be happy with the packaging, which indicates a lot of effort on Warner
Brothers' part. Pics are pulled from many different episodes and from a few publicity
I'm very impressed with the special features on Disc 4, particularly with the "Jonny
Quest Video Handbook" and its short subjects on the villains, locales, gadgets,
each main character and so on. A lot of research and editing went into these pieces,
and it shows the producers respected the series and wanted to honor it.
I was extremely surprised by the P.F. Flyers commercial ... it's in color! I'd only
seen it in B&W before, and had read or was told that the commercial was filmed
It's easier to notice that Jade wears two shades of lipstick in "Terror Island."
Another example of the beautiful color is this picture of the Quest's research vessel.
My critique tends to focus on the short-comings of the disks, but keep in mind as
you read this, I'm very, very happy with the DVD set overall.
There are a few faults with the set that are part of the Turner masters shown on
cable channels like Boomerang, but here's a major one: series creator Doug Wildey
is not mentioned in the end credits for 25 of the 26 shows. The credits for "Pursuit
of the Po-Ho" are used for all episodes except "Double Danger." "Po-Ho" is the only
episode on which Wildey doesn't receive a credit. Also, Don Messick isn't listed
with the main cast, even though he voiced Dr. Quest for 20 episodes. Obviously,
this doesn't interfere with the enjoyment of the shows themselves, and the casual
fan won't notice it.
A few of the stories also suffer from some severe "telecine wobble," notably the
pilot, "The Mystery of the Lizard Men." You can get sea-sick on the dry-land scenes!
The wobble is present in the 1986 syndication package, so either the same positive
was used or the original negative stock was flawed or non-standard. You can see
the wobble in the 1964 ABC preview in the lab scene, but it's hard to tell whether
that transfer was just as bad. (Telecine is the most common process for videotaping
filmed material.) There's also some bad wobble in "Pursuit of the Po-Ho."
This release undoes some of the faults in the Boomerang copies. The title card for
"Mystery of the Lizard Men" and the title and opening pan for "Arctic Splashdown"
are on the DVD. Finally, the episodes aren't time-compressed to 24 minutes, as they
are on Boomerang, and the fade-outs and -ins for the commercial breaks between Acts
2 and 3 aren't blended together.
Two of the episodes have been censored for objectionable content -- for the first
time since the 1970s, as far as I can tell. "Pursuit of the Po-Ho" and "Monster
in the Monastery" both had lines cut from the English dialog.
For many, this will be the first chance to hear the Spanish versions of the audio
tracks. They have the same sound effects and music as the English versions, meaning
that audio layer existed separately. Be sure to listen to the voice-over during
the main titles. "y Bandito!"
The stories are presented in broadcast order at their original runtimes of approximately
25:15, with seven each on Discs 1-3. The rest of the shows and all of the extras
are on Disc 4.
I don't believe there are any Easter eggs on the DVDs, but if you browse the disks
on your computer, you'll find some pictures and still videos of the cover art and
the JQ logo on each disc. I can't tell what they're for.
I may be the only one bothered, but the Special Features on Disk 4 include a special
presentation of "Double Danger" as "the first episode produced." While it's true
this episode has the first production code of the series (Z-1) and was the first
voice-recorded, the fact that it was the ninth episode shown indicates the animation
wasn't finished until after the pilot, "The Mystery of the Lizard Men."
Warner Bros., if you're intending to re-release Jonny Quest on HD-DVD, please restore
the original end credits to each episode, add the "bumpers" for the commercials
breaks on at least one episode, apply some video-stabilization, and don't monkey
(heathen or otherwise) with the dialog.
An R-2, NTSC, edition of the Jonny Quest DVD set was released in Japan on Nov. 19,
2004. Unlike the U.S. version, the disks were issued in individual keep-cases, with
artwork much like the rare North American
keep-case set. Exceptions being the addition of Japanese text, a different
background color for the front-cover "explosion" art on each case, and a picture
of a different character figure on each spine. There's also a nifty "J.Q." logo
on the covers and spines.
The censored dialog is still missing on the English audio track, but not on the
Japanese or Portuguese tracks or subtitles. Warner Bros. corrected a fault in the
U.S. edits by finally removing Race's "ignorant savages" and "heathen monkeys" lines
from the English subtitles on the Japanese set.
The special features are subtitled, but not dubbed, in Japanese.
Technical Details - U.S. Release
Suggested retail price: $64.92
Street Date: May 11, 2004
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
DVD Regions: 1, 3 and 4 (these are the readings from the software DVD player on
Region 1: U.S., Canada, U.S. Territories
Region 3: Southeast Asia and East Asia (including Hong Kong)
Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America,
Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean
on DVD regions.
(No indication yet that the set has been released in PAL video
Technical Details - Japan Release
Suggested retail price: 8,000 Yen
Street Date: Nov. 19, 2004
Languages: English, Japanese, Portuguese
Subtitles: English, Japanese, Portuguese