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"Talespin" on DVD: Spinning Discs that are as Fun as Spinning Rotors

Talespin is the latest in a pair of DVD releases from Disney. Featuring Baloo, King Louie and Shere Khan from the Disney classic Jungle Book, Talespin introduces Kit Cloudkicker, Rebecca and Molly Cunningham and the best part of this series, Don Karnage and the Air Pirates.

It’s always strange watching cartoons as an adult that you remember watching as a kid. In some cases they surprise you (Animaniacs) in how well they still hold-up, while other times they are hit and miss (Gargoyles). With Talespin I find myself laughing at Don Karnage more than the other characters and while I’m obviously way out of the show’s original target audience, sometimes nostalgia just isn’t worth revisiting.

The show is still extremely well-suited for kids to enjoy today, but aside from the Don Karnage bits (in particular a line from the series’ four-part pilot, “…I am speaking to you with my voice…”), I really didn’t find myself too interested in anything this series has to offer.

It’s also rather distracting, these old Disney shows; the animation is almost too fluid and a lot of the voices kind of roll over the characters’ mouths. It’s hard to explain, but it almost looks out of sync at times. Considering this is common in old animation, I know it’s just the show itself and not the DVD transfer…but the first appearance of Don Karnage and his talking to a pilot of Shere Khan is quite distracting as the words don’t exactly sync with the mouth movements.

In short, you may want to think twice about reliving any nostalgia you have for this series. While I hope it sells well on DVD to get it all out there for another generation of younglings to enjoy, I really don’t think this show has retained any kind of fanbase that other recent Disney DVD releases (Darkwing Duck, Gargoyles) have.

The DVD
Presented in three thin-packs and a slip case, the packaging is attractive and well done. No flaky looking images from the show adorn the packaging (unlike Darkwing Duck) and instead we have very clean stock-art on both the packaging and individual DVD cases.

Menus for the show have audio over the main menu only and feature none of the crappy clip-art that adorns the Gargoyles DVD menus. Unfortunately, none of the episodes contain chapter stops. I cannot stress how much a few chapter stops in an episode would make watching so much easier, especially when the show’s theme song is nearly a full minute long and watching it twenty seven times throughout the DVD set is just a bit much. A few chapter stops in each episode would suffice, so here’s hoping they’ll put them in future releases!

Video is on-par with past Disney DVD releases of older cartoons. This isn’t a good thing, mind you; due to the colorful nature of the show and the show’s age, compression comes out in the grain and unless you’re further than three feet away from the TV, it’s really noticeable in some sequences. Pile on some interlacing and a general muddy transfer and it’s not the prettiest thing you’ve seen, but certainly better than what you’d get off of cable.

Audio is crisp and clear and is quite possibly the best thing about the set, short of the clean packaging and menu art.

There are no special features on the discs, sans trailers. As I said before I don’t think this show has quite the fanbase other Disney releases have. Still, you buy the DVDs first and foremost for the episodes themselves and with twenty-seven of them spread across three discs, it’s a great value if you’re a fan or know a young kid who loves the Jungle Book.

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