"The Incredible Hulk: When Monsters Meet" DVD Review
June 16, 2008 by James Harvey
Just in time for the theatrical release of The Incredible Hulk, Morningstar Entertainment has released a new DVD featuring the Green Goliath himself! Taking an episode from the classic 1980s animated series, The Incredible Hulk, our hero finds himself battling with a legendary creature while, at the same time, desperately trying to cure himself. Now, is this DVD worth the price, and will fans of The Incredible Hulk find what they're looking for? Well, let's get the synopsis out of the way and answer those questions!
On a trip to Notre Dame, Paris, Bruce attends the evening meeting of the Academy of Science , where a fellow scientist offers Bruce a possible cure. Betty is there to meet the Minister of Finance to help store a shipment of gold, some of which will be delivered to the U.S. Government. A fiendish descendant of Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame has plans for the cure and the gold shipment and kidnaps Betty. The situation escalates as The Hulk, Betty Ross, the Minister of Finance, and Quasimodo find themselves heading toward a dangerous crash collision in The Incredible Hulk: When Monsters Meet! Discover this exciting story of The Incredible Hulk, told in true "Marvel" fashion!
This is my first time watching an episode from the 1980's The Incredible Hulk animated series and, for the most part, I enjoyed myself. Now, I wasn't expecting too much, since it's an animated series from a decade where cartoons . . . weren't all that good, really, but I enjoyed this. I like that the series took its time getting the premise started, establishing the characters, giving us some great Hulk-out scenes, and the always-enjoyable narration by Stan Lee. Plus, the villain of the piece, while somewhat one-note, was a credible threat. All in all, a pretty fun cartoon from start to end, and something that Hulk fans, especially animation fans, should get a kick out of this release.
However, given the date of the series, I can't say this is something all Hulk fans will enjoy. The limitations of the early 1980s cartoons is very apparent here, and many will likely question how, after changing from the Hulk back into Banner, how Banner keeps gets his clothes back. Still, chock it up to the character models and leave it at that. I think specifically Hulk fans looking for a nice nostalgia trip, or animation trip, will get anything out of it. And, yes, it is just one episode, almost 24 minutes in length, on a DVD, and that in itself may turn off some viewers. Plus, on top of that, this disc seems to be lacking the end credits, which, to me, seems somewhat bizarre, but I'll go into more detail in the next section of this review. Regardless, looking at just the episode included, I think this is one that fans will definitely want to pick up, especially since it's impossible to know whether or not that 1980s The Incredible Hulk series will ever get a proper Region 1 release.
Overall, even though this release has but one episode, I feel I should Recommend this title, especially for the price I have seen it available for. It's definitely a release that I imagine both excites and frustrates fans of the 1980s The Incredible Hulk series. We should be getting more than one episode per release, but with the current complications with the rights for this series, I doubt we will get such a release any time soon. However, Morningstar Entertainment has done nice service to fans by releasing The Incredible Hulk: When Monster's Meet. And you know, I have to say, that catchy theme for The Incredible Hulk is still stuck in my head!
Before I go any further, I need to clarify something. This is a Morningstar Entertainment release, not a Buena Vista Home Entertainment release. Morningstar Entertainment, a Canadian company, obtained the rights to a series of Marvel videos released in the 1980s and 90s, and this is one of them, the second of nearly a dozen releases. And given that this is a Canadian release, through a Canadian company, you'll likely need to hop on Amazon.ca to get a copy if you live outside of the Canadian region. For Canadian residents, this should be available in nearly every major department or video store as well as online.
The DVD comes in a yellow-colored Amaray case, with an insert but no cardboard slipcase. The insert is an advertisement for the next Morningstar Marvel-themed release, Spider-Man: The Hobgoblin, and a rundown of the remaining titles set to be released. The DVD itself is very basic. There are no pre-menu trailers of any kind. After the company logo and a quick warning, the main menu boots up and we are off. The extras are light, just two bonus episodes from the classis Spider-Man animated series from 1967. There are no chapter stops, no language menus, no subtitles, nothing. The DVD release is very, very bare. So bare, in fact, that the end credits for this are completely cut off. Once the actual episode ends, and Betty and Bruce are driven off into the distance, the screen fades to black and . . . that's it. It's surprising to see that mistake being made today. Many will not pay any attention to end credits being cut off, but completists will surely be let down by this error.
The audio and video is a shade or two above VHS-quality, which makes sense given the nature of this release. Don't expect anything on par with the Buena Vista Home Entertainment releases, but the transfer isn't bad by any means. It's just that the source material is old and somewhat rough, so the transfer itself is going to naturally look a bit poor. The quality is still watchable and is much better than the previous VHS releases of these particular episodes. However, please note that the transfer quality for the two bonus episodes of the 1967 Spider-Man animated series is very, very rough. And, one last thing to take note of, despite the fact that the packaging says the disc runs 90 minutes, the disc actually runs roughly 50 minutes.
Overall, despite what sounds like a damning review, I'd certainly Recommend this release to comic book fans, animation fans, and fans of The Incredible Hulk. It's a shame that it is another single volume releases, but this is out of the hands of Morningstar Entertainment, and since it seems like we will never get a proper season collection here in this Region, The Incredible Hulk: When Monsters Meet is a title that fans should consider picking up, especially since the price on this release should make it affordable to pretty much everyone. Still, I know a lot of fans, especially fans of the classic Marvel cartoons from yesteryear will be let down by the lack of content and uneven transfer, but, still, fans should consider picking this release up since this could very well be the only release of 1980's The Incredible Hulk animated series we get.
The Incredible Hulk: When Monsters Meet is now available on DVD.
Spider-Man: The Hobgoblin will be available to own on DVD June 8th, 2008.
-The Incredible Hulk "When Monsters Meet" Episode Talkback (Spoilers)
-"The Incredible Hulk: When Monsters Meet" DVD Talkback (Spoilers)