Tuesday, June 3, 2014

JONNY QUEST - THE COMPLETE EIGHTIES ADVENTURES

Around 1986, animation studio Hanna-Barbara dusted off a couple of their perennial kidvid favorites - THE JETSONS and JONNY QUEST - for a new cartoon syndication package called THE FUNTASTIC WORLD OF HANNA-BARBARA. The classic 1960s episodes were supplemented with newly-created installments to make said package more appealing to station programmers who didn't want to just air more repeats of old shows. For QUEST, H-B produced 13 new, updated episodes, and now the Warner Archive Collection has brought JONNY QUEST: THE COMPLETE EIGHTIES ADVENTURES to manufactured-on-demand DVD.

The premise and characters remain unchanged: young Jonny (voiced by Scott Menville) is the son of world-renowned scientist/inventor/adventurer Dr. Benton Quest (Doug Messick, reprising the role from the original series), and together with their government bodyguard, Race Bannon (Granville Van Dusen), Dr. Quest's ward Hadji (Rob Paulsen) and pet dog, Bandit, they traveled the world investigating scientific anomalies and testing the doctor's latest technological marvels. In these latter-day installments, there's a greater emphasis on fantasy, best exemplified by the addition of an ancient, monolithic "stone man" named Hardrock to the team.

The animation is technically better than the 1960s version, but it lacks the strong graphic style of creator Doug Wildey, with more generic-looking character designs and a distinct lack of mood/atmosphere. The scripts are fast-paced and imaginative, but considerably less violent than the originals, and the characters seem somewhat blander than their earlier incarnations. Still, there are some cool monsters (like "Vikong") and new gadgets/vehicles for the Quest team.

The two-disc MOD set from Warner Archive contains all 13 episodes, presented in their original 4x3, 1.37.1 aspect ratios. The prints used for the transfers are in good shape, with bright colors and minimal evidence of wear or damage. The Dolby Digital Mono audio is clear and relatively crisp. There are no extras included.

Ultimately, the "Eighties Adventures" aren't bad at all, but they do lack the "personality" of the groundbreaking Sixties originals. Nonetheless, I'd definitely recommend them for QUEST fans and animated adventure aficionados.

Buy This Disc at Warner Archive.