I'm often faced with reviewing titles that I really know nothing about. It's fine with me - that's what I do, that's my job. But there are times when I really should actually look up what a titles about before getting it to review. When I got "Soul Music" I thought it was actually about just that - Soul Music. Nope. "Soul Music" is actually an animated series by Terry Prachett, an animator who's name or work that I've never heard of before.
"Disc World" is a rather trippy animated series about a harp-playing musician who sets off from the countryside out to the big city to join a band. He eventually meets up with a band composed of a horn-playing dwarf and a troll who bashes rocks together to form music. All of this takes place on the "discworld" (it's what you'd think it looks like, with the exception of the fact that it looks like it's carried by a turtle). His harp gets accidentially broken and things look dim until he comes upon a guitar with a life of its own.
Meanwhile, the Grim Reaper takes a holiday (shades of "Meet Joe Black") and his teenage daughter who's taken over the business falls for the former harp player, now a famous guitar player named Buddy. Although this is apparently taken from a famous series of novels, it didn't make a great deal of sense to me and probably would be more appealing to those who have read the novels. I understood the basic plot line of Buddy becoming a rock star, but didn't see it as something that was enough to be stretched across several episodes. A lot of the smaller details such as the characters and world were not terribly well-explained, though.
The animation is fairly primitive, reminding me (although slightly more detailed) of the 1980's animated game "Dragon's Lair". The DVD provides seven episodes of the series, although I have no idea where these episodes actually aired first.
VIDEO: "Disc World" is presented in 1.33:1 full_frame, which is likely its original aspect ratio. The animation looks rather eighties (sort of reminiscent of "Dragon's Lair") and although not terrible, it doesn't look like it wasn't taken from the very best source. The picture remains clear and clean, free of marks and scratches or other problems. The only fault is that the picture has a soft, "video" like look to it. Colors remain fine though, looking bold and bright.
SOUND: Although there is a Dolby Digital logo on the back of the box, the presentation is only Dolby 2.0, not remastered 5.1. The sound is pretty primitive - it's simply dialogue and the occasional passage of music. The dialogue sounds somewhat thin, but still comes through clearly.
MENUS:: The menu is animated with a shot of "disc world" behind the selections.
EXTRAS: A 30 minute interview with creator Terry Prachett where he discusses his feelings about the end result as well as some insights (much needed in my case, since I didn't know what was going on some of the time) about the story; "Welcome To Discworld" (complete pilot episode), Storyboards, Terry Pratchett Bio; Character Bios; Filmographies; Discworld Books.
Final Thoughts: Ever sat through something and had little idea of what was going on? That was the situation with "Disc World" a series that I knew nothing about and, after watching it, still knew little about what I had just watched. For fans of the novels, this will probably be thrilling, but for the uninitiated, I'd pass on it.