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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Slayers - 5 movie box set
Slayers - 5 movie box set
ADV Films // Unrated // September 20, 2005
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted October 21, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Show:

The good folks at ADV have been repackaging some of their back catalog into series sets and releasing them in thinpak cases at a bargain price, but without the extras that the original releases had.  It's a great idea that let's people save a bit of money, but also doesn't screw over the people who originally supported the show since they still get the extras.  They haven't limited themselves to TV series though, and have now released five Slayers movies in a nice boxed set.  This time they've even included the extras that were on the original releases, though there were fairly minimal.

Slayers is the story of Lina Inverse, a young wild and ambitious sorcerer who is constantly on the look out for gold, fame, and food.  She travels through the world occasionally stealing from unsavory crooks, righting wrongs, and managing to get all sorts of demons and powerful people totally pissed off at her.  Lina's is brash, outspoken, easy to anger, and pushy but she can also kick ass when the chips are down.

This is a comedy swords and sorcery series, with a lot of broad humor and prat falls.  If you are looking for subtle and quiet humor, just move along.

These four of these five movies take place before the Slayers TV series, (the single exception is the last film, Slayers Premium) so if you've never seen the show, you should understand these without any problem.  If you have watched the three seasons, you'll be happy to get more Slayers wackiness, but this time it's without Gourry, Amelia, and the rest of the Slayers supporting cast.

The five movies included in this set are:

Slayers: The Motion Picture:

Lina Inverse and her buddy Naga the Serpent head off to Mipross Island to visit the legendary hot springs there.  These springs are only reachable once a year, mysterious fog surrounds them the rest of the time.  In between trying to relax and getting into some minor scrapes, Lina has a series of dreams where she sees a young boy falling in love with an elf maiden.  Unfortunately, the elf is killed by a demon Joyrock who destroys the elf village where the girl lived.

It turns out that these weren't just dreams, but events that really occurred in the past.  Now Joyrock is back on Mipross Island and it's up to Lina and Naga to stop his evil.  The only problem is that he's much more powerful than Lina is expecting.

This was a fun film, with a lot of funny jokes and gags.  The show does foreshadow things in Lina's future, which was fun if you've seen the TV series, but is understandable if you haven't.  The only real complain was that things were rushed at the end, with a lot happening in the last 15 minutes.

Slayers: Return:

When a pair of would-be world conquerors deduce that a powerful elfin artifact is buried near a village, they enslave the village and make the townsfolk dig for the weapon.  A plucky young girl, Salena, manages to escape and convinces Lina and Naga to help her town.  Of course Nahga's just after the treasure, and Lina isn't so sure that there really is a powerful artifact buried, but when it is unearthed and activated, chaos ensues.

Not the best movie in this set.  The plot was a little too simple and there weren't as many laughs as the other films.  Still worth watching.

Slayers: Great:

Lina and Naga arrive in a new town and save a young girl from a rampaging Golem, which is the town's main export.  When the pair of adventurers discover that the girl they've rescued is the daughter of a famous Golem craftsman.  With dollar signs dancing in their eyes hoping that they'll be able to get a Golem to sell at a great profit, Kina and Naga go home with the girl to discover that the master is fighting with his son, and has lost his desire to make the creatures that have made him famous.  That is until he sees Lina.  She inspires him to make a Golem in her image, which irratates Naga to no end until the son creates one of the Serpent mage.  The two Golems end up fighting in an uproarious battle.

This was a really funny film, and has more laugh out loud moments than any other Slayer film.  The giant jiggly Naga Golem is great, and so is the climactic battle.  A fast moving plot with a lot of action and laughs make this a great entry in the Slayers series.

Slayers Gorgeous:

While Lina and Naga are relaxing in a town, it is suddenly attacked by a young lady and her red dragon.  Fighting the woman off, they discover that the town has been terrorized by dragons for a while, but not for the reason you might expect.  The lady is actually the princess, and she's mad because her father won't raise her allowance!  Lina talks to her dad, while Naga follows the daughter to her stronghold.  As you might predict, both women end up joining opposite sides (for a price of course) and it ends up with Lina and Naga fighting it out once again.

Slayers: Premium:

This show contains the cast from the TV series, but includes a cameo by Naga as well.

Visiting a seaside village, Gourry eats some slices of octopus, the local delicacy.  It's too bad he was in such a hurry though, because the chef was just about to warm him of the curse.  Recently, anyone who eats octopus ends up talking in their language.  It's up to Lina and Gourry to find a cure for the villagers and fight off a plot of revenge that the octopuses have cooked up.

Running at just half an hour, this feels more like a high budget TV show than a movie.  It was nice to see Gourry along with Amelia and Zelgadis who also appear, but I was hoping the plot would have a little more meat to it.  (No pun intended.)  Still, even at half an hour this was a fun episode with a fair amount of laughs.

These were all enjoyable shows.  I really enjoyed the play between Naga and Lina, it was always fun to watch and very different than the interplay between her and Gourry.  The only complaint I really have about that set is that it's not complete.  I really wish they had included the other Slayers movie, Slayers: Excellent, as well as the OVA disc, Slayers - The Book of Spells.  ADV has released both of these, and including them would have made this the perfect companion to the series sets that CPM has released.

The DVD:


These five films come on five DVDs.  Each disc is housed in a thinpak case and the whole lot come in a sturdy slipcase.  The only complaint with the slipcase is that it features Lina and Gourry on both sides, though Gourry is only in one movie (and the shortest one at that.)  It would have been more appropriate to have Naga prominently featured on the slipcase.

Audio:

All of these films come with the original Japanese audio track as well as a stereo English dub.  In addition, Slayers: The Motion Picture also includes an English 5.1 track, and Slayers Premium includes 5.1 tracks in both English and Japanese though two channel dubs are omitted.  I screened these with both soundtracks, though I preferred the original Japanese.  One of the reasons for that is that Lisa Ortiz didn't preform the part of Lina in the English dub, and I really enjoyed her acting in the TV series.

There weren't any defects worth noting in the audio portion of these discs.  They all sounded nice and solid, and had a good amount of range.  The 5.1 tracks sounded more impressive of course, but the stereo audio also suited the films well.

Video:

All of these films are presented in widescreen, with the exception of Slayer Great which is presented full frame (its original aspect ratio apparently.)  Unfortunately, only Slayers Premium is anamorphically enhanced, since anamorphic masters weren't available for the other films. Though they were created over several years, these all look very good.  There was some minor aliasing in a few places, but this was minor.  The colors all look bright and the lines are tight.  A good looking set of discs.

Extras:

As far as bonus material goes, there's not a lot.  The first movie includes a commentary track by Cynthia Martinez (Lina), Kelly Manison (Naga) and ADR director Matt Greenfield.  This was a better than average anime commentary, with the trio looking back on the production (they had recorded the audio six years earlier) and relating some anecdotes about the session and their feelings about the film and Slayers in general.  There are also a series of character bios.

The only other disc to have bonus material is Slayers Premium.  It has a commentary track with Cynthia Martinez (Lina) and Crispin Freeman (Zelgadis), as well as a 20-minute behind the scenes interview with Crispin Freeman which was interesting but ran on a little bit too long.

Final Thoughts:

These movies play a little differently than the TV series does.  Since there aren't extended story arcs they get right down to the comedy and action which makes them a lot of fun.  These basically distills the TV show down to its essential elements.  There are a lot of laugh out loud moments and some really hilarious scenes.  If you've never seen the show, you won't be lost since four out of the five movies take place before the TV show starts.  An enjoyable set that it Recommended.
 

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