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Power Rangers Ninja Storm - Prelude To A Storm
Here we go again. Don't worry though; my flame suit is zipped on tight and ready to fight. Actually, I may not need it, despite the large disapproving outcry from my last Power Rangers DVD review. Why's that? Well, I actually liked this disc. In fact, the only major thing I didn't like about this disc is that it's way too short. Come on, three episodes adding up to one full hour? I see no reason that more episodes from the Power Rangers - Ninja Storm season couldn't have been added.
There are several reasons why I liked Power Rangers - Ninja Storm "Prelude To A Storm" scores better than The Best of Power Rangers - The Ultimate Rangers. The first of which are the actors. In Ninja Storm, we have three Power Rangers, not five. This actually works out better because the characters are more defined, and are able to branch out away from the normal cardboard cutout personalities that most of the Rangers tend to have. I also liked the use of humor added to this series. There were a lot of clever one-liners in these three episodes, which is something that's usually lacking in the Power Rangers shows. But what I liked best about this season were the story and action sequences.
Our three Rangers were extreme athletes before being recruited for the Power Rangers; one was a motor cross dirt bike rider, another was a top wave surfer, and the last was a pipe shredding' skateboarder. All three were training with a grand master martial arts instructor before all hell broke loose. Once the evil Lothor destroys their martial arts school, our three Rangers, Shane, Tori, and Dustin discover that they are the chosen ones to become the next protectors of the galaxy. And although cool, it's weird that their Ninja Academy sensei has now been turned into a kung fu rodent going by the name Sensei Guinea Pig. Can you say Ninja Turtles rip-off? Anyway, the computer animated back flipping fur ball is pretty cool for a kid's show, so I won't fault it for that. However, I do think it's strange that Grant McFarland, the actor who played "Sensei" in the first episode, and voices Sensei Guinea Pig in the rest, also plays the part of the main villain, Lothor. But I've yet to see the rest of the epidodes, so perhaps this secret comes into play in the season finale. If it does, great. If not, I think it's a little creepy.
As far as the action, it's a big improvement over the episodes in The Ultimate Rangers disc. The fighting is very cool, as it has a whole Ninja/Crouching Tiger thing going for it. Our fighters can run in the air, prance on water, and leap farther than your average Power Ranger. I knew right away this was going to be a decent season from the season opener, Prelude To A Storm.
But the best thing about this disc is that you can actually follow what's going on because it begins at the very start of the season. The Ultimate Rangers was a horrible DVD for the uninitiated to jump into, like myself, due to the carefully selected episodes found throughout the entire run of the Power Rangers series. Not to mention I felt the episodes pretty much sucked. In that disc, your head feels like it's going to explode trying to figure out who is who, and what the heck is going on in the story. With Ninja Storm, you don't have that problem.
So when it comes down to it, Ninja Storm "Prelude To A Storm" is a great disc that introduces you to the Ninja Storm Power Rangers, probably the most likeable group of Rangers to ever grace the show. However, Buena Vista should have included more than the first three episodes for this disc, and they should not be let off the hook for that obvious money making tactic. But I'm sure kids will love this DVD no matter what, so if you're looking for a action packed kids show, Power Rangers - Ninja Storm "Prelude To A Storm" is a great place to start.
Prelude To A Storm (Season opener)
There's No "I" In Team
Beauty And The Beach
Ninja Storm is presented in 1.33:1 full screen. The picture seemed a tad bit better than The Ultimate Rangers DVD. There were no obvious edge enhancement halo effects to be seen, and colors looked great. The only real gripe I had was the moderate amount of grain found in most scenes on the disc. Some scenes looked worse than others, and as a whole it's not very distracting. Some pixelation was visible as well, but was not noticeable enough to distract from the show. This is a pretty decent looking DVD.
For a Dolby Digital 2.0 track, this DVD sounded pretty good. The dialogue was very clear, most likely due to the many overdubs used throughout the show. The special effects also sounded great. Add to that the fun rock music, and you have a pretty momentum building experience. I still feel a show like this could be well served with a 5.1 audio track, but I doubt we'll see this anytime soon because this show is a kid's show after all.
No extras here.
After the The Ultimate Rangers DVD, I had all but lost hope for the Power Rangers, but thankfully Power Rangers - Ninja Storm " Prelude To A Storm" altered my opinion. The action is better, the story is more interesting, the Rangers are more enjoyable to watch, and the Zords are back in all their metal transforming glory. Although I have to admit the water spirit dolphin Zord has to be the lamest Zord in Power Rangers history. So if your kids love the Power Rangers, this would be a great disc to pick up. Recommended