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Simpsons - Bart Wars, The

Fox // Unrated // May 17, 2005
List Price: $14.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ian Jane | posted April 28, 2005 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

Another fast and cheap four episode compilation of The Simpsons episodes from Fox to tide fans over until the next complete season boxed set is release. This time out, judging by the cover art, it's been coincided to cash in on the Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith marketing blitz that's currently bombarding people the world over. Here's what you get for your hard earned money…

Episode 1 – Dog Of Death: When the family dog needs an operation that could mean the difference between life and death for the poor pooch, the Simpson's end up having to live on the cheap for a while to make up for the unexpected costs incurred at the veterinarian's office. The dog starts to become upset when the family obviously resents him and he wanders off around town for a while and ultimately ends up at Mr. Burns' home where he becomes one of Burns' dreaded 'hounds' after he and Smithers brainwash him. Bart ends up seeing the error of his ways and doing everything in his power to get his dog, now a killing machine, back from the sinister old man.

Episode 2 – Marge Be Not Proud: There's nothing Bart wants more than the latest ultra violent video game, Bone Storm! Marge won't plunk down the cash for it though and so Bart ends up trying to steal himself a copy. Unfortunately for him, he gets caught red handed by a security guard played the late, great Lawrence Tierney and Marge decides that to teach Bart a lesson, she's going to deal with him the same way that she would deal with any other adult, and not treat him like a kid anymore. Ultimately, Bart becomes upset by this and he has to try to win back his mother's favor. This episode is from season seven.

Episode 3 – The Secret War Of Lisa Simpson: When Bart gets into trouble and finally pushes Homer and Marge to the brink, he finds himself shipped off to military school. Lisa impressed when the family drops him off and she decides to wants to enroll too, to take advantage of the higher levels of learning that the facility offers. Lisa, being the first and only girl to enroll in the school, soon finds that while Bart takes to it all like a fish does to water, she's having problems with the physical activity that the school requires and as such, many of the kids are picking on her. This episode comes from the eighth season.

Episode 4 – Mayored To The Mob: A personal favorite from the tenth season of the series starts off when Homer saves Mark Hamill from a rabid crowd of fans at Springfield's Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con where he's appearing as a guest. Mayor Quimby sees this as a change to hire Homer on as his own personal bodyguard but Homer has to deal with a moral dilemma when he finds out that Quimby has given the school's milk contract to mobster Fat Tony who has been substituting rats milk as it's cheaper and he makes more money that way. When the cops move in and shut down the rat milk plant, Tony goes after Quimby and Homer has to jump into action to save his new boss.

All in all, it's a good but not great selection of episodes. The Mark Hamill jokes always crack me up (and are the only link to Star Wars that this disc has) and the Dog Of Death episode is also a classic. Plenty of little gags in each of the four shows give this some replay value, and the wit and charm that the series is known for is evident throughout this release.



The episodes are shown as they should be, in glorious 1.33.1 fullframe format. Colors look nice and bright, except for the reds, which are just a tad too harsh when compared to the rest of the color palette used in the show. Edge enhancement, while it exists, is minimal and there aren't any compression problems worth noting. There is some really miniscule dirt that appears on the image in a couple of scenes (and also throughout the credits sequences) but it's really only there if you're looking for it. For the most part, all four episodes are pretty clean and look decent enough.


The English Dolby Digital 2.0 Soundtrack is fine. It doesn't sound quite as robust as the 5.1 mixes we've been treated to on the box sets, but we're still treated to clean dialogue without any hiss or distortion problems. There are a few moments where the distinct channel separation adds to the effect, and background music and sound effects are consistently mixed properly into the soundscape, never overshadowing the oh so important dialogue. There are also French and Spanish language tracks included as well.


The only supplement included on this release are some storyboards from the Mayored To The Mob episode. While this is kind of fun and makes for an interesting companion piece to that episode, I can't help but feel that Fox really could have put some more effort into the supplements.

Final Thoughts:

The episode selection on this release is decent though not quite 'prime' material from the series. The audio and video quality is good for the most part, but the disc is sorely lacking in supplemental material. The Simpsons – Bart Wars is recommended for completists or for those jonsing for a fix on DVD in between the bigger and better release, but for everyone else, I'd say rent it.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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