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Gravity Falls - Vol 1. Six Strange Tales Review




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Rating
Video:   10/10
Audio:   8/10
Extras:   1/10

Awesome animated series
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
11/06/2013

    If you meet forest gnomes disguised as zombies, dig up a mysterious old journal filled with secrets and ciphers, or encounter spooky hijinks at the local condemned convenience store, you've just crossed over into... Gravity Falls, where there's always something peculiar going on!

    Join 12-year-old twins Dipper and Mabel Pines as they explore the oddest spot on the map. Shipped off to spend the summer with their gruff Great-Uncle ("Grunkle") Stan - who runs the tacky tourist trap, "Mystery Shack" - the kids uncover mysterious surprises, unsurpassed silliness and supernatural shenanigans lurking around every corner of the deceptively sleepy little town. Packed with over two hours of hilarious adventures, irreverent humor and quirky, unforgettable characters, Gravity Falls: Six Strange Tales is a trippy trip into your family's fun zone!
Twitter is such a wonderful tool to read opinions from anyone and everyone, and it's there that I first heard about Gravity Falls. Through my "TVDVDGord" account I follow VERY few people, all people I've gotten to know through the running the website over the years, and two of them, Shawn Ryan and Cheryl Heuton, wouldn't stop talking about Gravity Falls. When two cool showrunners start talking about a cartoon series on the Disney Channel, you know there has to be something to it.

This single-disc contains the first 6 episodes of the show:

Disc 1 (2:09:57)
Tourist Trapped (21:05)
The Legend of the Gobblewonker (21:33)
Headhunters (21:56)
The Hand that Rocks the Mabel (22:20)
The Inconveniencing (20:28)
Dipper vs Manliness (22:35)

Video

It's hard to beat the video quality on this release, because it's flawless. No compression artifacts or aliasing of any kind, just beautiful animation. The palette for the show is slightly muted compared to other animated shows like Futurama, but I think it looks awesome. There's a chapter after the opening of each episode, and a "play all" feature on the disc. Speaking of the opening, it's one of my favorites, so I never skip over it.

Audio

How can you tell there's international demand for a show? Just look at the audio tracks on the DVD. English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese (two kinds) and Thai stereo tracks are available, along with English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and a few other subtitles (sorry, the names are written in the language of the subtitle). The English track is very good, but I think a Dolby Digital 5.1 track would be awesome for a show like this. the dialog is crisp, and clear, and there aren't any noticeable issues.

Extras - How we rate extras

Trailers
There are trailers for a few other Disney releases on the disc.

Mystery Book Journal #3
This is a replica (sort of) of the book Dipper finds in the first episode.

Summary

Yup, this show is awesome. It combines the weird and wacky with good storytelling and wonderful animation to create the "whole package." Think of it as an animated version of The X-Files mashed with Twin Peaks, but with kids doing the investigating. It's brilliant, and there are tons of things to pay attention to because they may return in later episodes. That's one reason I was glad that Disney put the episodes in order on this DVD, and started from the beginning. While this may be a "budget" title aimed at parents with kids, they also recognize that the episodes should be watched in order. I really, really hope this sells well enough that they'll put out the complete first season (20 episodes) on DVD and Blu-ray. I've caught a couple of episodes in HD, and they look absolutely gorgeous. Load some bonus material on there and fans, both young and old, will buy them up.

So, Disney, my plea to you: Please release the complete first season on DVD and Blu-ray before season 2 airs. Also a warning to those who buy this - navigate the menus carefully... you never know what you may trigger.


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