M.A.S.K.: The Complete Series

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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Doug Stone as Matt Trakker / Bruce Sato / Dusty Hayes
Mark Halloran as Sly Rax / Cliff Dagger / Buddy Hawks
Brendan McKane as Miles Mayhem / Alex Sector / Floyd Malloy
Graeme McKenna as T-Bob / Brad Turner / Calhoun Burns
Sharon Noble as MASK Computer / Vanessa Warfield / Gloria Baker
Brennan Thicke as Scott Trakker
Brian George as Ali Bombay / Lester Sludge

Special Features:
Unmasking M.A.S.K.: retrospective interview with show writers on this hit animated series

Saturday Morning Krusaders: entertaining look back with loyal fans

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Running Time: 25 Hours

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Illusion Is The Ultimate Weapon!

Led by multi-millionaire Matt Trakker, the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand—better known simply as M.A.S.K.—defends the world against Miles Mayhem and his nefarious international criminal organization known as VENOM, the very same group responsible for the death of Trakker’s teenage brother. With his own son, Scott, and secret strike force—including his friends, engineer Bruce Sato, courageous historian Hondo MacLean, mechanic Buddy Hawks, rocker Brad Turner, computer expert Alex Sector, stunt driver Dusty Hayes, and beautiful martial artist Gloria Baker—it’s up to Trakker, equipped with special power-granting masks and a garage of special militarized vehicles, to keep the world safe from Mayhem and the villainy of VENOM.

For the first time on DVD, all 65 episodes from the animated series that ran 1985-1986.”

“M.A.S.K.: The Complete Series” is not rated.

Mini-Review:
If you grew up in the 80′s and were a boy, you probably watched “M.A.S.K.” For those that aren’t familiar with it, it was essentially a combination of “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe.” You had the battling organizations of heroes and villains with M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.O.M. (don’t ask me what they stand for) like in “G.I. Joe.” You also had them using transforming vehicles like in “Transformers.” But instead of transforming into robots, the vehicles turned into other vehicles. A car turned into a jet. A motorcycle turned into a helicopter. A truck turned into… well, a big assault vehicle with a missile launcher. And like those two other cartoons, they were based on a toy line.

Like many of the cartoons from this era, it had some pretty impressive animation. The vehicle action, character animation, and laser effects were all anime inspired and looked great, even today. While the cartoon hasn’t been restored and the video and sound quality is a bit poor, that animation still holds up.

I absolutely loved the cartoon and the toys as a kid, but revisiting it as an adult, it’s not quite as engaging as it was 25 years ago. The stories are pretty juvenile and they follow the same pattern again and again. V.E.N.O.M. comes up with some evil scheme to steal something, the M.A.S.K. computer calls the heroes and they drop everything to run and help, they go into battle, Scott and T-Bob disobey his father and find some key piece of information, then M.A.S.K. saves the day yet lets V.E.N.O.M. get away to cause trouble another day. It was the same pattern over 65 episodes, but as an adult I now see what the creators were trying to do with some of the episodes. They featured various historical locations and scientific principles that taught kids something. They also included a wider variety of races and nationalities that many cartoons ignored. (However, I now notice that practically every line from the Asian Bruce Sato is straight out of a fortune cookie and inadvertently reinforces some stereotypes.)

As bad as it was having my fond childhood memories crushed by reality, I did let my son check out “M.A.S.K.: The Complete Series”. He watched one episode… then another… then another. He keeps watching them and is now walking around the house humming the theme song. So while I didn’t enjoy the cartoons, seeing my son get into them was enjoyable.

There are only two bonus features included in this DVD set. One features two of the writers reminiscing about the show. They talk about getting the jobs, the guidelines they were given, what they tried to accomplish with the episodes, etc. The second featurette has a bunch of fans trying to make witty comments or jokes about the series. It’s a little tedious, but I have to admit that I did laugh when they questioned Matt Tracker’s parenting skills.

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