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Power Rangers Dino Thunder
Volume 1:  Day Of The Dino
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Japanese Title: Bakuryu Sentai AbaRenja (“Raging Dinosaur Task Force AbaRanger”)
Directors: Charlie Haskell (PR Dino Thunder) and Paul Grinder (PR Ninja Storm)
Original Release Year: 2003
Running Time: 102 minutes (3 Dino Thunder episodes play contiguously for 60 minutes; two separate Ninja Storm episodes are 21 minutes each)
Official Website:   http://psc.disney.go.com/
abcnetworks/toondisney/abckids/power_rangers/index.html


DVD Released By: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Video: Fullscreen
Audio: English 2.0
Extras: Virtual trading cards, ninja moves, two episodes of Power Rangers Ninja Storm,
and video previews
Subtitles: None
Closed Captions: English (Dino Thunder episodes only)
Region: 1
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 1 per episode
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: $19.99
UPC #: 786936237429
Catalog #: 34546
Status: Available


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Reviewed by:  Zillamon51
The Film: Veteran Power Ranger Tommy Oliver (the original Green Ranger; he was also the White Tiger Ranger, and the Red Zeo and Turbo Rangers) is now a doctor of paleontology.  He takes a job as a high school science teacher.  Three of his students, soccer player Connor, computer geek Ethan, and rocker Kira, come to possess Dino Gems.  With the power of the gems, and the guidance of Dr. Oliver, they become the next generation of Power Rangers!

The Dino Rangers begin their battle with Mesogog, a dinosaur-like creature that wants to return the Earth to a prehistoric state.  He is assisted by a scheming woman called Elsa, the cybernetic warrior Zeltrax, and a legion of reptilian foot soldiers called Tyrannodrones.  This DVD contains the first three episodes of the series.

“Day Of The Dino Part 1”:  After being assigned to detention supervision, Dr. Oliver takes Connor, Ethan, and Kira on an impromptu field trip.  There, they stumble upon Tommy’s underground lab, and the Dino Gems.  Mesogog is also searching for the gems, and he sends the Tyrannodrones to abduct Kira.

“Day Of The Dino Part 2”:  After Kira escapes, Zeltrax attacks the city of Reefside with three robotic dinosaurs, the Dino Zords.  The new Ranger team has to learn to morph, and tame the Dino Zords.  They’ll need them to fend off Zeltrax’s flying warship.

“Wave Goodbye”:  When his Ranger duties cost him a shot at playing for a pro team, Connor has doubts about his new role as Red Ranger.  Meanwhile, Dr. O hatches some help for his team:  The Raptor Riders!  The Rangers have their first battle with one of Mesogog’s genetically engineered monsters.

As a special bonus, this disk also includes the two-part series finale of the previous
PR series, Power Rangers Ninja Storm.

“The Storm Before The Calm Part 1”:  While the Rangers attend the U.S. Action Games, a major extreme sports event, Lothor hatches his master plan.  He wants to open the Abyss of Evil, a resting place for defeated evil warriors.  While the traitorous General Vexacus battles the Rangers, Lothor and his nieces trash Ninja Ops and take Cam prisoner!

“The Storm Before The Calm Part 2”:  Using the power of Cam’s Samurai Amulet, Lothor opens the Abyss.  All of his defeated warriors are resurrected!  To stand a chance against this army of evil, the Rangers must free the ninja students held captive on Lothor’s spaceship.  They’ll be on their own, though, in their final battle against Lothor himself!

Power Rangers Dino Thunder is shaping up to be one of the better PR series.  Humor has always been a big part of PRPRDT strikes a good balance between humor and action.  It doesn’t have as much self-referential parody as Ninja Storm.  Instead, it brings back some of the campiness of the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  This is appropriate, considering the return of Jason David Frank as Tommy.  It’s good to have him back as mentor to a new team of Rangers.  PRDT also has some inside jokes for long-time PR watchers.

Another plus for the series is a good lead villain.  Mesogog is one of the better bad guys in recent
PR history.  In contrast, Ninja Storm's Lothor is less imposing than some of his generals, such as Zurgane and Vexacus.  (In all fairness, PR villainy peaked with Lord Zedd way back in Season 2.  He was a scary-looking dude, regardless of becoming more comedic as the series progressed.)  PRDT also has good special effects, and some catchy rock music.  If you haven’t watched Power Rangers in a while, tune in to Dino Thunder.  You might like it.  Grade:  B

Video: The show is presented in fullscreen, just like on TV.  The image is mostly sharp and detailed.  Some scenes are noticeably grainy, mostly darker scenes and F/X shots.  It’s only a minor problem.  Color reproduction is very good.  The colors are bright and vibrant.  Considering that colorful costumes, bright explosions, and energy beams are such a big part of PR, that’s how it should be.  Grade:  A-

Audio: The English 2.0 audio is sharp.  All of the music, sound effects, and dialogue come through loud and clear.  Grade:  A-

Extras / Menus: First up are “Virtual Trading Cards.”  These are really just brief character profiles.  The ones included here are Kira and Ethan from Dino Thunder, and Vexacus and the Kelzacks from Ninja Storm.  There are other cards shown on the screen, but only these four are selectable.  The others are on upcoming volumes of Dino Thunder.

Next up is a holdover from the later
Ninja Storm disks:  Ninja moves.  These are step-by-step demonstrations of basic martial arts moves strung together into routines called katas.  Two katas are included here:  Knife Hand Kata and Middle Block Kata.

The big “bonus” on this disk is the inclusion of two complete episodes of
Ninja Storm, summarized above.  There are also video previews for:  Aladdin Special Edition, Bionicle 2:  Legends Of Metru Nui, Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock, and Spider-Man:  The Venom Saga.  These previews play automatically when the disk boots up, but you can skip through them.  They are also selectable from their own menu, should you want to watch any of them again.  There is also an option to register your disk in exchange for product support.

The menus are straightforward and easy to navigate.  The main menu is animated; all of the menus have background music.  A few more chapter stops (at least one at the halfway point of each episode) would have been nice. 
Grade:  A

Final Analysis: Due to the inclusion of two bonus episodes, this disk is a big improvement over the first volume of Ninja Storm (which only had three episodes, and no real extras, for the same price).  Easily recommended for Power Rangers fans.
Final Grade:  A
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