DVD REVIEW: M.A.S.K. The Complete Original Series
Illusion is the ultimate weapon...
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From the moment the rockin’ theme song blasts out of the television, M.A.S.K. or Mobile Armored Strike Kommand takes you back to the 80’s when shows like G.I. Joe, Transformers, Thundercats, and Voltron ruled the Saturday morning airwaves. Not to be confused with the Jim Carrey character from the 90’s theatrical film, the 1985 animated series was produced by DIC Enterprises to coincide with the toy line of the same name from Kenner. The story revolved around a task force of characters of different ethnic and practical backgrounds that came together under the leadership of millionaire Matt Trakker and utilized power-imbuing helmets and transforming vehicles to fight against the evil organization V.E.N.O.M. led by the villainous Miles Mayhem.
Despite having some of the most bizarre and completely absurd storylines, M.A.S.K. was every little boy’s dream come true offering up high-action, cool technology and even cooler vehicles. The animation is right on par with other shows of the time, and despite some less than stellar writing and questionable voice acting, the characters are just as humorous and endearing as they were when we were kids and the show still holds its own against some of the current garbage airing on television now. Just like many of the other shows of the time, the cartoon even includes PSA’s at the end of each episode.
While I don’t believe any re-mastering was done to the series in picture or sound the shows looks great on DVD. The set only includes two special features, but they are informative and fairly entertaining. The first feature, Unmasking M.A.S.K., is a retrospective interview with two of the writers on the series offering a small glimpse in to the process they went through while writing for the show. The second feature, Saturday Morning Krusaders, is essentially a bunch of fans geeking out over the show and toyline.
The series is presented on 12-DVDs split between two volumes and packaged together in a slipcase. The slipcase features some fantastic artwork and is totally worth getting the box set versus the separate volumes when they become available. Unfortunately, the same care was not shown throughout, as the same artwork images of Matt Trakker and Miles Mayhem are repeated on the cover and each disc of the volumes. It was a little disappointing not seeing the same treatment given to this great series as other popular 80’s shows like G.I. Joe which got new artwork throughout and different characters on every disc. Not having a booklet or episode guide is also a missed opportunity. But the biggest faux pas on the part of Shout! Factory with this set is the marketing of the box set as “The Complete Series”. The box set includes 65 episodes that are basically the entire full-length first season. However, the show actually has 75 episodes, ten of which make up a second season. The reason why these are excluded is that Shout! Factory could not get the rights for these episodes.
Despite my small gripes, the set as a whole is worth having. This show is one of this writer’s favorites from the 80’s and I probably would have paid the same amount for these episodes on blank discs with the titles written in Sharpie marker. Shout! Factory continues to do an amazing job bringing my childhood to home video so I can share my old memories with my kids (when I have them). From live-action shows like Small Wonder to animated hits like Captain Planet, and the upcoming Jem and the Holograms Complete Series, its always a surprise what shows they will bring out next. The M.A.S.K. “The Complete Series” boxed set is available now from the Shout! Factory online store and wherever DVDs are sold.
Review by Michael Klein
Review Sample Courtesy of Shout! Factory