Review for Adventure Time - The Complete Third Season
I’m still ambivalent about Adventure Time, 3 discs into the six discs of the first five series (Season 5 is twice the length). Contemplating it as a whole, it feels like quite a chore still ahead of me, another 104 episodes! But I have to admit that the process of watching the show, taking each episode as it comes is really quite enjoyable, especially now that I’m finding just what this show has to offer. Still, the truth of the matter is that I’m never daunted at the prospect of watching other long-running series...
Finn is a human boy, and Jake is his best friend, a shape-shifting dog. Together they have lots of adventures in the magical post-apocalyptic land of Ooo, with friends like Princess Bubblegum of the Candy Kingdom, Lumpy Space Princess of Lumpy Space, Tree Trunks, the pygmy elephant, Marceline the Vampire Teen, and Lady Rainicorn, all while dodging danger from the Ice King, the Clown Nurses, the micro-cat assassin Me-Mow, and The Legion of Cuties...
There are 26 episodes on this Season 3 Blu-ray disc from Manga Entertainment.
The picture is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen 1080p. With five hours of video and extras, you’d be forgiven for expecting issues, even on a dual layer Blu-ray. But with this being a rather simplistic animation, all flat colours, bold lines and simple motion, I suspect that compression isn’t that much of an issue on this disc. Certainly I didn’t notice anything as crass as pixellation or aliasing, or even digital banding. As mentioned, this is a simple animation, with memorable character designs that are never really complex. This looks like an animation for young children, although it only looks that way.
They certainly saved some space with the audio, offering a serviceable but lossy DD 2.0 English track with optional English subtitles. The music is adequate, but unremarkable, while the actors are suited to the characters. There are some surprisingly big names in the guest cast worth keeping an ear out for.
The disc autoplays with trailers for the Adventure Time Season 2 BD and DVD and The Regular Show before booting to a static menu.
There are commentaries for all 26 episodes with the production staff.
Alternative Adventure Time Intro by Screen Novelties offers a lego interpretation that lasts 36 seconds.
There is a nice featurette with the creators called How an Idea Becomes Adventure Time which lasts 7:35.
I have to admit that Adventure Time has won me over. It took me 3 seasons, and 78 episodes, but I finally get where this show is coming from, a delightful cartoon that works for children and adults. The kids get the fun adventures and the colourful characters, while older fans can appreciate the humour and the references. Once again, I really enjoyed the show’s continuity, the way that it builds its story universe, and by this point in the show it’s ready to subvert expectations, and call back to earlier episodes.
There’s an episode in this run called Fionna and Cake, which offers a parallel world version of the story, where the characters are gender switched, and heroine Fionna is contemplating her feelings for Prince Gumball. There’s also a chance to revisit the very first episode, as the zombie virus returns in From Bad to Worse. The way the previous season ended pays off in the fifth episode here, Too Young, with Finn spending time with a Princess Bubblegum close to his own age, before the rules of the Candy Kingdom get in the way. There’s even an episode that eschews the regular characters to instead tell a warm story about a snowman that adopts a natural enemy, a fire wolf pup, and bonds with it.
One of the nice things about the show is the way it develops its characters and even the ostensible villains. Unless they are literally monsters, then there is always some way into their characters, some way to make them sympathetic. Marceline quickly revealed herself to be more than just a bullying vampire, and by this point has become one of Finn and Jake’s friends. The Ice King too has revealed more to his character than just a serial princess kidnapper. He’s also a lonely guy desperate for friendship; just too creepy and clingy to hang around for long. In this collection, we get a two part Christmas story that reveals his back-story and origins, and it’s quite the tale.
I said this the last time, but what really appeals to me about this show is the sheer variety of stories. This is no routine cartoon, and other than the adventure ethos of its mission statement, there’s very little repetition between episodes. There’s always something new to discover about the characters and about the world in which they live. In some ways, Adventure Time is like another franchise about which I was initially lukewarm. I didn’t think much of Red vs. Blue the first time I saw it, but with each subsequent instalment expanding its universe, I grew to like it more and more. I feel the same way about Adventure Time, and look forward to the next adventure when the latest one ends. What surprises me in this fickle industry, is that it got a second chance after such an uninspiring first season. But it’s good that it did.