Posted in: Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on April 6th, 2012
Review writers like regular authors often have difficult times coming up with beginnings. Personally, I like to use an event from my history or relate some curious fact that parlays into the review. I figure I will be spending eight to ten paragraphs about the actual product, why waste the time and do more. Well today, I am reviewing the Real Adventures of Johnny Quest and let us just say if it was up to me, I would deviate as much from the source as I humanly could. But onto the review I go.
Author’s Note: This is a Warner Archive Disc (or two discs rather). It is supposed to be available on Amazon in addition to the WB Shop but at the time of this writing, it is not (4/6/12). So therefore, if you really want this addition to your Johnny Quest library, go the following address (WBSHOP) to purchase it:
We now return you to the review.
This is the Real Adventures of Johnny Quest, not the old Johnny Quest cartoons or even the Venture Bros parody. This show was created in the mid nineties and lasted 52 episodes over two seasons. The first season, volume 1 dvd set was actually released to the mass public in 2009. I am guessing that due to slow sales and reduced emphasis on releasing a cartoon such as this, they switched to the Warner Archive (Burn on Demand) format for this volume and future volumes (if they end up coming out).
This Johnny Quest show is similar to the original in that we had four main characters, Dr. Benton Quest, his bodyguard Race Bannon, Dr. Quest’s son, Johnny (now age 16 rather than an 11 year old boy) and Dr. Quest’s assistant, Hadji (also age 16 to compliment Johnny). Oh yeah, and Bandit the dog is back too. They also added a new character named Jessie Bannon, 15 years old who was Race’s daughter and of course a love interest to young Johnny.
The plot to most episodes was that the Quest team traveled to some exotic location to find relics, gold, or explore some ecological concern. Then when they got there, they of course face danger which could be some eco-terrorists, seemingly supernatural beings, and general bad guys. The Quest team would of course win and then there would be a really unnatural break and the show would end with no epilogue (perhaps they might spend a minute or two showing something in Questworld which was a Cyberspace setting in the JQ World).
As an example, here are a few episodes and their plot summaries.
In the Wake of Mary Celeste has a historical beginning from November of 1872 where a Captain Briggs and his ship containing a ton of rum are overtaken by a strange beam that makes the ship completely disappear. Fast forward to present day and Dr Quest and Hadji are helping Max Schumacher (who has delusions that he is Captain Briggs) unravel the mystery. Meanwhile, Johnny is training for a triathlon and Race is helping him achieve his goal.
In the Darkness of the Moon explores the Yukon up in the country of Canada and we get friendly with Dr. Marie Metier, a town doctor who is almost attacked by a werewolf. The Quest team goes to investigate and almost immediately Race falls for the young French doctor. However, this doctor has a mysterious pendant and a dark secret. It is only a matter of time before the team figures out both.
Alligators and the Okeechobee Vikings takes us to the Florida Everglades where a Nordic tribe whose origins touch the 10th century have taken it upon themselves to attack a pumping station that is masquerading as a swamp vessel. They furthermore dress as Alligatormen to scare their foes. The Quest posse who have been deceived by the pumping station come up to investigate. They soon find out the true story behind the Okeechobee tribe and the eco-terrorists.
The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest can be described in three words: A hokey mess. It smells of 90’s politically correct and ecological nonsense that completely handicapped any meaningful plot. Furthermore, Dr. Quest and Race Bannon spout off confusing clichés like there is a contest between them to come up with the most ridiculous one.
(*not actual dialog but might as well should be*)
“Hey Race, I’m about as hot as a dung beetle in the Sahara Desert on a bottlecap”
“Dr. Quest, that’s nothing. I am as thirsty as a college student with finals coming up and a Mountain Dew addiction.”
And it goes on and on. Any actual villains in this series make the Three Stooges look like Harvard graduates on an episode of Card Sharks (I couldn’t help myself sorry). The Quest team could also be summed up as bungling morons as often as they run into trouble or get themselves captured. But the cartoon is not very good and it does not help that each episode ends so weirdly. It’s like, okay we filled up 22 minutes of programming and we abruptly end…now.
The video is in 1.37:1 fullscreen presentation. Unfortunately for many fans, there does not appear to be any restoration work done here at all. Images are often pixilated and you could be easily told this cartoon is about 10-15 years older than it is and believe it. Colors are okay at best and many shots are just not consistent. The CG sequences are not much better and only likely to make you queasy rather than entertained.
For the audio portion, we get a 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo track. Even though the video was not up to part, Johnny and the crew are digging the soundtrack and special effects. Dialog is clear and despite the numerous accents (due to all of the locales they travel to), all words should be easily discerned. Explosions and fighting sequences are numerous and are above average for a mid-nineties cartoon such as this. No subtitles are provided but that is the norm for cartoons.
- Journey into Questworld 9:22: John Eng and Peter Lawrence among others are here to talk about the CGI world known as Questworld and what it brought to this cartoon. In this world, Johnny Quest & Hadji could defeat real villains despite the virtual like qualities of cyberspace. It made them superheroes, until Surd invaded and contaminated it. So this is why many of the episodes center around this plot concept. We also get some concept art and even though by today’s standards it is dated, it was cutting edge and worked for the time.
As sure as the sun will rise in the Far East in a thunderstorm with an episode of Barney Miller on, the Real Adventures of Johnny Quest is an exercise in very bad cartoon magic. The Johnny Quest characters are their usual selves but the stories are beyond awful. Confusing plots, moronic villains and abrupt ends make this possibly one of the worst re-makes of classic characters I have ever seen. Warner Archive does us no favors either by giving us limited extras and mediocre video to boot. I can understand why they made this one Burn on Demand because nobody in their right mind except for Johnny Quest diehards would dare go near this one.
In the Wake of Mary Celeste
Besieged in Paradise
The Spectre of the Pine Barrens
The Ballad of Belle Bonnet
In the Darkness of the Moon
The Secret of the Moai
Expediting to Khumbu
Ice Will Burn
Alligators and the Okeechobee Vikings
To Baroo and Back