In this, the third Bionicle film, the Toa return to Metru Nui to find their land overrun by the evil dictator Sidorak, his soon to be queen, Roodaka and the Visorak, a spider-like army. Roodaka, who plans to take over Metru Nui for herself, tries to lure Toa leader Vakama over to the dark side to lead the Visorak army when Vakama feels disrespected as the leader of the Toa.
While Vakama is seduced by the forces of evil, the remaining Toa meet up with the friendly Rahaga to find Ketongu, a powerful Buddha li…e figure who can help the Toa bring Vakama back from evil and defeat Sidorak, Roodaka and the Visorak army.
If you can’t tell, this is my first journey into the land of Bionicle, and I would bet that this third movie is not the best place to begin. Thick with myths, legends, and expansive terminology, the world of Bionicle is vast, and can be difficult to sort out. For those who have seen the first two Bionicle films, Web of Shadows should be easy to understand. For novices, especially children, Bionicle 3 will probably be difficult to follow. However, exploring the disc will give you or your children a better understanding of the Bionicle universe.
As for the film itself, most of the time it feels like two or three Saturday morning cartoons spliced together and labeled a movie. For adults, the film may drag on at times, but it should keep kids occupied for its 75 minute running time. Had I been introduced to the Bionicle universe with the first two movies, Web of Shadows may have made more sense and been more enjoyable, but it was still a fun visit back to Saturday morning cartoon-land, where the good guys always win and crack bad jokes.
Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, Bionicle 3: Web of Shadows is computer generated and looks good on screen. While the picture details could be just a bit sharper, the image is excellent for a direct-to-video kids movie. The colors are vibrant and there is no grain whatsoever. While Pixar and Dreamworks have set the bar (and budget) high for computer animation, Web of Shadows isn’t that far behind, which is amazing considering this film was made at a fraction of the cost.
Surprisingly, all the Bionicle movies have received pretty good Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 tracks. While the first two movies reviewed on this site scored very high in the audio department, I’d have to say that while the audio for Web of Shadows was good, it wasn’t great.
The DTS track easily gets the edge here, with a richer sound-stage and more separation. The opening sequence had me pumped for what could have been an amazing home theater experience. The surrounds were being used aggressively and the low frequency was getting a nice workout. But then the film began and the sound was scaled back to become mostly dialogue driven. Ambient sounds and the occasional action sequence kept my interest but overall I wanted more. Only at the end of the movie did the surrounds come to life again during the final battle.
The Dolby Digital track was less aggressive. While re-watching the opening sequence, I flipped between the DTS and DD 5.1 tracks and could hear a noticeable difference between the two tracks.
Here is what you will find in regards to extras on this release…
- Web Link – provides a link to www.bionicle.com.
- Bionicle Extras – includes several toy commercials for Bionicle action figures
- Web Movie – this cool feature is about finding the Mask of Light and uses stop motion animation instead of computer-generated effects. Ironically, I felt the web movie had more style than the feature film.
- Bionicle Music – listen to the rock song that plays over the film’s end credits.
- Explorer – useful feature that allows viewers to learn some background information on different Bionicle characters.
- Comic Book Movie – this feature is called Shadow Play and shows Rooduka plotting to overthrow Sidorak and take over the Visorak army.
If you are a Bionicle fan, Bionicle 3: Web of Shadows will make a lot of sense to you and will probably be highly enjoyable. The excellent picture and solid audio experience will just be icing on the cake. For those of us less familiar with the Bionicle universe, we’ll have to work harder to get a lot of enjoyment from this well-supplemented disc.
Special Features List
- Bionicle Explorer
- Bionicle Comic Book
- Bionicle Music
- Bionicle 3 Extras
- Web Movie: Exciting animated movie from the Bionicle website