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Pinky: Gee, Brain, what are we going to do tonight?
Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world!

Brain: Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?
Pinky: Well, I think so -- but where do you stick the feather and call it macaroni?

Pinky: Look, Brain, the reindeer are inviting elves to join them for a party at Donner's house.
Brain: Hmm, somehow the idea of joining the Donner party is unappealing.

Decidedly the highlight of ANIMANIACS, PINKY AND THE BRAIN was most deservedly spun off onto its own solo program, which took the rodent duo from syndicated afternoon animated fare to Saturday morning and a stopover in the realm of prime time. While the show featured its share of slapstick antics, PINKY AND THE BRAIN had a decidedly cerebral side, filled with brilliant throwaway lines, comic bits and pop culture references that were certainly beyond a grade school audience. Heck, PINKY AND THE BRAIN even has an Emmy Award under their belts for its delightful Christmas episode.

The basic premise of PINKY AND THE BRAIN follows a pair of laboratory mice on an endless quest for world domination. The Brain (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) is a super-intelligent mouse with an extra large head, a voice reminiscent of Orson Wells, and the desire to rule the world. The Brain’s sidekick is a pliable, good-natured fellow lab mouse named Pinky (voiced by Rob Paulsen), who is decidedly deficient on an intellectual level, even for a rodent. Each adventure finds The Brain coming up with an elaborate scene to take over the world, one which always manages to come undone at the last moment, generally due to Pinky’s assistance, or sometimes, lack thereof. Obviously a graduate of the Wyle E. Coyote school of Try and Try Again, The Brain is never deterred, despite countless failures and always ready to plot their next night’s activity, which is the same thing he and Pinky do every night… try and take over the world!

PINKY AND THE BRAIN, VOLUME 1 ($45) comes to DVD in a four-disc set that features the series first twenty-two episodes. The twenty-two episodes are as follows: Das Mouse, Of Mouse And Man, Tokyo Grows / That Smarts / Brainstem, Pinky & The Fog / Where No Mouse Has Gone Before / Cheese Roll Call, Brainania, TV Or Not TV, Napoleon Brainaparte, A Pinky And The Brain Christmas, Snowball, Around The World In 80 Narfs, Fly, Ambulatory Abe / Mouse Of La Mancha, The Third Mouse / The Visit, It's Only A Paper World, Collect 'Em All / Pinkasso, Plan Brain From Outer Space, Robin Brain, The Mummy, The Pink Candidate, Brain's Song, Welcome To The Jungle, A Little Off The Top / Megalomaniacs Anonymous and Two Mice And A Baby / The Maze.

Warner Home Video has made all the episodes that comprise PINKY AND THE BRAIN, VOLUME 1 available on DVD in the proper 4:3 full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. The episodes look really good on DVD, and the image quality is pretty consistent with other Warner Bros. Television productions from the mid 1990s. Everything appears as crisp and solid as this type of film based 2D TV animation is likely to look. Colors are strongly rendered and appear completely stable. Blacks are solid and the white are clean. The film elements display minor blemishes and a smattering of grain. Digital compression artifacts are always well contained.

For this release, all of the episodes contained in PINKY AND THE BRAIN, VOLUME 1 have been upgraded to a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. The upgraded soundtracks are surprisingly good for this kind of animated television fare. Although not continuous, sound effects are very well deployed throughout the outlying channels, plus the music has a nice spread and a genuine sense of presence. Fidelity is very good for an animated kid’s show, although no one will mistake it for a theatrical feature. Voices are well recorded; dialogue is crisply rendered and is always totally understandable. An English 2.0 surround track, plus a Portuguese language track has also been included. Subtitles are available in French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as "Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?" a twenty five minute retrospective program featuring interviews with cast and crew.

Clever and genuinely funny, PINKY AND THE BRAIN is one of Warner Bros. best animated series ever produced for television. PINKY AND THE BRAIN, VOLUME 1 looks and sounds great and only serves to whet my appetite for future volumes. Very highly recommended!



Pinky and the Brain, Vol. 1 (1995)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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