Until MORAL OREL: VOLUME 1, THE UNHOLY VERSION ($30) showed up on my doorstep, I never had the opportunity to sit down with this clever and highly amusing Adult Swim offering. Previously, I stated that Adult Swim’s THE VENTURE BROS. was like JONNY QUEST on acid- well MORAL OREL is akin to DAVEY AND GOLIATH on crystal meth. MORAL OREL is decidedly twisted and funny- with its creator seemingly taking a great deal of pleasure skewering hypocritical Christian conservatives at every opportunity.
Set in the city of Moralton, which happens to be in the fictional U.S. state of Statesota, the basic premise of MORAL OREL takes rather large swipes at the sitcom world of yesteryear, where everyone is white, and lives in their own home on a suburban small town street. Of course, Moralton is in reality the kind of small town envisioned by director David Lynch, one where the high moral standards of the citizens is really a façade hiding their moral decay. The series central character is twelve-year-old Orel Puppington, who always takes every word of morality being thrown at him by the hypocritical adults quite literally, which usually ends in some small disaster. The vocal talent behind MORAL OREL includes Jay Johnston, Carolyn Lawrence, Britta Phillips, Tigger Stamatopoulos, William Salyers and Dino Stamatopoulos.
MORAL OREL: VOLUME 1, THE UNHOLY VERSION comes to DVD in a two-disc set that features the following fifteen episodes that were aired on Cartoon Network during the Adult Swim late night programming block: The Best Christmas Ever, The Lord's Greatest Gift, Waste, Charity, Omnipresence, The Blessed Union, God-Fearing, Maturity, Loyalty, God's Chef, God's Image, Love, Satan, Elemental Orel and Offensiveness. Personal favorites include God's Chef, in which Orel discovers that masturbation is a sin as he is wasting sperm that should be making babies; Waste, in which Orel takes recycling to amusing heights; and Charity, in which Orel gets a little something in return, when he gives money to a homeless man.
Warner Home Video has made all fifteen episodes that comprise MORAL OREL: VOLUME 1, THE UNHOLY VERSION available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. The episodes look good on DVD, but I would venture to guess they only surpass a Cartoon Network airing by a small margin. Sharpness and image detail are on par for this type of television caliber stop motion animated program. Colors are nicely rendered and have a more than respectable level of saturation. Blacks and whites appear accurate and contrast remains at the television level. The animation appears free from noticeable flays and digital compression artifacts are never a concern.
All of the episodes that comprise MORAL OREL: VOLUME 1, THE UNHOLY VERSION arrives on DVD with their soundtracks presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. The sound is crisp, clean and gets the job done without any fuss. There are occasional mild separations, but nothing that calls attention to itself. Fidelity is just fine. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the dialogue maintains complete intelligibility. No other language tracks are provided, but English, French and Spanish subtitles have been included.
Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. The Awkward Comic-Con Panel is an interesting program featuring a drunken member of the MORAL OREL team monopolizing the panel. The DVD also features running Audio Commentaries, Promos & Bumps, a look Behind-The-Scenes, Dino As Reverend Putty, End Animations and Deleted Scenes.
MORAL OREL is an irreverent and funny satire that doesn’t poke fun at religion, but at its so-called practitioners. Warner’s DVD collection is up to their usual high standards. If the subject matter peaks your curiosity, or is you’re an established fan, the MORAL OREL: VOLUME 1, THE UNHOLY VERSION comes recommended.
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