Buena Vista // 1994 // 79 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 5th, 2004
Okay boys, let's cash in!
With the insane popularity of Spider-man 2 infecting most everyone's blood (judging by the box office), all manner of Spidey paraphernalia has been unleashed onto the public. Spider-man vs. Doc Ock is a packaging of some old Spider-man cartoons that feature -- for the most part -- the webslinger's multi-limbed nemesis and the dorkiest Peter Parker you'll ever see.
Four episodes from the mid '90s cartoon incarnation of Spider-man have been sewn together and submitted for your perusal, with Dr. Octopus anchoring the set (hmmm, why this villain? Why now?).
"Doctor Octopus: Armed and Dangerous"
Peter Parker tangles with the tentacled freak, when he abducts Peter's bazillionaire lady-friend Felicia Hardy. Pete realizes the sinister Dr. Octopus is actually Otto Octavius, a brilliant scientist who ran a science day camp Peter went to as a child (Lunch at noon, followed by Experimental Fusion at one, then mandatory Bowl-Cut trimmings at three!)
Doc Ock is pissed at Hardy's father, whose foundation has cut off Octavius' funding for his research. But his plan for revenge is thwarted by you-know-who.
The Cat, also known as Parker beau Felicia Hardy's father, holds a secret that the nefarious Kingpin, along with Doctor Octopus want. Years ago, The Cat witnessed the birth of Captain America, and memorized the formula for the super soldier serum.
But to get this info out of him, the mega-villains need to spring him out of Nick Fury's S.H.I.E.L.D. fortress. Spider-man must stop him. Some weird guys fly around in jetpacks and shoot lasers at each other, a' la Moonraker.
"The Black Cat"
Spider-man crosses path with the enigmatic Black Cat, a super-powerful wanna-be thief, whose secret identity is someone very familiar to Peter. Yep, you guessed it, Felicia Hardy. Eventually the two tag-team to fight the evil Kingpin and his cronies.
Paging Doc Ock. Where are you? Hello? Hello?
Witness the evolving relationship between Spider-man and Black Cat. Black Cat is captured, and her abductors force Spider-man on a dangerous mission: to capture a couple of weirdos called The Scorpion and The Vulture. Can he do it? Do you really care?
This is really scraping bottom-of-the-barrel for a quick buck. I think that studio execs look to prey upon the naïve old grandmas who don't know any better. Perhaps by packaging these discs deceptively they can fool Grammy Wanda's inner voice:
Now I know Billy loves Spider-man and wants to see that new movie that's out. Hey, look here is a Spider-man movie and it has that odd man with tentacles! Like the movie posters and commercials I saw. Therefore, this must be the movie! I think I'll surprise him and buy it for him and he won't have to pay to go see it and all of his friends will be so jealous! I'm such a great grandmother! I'm so with the times! Now where was that nice salesman?
Execs may have suckered a few, but I hope that you in the know will be savvier. I mean, the set is probably decent enough for the little kids who will absorb anything Spider-man related, but as something remotely interesting for sentient beings out of grade school, this is merely dredging the past to make money.
For starters, the episodes are out of order. The last three are part of a series, minus one episode, so the continuity is off. And the other headliner, Doctor Octopus, exponentially vanishes on each subsequent episode. If you look at it as a whole, Doc Ock is rarely in it, and Spider-man vs. Doc Ock comes off as a random compendium of old, poorly animated episodes.
Included are a couple of 1960s Spider-man cartoons. These are hilariously dated, entertaining as nostalgic and object-of-laughter diversions, but little else. Other extras include some musings by Stan Lee, which are nifty I have to admit, but not cool enough to validate this set's existence.
Sound and picture are equally blah. The episodes come in their original full-frame transfer sporting below-average picture quality. The stereo mix under-performs.
All in all, a set whose motivation for release is transparent: you can almost see the dollar signs in the studio bigshots' eyes.
Is it true that anything with Spider-man plastered all over it sells? Lord, I hope not. If this set flies off the shelf, expect an influx of lots of other sub-average webslinger crap (Spidey-Cola-With-Half-the-Carbs, Spidey-Nicotine-Gum, and The Spidey-Rectal-Thermometer.)
Go spin your web in Siberia. Court adjourned.
Review content copyright © 2004 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Buena Vista
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 79 Minutes
Release Year: 1994
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Stan Lee Intros
* Bonus 1967 episodes
* Spider-man (1960s)
* Spider-man (1990s)