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Case Number 05336

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Zentrix 3D Action Adventure: Out Of Time (Volume 1)

Bandai // 2003 // 325 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // October 7th, 2004

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All Rise...

Judge Mitchell Hattaway wasted five hours of his life watching this CG animated tale. He then gouged out his eyes.

The Charge

A technological paradise

Opening Statement

Zentrix is the most perfect city on the planet, thanks in large part to the efforts of Emperor Jarard. Jarard is unaware, however, that his most advanced creation is planning to usurp power from its master and establish itself as ruler of Zentrix.

Facts of the Case

The city of Zentrix is the ideal place to live; it is ruled by the benevolent Emperor Jarard, a scientist who has perfected artificial intelligence with the creation of the Zentrium biochip, which allows the highest possible degree of machine sentience. This breakthrough has also led Jarard to design the OmicronPsy supercomputer, which coordinates all of the city's day-to-day functions by supervising the robots who aid the citizens of Zentrix. Unbeknownst to Jarard, OmicronPsy soon realizes it would be a better ruler than its creator and revolts. Jarard, in an attempt to stop OmicronPsy, travels back in time, but the supercomputer intervenes and the emperor is feared lost. Megan, Jarard's teenage daughter, learns of her father's mishap and journeys back in time in an attempt to save her father and stop OmicronPsy. The supercomputer's robot henchmen attack the time machine as Megan is beginning her trip and a malfunction occurs; when Megan arrives in the past, she has regressed to the age of eight. Now lost in a strange and dangerous world Megan, with her pet dragon and bodyguard by her side, must find her father and put an end to OmicronPsy's evil plot.

The Evidence

I'm faced with a bit of a problem here, as anyone old enough to read this review will have absolutely no interest in this computer-generated animation title. So with that in mind, I won't bore you with an exhaustive narrative of the plot of this series; I will instead hit some of the low points of this three-disc set.

• Emperor Jarard, in his opening narration, extols the virtues of his rule and informs us of the citizens' love for him. Okay, if that's true, then why are people always telling his daughter how much it sucks living under his regime? It may have something to do with the fact that all his inventions have a way of screwing everybody in the end. For a renowned scientist, this guy seems like a pretty big idiot.

• OmicronPsy is meant to be a supercomputer, but he is given a humanoid form that resembles a cross between Darth Vader and Lucifer from Battlestar Galactica. Couldn't anyone see where this thing was going?

• Jarard leaves his daughter a message regarding his plan to travel back in time and deactivate the supercomputer. He has also left instructions for her to make the same trip and join him (guess he knew he'd screw this up, too), thereby endangering the life of his child. When the officials from Child Welfare finish up with Batman, they need to pay this guy a visit.

• There isn't an original thought at work anywhere in this series. OmicronPsy's biochips are housed in varying locations (meaning Megan's quest will be long and drawn out); these locales include a desert, a forest realm, a city in the sky, a snowy wasteland, an undersea fortress, and (wait for it) a large space station. Zeus, Megan's robot bodyguard, is similar in design to the title character from The Iron Giant, while his speech patterns are lifted from Enoch the Sleestack. The desert location is besieged by giant sandworms, while the ocean depths are home to a sea creature patterned on one of the monsters from The Phantom Menace. The time machine is similar to the alien device from Contact, while the time travel effects are taken from the lightstorms of The Terminator and its sequels. Akina, one of Megan's companions during her journey through the past, is the spitting image of Marvel Comic's Black Widow character, right to down to her wardrobe; we're talking grounds for legal action here. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

• Megan is quite possibly the most annoying heroine ever. I think she grows up to be Jenny McCarthy. OmicronPsy isn't really much of a villain, either; its plans constantly fail, so it keeps trying variations of the same plans. Instead of sending its robots back in time in order to kill Megan, you think it would simply send a couple back to the day before Jarard makes his trip and simply destroy the frickin' time machine. Also, if OmicronPsy is trying to protect its biochips, why does it place a time bomb in a chamber housing one of the chips? Even if the booby trap works, the chip will still be destroyed.

• The animation is below par. It's not up to the standards of the latest edition of the Final Fantasy game series or even an episode of Jimmy Neutron.

• The creators have seriously underestimated the intelligence of their intended audience. I don't think today's kids need to have the onscreen action constantly explained to them; they're also likely to notice the serious lack of continuity.

• This thing's slower than Christmas. Thirteen episodes have passed and Megan has accomplished very little. It also takes twenty minutes to establish the (lack of) plot in each episode, then two minutes to wrap up everything.

• That's enough; I'm spent.

Let's switch to the technical side of the case, which is also rather shoddy; I don't think I've ever seen a title that originated in the digital realm turn out this poorly. The picture is marred by edge enhancement, blooming colors, loss of detail, and extensive breakup in the backgrounds; at times I thought I was watching a VHS tape recording of an old television broadcast. The stereo sound is merely okay, with passable channel separation and fidelity, allowing you to enjoy bad voiceover acting at its finest. There are no extras to be found on the disc, which in this case is definitely a blessing; I don't think I could have taken much more of this abuse.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

I had intended here to use the reaction of my nephew, who's six, to balance out my thoughts; it seemed unfair not to include some input from the audience for which this series was created. That will not be possible, however; ten minutes into the first episode, he told he didn't want to watch it. Maybe there is hope for the future.

Closing Statement

If you have unruly children, and are unable to find any lumps of coal this Christmas, Zentrix will make the perfect stocking stuffer. This isn't the worst thing I've ever seen, but that's only because I've seen Caligula.

The Verdict

Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Zentrix has killed more of my brain cells than I did during college. Those perpetrators are hereby sentenced to remain a thousand yards away from any computer equipment, lest they be apprehended on sight.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 60
Audio: 70
Extras: 0
Acting: 20
Story: 20
Judgment: 35

Perp Profile

Studio: Bandai
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• All Ages
• Animation
• Bad

Distinguishing Marks

• None

Accomplices

• Official Site








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