Stephen Liverman | Perry Hall, Maryland USA | 07/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The second DVD in the "Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles" CGI series, the Tesca Campaign takes Razak's Roughnecks to a jungle world teaming with new, frightening arachnid species. The squad will face not only the 'bugs' but also serious trials within its own ranks. Some old faces will be lost in battle, new faces in the unit are met with suspicion and hostility. These are by far the best episodes of the series, in sophistication of animation, superior story, and realistic characterization. One warning: these episodes take place in the middle of the series, well after the events of the Pluto campaign (the first DVD). In the interim the Roughnecks have fought campaigns on several worlds including Tophet, where they faced the Skinnies, a sophisticated alien race allied to the bugs (a plot device pulled directly from Heinlein's book). During the campaign they discover the Skinnies are being used against their will by tiny control bugs. The Skinnies are freed, but Carl Jenkins, the Roughneck's psychic is critically injured in the process and lost to the squad. The Tesca campaign opens with the Skinnies, now allies to the humans, joining the war effort. The Roughnecks are chagrinned to learn that this includes a Skinnie being added to their squad. Pvt. T'Phai, a former adversary must now weather the resentment and predjudice of the squad. The alien soon proves his worth in battle, and not a moment too soon. For one of the Roughnecks will fall in battle. I won't say more and spoil the surprise. Again the animation work by Sony and Foundation Imaging is first rate. Realistic action, incredible vehicles, emotionally real performances from the virtual 'cast'. This isn't just another 'cartoon'. If you enjoyed the Pluto campaign, or just enjoy first rate science fiction or war stories, you want this DVD."
Ultimately much better than the Verhoeven film.
William A. Cunningham | Los Angeles, CA United States | 09/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This series became kind of a treasure to me when I originally happened upon it on early morning weekday television before going to work.I had seen and liked the film for what it was, but to be honest the film didn't engage the original Heinlein story that much. The spirit of kids becoming adults through their military experience wasn't really there, and Heinlein's imagined military society was treated in only the most facile and jokey way.This series takes Heinlein's spirit seriously. It's all summed up for me in the last episode that was produced (there are still a few more that haven't been produced yet... please check out the fan website and sign the petition!) that has a moment when one character who has been thrust into a position of authority expresses his doubts about his own ability by saying his mentor, who believed in him, must have been mistaken. The answer he is given is, "If you respected him as much as you say, then you wouldn't try so hard to prove him wrong". That, although I don't think it came from the novel, is in it's spirit pure Heinlein. It's the kind of deep lesson that American animated series rarely reach for so wholeheartedly. This series, in targeting a younger audience but not writing down to it, in fact in writing more maturely than many series written for adults, achieves exactly the effect that the Heinlein juvenile novels did in their day. It challenges with concepts and moral dilemas at the same time as entertaining with pyrotechnics and spectacle.The first episode I lucked into of Roughnecks is one that hasn't been collected on one of these discs yet. It was one in which an experimental combat robot is assigned to the Roughnecks, and they all resent it, but it ends up sacrificing itself in a jaw-droppingly spectacular sequence of combat to save the squad. The episode's narrator, Higgins, sums up the story at the end saying the military command has decided not to use robot soldiers as they are too expensive. Higgins' final comment floored me as much as the great cgi battle, something I would have never expected from a weekday morning animated series... "Good thing troopers come cheap."The writing and the character development are far superior to anything I've seen series wise in the states. I remember these things as though they were live action shows. I'd rate them up with such shows as Babylon 5 and some of the better Star Treks, except that the Roughnecks storyline is more riveting than anything I've seen over the last couple of seasons or Star Trek, and the acting, between the voice actors and the wonderful facial animation, much much better than most of the acting on Babylon 5.So please, if you're on the fence and reading this review, give the Roughnecks a try. And get your friends to watch it too. And buy lots of DVDs, so they'll keep bringing them out. There are 40 episodes out there, but only 10 are collected between 2 discs so far. Each disc of 5 episodes can be viewed as one film, and the two discs that have been released so far can be viewed independently if neccissary. There are nuances of character that grow as the show progresses, but you can watch this second disc without having seen the first, you'll still get what's going on."
A CGI masterpiece .................
Anthony Colon | ASTORIA, NEW YORK USA | 08/05/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With the release of "Final Fantasy" there has been a lot of talk about CGI and how revelutionary the film was. "Final Fantasy" was great movie but not too many people realize that the Roughnecks series had been out way before the "Final Fantasy" release was known to the general public. This series which originally aired in 1999 on the sci-fi channel was a magnificant show. The effects and originality of the show was grade A. Anyone who enjoys Animated movies or series will really enjoy this DVD. I would have given this a 5 star, however the one thing that could have been improved was the soundtrack. The sound effects were crisp and realistic, but the music just did not fit the action sequences. This aside this DVD is a must have for all you anime and animation fans!"
WARNING: Contains Negative Portrayal of Giant Space SPIDERS!
Mr. Hook | Omaha, Nebraska United States | 09/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This disc contains episodes 16 thru 20 of Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles (40 episodes altogether). For those of us who have seen the entire series, we're happy to see some of our favorite episodes finally released in DVD format. For those of you who are new to the show, this DVD contains a Filmmakers' Commentary feature which will bring you up to speed on the series as well as provide some insight into the quirky production process of this completely computer-generated show.Over the course of the series, some of the main characters get wounded and spend time "off stage" to recuperate. One of the main characters is ultimately killed. Each planetary campaign introduces the possibility that not every member of the Roughnecks squad will survive. Such is the case at the beginning episode 16 where an alien character (and former enemy) is recruited to replace a trooper who was hospitalized in a previous episode. This is a very well written series which takes the consequences of war and combat seriously. The characters are fully developed over time and the sheer ambition and complexity of the CGI is truly breathtaking. Also, the techno-inspired soundtrack continues to be one of my favorite elements of the show. The original score contributes much to the energy and mood of every scene."
Good entertainment, great commentary
David C. Hill | Centennial, CO USA | 10/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Roughnecks series is a decent compromise between Heinlein's original stories and Verhoeven's warped distortion of it. (Indeed, in flashback, there's quite a bit almost directly from Heinlein.) The animation is good, and for a "cartoon" the storyline is quite mature.What makes this disc stand out is the very fine commentary track. I learned a lot about the writing, about CGI, about doing "childrens shows" ... it's worth investing the extra time after watching the movie first.I'm tickled pink that the rest of the series will be coming out."