Blu-ray Review: One Piece: Movie 8 – Episode of Alabasta – The Pirates and the Princess of the Desert
30/12/2014 Leave a comment
The eighth One Piece movie may have been released as part of Movie Collection 3 on DVD back in November but that doesn’t stop Manga UK from re-releasing the film onto a much deserved Blu-ray; so with that being said what can we expect from this Blu-ray instalment of One Piece Movie 8? Find out in our Review.
The island kingdom of Alabasta is about to erupt in civil war – a war engineered by Crocodile, one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, and his criminal organization Baroque Works. Monkey D. Luffy, his Straw Hat pirates, and Princess Vivi race to the island, where the strongest warriors of Baroque Works wait to stop them. Can Vivi and her friends stop an entire war? And how can Luffy fight Crocodile, when Crocodile can turn into sand?
One Piece Movie 8: Episode of Alabasta – The Pirates and the Princess of the Desert, or One Piece Movie 8: The Desert Princess and the Pirates – Adventures in Alabasta as it was known in America, is a feature-length adaptation of the Alabasta story arc of the One Piece TV series. Basically this 90 minute film, which has been totally re-animated, includes new scenes and mastered in High Definition, sees Princess Vivi along with the Straw Hat crew attempt to stop Crocodiles plans of overthrowing the king of Alabasta and acquiring a mysterious power.
This particular movie is ‘exactly’ the way you remember it from the TV Series, albeit completely re-animated and mastered in high definition, and it even manages to compile 40 plus episodes into a single 90 minute film. Somehow it works quite well as all of the ‘key moments’ are left intact while ‘filler styled moments’ are removed; basically it gets to the point of the story instead of messing around with pointless dialogue or interactions. While this may be a ‘re-cap’ styled movie do not let it discourage you from watching it as it features better quality animation, detailed fight-scenes and a more ‘direct-to-the-point- storyline than that of the original series. In hindsight if you ever wanted to re-watch the Alabasta story arc of the One Piece timeline then you are better off watching this movie; as not only is it better but it actually gets to the point.
When it comes to this stand-a-lone release of the film then you don’t actually receive anything different to what was already released back in November as part of Movie Collection 3, and worse still the 5.1 Surround Sound track which was included in the American release of the film is no-where to be found. I was hoping this stand-a-lone release of One Piece – Movie 8 would offer ‘something more’ than what the disc in the Movie Collection 3 set did, such as inclusion of the US Trailer and 5.1 Audio track, but instead it’s the exact same product. The Blu-ray version of this film even has the same menu layout as that of the DVD and thus blurring the difference (other than picture quality) of the two products.
It’s not all bad news though; as the menu layout is easy to navigate, the picture quality is stunning and the audio quality is clear – though it is apparent that this is another ‘in-house’ Blu-ray author by Manga UK as the Blu-ray features those dreadful grey subtitles (which are actually easier to read on this release due to bright colours used within the film) and chapter markings every nine minutes. Since this is a film, and not a TV series, the chapter markings don’t necessarily matter – although at times you do wonder why chapter markers are in the middle of a fight rather than at the start (or end) of it.
None; no extras are included on this Blu-ray release of the film.
Running Time: 1:29:59
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: LPCM 2.0 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Grey)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
Back in November Manga Entertainment UK released One Piece – Movie Collection 3 onto DVD, a movie collection which consisted of Movies 7, 8 and 9 in a single DVD set; and now Manga UK are releasing the eighth One Piece movie, entitled Episode of Alabasta – The Pirates and the Princess of the Desert, as a stand-a-lone release on DVD and Blu-ray.
Personally I have no objections to this, as it’s the only movie (other than Strong World and Film Z) that has been dubbed into English and it’s actually a pretty strong film; however what I do object to is how this stand-a-alone release of the film is being treated. The overall quality of this Blu-ray release is great, and on-par with other One Piece films released on Blu-ray, its just the lack of the 5.1 Audio and any bonus material (such as trailers) which makes it feel like a cheap cash-in as opposed to a general release.
So what benefit does this stand-a-lone release of One Piece – Movie 8 have? Well put simply – nothing. If you purchase the DVD, which I honestly believe will be the same disc that’s included with One Piece Movie Collection 3, then you are wasting money; and if you purchase the Blu-ray version, which is obviously the best way to watch this film, then you won’t receive anything extra other than a HD-Native picture quality and easier to read subtitles.
In retrospect it’s a missed opportunity from Manga UK; this stand-a-lone release of the film should have included the 5.1 Audio and a few extras so that it would offer an incentive for fans to double-dip if they already own the movie collection sets. Of course if you have no interest in the other 8 movies featured within the movie collection sets then this stand-a-lone release will be ideal for you as that way you’ll have all of the ‘English Dubbed’ movies without having to spend money on items you don’t necessarily need.
One Piece: Movie 8 – Episode of Alabasta – The Pirates and the Princess of the Desert will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from the 5th January 2015.