Stan Lee Presents: The Condor DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

A cool tale that melds the world's of superheroes and skateboards.
  • OVERALL
    3.5
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
A cool tale that melds the world's of superheroes and skateboards.
THE BAD
Weird packaging.
THE FEATURE
Stan Lee Presents: The Condor introduces us to a new superhero for the 21st Century Tony Valdez (voiced by Wilmer Valderrama). After turning his back on his family's robotic corporation, Tony drops out of school and pursues his true passion: skateboarding. Then his parents are killed and Tony has his legs ruined in an attack. Calling on the technology that he walked away from, Tony becomes a crime fighting skateboarder bent on revenge. However, along the way Tony comes to realize that things are not as simple as they once seemed, and the people he thinks are friends might be trying to do him in.

All told, Stan Lee Presents: The Condor is a new infusion of life into the world of superheroes. By making this character someone that more of today's children can relate to, Tony Valdez could very well become the Spider-Man of today's generation.
THE EXTRAS
Introduction by Stan Lee

I liked this. Even if it was simply Stan Lee putting his name on something he didn't quite have much to do with, I think it's nice that he avails himself to today's comic/animation creators. So many people that are his age spend their time talking about how much better the past was compared to today. While part of me can understand (and even agree with) that, I do feel like Lee genuinely sees characters like Tony Valdez carrying on the traditions he started with Peter Parker. Truthfully, The Condor will most likely never be as big as that character, but it's nice to see that Lee is willing to lend his name to help it try.

"Meeting of Two Giants: Stan Lee vs. Wilmer Valderrama - The Making of "The Condor"

Okay, let me just say this, Wilmer Valderrama, God Bless him, he isn't any kind of a giant that I've ever heard of. Don't get me wrong, I don't personally have anything against him but this guy doesn't deserve to be called a giant in the same sentence with Stan Lee. That said, what this segment is basically a promotional piece for this DVD. By putting these two together, the old and the young, it helps people have perspective and it also shows that there's no age gap. While I don't think that either one of them really knows that much about the other, they do a fine job of playing it up as if they do. Also, taking us behind the scenes and showing how us how this movie was created was a nice touch, I simply wish it was more in-depth.

DVD Game

Character Gallery and Still Gallery

I decided to group both of these together because they seem to cover the same ground. They show us the characters from the movie and they also provide stills from the film. I liked that we got to see different versions of the characters and other elements, as I feel this helped bring us into the story more. On top of that these things were very easy to navigate around in and they were fun to look at. There's nothing that amazing here but I think the audience for this DVD will be happy to scroll these sections.
THE VIDEO
1.78:1 - Aspect Ratio. The animation on this release looked really well put together. While there wasn't anything about it that blew me away, I love animated stories that are set in places and times that I can relate to. As I have mentioned, the animation on display here has a certain hip factor. It looks a lot better together than your average Scooby-Doo release. Also, presenting this movie in widescreen really seemed to make the images look more concentrated but in a good way.
THE AUDIO
English - Dolby Digital 5.1. English and Spanish - Dolby Digital 2.0. The audio on this release was good but nothing about it really stood out too much. Yeah, it's got a score that sounds like it was put together on someone's home keyboard but I kind of liked that. Unlike a lot of today's current animation which features animals playing human roles, it was nice to see something that wasn't trying to make an impression with every piece of sound. Stan Lee Presents: The Condor simply let everything play as it was.
THE PACKAGE
This packaging features Stan Lee's name, the title of this movie, and then the logo of the The Condor. All of that is done in gray with a black background. My only problem with this packaging is that it made it kind of hard to decipher what this DVD was. The back cover lists out some more information from the film, it offers a Special Features listing, and of course, system specs. There isn't anything that stands out about the way this DVD is packaged, but it is somewhat eye-catching amidst the confusion.
THE FINAL WORD
I didn't know what to expect from this DVD simply because I didn't really know what it was. Then, after doing a little bit of research and discovering that it was created by Marv Wolfman (Teen Titans), I knew that the subject matter was in very good hands. This is a guy who seems to understand the sensibility of today's youth market. I knows what they want and he seems to be able to give it to them with a mixture of hipness that doesn't call attention to itself. What makes the character of Tony Valdez so accessible is the fact that so many kids are like him, or if they're not like him, then they know somebody who is.

Filled with well done animation, a very strong story set-up and structure, Stan Lee Presents: The Condor is a nice edition to the lexicon of superheroes. What is even more exciting is that one could see this tale rising from the world of straight-to-DVD, and become a much bigger entity to imbue life into.

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