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Is It Fall Yet?
Running Time: 75 minutes
Retail Price: $19.99
Features: Bonus episodes "Fire!" and Dye, Dye, My Darling", Mystic Spiral Music Video "Freakin' Friends" featuring Trent
Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Surround, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (8 Scenes)
Released: January 15th, 2002
At the time I'm writing this, MTV's staple animated show, "Daria" is about to see its series finale after nearly five years on the air. As I'm deeply upset to see it go (as it's one of MTV's few animated shows that lasted well over a season), "Daria" (which was a spin-off from the ultra successful "Beavis and Butthead") is seeing its first DVD release that is sure to please fans. This first DVD includes the first television movie, "Is it fall yet?" that originally aired during August 2000.
So, high school is out for Lawndale students and it's the summer season. Things are a bit complex for Daria. As she struggles to find good ground with her new boyfriend Tom, Daria's mother forces her to be a counselor at the "It's Ok To Cry Corall" which is a camp for kids that is quite untraditional in the best sense, led by her teacher Mr. O'Neill. Also there for the ride is another one of Daria's teachers, Mr. DeMartino, who actually leans to calm down a little and renews his love for teaching when he is appreciated by the campers there. While there, Daria meets an angered young boy named Link who won't open up to Daria and Daria is somewhat bothered by it. During this summer, Daria somewhat finds herself, as she also must come to terms with her on again, off again fighting with her best friend Jane.
Speaking of Jane, she's off to an artists colony for the summer where she's not quite impressed, especially with some rather arrogant people around her. She does find some comfort with a fellow artist named Allison though, however, it's not quite the relationship she wants to start. Kevin and Brittney are pool lifeguards for the summer (and incredibly bad at it), while "Mack Daddy" is working as an ice cream truck driver to help pay his Dad back. Throw in Jodie during her usual work that she's only doing to put on her transcript and of course there is Daria's sister Quinn, who gets a tutor by the name of David Sorenson after she gets her PSTAT scores back, and wants to do better so she can get into her choice party college. When Quinn's friends hear about this, they also hire David but lack the discipline to study.
So, as you can see, it's an interesting summer for Daria and friends with the usual hijinks. But also, a few plot points that have been featured before on the show are explored in greater detail and finally resolved. The beauty of "Daria" and what it will probably be best known for is its sarcastic, witty and sly humor throughout. While "Is it fall yet?" retains many of the straight-forward and visual jokes like the show, the undertones and one-liners are dead-on in typical "Daria" fashion. It also perfectly represents and even takes shots at normal, stereotypical if you say, high school students. Brittney's the dumb cheerleader, Kevin is the ignorant jock while Jodie is the girl who does everything for college, among others on the show. The thing is that we have known or know people just like them, and the humor about them always hits the mark. It's because of these reasons I'm going to miss "Daria." While some episodes were better than others, the show itself never really got old.
The other beautiful thing about "Is it fall yet?" is that it plays just like an extended episode of the series. It's not that it's a much more grand scale production or that it has things you usually don't seen on an episode in the series, it's more or less just like a normal episode. It plays out rather seamlessly. Even though it is longer, it really didn't feel much more longer to me. I was really surprised how fast it goes, I actually didn't want it to end.
The voice acting is superb like usual, and even has guest stars that suit the MTV crowd perfectly. Carson Daly, Bif Naked and Dave Grohl, as you may know, a member of the band "Foo Fighters." The animation style is something no one ever really talks about with "Daria," but I happen to be a big fan of it. It's simplistic is nature yet bold, colorful and effective. And that's about it. This is a must buy for "Daria" fans, and if you've never seen the show or don't have cable, "Is it fall yet?" is something that you must check out if you're into animation and like wry, sarcastic humor.
The film is presented in its original viewing aspect ratio, that being 1.33:1 full screen. The results are rather good. Colors are bold and deep and do not tend to oversaturate. Black levels are rather solid too. Detail is fine, but the only flaws I say with this transfer are a good deal of shimmering and a lot, and I mean a lot of noise. There's not much else to say about this transfer, but it's rather solid. Enjoy!
Also included is a fairly simple and straight forward English Dolby Surround track. Like the transfer, there really isn't much to say here. Dialogue is clear and crisp and no one should have problems hearing it. No distortion or muffling of any kind, while no other sounds overlap it. Speaking of the other sounds, they're somewhat weak. They're fine for the material and since a lot of "Daria" is talking, but I expected a bit more activity with the music and other sounds. Still, it's nice for what it is. Also included are English closed captions.
We get quite a treat, as an additional two "Daria" episodes are included. YES! We basically have the prequel if you say to the film included on the DVD, that being the episodes "Fire!" and "Dye, Dye, My Darling." These aren't my favorite episodes of the series, but they are quite good. In "Fire!" Daria's father Jake has a little accident one night, causing a fire at their home (naturally). This forces them to move into the hotel, where a friendly bellboy hits on Quinn and scams here somewhat, why Daria stays with Jane most of the time. Tom hangs out there too, so as Daria and Tom dig a bit further into their friendship, Jane becomes somewhat jealous leading to some conflict with Daria. In the next episode, things become a bit more intense between Daria and Jane over Tom and being friends in general. What causes a fight? Daria helping Jane dye her hair like a tiger. Overall, these are fun episodes that are a must watch if you've never seen them before, as they clear up some things in the movie. These episodes are also fairly realistic as far as how relationships are, with snappy and rather good dialogue.
Also included is the Mystik Spiral Music Video "Freakin' Friends" featuring Trent. It's somewhat trippy, and basically an extension of the song included in the movie.
"Daira The Movie - Is it fall yet?" is a must own if you're a "Daria" fan or like humorous animation in general. This DVD is quite nice featuring a fine presentation and a good array of supplements. The price is right too, and I only hope Paramount brings out more "Daria" discs in the future. Someone start begging for boxed sets... maybe I will.