Toys on PAL Laserdisc

The Dominator reviewsToysDistributed by
Odyssey Video

    Details :

  • : ODL 103
  • Cert : PG
  • Running time : 120 mins
  • Sides 2 (CLV)
  • Year : 1992
  • Pressing : UK, 1996
  • Chapters : 26 total (Side 1 : 1-14, Side 2 : 15-26)
  • Sound : Dolby Surround
  • Widescreen : 1.85:1
  • Price : £29.99


      Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Good Morning Vietnam, Bugsy, Avalon)


      Mark Johnson and Barry Levinson


      Valerie Curtin and Barry Levinson


      Hans Zimmer and Trevor Horn


    • Leslie Zevo : Robin Williams (Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire)
    • General Zevo : Michael Gambon (The Singing Detective, The Cook The Thief His Wife & Her Lover)
    • Alsatia Zevo : Joan Cusack (The All-Nighter, Addams Family Values)
    • Gwen Tyler : Robin Wright (Forrest Gump, The Princess Bride)
    • Patrick Zevo : LL Cool J (The Hard Way)
    • Kenneth Zevo : Donald O’Connor (Singin’ In The Rain)
    • Old General Zevo : Jack Warden (All The Presidents Men, The Verdict)
    • Nurse Debbie : Debi Mazar (Batman Forever, Beethoven’s 2nd)
    • Researcher : Yeardley Smith (voice of Lisa Simpson, “The Simpsons”)

Wheneccentric toy tycoon Kenneth Zevo is about to die, he has to leave histoy factory to one of his relatives. He chooses his brother Leland, an ex-Armygeneral who was rendered obselete after the end of the Cold War, feeling thathis two children Leslie and Alsatia are too immature for the job.

Leland has slightly-warped ideas of what to do as the new head of the company,and decides upon creating a series of war toys, something that’s never beenmade before at Zevo Toys; and he brings in his son Patrick as head of security.

Leslie and Alsatia are horrified to discover what is happening, especially asthe new project begins to encroach on their space, with the walls literallyclosing in on them.

What can they do to stop this, and bring back the light-hearted atmosphere thatonce dominated the factory, especially when they’re fighting with teddy bearsagainst his computerised tanks? Christmas is coming soon, so time isn’t ontheir side.

Picture quality of this disc is superb with sharp detail, something particularlyneeded to fully appreciate the multi-coloured visuals, which are as vibrantas the luscious gatefold sleeve that the disc comes in.

The Production Designer, Ferdinando Scarfiotti, is responsible for theimaginative display of an intricate mix of sets, locations, models andcomputer-generated imagery. One such clever set piece is when the walls closein on a meeting about fake vomit at the end of side one.

The sound quality is well worth hearing too. It’s used to good effect for theambience of toys whizzing and clicking all over the place, and for later whenthe computerised war toys begin to kick in. Also, the background music featuressongs like Tori Amos’s “The Happy Worker” and a remix of Frankie Goes ToHollywood’s “Welcome To The Pleasure Dome”.

The gatefold sleeve is very colourful, and contains a number of stills fromthe film, a personal view of the film from Philip Kemp, plus a chapter listing.24 chapters cover the film itself, with the Odyssey logo and the originaltheatrical trailer preceeding the film.

Director Barry Levinson makes good use of the camera frame, and has anextensive list of films to his credit including classicslike “The Natural” and “Rain Man“, the cult hit “Diner“, and another RobinWilliams-starrer, “Good Morning Vietnam“.

Robin Williams is no stranger to comedy and makes good use of his characterhere too. There’s more than adequate support in the acting stakes from JoanCusack who plays his sister Alsatia, an experienced actor Michael Gambon,the love interest provided by Robin Wright, and cameos from Donald O’Connorand Jack Warden. LL Cool J plays Leland’s black son, something never explainedin an otherwise all-white family.

All in all, a film that can be viewed by all the family time and time again,and a good disc to use as a demo to show friends how laserdisc can provideperfect colour separation and top-notch surround sound, something that not allvideo tapes can manage.

Review &copy Dominic Robinson, 1996.

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