DVD Title
 Saga of the Phoenix
International Title
 Kujakuoh: Legend of Ashura
Movie Length: 89 minutes Original Length: 97 minutes
Company: Universe Release: 2001
Aspect Ratio: 1:85:1 Anamorphic: No
Region: 0 Discs: 1
  
Language/Sound:
Cantonese (5.1 Surround), Mandarin (5.1 Surround)
Subtitles:
English, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified)
Extras
· Menus (English/Chinese)
· Chapters (8)
· Trailers: Kujakuoh, Kujakuoh: Legend of Ashura, Iceman Cometh, Righting Wrongs
· Star Files: Yuen Biao, Gloria Yip (English/Chinese)
Captures
Review
Anthony Romero

This DVD release from Universe of the second Kujakuoh live action film is unfortunately about on the same level as their Peacock King DVD. This means one can except the same poor video and audio quality, while also being presented with hardly any bonus material.


 Video:

Another lackluster video transfer from Universe here. Suffice to say, lots of things are handled poorly on this release, including the saturation being increased too high to try and get a richer color scope, consequently washing out details during the film's lighter sequences. Coloring in general also looks off during a lot of scenes, which appear to be faded while there is no true black to be seen. The amount and type of compression is also noticeable, with artifacting being overly apparent while the movie looks very soft without a rich level of detail. The movie has also been edited down from its original Japanese version, removing eight minutes of footage from the production.

On the plus side, at least the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 is maintained, although sadly its not anamorphic.


 Audio:

This disc contains two audio tracks in 5.1 surround, one of which is in Cantonese and the other Mandarin. Unfortunately, like Universe's Peacock King DVD, this disc lacks the original Japanese audio for the film. I'm not sure as to the particular origin of these dubs either, but one thing that did stand out was that two of the tourists in the film were dubbed into English using the same actors Toho employs for their English dubs. In fact, the voice actors were the same ones who would later dub Emmy and Shindo in the 1991 film Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. So its possible Toho did make at least one of these dubbed tracks, or more likely they had the movie dubbed into English at one point and whoever created these Cantonese and Mandarin tracks used this source instead of the original Japanese version.

Regardless, the audio quality here isn't bad, although the Cantonese one tends to fare better, sounding more robust compared to the Mandarin one which sounds more subdued when it comes to dialogue. Speaker distinction, on the other hand, is very weak for a "surround" track. In fact, it sounded more like a stereo presentation for most of the film outside of a few instances like the credit music.

As for the subtitles, the movie is presented with removable English or Chinese subtitles. The English ones, sadly, are up to the "region 0 standards" of often times not making much sense, or producing very strange names for the characters like "Lucky Fruit" for Kujaku or "Genie" for the Mischief Demon.


 Extras:

In terms of supplemental content, this disc barely registers beyond "bare bones". On the plus side, it does feature the movie's original Japanese trailer, along with one for the movie's predecessor, but has little else to offer.


 Overview:

Bottom line, if one is, for whatever reason, desperate to see the film with at least weatherable English subtitles then this release will suffice. Otherwise, there isn't much reason to pick this up, although given the title I wouldn't imagine another DVD release will be on the near horizon for it.