In the mid-nineties there was nothing more spectacular in film than state of the art computer generated digital effects. As Paul Anderson's Mortal Kombat was building anticipation with theatrical trailers, Threshold Entertainment decided to assault the home market with a blend of tradition 2D and 3D rendered animation. Cinemassacre revisited this oddity of its time in the latest Rental Review. Check it out:
Chances are if you saw Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins around the time of its 1995 release, you'll relate to the pangs of disappointment discussed by the Cinemassacre crew.
Even at the time, clunky 3D animation failed to impress once the videotape (or laser disc) was out of the box. Stiff, slow-moving fight scenes were a far cry from similar animation of the era, outpaced by the likes of TV's ReBoot, or the big budget Toy Story. Even the crude sequences of Dire Strait's 1985 Money For Nothing music video weren't far behind. If the traditional 2D animation was supposed to pick up the slack, primitive digital coloring and budget animation techniques let it down almost as much as the digital flashbacks.
Fortunately, Threshold would create a much more satisfying entry into broadcast animation around a year and a half later with Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm. The kid-friendly Saturday morning cartoon had more in common with the plot of the 1995 movie. So of course it's The Journey Begins that was brought back for a wide release, included with the 2011 blu-ray release.
As much as the direct-to-video release might seem underwhelming -- it wasn't all bad. The Journey Begins borrowed much more faithfully from video games than the movie, adapting designs right out of the arcades. There were versions of fabled backstory and battles, like Sub-Zero vs Scorpion, and glimpses of the legendary figures from the past, such as Great Kung Lao and King Gorbak! For fans of Mortal Kombat's engrossing characters and storyline, the only other way to see these moments realize was in collectible tie-in comic books.
Take another trip to the past with Cinemassacre's Annihilation Rental Review and look back at Mortal Monday. Discuss more movies and animation with us on the Media & Merchandise.