Adventure Time: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review: The Animated Saga Continues

Although some of these episodes have been made available on previous releases, The Complete Third Season of Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time collects all 26 eleven-minute episodes.  The third season began on July 11, 2011 and concluded on February 13, 2012.  The packaging looks like Finn and Jake’s roommate, BMO, the living game console. 

Created by Pendleton Ward, Adventure Time is an animated fantasy series filled with tremendous imagination and humor.  Set in the Land of Ooo more than thousand years in the future after the Great Mushroom War, it presents the extraordinary adventures of a 13-year-old human boy named Finn (Jeremy Shada) and his best friend Jake (John DiMaggio), a dog with the ability to shapeshift. Among their pals are Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch), who not surprisingly is made out of bubblegum and went from age 18 years old to 13 at the close of the second season; and Marceline the Vampire Queen (Olivia Olson).  A frequent nemesis is The Ice King (Tom Kenny), who comes off more like a spoiled kid than a villain though he does put their life in peril at times, like in “Hitman” when he has the mistaken impression that a hitman would only hit them in the shoulder or belly.

The writers of Adventure Time tell stories that expand the history of this world and these characters and also stories that move the narrative forward.  In “Memory of a Memory,” Marceline’s ex-boyfriend Ash (Steve Agee) appears for the first time in the series.  He hopes to win her back, and the audience is shown a brief glimpse of their relationship.  More revelations about how the Ice King came to be occur during the two-part “Holly Jolly Secrets,” but a lot of time is wasted as Finn and Jake watch the Ice King’s video diary.  It should have been edited into one episode; the first part is the weakest of the season. 

“Too Young” features the season’s first appearance of Princess Bubblegum.  She strives to reclaim her throne from Earl of Lemongrab (Justin Roiland), one of the most annoying characters of all time.  He took over because she was too young to rule usurped, and the Princess and Finn try to make him leave by pulling pranks on him.  Longtime fans will appreciate “From Bad to Worse,” which references the series’ first episode,”Slumber Party Panic.”  “Thank You” shows that Finn and Jake aren’t the only characters having adventures in the Land of Ooo.  While brief glimpses of their fight with the Ice King over sandwiches are seen, this episode focuses on the Snow Golem dealing with a lost Firewolf pup.  The sweetness of the story may make your heart melt before the Snow Golem does.

Possibly the greatest addition to the AT universe is “Fionna and Cake,” a human girl (Madeleine Martin) and her cat (Roz Ryan) who are alternative versions of Finn and Jake.  In their adventure, they must save Prince Gumball (Neil Patrick Harris) and the Candy Kingdom from the Ice Queen (Grey DeLisle).  The revelation explaining their appearance is very clever.  Another important addition is in the season finale “Incendium” (Part 1), which finds Jake trying to help Finn get over Princess Bubblegum by bringing him together with the Flame Princess (Jessica DiCicco), though things don’t go according to his plan. 

The Blu-ray is given a 1080p/VC-1 encoded transfer displayed at 1.78:1.  The colors come though in bright, vibrant hues, and blacks are inky.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 offers clear dialogue and effects.  An occasion, objects pan across the channels.  All episodes have the typical chaotic commentary the AT crew is known for because they have so many people in the room and what seems to be little planned ahead of time.  The “Alternate Adventure Time Intro by Screen Novelties” (HD, 1 min) is done in LEGOs and looks cool.  “How an Idea Becomes Adventure Time” (HD, 8 min) is explained by Ward, co-executive producer Adam Muto, and head writer Kent Osborne.

Adventure Time: The Complete Third Season continues the magic of what makes this so show successfully entertaining.  The series offers something for the entire family.  Highly recommend for animation fans.   

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site.

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