Episode #19 - An In-Depth Review

"Ironbeak"
BJ QUOTES
[From the Introduction] "Hello! I'm Brian Jacques and welcome to Redwall! In our last episode, Mattimeo was able to become the leader that he truly is as he saved his father from Slagar's trap. Today, the Redwallers continue their search for father and son. But, little do they know they're being watched by an evil eye! Let's see if Matthias and Mattimeo can escape Slagar's wrath and make it back to Mossflower, coming up on Redwall!"

[When asked about Archery] "Y'know, when you talk about medieval weapons, well, like the big catapult... things that could go a long distance further than you could throw them by hand... and the English longbow was a most fearsome thing. These were the sort of things that they used at Redwall Abbey. And, of course, they were up against the vermin. And Cluny's gang were no slouches at archery, I can tell you, because all those gypsy fighters, all that rabble, they knew how to use the bow and the arrow."

[Character Spotlight on Jube] "One of the characters I really like is Jube. He's a little hedgehog. He's a little kid. He doesn't care. Nothing's wrong all the time. Y'know why? Because he comes from this great big family! He has a load of tough sisters and they live in a hollow log, which they keep eating. When he is captured and taken a slave, it doesn't bother him because, at any minute, he expects his whole family to turn up with huge clubs and do away with Slagar and his gang. So, he's not bothered at all. 'Hah! Me mum an' me dad an' all me' big sisters and they're pretty tough, they'll be along in a minute.' He's just like that! Optimistic little kid and I think he's a lovely little person, Jube. A hedgehog. But, you can't cuddle them. Y'know why? They're spiky."

[ASK THE AUTHOR Segment] "There are a lot of battle scenes in Redwall. Was it hard to write the battle scenes?"

"No. In a word, 'No'. Provided you know what you're writing about. Providing at some time you've had to do battle yourself. And how do you feel about it? And once you get into the heat of the action and you can write about it, when you read it you can see how the battle's spinning along. If it's lagging off, you know it's going very slow. Well, of course you've got to go back and start again. But, maybe I can get through my battles with one good assault. There goes the battle! Bang!"

SUMMARY OF NEW FOOTAGE

The episode opens with last week's tapestry shots in reverse. The order is now: 1) Slagar standing triumphant on a clifftop; 2) Warbeak flying next to the stone-crow on the Abbey wall; and 3) Matthias poking a hole in the rubble with Orlando's axe.

Right after the opening, we see Matti carving Redwall onto a stone and gazing at the campfire. The camera goes in for a close-up on the fire and when it pans back, we find ourselves at the shrew camp with Matthias and the others.

A new scene is added of Matthias & Co. setting up camp at the base of the Great South Cliffs. They talk about various things, such as finding Fleaback's body. Then, Matthias makes a wish upon a star to keep Matti and the young ones safe.

After Ironbeak declares, "Death to all earthcrawlers!", it fades to the tapestry-closings. This time: 1) Ironbeak on the roof with three of his soldiers; 2) Matthias, Basil, and Orlando at the foot of the Great South Cliffs; and 3) Slagar shaking his fist at Mattimeo (who, oddly, is dressed in Matthias' red and green tunic).


CHANGES FROM BOOK

- The Black Stone is omitted from GUOSIM custom during their meeting. As such, rather than dare Skan to take the stone from his paw, Log-a-Log challenges him to a fight. The rest is the same, however.

- Slagar and the slaves are at the cliffs during the day when the rope ladders are tossed down. In the book, Slagar snuck off at night, the ladders were tossed down, then he went back for everyone else. A minor change, but a change, nonetheless.

- Slagar tosses Fleaback over the cliff instead of Wedgeback.

- One of Slagar's crew points out Skan rather than Stonefleck.

- Not exactly a change, but an error. As Slagar's crew are chaining Skan and his fellow shrews, we see none other than ol' Log-a-Log among them! Obviously, the animators goofed. ;)

- Any indication that Ironbeak's army killed the Sparra left behind was removed.

- It's Cornflower, instead of Sister May, who rescues Rollo from Ironbeak.

- It's now Constance and the Redwallers who lock Ironbeak and the others in the room. In the book, Ironbeak and his army retreated and locked the door themselves.

- Once Skan is grabbed, Matti yells "Jerk the chains!" The other shrews pull and find themselves with the chain and an empty shackle. In the book, Auma pulled Skan back down (too late, as he was already dead) and threw his body over her shoulder as they ran. Obviously, that was deemed a bit too gruesome for youngsters. Both versions work rather well, though.

- Slagar says they'll cross the river at dawn, rather than having to wait for the following night.


VOICE CRITIQUES

Ironbeak (Wayne Best) - A nice performance, convincing one that, not only does Ironbeak believe that Redwall is rightfully his, but, he's a strong enough foe to actually capture it. Again, nice job.

Mangiz (Chris Wiggins) - Dead-on. A soothsayer/seer attached to a powerful warlord. A nice mix of sniveling and arrogance, especially in his interaction with Constance. Hard to believe this is old Mortimer's VA.

Stonefleck (Ben Campbell) - Stonefleck is the first voice that just generally gets on my nerves. It's not the sound so much as it is the acting. He reads his lines too slowly, in almost a monotone, as if the language is foreign to him. It could have been an attempt to set Stonefleck apart from the rest of the vermin, and I suppose it did, but the same could have been accomplished with a regular voice.


CRITIQUE

With this episode we're introduced to General Ironbeak and move into the second-third of Mattimeo. A much better ratio since we moved into the second-third of Redwall after two episodes (this time it's six).

I don't have many complaints about this episode. I would have liked the inclusion of the Black Stone, but I can understand why it wasn't there. I would have liked Sister May with Cornflower and Mrs. Churchmouse, getting her due, but, again, can understand why she wasn't there.

I'm really enjoying Baby Rollo. A part of me was worried, as sometimes cute written characters become annoying as heck when made "three-dimensional". Would my second-favorite dibbun (nobody beats Dumble) become annoying? Thankfully, not a chance. ;)

We caught a few shadowed glimpses of Painted Ones this episode. They looked an awful lot like monkies one would find in South America. Not exactly what I pictured. Perhaps a bit too exotic for Redwall. I'll touch on this again in a later review.

Then, there's Stonefleck. I will say that Stonefleck received one of the coolest character designs visually. Unfortunately, his voice leaves a lot to be desired (no offense intended towards Mr. Campbell).

Ironbeak's invasion of Redwall has begun! And that's only a sample of what's to come. ;)

See you next time.




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Matthias