If you ever travel out to the luscious mountains around Boone, North Carolina, there’s a chance you’ll see signs for the mysterious Mystery Hill. This roadside attraction main focus is a space on the hill that defies the conventions of gravity. The owners built a room above this land so that tourists can be thrilled at how gravity appears to be off. How can this be true? Is it because the land was hit by a giant magnetic meteor? Weird supernatural items buried in the soil? Is this a freak of nature effect? Once you stand in the room, you’re so weirded out at how your body feels and tennis balls bounce that you don’t care. It’s the amazing mystery of Mystery Hill that exits through a gift shop. Watching Gravity Falls brought back to that travel memory since the show centers around the Mystery Shack gift shop that sits in the mountainous woods. Gravity Falls: The Complete Series – Collector’s Edition goes deep into that summer when Dipper and Mabel Pines discovered all of the mysteries didn’t lurk on the shelf of The Mystery Shack.
Dipper (Girls‘ Jason Ritter) and Mabel (Bob’s Burgers‘ Kristen Schaal) weren’t sure what was in store for their summer vacation when their parents stuck them on a bus and spent them off to Gravity Falls, Oregon. The twins on the verge of turning 13 weren’t too tight with their great Uncle Stan who they called Grunkle Stan Pines (creator Alex Hirsch). He’s not the most loving of relatives since he’s more obsessed about coming up with attractions to lure in more tourist dollars. He enjoys having the kids around since he doesn’t have to pay them although it’s hard to figure out if he really pays his handyman Soos (Hirsch). The kids quickly learn this is a strange place when the gnomes turn out to be not the garden variety and Mabel’s new boyfriend has an issue with body temperature. They really need to figure out what’s truly happening in the picturesque small town.
What’s amazing about the show is that things evolve quickly. The mixture of the bizarre and the supernatural grows quickly to Dipper and Mabel. The Mystery Shack revives the wax museum space which goes over well until the wax statue of Stan gets beheaded. The kids do their best to investigate the locals who would want to stop this attraction only to discover a more wild suspect lurking in the shadows. “The Legend of the Gobblewonker” has the kids fishing with their Grunkle while doing their best to locate a mythical underwater creature so they can score a big prize. “The Hand That Rocks the Mabel” introduces that sweet, petite and creepy Gideon. He keeps popping up over the episodes including ending the first season with a scary scam. The second sense has the weirdness get even more intense with the arrival of Stan’s brother Stanford Pines (Oz‘s J.K. Simmons). This puts the mystical books Dipper has been finding and other cryptic clues into sense as Bill also arrives. Who is Bill? A top hat wearing pyramid that talks that wants to destroy everything. Gravity Falls does come to an ending during “Weirdmageddon” episodes. Which is great since you’re not left hanging after 40 episodes. The show in a sense isn’t over since there are novels with further adventures. But as far as the series goes, you will feel more satisfied with this final episode than Cheers.
What’s amazing is that Gravity Falls was made by Disney since this is not the usual show that you’ll see on their channels. There’s nothing here that could easily work itself into a theme park ride that wouldn’t scare children. The finale episode is not made for the kids who stick around to see Jake and the Neverland Pirates. This is beyond Disney in so many ways including how it’s easily enjoyable by young kids (who can handle such strangeness) and grown ups (who get caught up in such strangeness). And at the core of the weirdness is a tale about a relationship between twins and their great uncle that makes the action have a heart instead of try to just overwhelm your eyes. Gravity Falls: The Complete Series – Collector’s Edition brings together the greatest summer in Dapper and Mabel’s life.
Here’s Josie’s review of the boxset:
The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer looks great and brings out the details for the clues lurking around the Mystery Shack. The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1. Things get cranked up during the final episodes. The episodes are subtitled.
Audio Commentaries are on each episode with cast and crew. They don’t give away all the mysteries.
One Crazy Summer (106:46) is a 7 part series that starts with Alex Hirsch in front of the storage locker where he stashed his production material from Gravity Falls. I won’t ruin the surprise. Hirsch describes the elevator pitch for the series as “If the Simpsons and Twin Peaks had a baby on the Disney Channel.” He’s right. The various creative folks discuss what made the TV series so special. He was invited to pitch the Disney Channel based on his student films.
The Hirsch Twins (16:07) lets us meet his sister Ariel Hirsch. She is the inspiration for Mabel. He talks of the weirdness of growing up a twin and his relationship with Ariel.
Between the Pines (22:06) is a special that ran on Disney XD with Alex Hirsch talking to Time Baby. It was a way to introduce the series to new viewers.
Deleted Scenes (62:03) are cut scenes. Since they are rough sketches that were slashed, we’re watching them on a screen in a conference room with Hirsch reading the lines.
Shorts deal with five topics: Dipper’s Guide to the Unexplained, Mabel’s Guide to Life, Fixin’ It with Soos, TV Shorts and Mabel’s Scrapbook.
Promos include “Old Man” McGucket’s Conspiracy Corner, Creepy Leters From Lil Gideon, Soos’ Stan Fiction, “Pocalypse Preppin,” Mystery Shack: Shop at Home with Mr. Mystery, Journal 3 Infomercial, Gravity Paws, Grunkle Stan’s Lost Mystery Shack Interviews, Season 2 San Diego Comic Con Trailer. These are great since they show how much weirdness and love went into this series. The Shop at Home segment has Grunkle Stan as a puppet selling oddities to you at home!
Hidden Easter Egg (10:43) is on the bonus disc. I won’t tell you how to find it. It’s a secret!!!
Shout! Factory presents Gravity Falls: The Complete Series – Collector’s Edition. Starring: Jason Ritter, Kristen Schaal, Alex Hirsch and Linda Cardellini. Rated: Not Rated. Boxset Contents: 40 episodes on 7 Blu-ray discs. Released: July 24, 2018.
Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.