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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Education > TV Series > Musical > Backstage > Teens > School > Fantasy > Literature > Thriller > B > Dora The Explorer – It’s Haircut Day! (Nickelodeon DVD) + Glee – Encore (Fox Blu-ray) + Gulliver’s Travels (2010/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD) + Tightrope (1972/Network U.K. Region Two Import DVD Set)

Dora The Explorer – It’s Haircut Day! (Nickelodeon DVD) + Glee – Encore (Fox Blu-ray) + Gulliver’s Travels (2010/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD) + Tightrope (1972/Network U.K. Region Two Import DVD Set)


Picture: C+/B-/B- & C+/C     Sound: C+/B-/B & B-/C     Extras: D/D/D/C-          Main Programs: C+/D/D/C+



PLEASE NOTE: The TV series Tightrope is an import DVD set in the Region 2/PAL format that can only be operated on machines capable of Region 2 and PAL formats; it can be ordered exclusively from our friends at Network U.K. at the links below.



And now for a brief look at the latest children’s and family fare.



You can’t seem to go wrong with Dora The Explorer and some of these titles become unintentional howlers as is the case with It’s Haircut Day!  Yes, children need to know the basics of life and how they operate.  The cover is a hoot in itself, but is one of four episodes on this latest single disc.  Her friend Boots the Monkey needs the haircut (yup, it’s that kind of show) so he can look good for a picture for his mother’s birthday!  I like the show’s spirit and give them credit for continuing to come up with new ideas for shows and discs.


Then we have the compilation Glee – Encore based on the overrated hit TV show, though my fellow writer seems to have enjoyed it more:





I have not been impressed by the few shows I have seen, but this set of the music numbers where the cast remakes and ruins good songs and makes bad songs worse is a torture test.  Is this supposed to be funny?  Maybe, but I was not laughing.  Also, the characters are somewhat two-dimensional and the singing leaves something to be desired in most cases.  Stick with actual episodes or avoid altogether.



I can say the same for the extremely unfunny, unnecessary, latest remake of Jonathan Swift’s classic book Gulliver’s Travels.  This time, we get a horrible 2010 version with the obviously bored-to-death-on-auto-pilot Jack Black as the title character.  This lifeless, overly digital, tired retread is pointless, is never funny, is often desperate and should have never been made.  Like Poseidon and Around The World In 80 Days, here is yet another multi-million dollar production bomb of material that was not made that long ago as a TV mini-series.  What were they thinking?  Jason Segel shows up, dooming the project further and even the likes of Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly and IT Crowd co-star Chris O’Dowd can’t save this from bombing.  Sad.



You might want to try these versions instead:


1939 Fleischer animated feature



1996 Ted Danson TV Mini-Series




Finally we have a British TV mini-series called Tightrope (1972, no relation to the Clint Eastwood thriller) involves teens at a school who become part of a Cold War plot in before he knows it when a car nearly hits him while he is riding his bike.  It was originally taped in color, but all 13 half-hours have survived only in black and white, but the copies are in good shape.  Though the plot is dated and the stories are stretched out a bit more than I would have liked to accommodate their young audience, it is intelligent TV you hardly ever see getting made for that age group and it expects said audience to be intelligent.  Besides its nostalgia value, it reminds us how great TV used to be all around before its dumbed-down decline.  Spencer Banks and John Savident star.



The 1.33 X 1 image and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Dora is the equal of all the previous DVD releases in that series, but the disc has no extras.  The 1080p 1.78 X 1 AVC @ 23 MBPS digital High Definition image on Glee and 1080p 2.35 X 1 AVC @ 26 MBPS digital High Definition image on Gulliver disappoint with motion blur, digital limits and shots that are often generic in nature.  The DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) lossless 5.1 mix on Gulliver has the D-BOX motion bass signal for those who can access it, but the mix is nothing special, professional, warm and well recorded as it is.  Glee has the same mix, but minus D-BOX and less of a soundfield.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD version of Gulliver is even weaker with weaker color, weaker Video Black and other detail issues; the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is no match for the DTS-MA on the Blu-ray.  The 1.33 X 1 image on Tightrope is second generation and again is a monochrome/black & white version of lost color tapes, so it shows its age and has detail issues throughout.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono also suffers and is more than a generation down, while stills are the only extra.


Extras on Gulliver include BD Live interactive features, Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices, an unfunny Gag Reel, four Fox Movie Channel pieces on the film, a featurette, Gulliver’s Fun Pack and Deleted Scenes.  It is amazing how all of those are so empty.  We did not get a Blu-ray 3D version as of this posting, but hope to see that down the line to see if 3D can help this any.



As noted above, you can order the Tightrope DVD import set exclusively from Network U.K. at:









-   Nicholas Sheffo


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