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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Children > History > Literature > Shorts > Educational > Reading > Spanish > TV > Fantasy > Childr > Scholastic Spanish Language DVD Box Set w/Jorge, el monitor ciclista aka Curious George + The Man Who Walked Between The Towers DVD + Spy Kids Trilogy (2001 – 2003/Miramax/Lionsgate Blu-ray Singles)

Scholastic Spanish Language DVD Box Set w/Jorge, el monitor ciclista aka Curious George + The Man Who Walked Between The Towers DVD + Spy Kids Trilogy (2001 – 2003/Miramax/Lionsgate Blu-ray Singles)

 

Picture: C+/B-     Sound: C+/B-     Extras: C/C-     Shorts: B     Films: D

 

 

And now for more children-geared releases…

 

Though they have included Spanish language tracks on many of their DVD releases, Scholastic has gone one step further by offering an entire DVD box with Jorge, el monitor ciclista being the main star.  That translates to Curious George, which we have covered a good bit before, but Harry The Dirty Dog and Chato’s Kitchen are the headliners for the other singles included.  With only some English, this is uncompromisingly for said market, but is the same high quality release as al the previous releases in the long running series.  We did get a great single in The Man Who Walked Between The Towers DVD which includes the true life title tale as narrated nicely by Jake Gyllenhaal about Philippe Petit, a real life figure who was a juggler and tightrope walker.  Before I continue, you may have heard of him because the great documentary Man On Wire (which won the Best Documentary Academy Award) we have already reviewed on DVD and you can read about it here:

 

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/8282/Man+On+Wire+(2008/Magnolia+DVD-V

 

 

In 1974, Petit and some friends decided that he would so a tightrope walk in a new place… the space between the New York City World Trade Center Towers!  It is a great story, even abbreviated; this short captures the spirit of what happened nicely and is alone with getting this DVD for.  The disc also includes the powerful Crow Boy, Miss Rumphius (narrated by Claire Danes, also in a Spanish version) and The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins (narrated by Jonathan Pryce) about the man whose work put the concept of dinosaurs into the modern lexicon.  Two persons involved with the latter (Author Barbara Kerley and Illustrator Brian Selznick) have separate interviews as extras.  The 1.33 X 1 image and Dolby Digital 2.0 sound are good and consistent with past releases.  Expect some aliasing errors and minor flaws at times in the various shorts, some of which are stereo and others of which are older monophonic releases.

 

 

With less educational value and success that was always odd to me, the trilogy of Robert Rodriguez family-aimed Spy Kids features are a weak joke and kiddie time in the action genre that really has nothing to seriously do with espionage of any kind.  The end of The Cold War has watered down the idea of spying, as evidenced by many an “adult” release, but the young co-stars Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabata.  This is mostly eye-candy in its use of color, gadgets and production design, but not much more.  For all the success (Miramax was happy), these are not much discussed and not Rodriguez’s best work.  Sequels Spy Kids 2: The Island Of Lost Dreams (what a wacky subtitle) and the appropriately named Spy Kids 3: Game Over are so overly similar to each other that only the age of the young co-stars separates them.

 

Obviously having Carla Gugino and Antonio Banderas did not hurt, nor did star turns by the likes of Alan Cumming, Teri Hatcher, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, Robert Patrick, Tony Shalhoub, Ricardo Montalban, Mike Judge, Holland Taylor, Christopher McDonald, Steve Buscemi and a surprising coming turn in the final release by Sylvester Stallone were huge helps.  Still, this is for fans only, but at least you can get them on Blu-ray now.

 

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 (on the first film) and 1.78 X 1 (on the sequels) digital High Definition image are the same disappointments across the three releases, with the first looking the best, if more aged and older, while the sequels show motion blur and other limits from their use of early HD cameras, with digital visual effects that never looked that great to begin with.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes are all underwhelming, though I cannot be certain if these mixes best represent what the original soundmasters were like.  They’ll do for these releases, though note there is no Blu-ray 3D for at least the final film.

 

Extras include Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices, feature length audio commentary tracks, trailers and several making of featurettes each on all three films.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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