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Category:    Home > Reviews > Children > Social > Comedy > Animals > Animation > Fables > Adventure > TV > Literature > Activities > Shorts > Barney: Most Huggable Moments (HIT/Lionsgate DVDs)/Best Wubbzy DVD Set (Anchor Bay)/Enchanted Tales DVDs (Golden Films/Cinedigm/including Snow White)/Geronimo Stilton: Operation Shufongfong (E1 DVD)/I

Barney: Most Huggable Moments (HIT/Lionsgate DVDs)/Best Wubbzy DVD Set (Anchor Bay)/Enchanted Tales DVDs (Golden Films/Cinedigm/including Snow White)/Geronimo Stilton: Operation Shufongfong (E1 DVD)/In The Snow We Go! (Bubble Guppies/Team Umizoomi/Nickelodeon DVD)/Lost & Found (2008/E1 DVD)/Nickelodeon Holiday Gifts DVD Box Series (Dora/SpongeBob/TMNinja Turtles/Winx Club)/Scholastic Halloween Stories Collection DVD Box Set/Tad The Lost Explorer (2013/Gaiam Vivendi Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D & DVD)/Thomas & Friends: Animals Abroad (HIT/Lionsgate DVD)




3D Picture: B (for Tad) 2D Picture: C+/C+/C/C+/C+/C+/C+/B- & C+/C Sound: C+/C+/C/C+/C+/C+/C+/B- & C/C+ Extras: D/C+/D/D/D/B-/C/D/C- Main Programs: C+/C+/C-/C+/C+/C+/B-/C/C+



It is not even the middle of October 2013 and we are seeing an unprecedented onslaught of children's titles in a way rarely seen before. It may include upgraded reissues and some familiar favorites, but it is amazing how many are being issued in such a small release window.



We start with Barney: Most Huggable Moments, a DVD set that starts with the title disc (a sticker on the paperboard slipcase says they are celebrating 25 Million hugs) and we get 6 episodes altogether and the extras are five Music Videos that are slight. The second disc is Barney's Dino-Mite Birthday (Jimmy Walker does not show up) was originally issued by Fox, has no extras and that makes the claim that this set is ''loaded with bonus features'' is untrue. It is a passable set that will help fans catch up, but for us, it is just more of the same. We are late to covering the show.



The Best Of Collection Wubbzy DVD Set is a collection of four character-based discs based on the Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! Series we have covered before and the Daizy! installment is one we already covered at this link:


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/12233/Cody+The+Robosapien+(2013/Anchor+Bay+DVD)/


The other discs include Wubbzy himself, dubbed Volume One, but volume numbers did not continue, Walden and Widget at seven episodes each, though Widget adds an 8th and the only extras are superfluous Music Videos and DVD-ROM PDF-printable Coloring & Activity Sheets. That makes it a nice introductory set for fans of the show and those interested, but others might just want to go for a single DVD.



The weakest wave here is the Enchanted Tales double features from Golden Films and Cinedigm that are the kind of cheap VHS fodder you used to find on video shelves all the time back in the day with poor writing, animation and forgettable ideas, artworks and they are as boring as ever. The three sets are Snow White/Princess Castle, Noah's Ark/Tales Of Egypt and Night Before Christmas/Christmas Elves.


You might get some curiosity interest, but I did not find any of these good, though we have seen worse, but that does not say much. We have seen all of this done better and with the fancier, better versions o some of these titles available so inexpensively on DVD and even Blu-ray, I would not bother much with any of them.


There are no extras.



Geronimo Stilton: Operation Shufongfong is a four-episode set of the Italian/Canadian animated series from 2009 with the title fox a reporter who lands up in adventures that include spy angles and humor. It is a good show, if not great and this set runs 92 minutes. Meant for young children, I expect the response to be mixed. They'll either like it or they will not, but it did not stick with me and there are no extras.



In The Snow We Go! is a winter-themed Nickelodeon DVD with one Bubble Guppies episode (Happy Holidays, Mr. Grumpfish), two Team Umizoomi episodes (A Sledding Day, City Of Lost Penguins) and no extras. A single-disc to cross promote the shows, it is a seasonal release that makes for a fine sampler, but not much else.



Lost & Found (2008) is a pleasant, short (under a half-hour) CG animated short with Jim Broadbent narrating a young boy and his meeting with a penguin. I wish it were longer, but based on the Oliver Jeffers book, it is a nice experience. A Making-of featurette that is longer than the main program, but with all this room, there should have been more extras including some other shorts perhaps?



Nickelodeon Holiday Gifts DVD Box Series reissue four of their popular titles with a poster, sticker sheet, coloring books and 4 crayons per release. I nice idea that makes sense as upgrades for the regular DVDs, they are as follows with links to our coverage of the original releases with all the same older extras...


Dora's Christmas Carol DVD

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/10377/Dora+The+Explorer


It's A SpongeBob Christmas Blu-ray/DVD set

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/12375/It's+A+SpongeBob+Christmas+(2012/Nickelodeon


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise Of The Turtles DVD

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/12051/Adventure+Time:+Fionna+&+Cake,+Volume+Four


and Winx Club: The Secret Of The Lost Kingdom DVD

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/11751/Dora



Though not a Volume Two or direct sequel to the Scholastic Halloween Stories Collection DVD Box Set, that we reviewed at this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/10475/Scholastic+Storybook+Treasures:+Halloween+Stori


It has practically the same title, but repeats three singles we covered before: Dem Bones (also featuring Dinosaur Bones, Hush Little Baby, The Fox Went Out On A Chilly Night & The Erie Canal), The Day Of The Dead (narrated by Rita Moreno; also featuring The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything, Kitten's First Full Moon (narrated by Joan Allen) & Fletcher and the Falling Leaves) and Teeny-Tiny & The Witch-Woman (also featuring The Boys With Two Shadows, Los Gatos Black On Halloween (narrated by Maria Conchita Alonzo), What's Under My Bed? and King Of The Cats). All three discs have Read-Along subtitles, Dead adds interviews with all the authors of all the shorts save Fleischer and Witch adds an interview with Gatos author Marisa Montes. Not bad.



Tad The Lost Explorer (2013) is our big theatrical release, a 3D CGI feature film from Spain that is a sometimes shameless knock-off of Indiana Jones (they had to give the film series a special thank you credit in the end credits) and has Kerry Shale voicing the title character who wants to be an archeologist, but is not very competent. He gets his chance when an actual archeologist friend cannot make a journey to Egypt and madness ensues. A few moments work, but we have seen all this before, though the CG is not that bad, if not state-of-the-art.


Cheech Marin voices a shady, comical friend named Freddy, Ariel Winter is Sara the live interest and fellow explorer and the rest of the voice cast is pretty good. There is some audience for this release, but I was only so impressed as it made me think of the superior A Monster In Paris in several similarities. There are surprisingly no extras.



Finally we have Thomas & Friends: Animals Abroad, the latest DVD single in the series running 55 minutes and offering five episodes. It is not a bad set and a good intro, give or take the King Of The Railway Blu-ray we reviewed at this link:


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/12347/Adventure+Time:+Jake+The+Dad+(Cartoon+Netw


Two music videos are the only extras, but the show is decent and this set works.



We get mostly 1.33 X 1 presentations throughout the DVDs including Barney, Wubbzy, Enchanted, Nickelodeon, Scholastic and Thomas with Enchanted (due to old masters used) and Thomas (via its soft style of animation) are the poor performers while the 1080p 1.85 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image on Tad is the visual winner her, surpassing the decent-if-limited 2D 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer Blu-ray and definitely the anamorphically enhanced DVD version that is passable for the format at best.


That leaves the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Geronimo and Found looking good, but being a bit soft so they do not surpass the other DVDs as expected.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Tad is the best sonic presentation here as expected, yet its soundfield is not always consistent and the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 DVD mix is surprisingly weak as if there is some coding error. The rest of the DVDs offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo that is better, save Enchanted (a little harsh and noisy in all cases) and we get lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Geronimo and Found, but they are on the quiet, limited side with little to offer beyond stereo.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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