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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Nature > Animals > Arctic > Animation > Fantasy > Magic > Children > Adventure > Detective > Jou > BBC Earth: Snow Babies + Penguins: Spy In The Huddle (DVDs)/Care Bears: The Care-A-Thon Games (Lionsgate DVD)/Geronimo Stilton: Intrigue On The Rodent Express (E1 DVD)/Max & Ruby: Essentially Spring

BBC Earth: Snow Babies + Penguins: Spy In The Huddle (DVDs)/Care Bears: The Care-A-Thon Games (Lionsgate DVD)/Geronimo Stilton: Intrigue On The Rodent Express (E1 DVD)/Max & Ruby: Essentially Spring - Everybunny Loves Spring (Nickelodeon DVD)/Wings (Lionsgate DVD/all 2013)


Picture: C+ Sound: C/C+/C+/C+/C+ Extras: C/D/D/D/C Episodes: C+/C+/B-/B-/C-



Here are a few family friendly titles aimed at a child audience...



The BBC continues their release of the BBC Earth series with a our long show on polar bears entitled Snow Babies and the self-explanatory Penguins: Spy In The Huddle, both issued at the same time to be arctic-themed releases with a deep winter street date. Maybe they could have waited for summer, but these are just fine (Penguins is 150 minutes with 3 episodes) and includes the usual pleasant footage of the animals with scientific explanations in between cutesy moments. These are in line with the series, though they offer nothing beyond what they have already been doing. Polar Bear: Spy On The Ice is a bonus program in 5.1 on Snow, while there are no extras on Penguins.



Care Bears: The Care-A-Thon Games is from Lionsgate and feels like an odd tie-in to push the not-for-children (or others with a brain) Hunger Games. This CGI single of the revival series is on par with the rest of the DVDs we covered, but we only get four episodes at 88 minutes with no extras, making this a very basic release that is not one of the best.



As for the next two shows, we have reviewed both of them well enough before. Geronimo Stilton: Intrigue On The Rodent Express also has 4 episodes of this smart for young people show having fun with travel, detective and publishing adventure. It is more of the same, but I liked this set a bit more than the last one. Sadly, there are no extras.



Max & Ruby: Essentially Spring - Everybunny Loves Spring has 12 episodes of its show, but they are shorter than the other series above, so they only run 96 minutes combined, but this continues to be one of Nickelodeon's most charming shows and I still think its popularity has yet to peak. I am even expecting some kind of breakout success if it just gets picked up a certain way. I am surprised that there are no extras, but a show of this higher quality should have some.



Last and least is Olga Lopato's cynical, derivative, lame CGI feature Wings (2012) not to be confused with the sitcom or silent Academy Award-winning classic of the same name, but picked up here to trick families into thinking it might be Disney's Planes (reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) and as you watch, they rip off every shot and idea they can from Disney and Pixar in its long, tired, flat 88 minutes. Josh Duhamel, Hillary Duff, Jesse McCartney, Rob Schneider and even Tom Skerritt (!?!) provide the English language track. Too bad it is too such a wreck.


4 Miniscule bonus episodes and a featurette on voicing the program are the extras.



All the DVDs are offered here in anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image presentations save Max in 1.33 X 1 and all are in color, but they are on par with each other having their share of soft shots, maybe aliasing errors and the limits you'd expect from the DVD format. The BBC and Wings DVDs are offered in lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 presentations, save one the main program on Snow (the one weak presentation here) and the rest of the DVDs, which all offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. Save Snow, these are on par with each other as well sonically and are just fine for regular such programs in the format.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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