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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Ocean > Fish > Animals > Educational > Cable TV > Dogs > Family > Babies > Bubble Guppies: Super Guppies (2017/Nickelodeon DVD)/A Dog's Purpose (2016/Amblin/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Rugrats: Season 1 + Season 2 (1991 - 1993/Nickelodeon DVD Sets)

Bubble Guppies: Super Guppies (2017/Nickelodeon DVD)/A Dog's Purpose (2016/Amblin/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Rugrats: Season 1 + Season 2 (1991 - 1993/Nickelodeon DVD Sets)

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

Here's more child titles to know about...

Bubble Guppies: Super Guppies (2017) wants to capitalize on the summer Superhero films and has about two hours of material to do it, though some of the episodes don't quite fit that genre. This is one of the better DVD singles in the continuous release of the franchise’s TV series and one of the best covers, but the lack of extras or expansion of the characters is a missed opportunity. Still, charming, child-friendly and as good as just about any release of these we've covered to date.

Lasse Hallstrom's A Dog's Purpose (2016) is meant to be an upscale live-action animal comedy from the world-class director of arthouse films, but this Amblin/Universal co-production is a talking dog film with few good moments, plenty of formula, an obsession with cuteness and at 100 minutes, drags on and on and on and on and on. A family (led by Dennis Quaid) finds the main protagonist dog who talks (voiced by Josh Gad) who they land up with after the dog might be stuck in a lesser situation. From there, they discover life, love and all that 'warm stuff' but it is surprisingly routine and plays like a TV movie. You could do worse, but the talent here could not have come up with something better?

Rugrats: Season 1 + Season 2 (1991 - 1993) offers basic releases of the initial seasons of the huge hit for Nickelodeon that helped them establish the network, as the title characters (just babies with personality) go through their new life as new borns discovering the world around them, including their family. We've covered the show before, but not much. I can see the appeal and these are the original shows, so that speaks for the franchise, yet I was never a big fan and thought it was a limited series. However, I am not the intended audience, though I doubt I would have been a big fan if it were around when I was young enough to be its audience. For fans, this is a nice release and you could so worse. These are just child-friendly enough, though some aspects of the show are just plain odd... which might be part of the point.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the Purpose Blu-ray is pretty good for the format and a digital shoot, but don't expect anything special, while the anamorphically enhanced DVD version is softer than it ought to be.

All Nickelodeon DVDs offer anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 images, all looking better than the Purpose DVD, but Rugrats has its original 1.33 X 1 presentation bookended in the 16 X 9 frame. It looks good, despite being finished on analog video with slight analog videotape flaws including video noise, video banding, telecine flicker, tape scratching, cross color and staircasing. Bubble looks the cleanest.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Purpose is well mixed and presented, but is too quiet and refined at times being joke based ans cutesy-obsessed, so only expect so much from it and the DVD version's lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Bubble sounds as good, but the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Rugrats shows its age with weak audio sounding second generation. Guess the show will only get the upgraded restoration it needs whenever it gets to Blu-ray.

Purpose is the only release with extras, which include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the discs add Outtakes, Deleted Scenes and two Making Of featurettes.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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