The complete first season of Babar is now available on DVD. Courtesy of eOne Entertainment
The stories we read as children can play an important role in shaping the individuals we grow up to be. In 1931, Jean de Brunhoff published the first of many children’s books about a lovable elephant named Babar. Eight decades later, the beloved series which debuted in 1989, is ready to own and enjoy on DVD.
Babar tells the tale of a young elephant who witnesses the murder of his mother by a hunter and ventures off into the world of humans gaining knowledge of our civilization in the process. He eventually returns to his community of elephants and because of his new-found knowledge is declared king. We experience Babar’s miraculous life when he recollects his past to his children as lessons for them to use in their varying problematic situations.
Unlike many children’s shows of today which force feed our youth overtly obvious, ethical life lessons, watching Babar brings you back to a time when the method of moral teaching subtly shaped the minds of young toddlers into upstanding human beings.
The first DVD release, BABAR – The Complete First Season, includes the first 13 episodes in their entirety on two discs. The age of the original animation cells have left the show looking fairly aged, but this does not hinder the enjoyment of this truly inspiring classic program.
There are no special features included in the release, but hopefully there will be a few extras included in the second season.
Bottom Line: Babar’s timeless tales will have a joyous effect on your little ones and quite possibly you as well.
Runtime: 302 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Languages: English and French
Dazzling animation from Studio Ghibli. Screen capture courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures
Japanese anime is either a love or hate genre, and without a doubt, the trend continues with this movie.
Based on Mary Norton’s well-loved novel The Borrowers, this film tells the story of a tiny adventurous girl (Arrietty) living in the walls of a house with her parents. Everything changes for the tiny family when a young boy moves in and discovers them.
From an animation stand point, this is top notch work from the renowned Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, Princess Monoke). The scenery and environments are stunningly crafted, with rich detail in every area of the screen.
Bridgit Mendler captured the adventurous spirit and energy of Arrietty’s character beautifully in her voiceover. Regrettably, that’s where the praise ends for the voice acting, which was some of the worst I have ever come across. More often than not, the actors drained the life from most scenes.
It is difficult to place the blame on the poor dialogue – Was it the English translation or the original Japanese script? Maybe someone who has watched both versions can chime in, but most of the dialogue in this release seemed fit for a low-budget after school special.
I find it hard to imagine individuals passed the pre-school age would find the tortoise-esque pace of this film entertaining. So far, it seems there is very little in the way of quality children’s films available this year. Let’s hope Spring breathes life into the entertainment for the little ones.
Bottom Line: Pop in a classic Disney or anime film and save your movie money for something more satisfying.
Runtime: 94 minutes