The Disney Playhouse incarnation, stemming from the popular Baby Einstein video series, is a bit contrived for adults, but works just fine for the target kid audience. This linear learning adventure has amazing graphics, memorable and interactive exercises for young ones as they learn the arts through adventure.
This video compiles four episodes, totaling approximately 97 minutes, and numerous extras featuring the dancer June, red-haired leader Leo, singe Annie and musical star Quincy. Just as the Baby Einstein series, creators incorporate references throughout the video. Even the characters’ names echo famous figures June Taylor, Leopold Stokowski, Annie Ross and Quincy Jones.
This appealing team of four politely prod through their tasks while incorporating teamwork, honesty and humbling help along the way. Of course it’s not entirely realistic (plenty of “oh nos” and other mild melodrama), but it’s always positive behavior that’s much improved over characters who constantly try to get the audience’s attention through meaningless yelling and other loud antics with little or no purpose.
Each episode features music and artwork from famous artists ranging from Andy Warhol to Charles Gounod. The incorporation of the Van Gogh artwork into the storyline represents some of the best visuals in the preschool educational movie genre. Audiences also get varying points of view and focusing sights on objects to further immerse them into the show.
Once this quartet finds an adventure or a friend in need, they embark on their impending mission in the transforming, multi-task vehicle named Rocket. The environments, characters and object movement really shines as high production values really enhances the overall experience for young and old.
The title adventure features an Arctic adventure and some impressive underwater works, then the humorous puppet show at Prague, a definite favorite. The grand ball adventure in Vienna has a lot of appeal for girls while Rocket’s adversary, Big Jet, even gets into the mix when he steal s Grandma Rocket’s special soup in a Little Red Riding Hood variation.
Adults or kids might wonder why Rocket could not just fly over the music tunnel in the first place, but it’s all about the journey in this linear learning adventure. Characters constantly ask involvement from audiences. Educational for sure, but entertaining enough to hold almost any kid’s imagination, again thanks to some outstanding production work.
English, French and Spanish audio options available with optional English subtitles. This DVD also features a Game Time: Music Mix-Up game where audiences test their music matching skills in two difficulty levels. A great, recommended (*** out of four stars) title for preschoolers almost in kindergarten, but enjoyable for any age.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler