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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Bear in the Big Blue House: Heroes of Woodland Valley (2002)

"Well, there's nothing better in the whole world than when the members of a community get together to support one another."
- Luna (Lynne Thigpen)

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: January 28, 2003

Stars: Noel Macneal, Peter Linz, Vicki Kenderes-Eibener, Jim Kroupa, Tyler Bunch, Lynne Thigpen
Director: Mitchell Kreigman

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 00h:45m:23s
Release Date: January 28, 2003
UPC: 043396105546
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

It takes a village. Yes, that's the ultimate lesson in this extended episode of Bear in the Big Blue House—it appears actually to be a two-part episode produced for broadcast, cut together for this DVD.

Calamity has struck our friends in Woodland Valley: an enormous tree has fallen onto the library, crashing in the roof and destroying most of the books. But this moment of crisis is an opportunity for the community to show its true colors—Bear spearheads the effort with Doc Hog, his fellow volunteer firefighter. Bear and Doc organize a community meeting at the Big Blue House, to figure out how best to right the situation.

The little ones are doing their share, too—as a special secret surprise for Bear, the other residents of the Big Blue House solicit book donations from everybody else in town, and they gather quite an impressive pile of volumes. Bear's meeting turns into an impromptu potluck dinner, and little Ojo has found a problem with Doc's plan to chop up the offending tree for firewood: a couple of cute little possums live in the tree. They're part of the community, too.

Of course an agreeable solution is arrived at, and no animals or animal puppets were harmed in the making of this DVD. Some pop culture references may be lost not just on little kids, but on their parents—it's Grandma and Grandpa who are more likely to appreciate that Doc Hog's favorite scene in his favorite movie is a couple of bunnies flying around in chariots in "Ben Hare." Overall, though, it offers a sweet lesson about pitching in without being too dogmatic, and if you or someone with access to your television is a fan of the TV show, this disc won't disappoint.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Color palette can be overly bright on this disc, but the transfer is a thoroughly professional one, with very little debris interfering with the image quality.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Dynamics are occasionally a little funky, in the low registers especially, but there's no missing the bright, peppy music. Only the most diehard pre-school audiophile will have a problem with this one.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Stuart Little 2, Kermit's Swamp Years, Family Fun
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. four sing-a-longs
Extras Review: Four of the songs in the program can be replayed with great big karaoke letters for sing-a-long fun—unfortunately, not among them is the best song in the show, an uptempo number about the virtues of the library. It's unfortunate that the feature is without chapter stops, and while the Play All option is useful on multi-episode discs, its presence here is baffling. (Similarly, there's a nasty typo on one of the menus: "Play Episode Continuosly.") Trailers are for two other features, and Family Fun is a preview of other Sony releases, including the Jay Jay the Jet Plane series, Dragon Tales, and the upcoming Harold and the Purple Crayon.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

A little thinner on content than other Bear in the Big Blue House DVD releases, the short running time is really the only strike against this one. Be prepared to sing along, and don't be surprised if there's a clamoring for a follow-up visit to your own local library.


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