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Paramount Studios presents
Cyberchase: The Snelfu Snafu (2005)

"Maybe I have a few snelfus stashed away?"
- Digit

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: March 31, 2005

Stars: Jacqueline Pillon, Annick Obonsawin, Novie Edwards
Other Stars: Richard Binsley, Gilbert Gottfried
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:20m:46s
Release Date: March 29, 2005
UPC: 841887050258
Genre: family


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+B+B+ C+

DVD Review

Nick Jr. the sister channel to Nickelodeon has become a hotbed for entertaining, educational shows for kids in their baby to toddler years. Dora the Explorer is the channel's flagship show, but another excellent choice is Cyberchase, which is actually for slightly older kids.

Cyberchase follows the further adventures of Matt, Inez, and Jackie, who love sports, but must always protect cyberspace from the likes of Hacker (brilliantly voiced by the underused Christopher Lloyd). Cyberchase: The Snelfu Snafu features three episodes from the popular show, and they are as follows:

The Snelfu Snafu: Part 1: When an important encryptor chip goes up for auction, the CyberSquad does all they can to outbid Hacker. The kids must use their math skills to prevent Hacker from becoming incredibly powerful.

The Snelfu Snafu: Part 2: Digit and the CyberSquad face the huge challenge of getting control of Cyberspace back from Hacker! Without much money for the necessary parts to restore Motherboard to power, the kids must put their knowledge of how to spend money wisely to use.

The Wedding Scammer: Hacker has been fooled by the Wicked Witch into thinking that she is the long-lost daughter of a wealthy king. After he decides to marry her, the kids must solve some puzzles to free the real princess and stop Hacker from making a huge mistake.

The Snelfu Snafu: Part 1 and The Snelfu Snafu: Part 2 are the most entertaining episodes here, mainly due to the surprisingly wide scope of their storyline. This isn't to say that kids will be confused at all by what's going on, but the incorporation of the auction and the cliffhanger ending that bridges this two-parter, might actually have some parents enjoying themselves as well.

The Wedding Scammer, listed as a bonus episode for this DVD is also very good, but its story isn't quite the attention-grabber that the first two are. Still, seeing Hacker being fooled by someone instead of doing the fooling was a nice change of pace for a Cyberchase episode.

This is another nice addition to Paramount Home Video's series of Cyberchase DVDs. The image transfer for each episode is very solid, and without any major problems. Audio-wise, while these tracks are nothing to write home about, they still do a good job in keeping kids' short attention spans at bay. There aren't many valuable extras, but a couple of the ones here are definitely kid-worthy.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: Things look very good here, from exquisitely detailed animation to a bright, vivid color scheme that will grab your child's attention instantly. None of the episodes really stand out among the rest in this department, with all of them without any blemishes, dirt, or grain.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Spanishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track that does become rather lively at times, utilizing all of the surround speakers at times. The dialogue stays up front, but is as clear and distinct as one could hope for. The exciting music and sound effects are aided by a slight bass presence that is effective when it's there.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 3 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. How to Draw Digit: A video lesson by Larry Jacobs, the director of Cyberchase, on how to draw this loveable main character from the show.
  2. For Parents: A series of text pages advertising more PBS Kids products.
  3. Bloopers: A short collection of funny outtakes from Cyberchase.
  4. Games & Print Activity: A collection of interactive games, print activity, and a link to the Cyberchase Web site, that can be accessed by placing this disc in a DVD-ROM drive.
  5. Sing-A-Long: A very short music video with the song lyrics appearing at the bottom of the screen.
Extras Review: Sure, there are five extras, but they're nothing spectacular. Still, kids will love most of them, from the How to Draw Digit piece to the fun DVD-ROM activities. The rest of the features are serviceable, with the For Parents piece basically being a big advertisement for more PBS Kids DVD titles and the Sing-A-Long running a mere 30 seconds. The Bloopers were surprisingly funny though.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

This fun and educational series continues to get its due from Paramount Home Video. With another three episodes of Cyberchase now easily accessible on DVD, one can only hope that the studio keeps up the good work and continues to give this project the respect that it deserves.

 


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