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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Dragon Tales: Yes, We Can! (1999)

"I have the best job of all! Cleaning out the yogurt, carrots, and Dragon Berries!"
- Ord (Ty Olsson)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: April 09, 2002

Stars: Kathleen Barr
Other Stars: Eli Gabay, Andrea Libman, Danny McKinnon
Director: Tim Eldred

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (purely kid's stuff)
Run Time: 00h:59m:44s
Release Date: April 02, 2002
UPC: 043396081475
Genre: animation


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

DVD Review

Dragon Tales is a popular children's television show, created by the same people who brought you Sesame Street. If you have kids in the right age range for the show, you are doubtlessly familiar with the premise (as PBS runs episodes several times a day), so I'll be brief. Emmy and Max are two children with a special dragon scale that, when wished upon, will transport them to Dragon Land, a fantasy world where the two kids interact with a troupe of friendly dragons.

The emphasis is defiantly on lighthearted fun, with the dragons (the two-headed brother and sister Zak and Wheezy, the gigantic Ord, and the kindly young Cassie) always goofing around and planning elaborate adventures for the children (which usually go wrong for one reason or another). Despite all the fun, there's always a moral to each of the 12-minute episodes, though the educational aspects are more subtle than overt, focusing on showing kids how to interact within groups and form relationships.

This disc contains five episodes that should keep kids amused, but will likely begin to grate on parent's nerves with their simplistic, repetitive plots.

In Zak and the Beanstalk, the dragons and Max and Emmy must rescue the singing Do-Rei-Me Birds from a big scary giant, Mungus. Like all tough guys, though, he's only gruff on the surface. Underneath, he's just a big ol' softie. He doesn't even grind anyone's bones to make his bread! Everyone teaches Mungus how to make music, and he becomes a happy giant. The lesson? Be nice to bullies, I guess, and hope they decide not to beat you up.

In Whole Lotta Maracas Goin' On, it's teacher day, and Max and Emmy want to do something nice for the wise old dragon teacher Quetzal. He's vaguely Spanish (you can tell, because he likes to say "buenos dias"), so they decide to get him some new maracas and perform a song for him. The only problem? No one really knows just how to make maracas! Ah, the hilarity. Everyone has to split up to get the maracas completed in time, and the emphasis seems to be that doing your part is important to the group.

Up, Up and Away focuses on blowing bubbles, either soap bubbles or with bubblegum. Max, Emmy, and the dragons all have fun playing with bubble wands, until Ord breaks the water bucket. While Emmy, Zak, Wheezy, and Cassie go to get a new one, Max and Ord accidentally spill the bubble solution into the pond, and create a bubble so big, Ord gets trapped inside it and is carried away. The others must save him from certain doom in his soapy spherical cell. I guess the lesson is to follow directions or something? I don't really know. Cute episode, though.

In The Jumping Bean Express, Max, Emmy, and the dragons have to bring some Mexican Jumping Beans to Quetzal's brother (See? Vaguely Spanish). They love to jump, and when they manage to escape from their cage, everyone must rush to recapture them or risk the wrath of Quetzal. A chilling take on the parable of Pandora. That'll teach kids to fool around!

Finally, in The Great White Cloud Whale, everyone is going fishing when they encounter Captain Scalawag, who is on the hunt for the Great White Cloud Whale, a fluffy beast that swallowed his favorite ship whole! The dragons and Max and Emmy join the Captain on his quest for the sinister stratocumulus. The emphasis this time is on simple fun and teamwork, with everyone getting to dress up, play as pirates, and help someone out in the process. Thrill at the surprise revelation about the true nature of the Cloud Whale's captured ship!

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: For what it is, Dragon Tales looks pretty good on DVD. Colors are a little subdued, but still bright and saturated. The image shows some grain and occasional line jitter, but it's nothing that distracts.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Spanishyes


Audio Transfer Review: This is a fairly uninspiring track, but it gets the job done. Dialogue is always clear, with the score expanding a bit across the rather narrow front soundstage. There aren't any directional effects or pans, but they aren't necessary, either.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 5 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Bear in the Big Blue House, The Trumpet of the Swan, Jay Jay the Jet Plane
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. 4 Dragon Tales Sing-A-Longs
Extras Review: Aside from a trailer gallery (with clips for Dragon Tales, Bear in the Big Blue House, The Trumpet of the Swan, and Jay Jay the Jet Plane), Dragon Tales offers four karaoke sing-a-longs, offering fun tunes and dances to exhaust hyperactive youngsters. There are options to play all five episodes at once or to put the entire disc on "continuous play."

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

If you are looking for a decent, educational cartoon for your kids, you could do a lot worse than Dragon Tales. Columbia TriStar has done a nice job releasing the show on DVD, meaning you can look forward to watching them over and over and over again. And again.

 


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