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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Dragon Tales: It's Cool to Be Me! (1999)

"I know a fun thing you can reach!"
- Emmy (Andrea Libman)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: April 08, 2002

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

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 00h:59m:44s
Release Date: April 02, 2002
UPC: 043396086012
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Emmy and Max are two youngsters who have a magical dragon scale that, when wished upon, whisks them away to the magical Dragon Land, a colorful place filled with benevolent lizard beasts. Kids love it, apparently, while I am disturbed by the vast amount of time these kiddies seem to spend by themselves, hallucinating. Anyway, once in Dragon Land, the two have various adventures with the two-headed Zak and Wheezy, the oafish Ord, and the young Cassie. Each episode runs roughly 12 minutes and features a loose lesson or educational elements, but the teaching aspects aren't as obvious as in many other children's programs (which may necessitate some child-parent discussions afterwards).

This DVD contains five different episodes, each dealing with a character learning to accept who they are and be happy.

In Not Separated at Birth, Zak and Wheezy decide they are sick of being two-headed, so their (vaguely) Spanish older friend Quetzal (who calls everyone "niño" and randomly attaches an "o" to the ends of many words) gives them a magic gem that splits them into different bodies. They then go about helping to construct a new playground for Max and Emmy to enjoy, and soon discover that sometimes they need the support of each other to get things right. Intended, I'm sure, as a lesson in getting along with your brothers and sisters, unless Dragon Tales is aiming at the particularly small niche market of conjoined twins.

In The Greatest Show in Dragon Land, Max and Emmy are very excited to be traveling to Wonder World, a circus with rides and games, along with their dragon friends, but their plans are screwed up when Zak and Wheezy, who have broken a wing, cannot fly with everyone to the park. They decide instead to walk, and have exciting adventures on the way, as they have to get by various obstacles by sliding down a snow-covered mountain or hitching a ride with a sea serpent. Once they get to the dinky, decidedly un-fun Wonder World, they discover that, perhaps, a journey with friends is more important than the destination. Remember that on the next long car trip to DisneyWorld. Are we there yet?

A Tall Tale is the story of Max's dissatisfaction with being a little boy; he thinks he's too short to have any fun. Max and Emmy travel to Dragon Land to try to cheer him up, and they discover that Eunice the Unicorn has lost her glasses and needs the help of the kids and their dragon buddies to find them. Eunice has the most annoying, horse-guffaw laugh I have ever heard in a cartoon character. The glasses are found, and only Max can squeeze down into a crevasse to get them, proving that sometimes it's ok to be small.

Dragon Sails is oriented around a boat trip the kids and dragons are planning to take down the river to collect Rainbow Crystals. In a shocking reversal of the previous episode, this time Ord is too big to fit in the boat, and wishes he wasn't such a huge klutz. Of course, they soon discover the obvious solution: "We should have built a bigger boat." Eventually, Ord's size saves the day when they gang almost goes over a waterfall, but the whole story could have been avoided if the group had noticed that the water is apparently only ankle deep (nice continuity there, animators).

Finally, in Staying Within the Lines, a rainstorm washes all the color away from Dragon Land and it's up to Max and Emmy to brighten things up again. Max, whose ADD makes it difficult for him to stay inside the lines, soon creates a whole lot of problems, from his blotchy gray clouds creating another rainstorm to his losing control of some blue paint causing the river to escape its bed. There's a lot of creative use of color and black and white in this segment, by far the most entertaining of the five.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: Colors here look bright and rich, though a tad grainy. There's a bit of line jitter, but it isn't a major problem. Frankly, there's not a lot to say. Dragon Tales isn't demanding source material, and this image delivers.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Spanishyes

Audio Transfer Review: This mix is confined to the front soundstage and features no marked effects. Dialogue is always clear and well mixed with the music, which expands the soundstage out a bit.

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: Extras are pretty slim. Bonus trailers are offered (for Dragon Tales, Bear in the Big Blue House, The Trumpet of the Swan, Jay Jay the Jet Plane), so the kids will know exactly which discs you ask for next time you go to Best Buy. Four sing-a-long songs run about 90 seconds each, and come complete with karaoke subtitles and maddeningly catchy melodies. Don't play this feature at naptime, as three of the four emphasize "get[ting] up, and on your feet" (and, in one case, "shaking it"). There's a "play all" option, as well as the ability to place the program on "continuous play," for when mommy needs a nap. If you let the feature play all the way through, there's a commercial for Frosted Flakes (they're grrrreat).

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

Dragon Tales is a fine children's program, fast-paced and full of bright, colorful characters. You no doubt already know if it is a favorite of your children, but if they've never seen it, it's worth a look. Just remember: fear the "continuous repeat" mode. For your sanity.


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