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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Dragon Tales: Easy As 1,2,3 (2003)

"We've come to play!"
- Max (Danny McKinnon)

Review By: Jeff Rosado  
Published: January 28, 2003

Stars: Andrea Libman (Emmy), Danny McKinnon (Max)
Other Stars: Eli Gabay (Quetzal), Jason Michas (Zak), Kathleen Barr (Wheezie), Ty Olsson (Ord)
Director: Tim Eldred

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:04m:00s
Release Date: January 28, 2003
UPC: 043396096752
Genre: family

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+B+C+ B

DVD Review

Several years ago when called upon to help babysit my eldest nephew while his parents nursed his prematurely born younger brother to healthier status, I became exposed to quite a few children's programs for the toddler and pre-school crowd. Lo and behold if I didn't enjoy them just as much as he did (okay, maybe a teensy weensy bit more).

Near the top of my "Must-See-TV, Jr" line-up was the Emmy®-nominated Dragon Tales, a production from the Sesame Workshop, an offshoot of the creative team behind my favorite after school program from way back when: the highly lauded Sesame Street.

In their ongoing series of compilation DVDs collecting past adventures of Emmy, Max and their high flying friends Zak, Wheezie and Ord, Sony gives us Dragon Tales: Easy As 1, 2, 3. For those of you who frequent the kid's part of our cyberspace clubhouse regularly, the show's premise should be familiar, but a quick primer for the uninitiated: A young brother and sister gain the ability to travel to a land of friendly fire-breathers via a magical dragon scale. In the midst of experiencing whimsical adventures, helpful lessons and morals are learned by everyone involved.

Like past discs in the Dragon Tales library, a unifying theme is present in all the episodes gathered. Easy As 1, 2, 3 focuses on the importance of following directions as well as gently stressing the virtues of listening, cooperation and teamwork.

A Kite For Quetzal: Sidelined with a cold, kindly dragon teacher Quetzal is unable to continue the tradition of making a new creation for the annual Kite Day celebration. So the gang decides to surprise him by making one themselves, a feat easier said than done.

Prepare According To Instructions: Intrigued by Quetzal's tale of dancing crystals, the little dragons and their human friends must carefully follow a set of instructions to see the dazzling site for themselves.

The Big Cake Mix-Up: With a cookbook up for grabs as a first place prize in a baking contest, Zak, Wheezie and Ord enlist Max & Emmy's assistance in the creation of a dragonberry carrot cake. Remember the old saying about too many cooks? Well, this episode teaches the value of teamwork.

True Blue Friend: Fun with finger painting turns awry when our five friends discover that permanent paint and flesh don't mix. So it's Quetzal to the rescue with details on how to undo the damage.

Light My Firebreath: On the eve of the annual fire breathing celebration, Wheezie loses her ability to blow flames after inhaling nectar from a flower. Kindly Dr. Booboogone offers advice in the form of a series of drawings whose instructions must be followed in (you got it, kiddies), specific order for Wheezie to get her fire back.

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


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: Depending on how the PBS station in your area comes across on your television set, your opinion of the transfer may differ significantly from mine. But to these eyes, the picture quality on this volume was relevatory. Colors came across much more vividly than on broadcasts of the same material in my region of the country. Very little grain with no bleeding is a big plus, too.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Spanishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Aside from the catchy theme song, most of Dragon Tales' budget must be spent on the pretty pictures. Very little separation and directionality for a so-called stereo mix. At times, audio sounds so narrow to the point of being monophonic.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 5 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 4 cues
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Kermit's Swamp Years, Stuart Little 2 and Family Fun (titles from Sony Pictures Family Entertainment)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. 4 Dragon Tales Sing-Alongs
Extras Review: Four brief but catchy "Sing-Along" tunes (Betcha Can, Hum, Pretend and Touch) complete with accompanying on-screen graphics to start your toddlers on the road to Star Search 2010! In addition, episodes can be viewed individually, collectively or non-stop to your little one's content. Finally, a trailer for Sony's extensive line of family friendly titles is included as well as teasers for Stuart Little 2 and Kermit's Swamp Years.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

Another batch of terrific adventures from one of the best animated series ever to grace public television. Educational without being boring, charming but not cloying and instantly likeable, fans of Dragon Tales will find the decision to add this to their home video collection as Easy As 1, 2, 3.


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