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Paramount Studios presents
Rugrats Mysteries (2003)

"Angelica Pickles follows the feet of a different plumber!"
- Angelica (Cheryl Chase)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: February 25, 2003

Stars: Elizabeth Daily, Christine Cavanaugh, Katie Soucie
Other Stars: Tara Strong, Cheryl Chase, Melanie Chartoff, Jack Riley, Joe Alaskey
Director: Various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing offensive)
Run Time: 01h:46m:45s
Release Date: January 28, 2003
UPC: 097368755642
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Rugrats is Nickelodeon's most popular show (or it was, until Spongebob came on the scene), and the reasons why are fairly obvious. The series centers around the exploits of a group of babies and toddlers whose parents let them play together. Though the kids can't talk in the traditional sense, they can communicate between themselves, and they have all sorts of wacky adventures, most of them taking an everyday occurrence and looking at it from the skewed perspective of a baby experiencing everything for the first time.

The little touches are what make the show memorable. The relationship between ringleader Tommy and his best buddy Chucky is great; though Chucky is older, Tommy is more level-headed and adventurous. Angelica, who is a bit older, is a bossy know-it-all who constantly insists that the babies follow her orders, even though she is really only parroting what she has heard the grown-ups talking about (some of the best writing on the show involves Angelica's mangling of everyday phrases, as "follows the beat of a different drummer" becomes "the feet of a different plumber.") Jokes like this will likely sail right past the younger kids in the audience (who will be caught up in the adventures the babies are having). Adults can appreciate them, though, and will likely also enjoy watching the haggard parents try to deal with a horde of energetic kiddies who keep wandering off to explore.

Mysteries is a bit of a misnomer, as only the first episode on this disc is anything approaching a mystery. In Murmur on the Ornery Express, a double-length episode (running 22 minutes; most run roughly 11), the gang goes on their first train ride, and when things start to go missing, the chief suspect is the mysterious "Train Robber." In The Fun Way Day, the parents hire a Feng Shui expert to come and re-align their lives. Except the babies think that he is the "fun way" guy and is coming to show them a good time. Finally, in Trading Phil (one of the better episodes on the disc), Angelica, eager to "make nice" with some older toddlers, offers to give them Phil to play with (since they are sick of their dolls).

The disc also includes five "bonus episodes," all of which feature Grandpa in a prominent role (that's probably why they are billed as "Grandpa's Favorites"). In Grandpa's Date, Tommy and Chuckie get in the way when Grandpa's old girlfriend comes back into his life after 40 years. Legend of Satchmo tells the story of the Rugrats first experience with camping, which is a little scary, especially after Grandpa tells them the story of Bigfoot. Tommy and Chuckie hunt down Grandpa's Teeth when his false set goes missing. After Grandpa reads an article about Visitors from Outer Space, Chuckie becomes convinced that he has been abducted by aliens. Finally, deciding he isn't appreciated around the house, Grandpa Moves Out, and into the Flushing Waters Retirement Home, which promises the finest care. Promises being the key word.

All in all, not a bad collection of cartoons. With over 300 episodes in the can, though, it will take forever to get them all out of DVD at this rate.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: Video quality varies on the age of the episode. The newer ones look wonderful, with very bright colors, good detail, and no signs of aliasing or cross coloration. The earlier episodes, though, pale in comparison. Colors are a bit washed out, and the image looks rather grainy and a little blurry. Some of the quality differences can probably be attributed to the rising budgets as the series progressed, but I wish all of the episodes looked as nice as the most recent inclusions.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is fairly good, but the stereo mix is pretty basic. Most of the audio is confined to the center channel, though there is still some nice expansion in the sound effects and music. Dialogue is always nice and clear, too. The front mains enhance the audio a bit, but they stay pretty quiet throughout.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: None, unless you count the five bonus episodes discussed above.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Rugrats is one of the most enjoyable children's cartoons Nickelodeon has yet produced. Kids will certainly like this, but much of the humor (such as the generally clueless parents, or the babies' language problems) is clearly geared towards adults. This disc includes quite a few episodes, and the price is right, so it's certainly recommended for fans of the program.


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