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Paramount Studios presents
Dora The Explorer: Map Adventures (2003)

“Come on, vamanos! Everybody, let's go!”
- Dora The Explorer (Kathleen Herles)

Review By: Jeff Rosado  
Published: March 16, 2003

Stars: Kathleen Herles, Harrison Chad, Marc Weiner, Sasha Toro, Muhammed Cunningham
Other Stars: Jake Burbage, Ashley Fleming, Maria Muratore, Eileen Galindo, Kalani Coba, Esai Morales
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:36m:00s
Release Date: February 04, 2003
UPC: 097368753143
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A AA-B C-

DVD Review

Prior to the writing of this review, I learned of the passing of a lifelong hero: Fred Rodgers, who made a television neighborhood seem like a second home in my childhood years. While waxing nostalgic about his accomplishments, I pondered what it was that made this simple man such a giant in our eyes. And yet the key to his success was quite simple: he talked to kids with respect and made them feel important without being cloying or condescending.

Even some thirty years onward, it's a philosophy still practiced by the best of today's most successful children's programming and although Dora The Explorer couldn't be more different from the inhabitants from the Land-Of-Make-Believe, it's warm, inviting and encouraging nature share much in common with the standards Mister Rogers held so dear. I think he would have found the show to be (in his words), "snappy."

Dora The Explorer: Map Adventures marks the first DVD release of episodes from the much beloved series featuring a seven-year-old Latina heroine whose adventurous nature gets her into many a jam. But with the help of her perky monkey sidekick, Boots, the ever-handy Backpack and the guiding expertise of Map, no problem proves unsolvable.

Wait! I almost forgot…the little ones at home…their assistance is needed too.

Here lies just one of the many assets that makes the show such a winner with discerning parents and educators. Several times during a typical 24-minute episode, Dora seeks the aid of her viewers, encouraging them to repeat words and phrases that help propel storylines forward, such as the calling of Map and Backpack into action. Another cool innovation are sing-a-long melodies with lyrics that change every episode, which aids in keeping things fresh, and in turn keep those short-attention spans from wavering. For example, when Map gives directions to a particular destination, Dora and Boots go a step further and verbalize them in song; extremely clever.

Equally admirable is the show's willingness to let Dora display pride in her heritage via her occasional use of Spanish language phrases (in fact, the peppy squirrel Tico, one of the show's supporting characters, can only speak in Spanish and some of the show's most effective moments come during instances where Dora has to play instant translator for both him and the viewers at home). If audience involvement and language lessons weren't enough, physical activity also comes into play one to two times a show with Boots and his gal pal encouraging viewers in all sorts of activities from dancing to yelling helpful phrases to characters on screen.

Map Adventures gathers two episodes focusing on how to follow directions while traveling to important destinations along with two bonus adventures comprising nearly two hours of delightful entertainment.

Lost Map: During an outdoor play session, Map is mistaken for a stick by a not-so-bright bird. For once, Dora and Boots have to create their own set of directions to track down their friend on Tallest Mountain.

Super Map: While upon Tallest Mountain, Dora hears her mama calling from the valley below with word of a special surprise awaiting. But the journey home is long with a tricky jungle to muddle through and a river to cross. With Map's help (and yours), they might just make it back before nightfall.

Three Little Piggies: A carefree day on a farm turns scary when Boots and Dora witness three piggies go wandering outside their pen, thanks to a troublesome gate. Perhaps the best out of the four adventures with plenty of action and activity.

Lost and Found: On a stroll, Dora and Bootsy discover a shivering bluebird weeping for its mama, instigating a quest to help their newfound feathered friend find its way back home.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: Bright and vivid as it's lead character, Dora translates beautifully to the digital format. With it's colorful animation and storybook-like backgrounds, this is a warm and smooth presentation. Only in a couple of instances where Dora and Boots are seen in long shots, they come off fuzzy, but these are the only two bits that detract from an otherwise perfect transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Like most Nick, Jr. programming, a two-channel Dolby Stereo mix is utilized. Although the program's excellent scoring and musical passages are limited by this option, it's still a very effective, well produced track that doesn't overwhelm its audience; just right for this show's age group.

With the show's Latino backdrop, I was most surprised that no Spanish language track was included; perhaps in future volumes this might be a possibility.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Nick Jr. Parents’ Guide
Extras Review: The only extra included on the disc is a text-based Nick Jr. Parents' Guide, broken up into three sections: A brief synopsis of the show, an explanation of Nickelodeon's Play-To-Learn philosophy and a most helpful "Extended Learning Activity" that encourages parents to apply the lessons learned in the disc's namesake-themed episodes by helping their child draw a map to a favorite destination.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

Utterly charming from its delightful characters to involving storylines with well done audio/visual transfers to match, Dora The Explorer: Map Adventures is a real treat for fans of the show, as well as an excellent primer for new converts.

 


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