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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
The Jeff Corwin Experience—Costa Rica: The Arribiatta & The Amazon: Goin' Bananas (2002)

"Monkeys... you gotta love 'em, but love 'em at a distance."
- Jeff Corwin

Review By: Jeff Rosado  
Published: May 27, 2003

Stars: Jeff Corwin
Other Stars: Marcelo Gordo, Jose Gomes, Hernana Sussalina, Alex Honczark
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for nothing objectionable
Run Time: 01h:23m:57s
Release Date: April 22, 2003
UPC: 012236130314
Genre: family

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- A+A-B+ D-

DVD Review

Until a few years ago, it was my belief that the animal adventure/nature travelogue show genre was all but dead. Not unlike Ed Sullivan and the variety show format, I felt ol' Marlin Perkins took it with him to that great "wild kingdom" in the sky. Several would-be heirs to the throne took their shot (Jack Hanna among them), but none made any serious impact.

However, in the midst of the cable revolution when any subject was fair game for a channel of its own, Animal Planet came into being. In its brief history, the rapidly growing family-friendly network has given a second wind to the format via a new breed of animal-based shows including Pet Star, The Most Extreme and the insanely popular Crocodile Hunter (which also gave birth to millions of bad Australian accents, but we won't get into that). One of the channel's most recent additions, The Jeff Corwin Experience, has proved so successful that Artisan has seen fit to begin issuing episodes of the series on DVD beginning with this double feature.

For those out there who are newcomers to the show like myself, I have to tell you that television's newest nature guide is not cut from the same cloth as Jim Fowler. Think Monkees-era Mickey Dolenz with the know-how of Jungle Jack (Hanna). With an irresistible combination of enthusiasm and smarts delivered in language we all can understand, the thirty-ish Corwin is a delight to watch. His sense of awe and wonder lures in the kids while his flair for comedy peppered with arcane movie references keeps the grownup's entertained.

Costa Rica: The Arribiatta is the first of our two adventures as Jeff takes us through the muddy, rain soaked Central American jungle filled with rarely seen creatures such as the eerie fer-de-lance snake, red-eye tree frogs and capuchin monkeys. Hitting the water en route to the beach, we get glimpses of frolicking humpback whales and ancient sea turtles. Speaking of the latter, the highlight of the expedition comes during a nighttime trip to the beach where we witness these amazing animals set up shop on the sand to lay and bury their eggs. As Mayberry's town barber might say, it's a fascinating thing to watch, just fascinating.

The Amazon: Goin' Bananas sends us Brazil bound for an expedition filled with feisty fish, threatening yet beautiful snakes, adorable frogs and balding monkeys badly in need of Rogaine. Visits to local biologists bookend this outing, showcasing encounters with sloths, electric fish and a baby manatee.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A+


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: Considering the atmospheric conditions and ever changing weather during these Experience shoots, the video quality is very good with almost three-dimensional visuals at times. Occasionally, there's a washed-out effect due to the camera iris levels being a tad too hot, but a very minor detriment. Most viewers will be too busy ooh-ing and ah-ing at the locales and their inhabitants to care.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Basic but well mixed and wide Dolby Stereo that only comes into play during incidental music. Location audio is extremely crisp and always understandable.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Since the program's website features an area where surfers can access bloopers from almost every episode, those would have made superb bonus material. Unless you count the forced promotional trailer for the Discovery Channel at the start, that's it as far as additional perks.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

One of the best animal adventure shows to come along in years gets a great DVD premiere. If you're new to The Jeff Corwin Experience, don't be surprised if you start marking your calendar to watch fresh episodes on Animal Planet.


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