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Scholastic Video presents
Red Riding Hood...and More James Marshall Fairy Tale Favorites (2004)

Red Riding Hood: Grandma, what big teeth you have.
The Wolf: The better to eat you with, my dear.

- Little Red Riding Hood, The Big Bad Wolf

Review By: David Krauss   
Published: March 03, 2004

Stars: Helen Hunt (voice), Hank Azaria (voice)
Director: various

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 00h:59m:00s
Release Date: February 24, 2004
UPC: 767685958131
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B C+B-B C

DVD Review

Could any children's stories be more familiar than Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and The Three Little Pigs? Most kids can recite them by heart, but the Scholastic Video Collection has compiled a trio of animated adaptations that should satisfy the little tykes when Mom or Dad can't read them aloud. And with illustrations by the late James Marshall, the videos possess the look and feel of real books, and even include a read-along option. Pretty nifty.

While the traditional nature and presentation of the stories may no longer capture the imagination of tech savvy tots weaned on fancy computers and special effects, the tales are charmingly told and managed to hold the interest of my rambunctious 7-year-old son (no small feat). Whether he'll watch the disc again remains to be seen, although I won't put any money on it. Geared more for the preschool set, these fairy tales are simplistically designed, emphasizing light comedy and moral messages, while glossing over any violence. Marshall's distinctive illustrations (with a few characters oddly resembling Cabbage Patch Kids) add an offbeat twist, and the bright colors are sure to attract the target audience.

Length is also tailored to the age group's attention span. Red Riding Hood runs eight minutes, Goldilocks and the Three Bears (featuring an especially bratty Goldilocks) clocks in at seven minutes, and The Three Little Pigs lasts just over 11 minutes. In addition, two bonus classics, Chicken Little (featuring narration by Helen Hunt, voice characterizations by Hank Azaria, and animation by Steven Kellogg) and Rapunzel (with animation by Paul O. Zelinsky), help fill out the disc.

For those seeking a children's DVD with a literary feel, Red Riding Hood... combines everything we love about books in a convenient digital format. The timeless stories and Marshall's jovial illustrations may not mesmerize young viewers, but will certainly provide an hour's worth of wholesome entertainment.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: The individual cartoons are all about a decade old and look their age. Colors remain bright and clarity is good throughout, but the image doesn't possess the vibrancy we expect from DVD animation. The tales were obviously transferred from videotape, and it seems no attempts were made to spruce up picture quality prior to the DVD release. Some minor print defects and sporadic shimmering occasionally catch the eye, but never hamper enjoyment. After all, how many toddlers give a hoot about video noise?

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: No bells and whistles here, just clear, functional sound that nicely transmits narration, voices, and music.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 TV Spots/Teasers
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: In addition to the two bonus stories (Chicken Little and Rapunzel) and read-along option mentioned above, an endearing six-minute featurette called Getting to Know James Marshall allows the illustrator to personally introduce himself to his audience. We see him working in his home studio and listen to him chat about his Texas upbringing and artistic style, as well as relate an amusing personal anecdote about a particularly mean teacher from his childhood whom he immortalized in his classic book, Miss Nelson Is Missing. Sadly, at the end of the piece, we learn Marshall died in 1992 at the tender age of 50.

A brief trailer for the entire Scholastic Video Collection is also included.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

Red Riding Hood... will definitely engage the under-7 crowd, but may not captivate enough to inspire repeated viewings. Try a rental first, unless your child is just gaga over Goldilocks.

 


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