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Walt Disney Home Video presents
The Very Hungry Caterpillar... and other stories (1993)

"In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf. One Sunday morning, the warm sun came up, and... pop! Out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar."
- Narrator (Brian Cummings)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: January 11, 2006

Stars: Very Hungry Caterpillar, Very Quiet Cricket, Mixed-Up Chameleon
Other Stars: Brian Cummings, Linda Gary
Director: Andrew Goff

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 00h:31m:33s
Release Date: January 03, 2006
UPC: 786936695076
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A A-BB D

DVD Review

While I think nothing beats story time with mom or dad, programs like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Stories are a kid's next, best option. Based on the popular, enduring books by award-winning children's author/illustrator Eric Carle, this program basically brings to life five stories from the printed page, translating all text into narration (one of the narrators is the Disney "coming soon to own on DVD" voice) and adding movement to the artist's imaginative renderings.

The title piece concerns a very hungry caterpillar who is born on a Sunday and eats his way through the days of the week, helping children learn the names of the days and some simple counting. The character design in very cute, and this, Carle's most popular book, features his signature abstract watercolor designs. It's also got a surprise ending when (spoiler!) all that yummy food gives our very hungry friend the energy to transform himself into a beautiful butterfly. Did I ruin it?

In Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, a little girl asks her dad to pull the moon out of the sky so she can play with it, and learns about the lunar cycle when it keeps getting smaller and then disappears. The animation in this one is pretty cute, with dad climbing a mountain with the tallest ladder ever and the little girl's cat watching from the sidelines.

The Very Quiet Cricket is the longest story of the bunch, told in the repetitive style little kids love. A baby cricket is born but can't make any noises, despite his frequent attempts to communicate with bees, cicadas, and mosquitoes, until he finally learns that persistence pays off.

The Mixed-Up Chameleon is perfectly happy with his boring life, eating flies and changing colors, until he visits a zoo and sees all the wonderful animals. He decides he wants to be like everyone else, adding the trunk of an elephant, the neck of a giraffe, the wings of a flamingo, and the antlers of a deer, until he realizes it's best to be yourself (provided you're aiming to have flies for dinner).

Finally, the shortest, yet most visually imaginative segment is I See a Song, in which a violinist's music is transformed into swirling colors, intricate patterns, and an undersea world complete with a Picasso-esque mermaid.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: Presented in full frame, thie image looks just OK. Colors don't pop like they could, and tend to bloom a bit, causing outlines to look rather fuzzy. There is also some visible artifacting in spots, odd considering the breathing room such a short program should have on DVD. Still, it's a fair image, just not as clean as I'd like.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English Stereono


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in a serviceable stereo mix that suits the material. Narration is clear and the musical score sounds pretty clean.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 6 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Pooh's Grand Adventure, Disney Learning Adventures, Lady and the Tramp, Bambi II
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Interactive game
Extras Review: The sole extra (aside from some uninspiring Disney "sneak peeks" at the latest bastardization of Winnie the Pooh) is a counting/days of the week remote control game that encourages youngsters to feed the Very Hungry Caterpillar a certain type and quantity of food for each day of the week.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

The imaginative world of Eric Carle's beloved children's books comes to life in The Very Hungry Caterpillar; excellent entertainment for youngsters.

 


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