Scholastic Video presents
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type ...and more fun on the farm (1977-2000)
"Dear Farmer Brown, The barn is very cold at night. We'd like some electric blankets. Sincerely, The Cows."- Narrator (Randy Travis), reading bovine correspondence, in Click Clack Moo
Stars: Randy Travis, Brianna Kittrell, Heidi Stallings
Director: Maciek Albrecht, Michael Sporn, Gene Deitch
MPAA Rating: Not RatedRun Time: 00h:21m:03s
Release Date: 2003-08-26
DVD ReviewIt's a cluck cluck here and a moo moo there in this latest Scholastic DVD, which offers a series of stories set on the farm and sports a cheekier attitude than some of their other releases. Still, these are more than suitable for future farmers and others looking for a respite from the sensory assault of too much children's entertainment.
Farmer Brown is up against it in Click Clack Moo (08m:46s), for those darn cows have gotten a hold of an old typewriter stored in the barn, and they're making demands. In fact, the girls organize a work stoppage: no electric blankets, no milk. The hens join in with a sister solidarity sympathy strike—they want electric blankets, too, and are withholding eggs until Farmer Brown makes good. This is a terrific little story, very funny and a nice preschool primer on the power of organized labor. Randy Travis strikes just the right sardonic tone with the narration, and the tale works also as a way to prepare the tots for their first taste of George Orwell—four legs good, two legs bad.
Things got a little out of hand on the class trip, which turned out to be The Day That Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash (05m:00s). A little girl relates the shaggy dog story to her mother, about how everything that could have gone wrong on the field trip to the farm did in fact go wrong, ending up with Jimmy's pet snake, unwisely brought along on the school bus, terrorizing the farmer's wife. (Jimmy trades in his boa for a pig.) It's not a full rip-roaring comic frenzy, but it certainly works well enough.
Don't feel too left out, because I didn't get an invitation either. Porker and Curlytail tie the knot in The Pigs' Wedding (07m:17s), and you know that Curlytail—she's a high-maintenance bride, unhappy with the general smelliness of her guests. (You invite a room full of pigs, you get what you deserve.) A good pre-nuptial hosing down and a few buckets of watercolors do the trick—this story will work best for those who really, really like pigs, because there's not a whole lot of dramatic tension to it, other than rain spoiling the reception.
All in all, a winning trio of stories.
Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Perhaps it's because these animated shorts were more recently produced, but the quality of the image and the transfer are markedly better than with some other Scholastic titles. You'll find a good strong saturated palette, and very few scratches.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: Nice clean audio on all of these; Randy Travis sounds especially good on the title story.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 3 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
- two bonus stories, plus the title story dubbed into Spanish (see below)
Hendrika the heifer has had enough of Farmer Hofstra's spread, the daily grind of grass and hay and milk and milk and milk. She's eating her sorrows away and has ballooned up to the size of, well, of a cow. (Then again, she is a cow.) Hendrika takes a tumble onto a raft, and hence becomes The Cow Who Fell in the Canal (07m:46s), and goes off on a big city adventure, the highlight of which is getting to eat a straw hat. A sweet enough little tale, though how can you keep her down on the farm, now that she's seen Amsterdam?
We're in for a lesson in textiles, for Charlie Needs a Cloak (07m:21s), and this is sort of an animated industrial film. Conveniently enough, Charlie is a shepherd, and we follow him through the shearing, carding, spinning, dying, weaving, cutting, and sewing of his handsome new scarlet garment. It's kind of boring, really, though the ennui is relieved by the poor shorn sheep, who is continually after Charlie to get her precious wool back on. She learns, of course, that time heals.
The disc's title story is available in Spanish, as Clic Clac Muu Vacas Escritoras; why English-speaking cows low with o's (moo) and Spanish-speaking ones with u's (muu) remains a multi-cultural mystery. The Read Along option provides English subtitles; the accompanying trailer is for the Scholastic series of DVD releases.
Extras Grade: B+
Final CommentsFine family fun, whether you live in farm country or elsewhere.
Jon Danziger 2003-09-16