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Paramount Studios presents

Dora the Explorer: Big Sister Dora (2005)

"Swiper, no swiping. Swiper, no swiping. Swiper, no swiping!"- Dora the Explorer

Stars: Kathleen Herles
Other Stars: Harrison Chad
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:36m:22s
Release Date: 2005-03-22
Genre: family

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

 

DVD Review

There seem to be more shows for toddlers these days than there have ever been. From Teletubbies to the immortal Sesame Street, youngsters seemingly have their pick of whatever weird, animated or costumed character they want to teach them their ABCs and 123s. One of the better shows for kids and parents alike is the animated Dora the Explorer.

Dora the Explorer follows the adventures of Dora, a young Hispanic girl who is always on a learning adventure with her monkey, Boots, and her trusty backpack along with many other colorful friends. The show is all about having kids participate with Dora in her adventures, which take place inside a computer.

This interactivity is the best part of Dora the Explorer, as kids, regardless of their age, love it when the on-screen characters seem like they're talking directly to them. I was amazed at just how much impact this technique (which is frowned upon in "regular" adult-oriented TV programs) had on my one-year-old daughter, who was instantly mesmerized by Dora and pals.

Dora is also an excellent Spanish teacher. While she doesn't exactly get into all of the specifics of speaking the language, I guarantee that your little ones (those who can talk, that is) will be saying "hola" and "gracias" days after giving this DVD a few spins. They probably won't be reeling off complete Spanish sentences, but this is a heck of a start.

While Big Sister Dora features two episodes of the show, there are actually four on this disc, including two bonus episodes. The episodes are as follows:

Big Sister Dora: When Dora hears that her Mami's baby is on the way, she has to find the best and fastest way for her and Boots to get home.
Dora Saves the Game: Dora's cousin Daisy is a soccer player, but her team is one player short and needs Dora to get to the stadium as quick as possible so she can play.
Job Day: Dora explores the various jobs that kids want to have when they grow up.
A Letter for Swiper: Dora and Boots are given the task of delivering the mail to everyone, including Swiper the Fox.

All of these episodes are great for young kids, who can now watch these over and over again when it isn't "Dora time" on one of the Nickelodeon networks. Big Sister Dora, this DVD's namesake, is the best of these shows, mainly because its story is actually rather engaging for adults as well as little kids. The other shows on this disc are great as well, with the soccer-themed Dora Saves the Game and the wacky A Letter for Swiper being among the series' best entries.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: The overall transfer isn't as razor sharp as higher budgeted animated series, but it's effective enough for little kids, who are the target audience. Colors are vivid and there aren't many print blemishes, but things could be a bit less soft than they appear.

Image Transfer Grade: C+
 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 track makes aggressive use of the surrounds, completely immersing kids in Dora's world. The dialogue could have been managed a bit better, as the speakers it's coming out of during a given scene varies greatly, but kids won't be bothered by this.

Audio Transfer Grade: B- 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 4 cues and remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Blue's Clues: Blue Talks, Candy Land, Weebles, >>Dora's Pirate Adventure
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Big Sister Search Game: Interactive game in which you help find the hiding objects that the babies need before naptime.
  2. Nicktrition Tips for Parents: Text-based screens that serve as valuable nutrition guides for parents.
  3. Baby Nick Jr. Music Video: A clip featuring babies dancing to a calypso song.
Extras Review: There are a couple of extras for both kids and parents, beginning with the Big Sister Search Game. Here, kids use the DVD player's remote control to find hiding objects that the babies need before they take a nap. This is pretty fun for the kids, as there are enough animated images and mystery in the game to keep them interested.

Nicktrition Tips for Parents is a couple of screens worth of text, with info about the benefits of family meals and the importance of soccer moms.

Aside from some previews for other Nick Jr. DVD releases from Paramount, there is a Baby Nick Jr. Music Video that features a bunch of toddlers dancing around to a calypso song.

Extras Grade: C
 

Final Comments

Paramount Home Video's Dora the Explorer DVD series continues with another fine entry in Dora the Explorer: Big Sister Dora. Everyone's favorite Spanish-speaking girl is back to teach youngsters more valuable lessons, while ensuring that they are having tons of fun at the same time.

Chuck Aliaga 2005-03-23