DVD reviews November 2011

DVD reviews November 2011

This month we are watching Charlie and Lola: Look After Your Planet, Bananas in Pyjamas: The Magic Trick and Jim Henson’s Dinosaur Train: Have You Heard About the Herd?

Bananas in Pyjamas: The Magic Trick

Australian dole queues have swelled in recent years with people who once wore over-sized novelty suits for a living.  Heading the cue is Fat Cat and his old pal Humphrey B Bear.  Behind them is Agro and Ossie Ostrich, rounded out by about seven-dozen team mascots who were all made redundant in the late Eighties.  And now joining the queue are Australia’s favorite novelty bananas, B1 and B2.

Thanks to technical advancements in CGI animation, the B1 and B2 suits have been mothballed in the same ABC warehouse that holds such lost treasures as the Countdown stage and the annoying kid from The Slap.  What hasn’t been lost, however, is the Banana’s great sense of adventure and their great band of friends – the teddies and Rat.  As always, Bananas in Pyjamas is a great series for kids that teaches a few valuable life lessons on the way.

Charlie and Lola: Look After Your Planet

Charlie and Lola’s cuteness can sometime feel like the sun; stare to long at it and you’ll go dizzyingly blind.  Or maybe that is just me, because my 2-year-old could watch 16 hours of it a day and have no visible signs of eyestrain.  Each morning she wakes up screaming for Charlie and Lola and goes to bed screaming out the same command.  She once felt that way for Spot, but that was before her tastes matured.

Charlie and Lola is undeniably cute.  And not cute in a clawing over-the-top Bindi kind of way, but more in a favourite cafe down a hidden laneway with hand made pastries and bearded folk singers at every table kind of way.  There is a warmth to everything: the fabric and paper collages that make the back drops, the loving relationship between Charlie and his small and very funny sister Lola, and in the stories that are all about what happens when you let your imagination take control.  OK, so maybe I have been staring a bit too long at the sun, but of all the places kids TV can take you to, Charlie and Lola’s little world is by far the nicest.

Jim Henson’s Dinosaur Train: Have You Heard About the Herd?

Jim Henson made some of my favourite television – The Muppets, Fraggle Rock and Sesame Street.  He was the world’s greatest puppeteer who created amazing characters from fabric and wire that were bursting with character and an irreverent wit.  Who didn’t want to be friends with Animal from The Muppets?  Or who could forget the long courtship between Kermit and Miss Piggy?  These were characters that were brimming with life and packed full of humour.

It is hard to see, then, what Jim Henson has to do with this series (even ignoring the fact he has been dead for the past twenty-one years).  This is a CGI animation with not a puppet in sight.  The series follows a cute dinosaur called Buddy as he travels the Dinosaur Train to learn all he can about the world inhabited by these amazing creatures.  It’s fun and informative and sure to be a hit with the pre-school brigade.  Fans of dinosaurs will love this series, but fans of Kermit are warned: Jim’s name may be on the DVD, but his hallmarks are not on the screen!