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Case Number 04621: Small Claims Court

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Baby Moves

Lionsgate // 2004 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Chief Counsel Rob Lineberger (Retired) // June 17th, 2004

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All Rise...

Appellate Judge Rob Lineberger's toddler jumped up and yelled "Boo-dah!" when this disc popped into the player.

The Charge

Programs to enlighten, enrich, and delight your baby.

The Case

For this review, we tested Baby Moves in the field. My 18-month-old and I sat down and gave the DVD a spin. He perked up immediately. When the prismatic puppets Taa, Dee, and Ed showed up, an unearthly croon sprang forth from his lips as he charged the screen in delight. For the next hour, he alternated between dancing around the room, standing stock-still, and sitting in my lap. My unscientific conclusion is that Baby Moves is a hit.

Baby Moves has an innate structure that gives the program a cyclical feel. A baby blanket with six colored squares acts as a menu. A baby crawls to one of the blocks—for instance, a train block—and a segment about trains comes up. Then the three puppets do a brief skit about trains. The baby blanket reappears, and we see the next block.

Everyone I've heard from regarding this DVD says that kids dig the puppets and merely tolerate the other stuff. For young babies, that is likely true. My son loved the puppets, but he had patience for the live-action segments as well. These mainly consisted of parents and babies playing with classical music in the background, with an occasional spoken poem set to natural imagery.

The image quality is very good, with a crisp transfer and little grain. The colors seep a bit, but a red logo over a white background is a challenging color test. Most of the program features bright primary colors that pop from the screen. Audio is clean and relaxing, with voices coming across rich and full.

When your child is done with the main program, he or she may be interested in the bonus Little People Episode. For your sake, I hope not: The repetitive music grows old quickly, and the episode seems like one giant toy commercial. To be fair, it is a well-done claymation commercial, which shows more care than cheap CGI shows of the same ilk. I prefer to limit my toddler's TV watching (see below), and there isn't much to distinguish the Little People show.

There are extras for parents as well. The Introduction is essentially a commercial for Fisher Price baby DVDs. Fortunately, the Playgroup and Developmental Milestones are more substantial. The Playgroup shows parents doing exercises to encourage their baby's development, while the Milestones are a visual guide to some of your baby's important physical development achievements. These segments would be educational for parents of young babies, less so for parents who have already muddled through to toddlerhood.

And now for the requisite disclaimer: The American Academy of Pediatrics cautions parents against exposing children under the age of two to any television. This warning is somewhat hypocritical coming from me, a movie critic who has exposed my toddler to Elmo, Kermit the Frog, anime, Highlander, Bob the Builder, and a whole host of similar children's fare. The AAP's recommendation is based on the passivity of television watching. It is a good point: When Baby Moves is on, my toddler sits entranced for nearly 30 minutes straight. This is not his natural state, which consists of rampant toy displacement, fur pulling, leg gnawing, and other barefoot mayhem. I'd be lying if I said I didn't appreciate the opportunity to have him sit still in my lap for a bit, even if television is the hypnotist. I don't feel too guilty about it either, because he seems to really like the images of older kids doing things he can't quite do.

Each parent must determine their own tolerance for media saturation, but at least think carefully about how much "zone out" time your child receives. Because now our child walks up to us with this DVD clutched in his hand, pointing at the screen.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 87

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• All Ages

Distinguishing Marks

• Introduction
• Play Group
• Developmental Milestones
• Little People Episode
• DVD-Rom

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