Would a whip and fedora be too much to ask? wonders Appellate Judge Rob Lineberger.
Our reviews of Dora The Explorer: Animal Adventures (published June 7th, 2006), Dora The Explorer: Big Sister Dora (published June 1st, 2005), Dora The Explorer: Dora Celebrates Three Kings Day! (published December 24th, 2008), Dora The Explorer: Dora's Big Birthday Adventure (published August 16th, 2010), Dora The Explorer: Dora's Butterfly Ball (published March 23rd, 2013), Dora The Explorer: Dora's Christmas (published December 6th, 2004), Dora The Explorer: Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure (published December 9th, 2009), Dora The Explorer: Dora's First Trip (published April 11th, 2006), Dora The Explorer: Dora's Slumber Party (published September 11th, 2010), Dora The Explorer: It's A Party (published August 4th, 2005), Dora The Explorer: It's Haircut Day (published May 8th, 2011), Dora The Explorer: Save The Day (published February 3rd, 2006), and Dora The Explorer: Undercover Dora (published February 8th, 2008) are also available.
Super adventures, Super Baby style!
Facts of the Case
If you've read any of DVD Verdict's other reviews of Dora the Explorer titles, you'll find them as uniform as the show. We all agree that Dora is a spunky gal who makes a decent role model for anyone, Hispanic or no. She and her monkey pal Boots go on mostly imaginary adventures where they must solve various puzzles, pulling your preschooler into the action through questions and interactive segments. It is clean fun and a nonpreachy way to learn.
I don't have much to add, really. It's not like Dora the Explorer: Super Babies represents Dora's descent into darkness, where she becomes a Colombian drug lord who guns down rivals in the street. No, Super Babies is pretty much like all of the other Dora titles, with four episodes full of simple obstacles to overcome to reach the laughter-filled finale.
• "Super Babies"
• "Catch the Babies"
• "Baby Dino"
• "Por Favor"
I will throw two pennies into the hat. The first penny comes from me. Honestly, Dora's repetitiveness and shrillness drove me bonkers. When they were aiming for "spunky," they represented it by turning all of Dora's knobs to eleven. If she were a piano, she'd have the rightmost five or six notes to work with. If she were an elevator, she'd move back and forth between floors nineteen and twenty. You get the idea—but even so, you'll be faced with 97 minutes of it. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate Dora's no-nonsense approach to racial and gender issues. But when those super babies wailed an identical "wah, wah" for the hundredth time, I about lost it. The siege of commercials at the beginning also appalls me.
The second penny comes from my three-year-old. Though to my eyes he's intellectually advanced, coordinated, handsome, and a devil with the ladies, he's still just on the low age of Dora's intended audience. Unlike Max and Ruby or Thomas the Tank Engine, Dora the Explorer didn't quite reach him. He sat there drinking it in, but didn't so much as twitch a lip when Dora asked him to say "Swiper, no swiping!" Perhaps in six months or so he'll be up for scaling cotton-candy cliffs, but for now his interests are more pragmatic.
The Nick-tastic special features probably won't get much play, unless you prefer to get your nutritional advice from a mass-produced DVD pressed months ago. Kids may groove to the music videos, but the Super Babies game is eclipsed by virtually any flash game on the internet.
In the end, Dora gives kids a highly structured, multicultural, somewhat interactive series of puzzles to solve. Music and laughter are sprinkled throughout, and the tone is approachable. Parents may find themselves highly annoyed by the shrillness and repetitiveness, but kids may dig it. In fact, as I was tucking my son into bed, he leaned up to me and sang, clear as a bell: "where are we going? To CATCH the BABIES!" I guess it finally sunk in. ¡No culpable!
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Scales of Justice
• "Baby Dino" Music Video
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