Up to date information about children’s entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

Archive for December, 2010

Learn to Chase Your Dreams with “The Dolphin”

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Dolphin.jpg“I like the film “The Dolphin Story of a Dreamer,” because it has a message about following your dreams and listening to your heart, even when others tell you your dreams don’t matter.

The film is about a young dolphin named Daniel Alexander Dolphin, who has a dream to surf the biggest wave. He lives with a pod of dolphins and he is not suppose to wander outside of the lagoon. The other dolphins in his pod have given up on following their dreams, and are happy to live in comfort in the lagoon, but Daniel wants more. When a kind stingray enters the lagoon and tells Daniel to never give up and keep following his heart he decides to leave the lagoon to find his dream.

My favorite part of the film is when Daniel surfs the giant wave and shoots through the tube. I love when he is inside the wave. It is magical.

My favorite character is the little tiny dolphin, named Sparky, who gets so excited about everything and acts like he is on a sugar rush and then falls over exhausted and goes to sleep.

The background in the lagoon is beautiful. The animation has lots of detail. The small brightly colored plants swaying in the water and sunlight are very realistic but magical too. Some of the animation I don’t like. For example the dolphin’s teeth are too sharp and that makes them a little scary and sometimes the mouth movement doesn’t go along with the voices.

I recommend this film to older kids or as a family movie because the messages might be hard for young kids to understand and might be boring. I feel some of the messages get over-played and sometimes I lose interest. Younger kids might think the shark is scary, but compared to Nemo, it’s not too scary.”

MakaiCcolvin.jpgReviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Makai Weber Colvin (age 9)

Yogi Bear, On the Big Screen

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

yogi_bear_movie_poster.jpg“I really love this movie. It has a ton of action scenes and is hilarious! The best part of the movie is when the gang goes down the river rapids which is really cool to see in 3D. It feels like you are going to get splashed with the water. 

My favorite characters in the film are Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, and Ranger Smith. I like them because they have a part in saving Yellowstone Park. Yogi Bear and Boo Boo are the funniest characters in the movie. One part in the movie has Yogi Bear water skiing and Boo Boo is guiding the boat. Yogi Bear catches his cape on fire, falls in the water, and sets off the entire fireworks display!  There are also some bad people in this movie. Mayor Brown and his chief of staff are always trying to sabotage Ranger Smith’s efforts to save Yellowstone. They even try to make Ranger Jones turn against Ranger Smith. The actor that plays Ranger Jones is T.J. Miller, who played Tuffnut in “How to Train Your Dragon”, which is one of my favorite movies.

In the movie Yellowstone Park is celebrating its 100 year anniversary however it may be its last because attendance to the park is down and Mayor Brown wants to close the park and use it for something that will make him more money. Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, and Rachel team up to save the park. Yogi Bear really proves that he is “smarter than the average bear.”

I would recommend this film for ages seven and up. Parents will really like this movie because Yogi Bear was a tv show that was on when they were growing up. Go out and see it when it premieres in theaters on December 17th. For an extra treat see it in 3D; you will really feel like you are a part of the movie.”

Anthony.jpgReviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Anthony Aranda (age 8)

PBS Kids and Jim Henson Company Release New Dinosaur Train Phone App

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

DinosaurApp.jpgPBS KIDS and The Jim Henson Company today announced the release of the DINOSAUR TRAIN Eggspress App on the App Store, its newest educational game for the iPhone and iPod touch.  Based on the hit TV series DINOSAUR TRAIN, one of the top ten shows for kids ages 2 to 5, DINOSAUR TRAIN Eggspress guides preschool-age children through three prehistoric eras while promoting science and math skills through various exciting games.  DINOSAUR TRAIN Eggspress joins PBS KIDS’ suite of high-quality, innovative and educational apps, including SUPER WHY! and MARTHA SPEAKS Dog Party.

According to a recent Joan Ganz Cooney Center study, high quality, developmentally appropriate and engaging apps can have significant educational benefits for children, especially as more and more kids become familiar with mobile devices.  “This is our eighth PBS KIDS app for iOS devices, and each one combines entertainment to keep kids engaged with the educational value parents expect from us,” said Jason Seiken, senior vice president, Interactive, Product Development, and Innovation, PBS.

The DINOSAUR TRAIN Eggspress App is available from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore.

PBS also recently launched PBS for iPad, a free iPad® app for adults that features more than 300 videos, including full-length episodes, segments and previews, with new content updated daily.

About the DINOSAUR TRAIN Eggspress App

Based on the TV series Dinosaur Train featuring Buddy, an adorable preschool age Tyrannosaurus Rex, and his adoptive Pteranodon family, DINOSAUR TRAIN Eggspress challenges players to find, sort and match dinosaur eggs and then reunite dinosaur families while progressing through three different time periods. Players will discover real flora and fauna from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous eras. Along the way, there will be learning moments as the app reveals mystery dinosaur hatchlings, real dinosaur facts and an adorable Dinosaur Baby Book.  The app is available on the App Store (http://to.pbs.org/dinoeggs) for the iPhone and iPod touch. For more information about PBS KIDS apps, visit PBSKIDS.org/mobile.

A DINOSAUR TRAIN Eggspress demo video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvuSvMyqtLE and images can be found on PBS PressRoom.

ABC Family Premieres Animated Film, The Gruffalo, Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. ET/PT

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

25Days.jpgThe animated half-hour special The Gruffalo will make its US debut on ABC Family on Thursday, December 9, at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT as part of the network’s annual 25 Days of Christmas programming event. Based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s best selling children’s picture book, The Gruffalo features an all-star voice cast including Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter film series) as the Gruffalo, Helena Bonham Carter (Alice in Wonderland) as the narrator, Rob Brydon (TV’s “Gavin & Stacey”) as the Snake, James Corden (TV’s “Gavin & Stacey”) as the Mouse, John Hurt (V for Vendetta) as the Owl, and Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton) as the Fox. Published in the US by Penguin Books®, The Gruffalo celebrated its tenth anniversary last year and has been translated into 40 different languages selling over 4 million copies worldwide.

The Gruffalo tells the magical tale of a mouse who takes a walk though the woods in search of a nut. Encountering three predators – all of whom wish to eat him – a fox, an owl and a snake – the plucky mouse has to use his wits to survive.  He announces that he is meeting a monster with terrible features, a ‘Gruffalo’, and the three predators are each panicked into running away.   The mouse is now increasingly confident that there is nothing that can touch him, or so he thinks. When he rounds a corner and comes face to face with the terrible creature of his imagination, the Gruffalo itself, the mouse has to dig deep to escape the danger and ultimately restore peace to the woods.

Produced by Magic Light Pictures, the 30-minute animation was completed in 2009 and premiered in the UK on BBC1 on Christmas Day. Axel Scheffler’s classic artwork is brought to life with a unique mixture of model and CGI animation. Michael Rose (Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run) and Martin Pope (The Heart of Me, Lawless Heart) have produced through Magic Light Pictures. The film is directed by Jakob Schuh and Max Lang and was animated at the award winning Studio Soi in Ludwigsburg, Germany.  Sold and broadcast internationally, The Gruffalo was nominated for a BAFTA and has won numerous awards including the Prix Jeunesse and the Crystal for Best TV Special at Annecy Animation Festival.

Bring on the Christmas Spirit with The Search for Santa Paws

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Search4SantaPaws.jpgSam Connan, 12-year-old KIDS FIRST! Film Critic had this to say about the film:

I think that The Search for Santa Paws is a really wonderful Christmas movie; it really got me in the Christmas spirit. When you see the commercials you think, ‘oh, it’s a little kid movie,’ and the first few minutes would say that you’re right. However if you  get past those first few minutes you will see that a complex and touching plot unfolds before you that all ages could enjoy.

In The Search for Santa Paws, Paws the dog (voiced by Zachary Gordon) is a gift to Santa (Richard Riehle) from the recently deceased Mr. Hucklebuckle. Paws and Santa travel to New York City on a routine errand to visit all of the ambassadors to the North Pole just before Christmas. Little do they know that things are about to go horribly awry. Another main character is a little girl named Quinn (Kaitlyn Maher, recently seen on America’s Got Talent). Quinn was recently orphaned and is plunged into a situation that’s a lot like Orphan Annie with a Christmas theme. As can be expected of a Disney film there is a part where all seems lost, but don’t worry.

The first  musical number is very cheesy and I’d be embarrassed to sing it, but the rest of the music was very well done, especially a sweet little song that Quinn sings. The cinematography was pretty average, but the interior of the Hucklebuckle Toy Store was very well done; it looked very inviting and cozy. The special effects were superb; it really looked like the dogs and reindeer were talking. When the reindeer pulled the sleigh golden sparks burst from their hooves, and it really looked like the reindeer were pulling, not just gliding along. I liked both of these.

I rate this movie an eight out of ten stars, for comedy, and special effects. The only reason that I take away the two stars is because it wasn’t the most amazing movie. It’s not that it’s lacking anything, it’s just I don’t think it quite deserves a ten. My suggestion is go and buy it, rent it, borrow it from a friend, just get your hands on that movie by Christmas!   

Credit: Sam Connan, Age 12, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

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