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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Popular Mechanics for Kids: Firefighters and Other Life Saving Heroes
Popular Mechanics for Kids: Firefighters and Other Life Saving Heroes
Koch Vision // Unrated // August 8, 2006
List Price: $14.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Lacey Worrell | posted August 5, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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The Show:
Popular Mechanics for Kids: Firefighters and Other Life-Saving Heroes presents what it calls "the science behind all the fun." This 4-episode collection encourages its young viewers to focus on scientific explanations for emergency preparedness, prevention, and response, and adults are guaranteed to learn a thing or two as well.

The individual episodes are as follows:

Emergency: Jay visits the Ottawa International Airport to talk to firefighters who respond to airplane emergencies, and Elisha finds out how wildfires are put out. A visit to firefighter training schools are also on the agenda.

Emergency Rescues: The real Baywatch lifeguards demonstrate the serious business of saving lives. Tyler gets to interact with rescue dogs to find out how they help people who have been buried in snow. Charlie takes viewers on a survival lesson, and hostage rescues are performed.

Life Savers: Tyler finds out how armored cars are constructed, and Elisha works with crash-test dummies to find out about safety testing for autos. Charlie builds a homemade alarm system, and Tyler gets to rappel down a high-rise building.

Police Force: Tyler gets to ride with the Los Angeles Police Department in order to learn safe driving under high-speed conditions. Elisha gets to ride in a helicopter in order to learn how police are able to track a suspect who attempts to flee on foot. A staged escape helps to set the scene.

As in previous Popular Mechanics for Kids releases, fans of the television show 24 will recognize a preteen Elisha Cuthbert, and fans of the unjustly ignored American Dreams will recognize supporting player Vanessa Lengies.

This, or any of the other titles in the series, is an excellent investment. The kid hosts maintain a remarkable amount of energy and professionalism, and the overall production is of the highest quality. They appear to be genuinely enthused to travel all over the world to discover scientific principles, and their excitement is likely to spill over to the audience. Popular Mechanics for Kids is one of those rare products aimed at kids that manages to educate but at the same time maintain a sense of fun and adventure. This long-running series won multiple awards, has been recommended by Parents' Choice, and is a quality production overall. The scientific terminology, though heavily rooted in physics, is explained in simple language that does not condescend.

The DVD

Video:
The picture quality of this release is about the same as one might expect viewing it on television; there does not appear to be a significant improvement over what one might expect on videotape. Don't expect flashy graphics or a stunning picture.

Sound:
This disc is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, and it sounds quite good. Having watched some old movies on VHS recently, especially ones taped off of television, I am finding that no matter what format a DVD is released in, the sound is astonishingly better on DVD. So while Popular Mechanics for Kids is not an astounding audio experience or anything, it is still very good.

Extras:
There are no extras to be had, but considering the fairly generous running time of 88 minutes as well as the fact that this DVD contains four episodes of Popular Mechanics for Kids, don't be turned off by the lack of special features. The focus on exciting diversions like fires and rescue animals will likely have young viewers clamoring to watch this DVD again and again.

Final Thoughts:
If you're a parent who is bored with the standard fare aimed at kids aged 6-12, give this series of discs a try. It is truly engrossing viewing, and although it is educational, it's great fun as well. One of the few shows you might actually be happy to stick in the old DVD player!

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