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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Baby Einstein
Baby Einstein
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // Unrated // February 26, 2002
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Phillip Duncan | posted May 16, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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I'll start this off by saying that I don't have children. It's something that's being talked about more and more these days and that's one reason I requested this title (along with several in the series), but no kids are on the horizon just yet. With that out of the way, I managed to still watch this in its entirety and had the help of a borrowed baby for some of the time.

This series is based upon the Mozart Effect which is based upon the following principals:

· The use of music and the arts to improve the health of families and communities
· The general use of music to improve memory, awareness, and the integration of learning styles
· The innovative and experimental uses of music to improve listening and attention deficit disorders
· The therapeutic uses of music for mental and physical disorders and injuries
· The collective uses of music for imagery and visualization, to activate creativity, and reduce depression and anxiety

This by no means represents all the uses and aspects, but presents a good overview as to the theories behind the entire series of Baby Einstein videos. A series of images (still and moving), music, sounds, and spoken languages are repeated in an effort to induce the desired results.

There are opponents to this series of videos, ones that feel that introducing children at this young of an age (they're intended for 1 to 18 months) is wrong no matter the content. After watching the reaction of the "borrowed baby" while this video was playing I would disagree. These videos are presented as nothing but the 21st century equivalent of a musical mobile that entertains your child.

Now, on to the specifics concerning this title in the series, Baby Einstein. The DVD consists of over and hour of audio-visual stimulation for your child and is intended for the full range of 1 to 36 months. There is an immense amount of content presented in the short time and it's enough that it should remain fresh for several months. Most of it is presented as merely a listening and stimulation tool, but it would have been nice to have better accompaniment with the audio.

For instance, several sections involve counting and the alphabet in foreign languages. This is recited while unrelated, but colorful, video plays on the screen. To interest and help an older audience, and intuitive parents, visual representatives of the letters and numbers should be flashed on the screen while spoken. Likewise, when the nursery rhymes are recited, it would be nice to see the text, even as a subtitle option.

The disc is broken into several sections, with the Theater being the longest. This is where most of the audio and video is played in succession with almost no pauses in between. It can be hard to follow at times, but the included workbook/pamphlet helps you keep up. The other sections include more language and image games; with one that identifies a provided vocabulary list in several different selectable languages (English, Japanese, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish…). The included booklet is really handy and helps the parent get a handle on what is actually happening, although the baby will certainly care less about the book, it's nice to know what you're child is watching and why.

I found this one less interesting when compared to the Baby Mozart DVD. It's abundance of music is likely to keep the youngest child interested, while the advanced language of the Einstein disc will continue to appeal to the older toddler.

Video: The video on these discs is beautiful. The color and saturation has purposely been ramped up and it shows. The images practically jump off the screen and have no trouble catching the young, wandering eye.

Audio: The audio is a capable stereo mix that is perfectly crisp and bright but problematic in a few small areas. The levels jump ever so slightly, causing me to reach for the volume button occasionally.

Extras: There are no true extras, but they offer links to buy some of the toys that are features in the videos. On a side note, the menus were increasingly frustrating deeper into the DVD. There was no back button to return to a previous menu. They are meant to be played straight through and it's not easy to do otherwise.

Overall: I would recommend this to parents that want to encourage their children and develop their interests at an early age. While babysitting, the child we kept was easily entertained as we watched and commented together at the objects on the screen. This disc is better suited for the older toddler, but will entertain any young child.

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