Parents who show their children tripe such as "Barney and Friends," "Teletubbies," or "رواد الغد" (Tomorrow's Pioneers) are terrible people and should not have children. Perhaps that's an overstatement, but it does not detract from the nihilism inherent in television shows of this ilk. Children of the 1990s will be familiar with "Barney" and his corpulent purple carcass invading screens with such artificiality.
Episodes would begin with Barney as a doll suddenly turning into a full-size living dinosaur. He's surrounded by children fawning over his awesomeness. To be honest, I'd be as impressed if a doll suddenly turned into a full-size living dinosaur right on front of me. Because all I'd have to do is believe. This doesn't change the fact that Barney's posture looks like Buffalo Bill's when he's nude dancing in The Silence of the Lambs.
This review is specifically for a wonderful, funderful, superdy-duperdy "Song and Dance" special. Within its 55 minutes of sheer bliss, there are 27 songs. By comparison, the 171-minute movie musical My Fair Lady has only 18 songs. The extent of the plot is an intro showing children receiving invitations to join Barney in his treehouse. After glitterizing into the frame, he makes generic Party City trinkets and junk food to fizzle into the treehouse. His friends BJ and Baby Bop also show up... wait, BJ?
Instead of just listing the songs, it's worth mentioning that they're either staples of kid songs or no-effort important moral songs. We are treated to "B-I-N-G-O" with some children singing around a dog that really wants to be somewhere else. What can express emptiness more than "The More We Get Together" and "If You're Happy and You Know it" sung by a dozen or so children? There's a song about different families that hints at divorce, widowers, and wedlock. I'm surprised they didn't add a verse on dad's roommate. Mid-way, a teenager shows up amidst these children and promptly becomes lead sycophant to Barney. Barney and the children are later whisked away in a cloud of glitter to Storybookland - all wearing clothing out of a Kenenth Anger film.
There's a lot of sick connotations within Barney, though. The Buffalo Bill posture was already brought up. Does anyone realize that Barney is looking after all of these children with no adults around? Then there's Barney calling children his special friends, of course. One song mentions candy bars and milkshakes. Another song is about the largest tree in the forest, with green grass growing around it. Barney invites children into his tent in the middle of the woods!
As expected, this 1.33:1 video-based show is colorful and has somewhat good detail (i.e. Barney's "fur"). It's interlaced and the compression is fairly awful. The image breaks up into heavy macroblocking at every shot change, stationary sections of the image pulsate with macroblocking, and there's dot crawl in the reds. It's shocking that it was not in the budget to shoot this show in 35mm so that this DVD could utilize a fresh 1080p digital remaster.
This has a plain 2.0 stereo track that's 256 kbps. Dialogue is usually flat and "centered" in the mix, while songs have a clear bit of separation. There is no perceptible surround activity, nor does this have LFE. The audio on the
CD is obviously uncompressed PCM 2.0 stereo.
Trailers for some "Bob the Builder" and "Thomas the Tank Engine" DVDs, as well as a 20 Year Anniversary Barney compilation start off the disc. There is also an impossible to beat matching game that does not seem to be authored correctly. A biography section is included as an update on the child actors. One now lays down fiber optical cable and another mentions her love of pickles. Finishing off the extras is a music video for the "Barney Boogie." The package also contains a five-song CD sampler in case the DVD was deemed insatiable for your song needs.
Please don't show your children this DVD or anything else with Barney. Show them Sesame Street so that they'll learn something. Besides, this disc has too much of a replay value if your children do like it.
"The Flickering Window"