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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Baby Van Gogh
Baby Van Gogh
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // Unrated // February 26, 2002
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Phillip Duncan | posted June 22, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
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Highly Recommended
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(The beginning text of this review is reprinted from a review of another Baby Einstein video and is an explanation of the series itself. The text in bold is the review of the specific disc.) 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 Van Gogh. Like the other discs in the series, this one contains over an hour or interactive and education video for you baby and toddler. Aimed at the older toddler (recommended 1 and up) this DVD has plenty of bright and entertaining sections to keep all entertained. Combine the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh and the music of classical composers and you have one of the better discs in the series of Baby Einstein videos.

The main section of the DVD is the Performance section. Like the other discs, this has a few separate sections and the theater is the longest one. Composed of music, video and words, it's meant to keep toddlers entertained with the constant movement and sound. Appropriately enough, Van Gogh deals with colors. A color is introduced, followed by a poem and musical and video selections that accent the color. Wheat fields, baby chicks, sunflowers and other items, for instance, accent the color yellow. These objects all stand out against the dark backgrounds and are wonderfully accented by the music of composers like Mussorgsky, Strauss, and Tschaikovsky.

This disc also has Concert for Little Ears that's on most of these discs. Unlike the others reviewed, this has a selection of music from various composers that keeps the music fresh and changing. Performed by musicians on toy and unusual instruments the music is soothing and varied in selection. Put this in and your kid will be listening to the Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss, Claire de lune by Debussy and Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg.

The DVD also included many of the pictures on the disc in a PDF file. These can be printed out and colored by your child while watching the video.

While this is shorter than the other's I have reviewed, it is easily the most entertaining and colorful. The selection of varied composers, more than 8, presents your child with a greater and more eclectic selection of music than on the discs that focus on a single composer. I still think the concert sections should be accompanied by video as well, but the selection of music still does its job.

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. Filled with images of Van Gogh's paintings and examples of solid and bright colors, this video stands out as some of the best in the series.

Audio: The audio is a good stereo mix. It's bright and even at all times with crisp highs and surprising lows.

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 highly recommend this disc out of the series. With more variety, color and musical selections, it's a great example of what is entertaining and works on these discs. How can you not like a kid's video featuring a goat rendition of Van Gogh, replete with a bandage on its ear?

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