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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Baby Santa's Music Box
Baby Santa's Music Box
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 25, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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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 Santa's Music Box. 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 youngest child (recommended 1 to 36 months) this DVD has plenty of bright and entertaining sections that are all Christmas themed to keep everyone entertained. Video segments of Christmas presents, trees, decorations and associated objects (nutcrackers, snowmen) are played while classical Christmas music plays in the background. Unlike the others in this series, the educational value of this disc is in question. The Christmas music from other countries is about as enriching as it gets.

The main section of the DVD is the Performance section. This is where the video and music are combined. Rudy Reindeer takes kids through several different video segments that showcase different Christmas traditions. Clips of snow, gingerbread men, ornaments, and trees are plentiful, but the numbers, animals and art of the other titles is nowhere to be found. A few pieces of classical music-Motzart's German Dance No. 3 and Tschaikovsky's Nutcracker-are present, but the rest of the music is standard Christmas fare like Jingle Bells.

Something new on this disc is the Holiday Music Festival. Made up of the same play instruments music that is common in the series, Christmas themed tunes from around the world are played. Most of the selections are traditional tunes, like Joy to the World, but played in another style, in this case it was a Reggae style. As I've always complained, this should be accompanied by video as well. The music is nice to listen to while doing other things, but why not make it an alternate audio track.

Like most of the discs, the Concert for Little Ears is present as well. A small selection of holiday music from Beethoven, Bach and Tschaikovsky is included. The world music that accompanies the party scene from the Nutcracker is present and offers a good selection of variety.

This disc is one of the shortest in the series and rightly so. Comprised of Christmas images and music, it's less appealing to all audiences and the education factor seems to have been dropped almost entirely to cash in on the holiday desire for themed entertainment.

Video: The video on these discs is usually beautiful. The images have no trouble catching the young, wandering eye. The Christmas images in this one seem less interesting and while colorful, the quality is lower than the others. There was likely more in-house work done than stock footage used and without the focus of colors or animals, the images are less interesting.

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

Extras: There are no true extras.

Overall: The frustrating menu's are still around and with no true educational content, it seems like a ploy to cash in on the holiday spirit. It you want a nice selection of music played for you toddler then by all means. check it out. If you're expecting the educational content I've praised on the other discs then you will likely be disappointed.

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