El Perro y El Gato Unleashed / Sin Correa:
The Dog and Cat are back for another turn in their inaugural run of four DVDs from HBO Family/ HBO Latino. It's not like there's any form of narrative throughput in their adventures, and as near as I can tell these disks were released simultaneously, but we'll go with the picture on the insert and call this disk three. Of course since all the discs are 24 minutes long or less, all four could have been crammed into one release. But who's counting? Nonetheless, the show is oddly awesome, and my kid loves it, so what are you going to do?
A little back-story. Perro y Gato is a Flash animated pair of pets: a feisty Chihuahua and a fat purple cat. They hang out together doing little things while Perro harangues Gato with a non-stop stream of bilingual education. They'll do something like write a letter or practice yoga, while Perro explains everything in both English and Spanish, or vice versa. Cat is pretty thick, literally and figuratively, always saying "what" or "que" in a voice that's part Cookie Monster and part Tectonic Shift. (Like, it's really low, gravely and deep.) This endless questioning really helps get concepts into repeat, it's also weirdly hilarious.
Silliness is in order, which these guys deliver in hyper yet low-key manner - deadpan, maybe. Cat will somehow inflate, levitate, then quiver liverly while descending. It never fails to get a laugh from my daughter. Animation is stylishly simplistic, helping maintain focus on vocabulary words that appear on the screen in Spanish and English (this could actually help you adults watching along learn, too.) Each sequence is super brief, too, eight go by in the space of 24 minutes. They regard: Music, The Letter, Spring, Yoga, The Baby, The Farm, Sandwich and Restaurant. It's a lot of ground. Really.
So here's the good and bad. El Perro y El Gato Unleashed, though simple and short, is frequently curiously appealing to both my child and me. It's got an oddly subtle humor, and it teaches basic things that are both of use to a kid still picking up vocabulary, and also to an adult learning a language (and forced to watch this DVD with the kid). I mostly love the fact that it's aimed equally at English speakers wanting to learn Spanish, and Spanish speakers wanting to learn English. The program advances educational cartoons while adjusting for (and fostering) our ADD. Which leads to my beef: even at 10 bucks a disk, 24 minutes is really short, isn't it? Isn't it?
Presented in 1.78:1 widescreen format, this is a solid-looking DVD. Colorful, simple Flash Animation is clear, clean and sharp. Colors are bright, and no compression artifacts are found.
Dolby Digital 2.0 English/Spanish Audio is equally dialed-in, with a good balance between music and dialog. To that point, dialog is mostly quite easy to understand, although Gato's stentorian-slacker voice takes a bit of time to get used to
Closed Captioning is the only extra.
Fat cat, cute dog. They are bilingual. The DVD is short, just 24 minutes. Yet it's funny, stylish and effective. If your child is learning Spanish or English, (and you might need to as well) this is a tight, quick-hit blast that fits our modern times. Then again, it's only 24 frickin' minutes long. It's hard to support this, strictly from an economic standpoint, but it could be Recommended.
- Kurt Dahlke
~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com