El Perro Y El Gato: The Adventure Begins
HBO // Unrated // $9.95 // August 9, 2011
Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted August 12, 2011
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Graphical Version
El Perro y El Gato: The Adventure Begins | La Aventura Comienza:
Ain't a damn kids DVD today that doesn't try to teach something. But why don't they teach me to start at the beginning? Though Aventura represents the introduction of El Perro (Dog) y El Gato (Cat) the kid and I made it the second DVD we watched. I was all prepared to be enraged, since this DVD is terrible compared to the one we watched first, (Together Again) but now I understand. HBO's Perro y Gato doesn't get worse, it gets better! Now that you know how rash and stupid I can be, let me tell you that this animated dog and cat combo, on this DVD, dispense ultra-short lessons bi-lingual, teaching English and Spanish equally to native speakers of either stripe.

El Perro represents for the Chihuahua race, while El Gato is big, fat, and lazy. Stereotyping aside, youngsters will mostly see excited, funny characters speaking slowly, clearly, and with thick accents. Their adventures commence as ridiculously simple trips to the zoo, the beach, and the first day of school. Teaching super-basic concepts, the pair repeats everything to each other in Spanish and English, simultaneously delivering useful vocabulary to English and Spanish speakers both.

Each short episode isn't terribly long on plot, how could they be when allotted barely four minutes each? These four episodes clock in at about 4-minutes, fifteen seconds each, meaning for your DVD dollar you're getting one 18-minute disk. Yet they cram in so many concepts and so much information it can be dizzying. And unlike later episodes presented in Together Again, there isn't a whole lot of silly, kid-friendly humor in these stories. There are occasional nods to deadpan jokes parents will get, but both the kid and I were under-whelmed by what we saw.

However, the stylishly simple Flash animation is plenty cute, rendering these goofy characters - Perro, the excitable one, and gruff Gato, the sleepy glutton - with verve. Words and concepts are doled out in a very directed way, with reviews, words flashing on the screen, and repetition doing a nice if somewhat brutish job of inculcating your kids.

The Adventure Begins | La Aventura Comienza is a startlingly short DVD at 18-minutes, making it - even with a low retail price - a perilous investment. It's power-packed with information but seems rushed and not funny enough for the little ones. Luckily the series gets better, but HBO ought to do the right thing by at least packing two groups of episodes on one DVD, and why not throw in a few extras while they're at it. However, if your preschool or kindergarten-aged child is learning Spanish (or your Spanish-speaking child is learning English) you can be confident that El Perro y El Gato ultimately finds its groove. As for this short disk, Skip It, or check it out from your Library before deciding if you want to add it to your permanent collection.

The DVD

Video:
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.

Sound:
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.

Extras:
Closed Captioning is the only extra.

Final Thoughts:
The Adventure Begins | La Aventura Comienza is a startlingly short DVD at 18-minutes, making it - even with a low retail price - a perilous investment. It's power-packed with information but seems rushed and not funny enough for the little ones. Luckily the series gets better, but HBO ought to do the right thing by at least packing two groups of episodes on one DVD, and why not throw in a few extras while they're at it. However, if your preschool or kindergarten-aged child is learning Spanish (or your Spanish-speaking child is learning English) you can be confident that El Perro y El Gato ultimately finds its groove. As for this short disk, Skip It, or check it out from your Library before deciding if you want to add it to your permanent collection.



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