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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Funniest of The Planet's Funniest Animals
The Funniest of The Planet's Funniest Animals
R2 Entertainment // Unrated // November 8, 2005
List Price: $35.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Mike Long | posted January 11, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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The Show

Most great ideas are incredibly simple in their brilliance. In 1990, ABC introduced America's Funniest Home Videos, which may be the quintessential reality show. The brilliance of this program was that most of the content was produced by the audience, as they sent in their own home videos to be shown on television. ABC only had to add host Bob Saget (for better or for worse) and award a cash prize to the "funniest" (read: groin hit) video, and the show has existed in one form or another ever since. In an equally brilliant move, someone at Animal Planet noticed that some of the best segments on America's Funniest Home Videos were those which involved animals. Thus, a new show, The Planet's Funniest Animals, which utilized (mostly) home videos of funny animals, was born. A collection of segments from the show is now available on DVD.

The Planet's Funniest Animals is fairly simple to describe. The show is made up of brief vignettes which show animals doing humorous things. The segments consist mainly of home videos (these are easy to spot, as many users apparently keep the time and date setting on at all times), television news footage, nature specials, and the occasional commercial involving an animal. The segments are gathered into short groupings which share a common theme, such as clumsy animals, animals riding in vehicles, or small animals annoying much larger animals. While the videos typically include common household pets such as cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds, the show does present a very nice array of wild animals, such as bears, rams, llamas, primates, and penguins. Some of the action is clearly staged (such as when animals are wearing clothing), but most of the videos are of the "happy accident" variety, such as zoo animals falling from their perches, or cats freaking out at home. The segments are generally quite brief, which each video being less than a minute.

The bottom-line on The Planet's Funniest Animals is pretty simple: if you like animals, and especially animals doing silly things, then this show is for you. As noted above, the show features a wide array of animals and it does a good job of offering a variety of funny animal situations. This The Funniest of The Planet's Funniest Animals DVD set contains 3 DVDs, each of which contain around 50 minutes of material. Each disc contains a few minutes of "Previously Unaired Footage" which is included at the end of the program.

The set is a mish-mash of pros and cons. When the show airs on Animal Planet, it is hosted by a man named Matt Gallant, who I assume was chosen because his voice is nearly at a pitch that only animals can hear. Fortunately, his on-camera introductions have been removed for this DVD release, so we are treated to (nearly) non-stop animal action. Unfortunately, Gallant's voice-overs on the videos are still intact, and these painfully unfunny quips make Bob Saget look like a comic genius. The videos are also "spiced up" with humorous (?!) sound effects. (This is also found on the TV airings of the show.) While the removal of Gallants intros has certainly sped up the program, there are still introductions for each series of related vignettes. These contain spoilers for what we are about to see, and make the programming very redundant. "Look, it's a dog wearing glasses...and here's that exact same dog again..." I quickly learned to fast-forward through these to A) speed up the proceedings, and B) attempt to have a funny gag spoiled.

Despite these irritating problems, The Funniest of The Planet's Funniest Animals still offers a wealth of entertaining programming -- once again, if you like funny animals. There are a few questionable segments where one has to wonder if the animal is enjoying what is happening, but for the most part, this is wholesome family entertaining. While watching 50 minutes of the show at once can get very tedious, the show is perfect for short attention spans and works well with 20 minutes spurts of family programming.

Video

The Funniest of The Planet's Funniest Animals gallops onto DVD courtesy of R2 Entertainment. The shows are presented in their original 1.33:1 format, as seen on TV. The video quality is consistently good throughout, but of course, it varies greatly from time to time as the show is made up mainly of home video footage, shot by amateurs. The majority of the segments look fine, but there is the occasional video which is dark or marred by video noise. Similarly, some of the videos look washed out. Obviously, this isn't caused by a faulty transfer, but one needs to be aware of it. The image is always stable and there were no overt artifacting issues. The transfer rivals digital broadcast quality.

Audio

The DVDs included in this set carry a Digital stereo audio track. This provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The show contains a laugh track (but unlike America's Funniest Home Videos, we never see the audience on the show.), but the laughter never overpowers the other audio. The stereo effects are adequate, but not overly impressive.

Extras

There are no true extras on this DVD set. Each disc contains several minutes of previously unaired footage, which can be viewed separately from the main program. However, if one chooses "Play All", the new footage will be incorporated into the show.


While watching The Funniest of The Planet's Funniest Animals I learned that A) there are many funny animals, B) there are many people with camcorders, and C) many of these people have a lot of free time to videotape said animals. The vast majority of the segments shown here are humorous or cute, but some are hilarious. Once again, a good find for animal lovers.
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