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Wild Thornberrys: Season 2, Part 1, The

Shout Factory // Unrated // November 8, 2011
List Price: $19.93 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted November 19, 2011 | E-mail the Author


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WT-S2P1


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First of all:
The Wild Thornberrys is truly an excellent program in many
regards for
young children who are just beginning to have an interest in nature,
environmental issues, and other explorations of wildlife. That makes it
a good
choice for parents who want a semi-educational animated cartoon to help
bring the
kids some decent well-meaning and fun entertainment mixed with the
usual blend
of silly humor and characters. Nickelodeon is undoubtedly still proud
of having
produced this massive hit animated series for several years.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
series
centers on Eliza Thornberry and her highly unusual (if altogether
normal) family.
Eliza speaks to animals - it's her special gift - and no one seems to
know that
she has such ability except for her best friend chimp named Darwin. I
guess the
other animals she speaks to realize she has a gift as well... or at least
sometimes they seem to. The other members of Eliza's family are
Marianne,
Nigel, Debbie, and Donnie. Marianne seems to be the most level headed
of the
family as the strong-willed, highly spirited, and extremely intelligent
mother.
Nigel is the most eccentric character as the bizarre father who seems
to always
be quite a bit lost within his own nature-oriented thoughts. Debbie is
a semi-rebellious
teenage sister and Donnie is the reportedly adopted younger brother who
speaks
mostly gibberish no one understands.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
basic
plot is just that: basic. It seems as though the plot of the
entire show
is kept to a minimum in each episode and it also seems as though it
doesn't necessarily
come with any major developments in the course of the series to this
point. It makes
one wonder if every episode for the rest of the series will feel
somewhat
repetitive if not just simply the same. The first season seemed more
varied in
story and plot as the setting was changed regularly in addition
to the
characters being properly developed or focused on. The characters make
this
series and the first season understood that element well.


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Season
Two
(as it has been represented on this half-season collection) is nowhere
near as successful
at having varied storytelling. Instead, the writers seem to opt for an
increasingly generic approach of having Eliza help one animal after
another in
regards to getting out of some kind of zany situation. The basic idea
isn't
bothersome, but it's the lack of distinctive elements to tie the
threads
together that disappoints on some intrinsic level. It makes the series
difficult to view in marathon or multi-episode mode. Cartoons are often
capable
of relying on formula to achieve a certain degree of success but once
it seems
as though the writers are simply yanking out a list and checking off a
certain
set of ideas to reuse again and again - without some
memorable
differences - most of that original creative energy seems to become
diminished.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
series
may continue to be worth sharing with children but it might lack the
same level
of repeated viewing or nostalgic fondness that made the first season
release a
great value all around. The second set also contains a significantly
shorter
run-time with only thirteen episodes presented from the second season.
The
reason the series has shifted towards an entirely different model of
release is
unexplained and sort of bizarre. The idea of releasing complete season
sets simply
makes more sense for an already finished television series.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
Season
2, Part 1 set contains the following batch of season two episodes: Rebel
Without a Trunk
, Pal Joey, Rain Dance, Darwin
Plays The
Palace
, Stick Your Neck Out, No Laughing Matter, Chimp
Off
The Old Block
, Koality and Kuantity, Chew If By Sea,
Clash
of the Teutons
, You Ain't Seen Nothing Yeti, On The
Right Track
,
and Polar Opposites.


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
DVD:
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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Video:


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The Wild
Thornberrys
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">is
presented on DVD in its
original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The series has surprisingly
seemed
to step-down in the picture quality department. While the first season
was
somewhat lacking in color-depth this set seems to try unsuccessfully
boosting
contrast to improve colors. The image ends up having a waxy-look that
is softer
and less pleasing than it was on the previous release. There are fewer
examples
of grain, dirt, and other imperfections this time around but the
significantly
less sharp presentation will disappoint even as minor improvements were
clearly
made in other areas.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Audio:


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
English Stereo Dolby 2.0 audio track is the same
quality as the first season set release. It never manages to be that
thrilling
but it is an accurate representation of the sound design used for the
series at
the time of its broadcast. The dialogue is easy to understand and that
is
important enough to make this an acceptable audio presentation for
audiences.


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style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Extras:style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">There
aren't any extras at all on this release.


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style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Final
Thoughts:


style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The Wild
Thornberrys
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> simply
wasn't as much fun during these second
season episodes on this segmented box-set release. The series became
too
formulaic and the excitement and humor even felt a bit underdeveloped.
The
characters make this show. The writers almost seemed to forget that
important
aspect. Season 2, Part 1 has some good moments (some episodes
are better
than a generally lackluster selection would indicate), but it doesn't
add up to
a great time. Rent It.



Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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