The Saddle Club-The First Adventure (2000)

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Released 1-Oct-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 71:10
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Chris Martin-Jones
Steve Mann
Studio
Distributor
Crawfords Australia
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Sophie Bennett
Keenan MacWilliam
Lara Jean Marshall
Heli Simpson
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Dale Cornelius


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Saddle Club - The First Adventure is another release in the highly popular childrens television series based on the stories of Bonnie Bryant. It is strange that this is released after two previous episodes which are pre-dated by the story on this DVD, however for fans I am sure that the sequence doesn't matter as much as the fact that the gals are once again back in the saddle on DVD. As ever, it features several episodes from the television series, stitched together into one movie-length feature. The main characters of Stevie (Sophie Bennett), Carole (Keenan MacWilliam) and Lisa (Lara Jean Marshall) - the three founding members of the Saddle Club - are all here.

    This release begins the whole epic saga, with Lisa arriving at Pine Hollow for the very first time, and meeting up with her soon-to-be best friends. Snooty Veronica (Heli Simpson) almost manages to help Lisa join the "dark side" before her everlasting bond of friendship is formed with Stevie and Carole. This is the very first episode, and it is fun to see how the whole thing began. Many of the characters - and horses - who appear throughout the series make their debut appearances. The remainder of this release focuses on the adventure of an overnight trail ride, which results in the petulant Veronica being lost and unconscious. Needless to say, the Saddle Club heroines ride to her rescue, after her horse Cobalt returns to camp sans Veronica.

    Once again, the sunrise shots of Pine Hollow hint at the beginning of each new episode, with the remaining episodes in this adventure appearing to be - Episode 3 (Trailride Part I) and Episode 4 (Trailride Part II).

    As in all of the previous releases, the girls all put in a sterling performance for their age. The First Adventure will be a must-buy for the (largely pre-teen girl) fans of the series. Happily, unlike the second release (The Saddle Club - Horse Crazy) the ABC have wisely returned to a widescreen format (16x9 enhanced) for this release, which suits the wide-open spaces of the Yarra Valley wonderfully.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The overall video transfer of this disc is acceptable without being overly impressive.

    The feature is presented in a ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. This is a welcome return to the format of the first DVD release The Saddle Club - The Mane Event.

    The transfer has some noticeable grain evident throughout. It is generally a touch soft but once again, for a children's television series it will easily please its intended audience.

    Shadow detail is adequate. Colours are acceptable, but not as vibrant as some of the later episodes. There is no sign of colour bleeding and skin tones are fine throughout.

    The transfer has no major MPEG artefacts. There is no significant aliasing and edge enhancement is not an issue.

    The transfer is free from significant film artefacts.

    As usual there is an excellent English for the Hearing Impaired subtitle track present. This is well timed, well placed on the screen, clear and very true to the on-screen action at all times.

    This is a single sided, single layered (DVD 5) disc, so there are no pesky layer-changes to interrupt all that equine goodness.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality of this disc is technically adequate with no significant audio defects.

    As per previous releases, there is a single English audio track available in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo encoded at 224 kbps.

    Dialogue was clear throughout and audio sync was never a problem.

    The original music score is credited to Dale Cornelius and is appropriate but unobtrusive. The great theme song is, as ever, very well performed by the three main actors (Bennett, MacWilliam and Marshall).

    The soundstage is very frontal. As in previous releases, the surrounds see very limited use, even with Dolby Pro Logic enabled where they do carry some very minor ambient effects and music.

    The subwoofer stays asleep in the stables, without making a whinny.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are no extras on the disc.

Menu

    The menu is a colourful cartoon affair featuring Polaroids with stills of the cast, and a short loop of the devilishly catchy theme song. It allows the meagre choices of playing the feature, selecting of one of eleven chapter stops or activating the subtitles.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    I can find little information on the Region 1 release of this DVD, but it appears to be the same as our version (with a different cover shot). Buy whichever is cheaper.

Summary

    The Saddle Club - The First Adventure will be a must-buy disc for the gazillions of young fans of the series. The pre-teen female target audience (my daughter included) will love it as always, despite average audio and video quality.

    The video quality is acceptable.

    The audio quality is acceptable.

    The extras are missing on the trail.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDHarmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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