|Year Of Production||2001|
|Running Time||84:11 (Case: 112)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Di Drew|
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Richard E. Grant
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
One for the kiddies here. With a simple plot, some cute kids, lots of cute animals and a couple of useless, dumb, and generally not-that-evil baddies, you know pretty much what you are in for. Oh, and it's an Australian production in case you were wondering.
Christopher (Sam Geer), Isabel (Gezelle Byrnes), and Jeremy (Dayne Hudson) live with their mum Kim (Tara Morice) on a small rural property in the Queensland bush. Their dad has recently died (from smoking related cancer - a point which is a little laboured at times) and the family are slowly recovering from their loss. Mum must head back to work, leaving the three youngsters in charge of looking after the house during the day and free to get up to all kinds of mischief.
The kids have a few pets, none more special than the duck Hildegarde. The family is overjoyed when it is discovered that Hildegarde has laid some eggs and might just be about to present the family with some new arrivals. Unfortunately this is where the bad guys come in to the story. The evil Wolf (Richard E. Grant) and his bumbling offsider Tony (Tom Long), are a couple of bird smugglers intent on poaching as many native Australian birds as they can. Under the guise of running an educational travelling circus focusing on natural wildlife, the baddies set up business in the kids town. While out looking for native birds one morning, they stumble across Hildegarde's nest and decide to kidnap (or abduckt - ouch!) the kids best mate.
The kids are beside themselves when they discover that Hildegarde is missing and when they stumble across her chained up and presented as a sideshow in the poacher's circus, the devise a plan to get her back. From here the story develops into the pretty standard tale of smart kids outsmarting the incredibly dumb adults. A couple of morals are presented, mostly about the destruction of native wildlife and habitats, and of course a couple of anti-smoking messages.
Filmed in Queensland in the hinterland around the Gold Coast, there is plenty of stunning scenery to make this enjoyable viewing for both the kids and the adults, despite the flimsy and awfully cutesy plot.
This is a made-for-television or direct-to-video film and it is presented in the full screen aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It does not feature 16x9 enhancement. I was unable to determine what aspect this was originally presented in, but from the look of several scenes it does look like a pan and scan effort. Considering the direct-to-video nature of the release and the fact it is aimed at kids, I am more inclined to say it is an intended full-frame effort despite the presence of a couple of scenes which look like the sides are chopped off.
This is a reasonable transfer in terms of clarity and sharpness with few major problems. There are no problems with grain or shadow detail.
Colours are bright and crisp and there are no other problems with bleeding or oversaturation.
I saw no MPEG artefacts. There is a little moiré effect on a bed head at 5:01, but apart from that it is mostly free from blemishes. Film artefacts are mostly absent which is always nice.
There are no subtitles.
This is a single layered disc only, therefore there is no layer change to navigate.
Only one soundtrack is present, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo effort that is adequate for the role required of it. There is a little stereo separation, but nothing to get overly excited over. I don't imagine the intended audience for this film would get too excited over stereo imaging anyway.
Dialogue is excellent, with no obvious audio sync problems.
There is obviously no surround channel nor subwoofer use.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are no extras on this disc.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This disc does not appear to be available in Region 1.
This is your fairly typical kids film where the youngsters get the upper hand on the older and far less intelligent adults. The animals are cute and so are the kids - so what more could you ask for?
The video quality is adequate. I don't imagine too many of the intended audience for this film will have too much to complain about.
The audio is functional, though quite limited even for a stereo soundtrack.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|