The Wiggles-Wiggly TV (1999)

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Released 4-Dec-2000

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Childrens Menu Audio
Outtakes
Karaoke-4
Storybook
DVD-ROM Extras-2 Games, Web Links
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 60:00 (Case: 92)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Murray Cook
Jeff Fatt
Anthony Field
Greg Page
Case Village Roadshow New Style
RPI $34.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Reviewing a DVD of The Wiggles must be like a fine dining critic reviewing a meal from McDonalds. To be fair, I quite like Maccas, ditto for many of the other fast food chains, but no-one would ever suggest that they provide anything other than over-processed, pre-digested, saccharine-sweet, homogenized food. Their success has been achieved by being able to serve up their food the same every time (everywhere in the world) in clean surroundings and providing their customers with absolute surety as to what they'll be receiving. There's never any surprise and hence no possibility of any nasty experiences.

    And so it is with The Wiggles. This is pure children's fare, with nothing to even vaguely interest an adult. We're provided with the fries (maybe some "magic" from Greg or some senseless chit-chat between the guys), the hamburger main course (lots of catchy songs) and some soft drink to wash it all down with (a pirate, a fat green dinosaur, an octopus or someone with an oversized dog costume).

    Normally I'd try here to comment on the plot, or on the quality of acting or direction, or on the significance of the film to modern culture or film history. In this case however, I've simply nothing to say. There is no plot, no acting, no sophistication at any level. Perhaps the songs are catchy, but the rest? I really doubt that children actually learn anything from this stuff, so are we simply looking at cheap baby-sitting (i.e. child quietening) material designed more for the benefit of the performers than the viewers? If so, then at least it's consistent with so much else in our modern way of life, where the top few microns are all that is important, and the real substance of the thing is completely overlooked.

    For the record, four guys, some with child education training and some former members of The Cockroaches, named Murray, Jeff, Anthony and Greg, identifiable by the colours of their respective shirts, sing, talk, and overact with sufficient energy to grab the focus of young children and the wallets of their parents. The disc contains three 20 minute (there is no time coding on the disc) made-for-TV episodes of The Wiggles plus some sing-along karaoke-style music clips and other novelties.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    This is made-for-TV material, and is therefore reproduced in its original Full Frame aspect ratio. It is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture quality is the big surprise with this disc. Although from a video source it is nevertheless of high quality. The first thing to be seen once the disc starts spinning is the standard Wiggles opening credit scene. This is all computer generated 3D animation and is very sharp. OK, so we're not talking Toy Story here, and video material can't escape its tell-tale softness, but it's still eye-catching. The TV episodes themselves can't maintain this particular standard, but picture clarity would have to be considered at the top end of what we would expect for standard video reproduction. Think similar to, or perhaps slightly better than broadcast quality, and you've got the right idea. The image, like the subject matter, is bright, colourful and well lit. Shadow detail can't compare to the quality available on good film, but I suppose the cartoonish nature of the picture doesn't really call for such detail. There is no low level noise in the studio scenes, although some of the live concert material (filmed at the Sydney Entertainment Centre?) is a bit patchy.

    There are no compression artefacts to be seen and the video source material is clean.

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

Audio

    There is a sole English soundtrack, recorded in straight stereo with no surround encoding.

    Being made for very young children, the guys make sure that every word is enunciated clearly - this goes for the songs as well as the dialogue. Audio sync seems to be spot on.

    The Wiggles have probably succeeded largely off the back of their songs. These make up a large part (much more significantly than any other children's show I'm familiar with) of the total show, and are short, catchy and clearly designed to get the kids out of their chairs.

    You want the dinosaur to be accompanied by earth shattering bass as she thunders into view from over your left shoulder, or the pirate to sail into battle amid the three dimensional sounds of roaring canon and screaming men??? I'm sorry, you've got the wrong show. This soundtrack will not demonstrate any of the features of your sound system, and could just as usefully be pushed directly through your TV speakers.

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

Extras

Menu Audio

        The menu audio consists of spoken instructions describing the options available at each stage. Not a bad idea given that the user may be relatively inexperienced at using the player.

Outtakes

        I don't understand these at all. The finished product is silly enough as it is, without showing further goof-ups on set. You would really have to love The Wiggles to enjoy this.

Karaoke x4

        This 5 minute extra consists of 4 of the songs taken from the disc's "feature" episodes presented with karaoke-style lyrics shown at the bottom of the screen.

Readalong Storybook

        This gives children an opportunity to read the text of a story presented on the screen with comic book pictures. You can choose to have the story read out as it goes.

DVD-ROM Extras-2 Games, Web Links

        We have a colouring-in game, allowing the user to block-fill predrawn cartoon pictures of The Wiggles. This quickly became tedious, but then, I'm not three years old. There is also a card matching game where the player has to match pairs of overturned cards, remembering their location as the game proceeds. This can just as well be played without the aid of a computer using real picture cards.

R4 vs R1

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

    This is a multi zone disc and the first Wiggles DVD. There is therefore no choice to be made. Out of curiosity I checked a couple of large US online retailers. None had the disc listed on their databases.

Summary

    Let's face it - if you're a parent with young children there's a good chance you've already been caught. You'll be buying this disc regardless of what I say because your kids are rapidly wearing away the surface of your VCR heads with the numerous Wiggles VHS tapes you've already bought. If you don't have children, what are you doing reading this? Go and see some of the magnificent films available on DVD. For me, with two very young daughters, I suspect that I've only just started what may be years of this stuff. Aaarrrgh...

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Murray Glase (read my bio)
Sunday, December 24, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-K310, using S-Video output
DisplayPioneer SD-T43W1 (125cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D906S
SpeakersRichter Wizard (front), Jamo SAT150 (rear), Yamaha YST-SW120 (subwoofer)

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