If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD
Maisy's Farm (2001)
This review is sponsored by
Details At A Glance
Menu Animation & Audio
DVD-ROM Extras-Images for colouring in
Year Of Production
50:20 (Case: 52)
||Cast & Crew
Universal Pictures Home Video
NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.
For those not in the know, Maisy is an animated mouse brought to life from the pages of children's books written by Lucy Cousins. She's joined by a range of strange animated animal friends in short story segments. There is nothing in the way of normal dialogue in these videos, but we do have a continuous narration by Neil Morrissey who's acquired something of a reputation as a pop superstar in his role as the voice of Bob the Builder.
The visual style is basic, to say the least, presumably to allow the toddler to concentrate purely on the characters (such as they are) and the story (such as it is). Background sets are typically made up of a single solid colour, sometimes with a simple recognisable structure (for example, a house, swing set or horizon). The characters' style extends to simple profile sketches blocked out in a limited number of solid, bright colours.
To be quite frank, I find it impossible to get any enjoyment out of Maisy, with what I tend to view as severely sub-par animation quality, but my views don't seem to be shared by your average toddler, so there you go. Maisy's success would appear to stem from the show's simple and friendly presentation of many real-world things that, for a young child, are perhaps totally new and exciting. Be that as it may, the material presented on this disc consists of a succession of stories of about five minutes duration each, but with the first four connected by being built around Maisy the farmer on her farm over each of the four seasons.
Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.
It feels a little strange to write a commentary on the video quality of a disc such as this. There is simply no realism in the imagery, no subtlety of colour, no shadows of any type, no depth of field and no fine detail in the line art. What there is is colour, and that comes in big swathes of very highly-saturated, cartoony blocks. As mentioned, there are no shadows, and no low level picture information to mention. Some edges exhibit a degree of softness, but it's just possible that that could be a result of the original animation style rather than the quality of the transfer. Grain is totally absent and there are no artefacts of any type. For such simple images, we're certainly treated to what is an extremely good transfer.
The picture is formatted in full frame (1.33:1 aspect ratio with no 16x9 enhancement). It is interesting to note that when this disc is viewed on a PC DVD-ROM (which is inherently non-interlaced) there is no hint of video combing. This would suggest that the transfer has not come from a video master.
Video Ratings Summary
Commenting on the audio quality of this disc similarly lacks much in the way of interest. It is essentially utilitarian, with crystal clear narration but with a generally flat sound and extremely limited stereo imaging. No use is made of the surround channels or the subwoofer. The music is continuous but very much in the background, and is a fairly innocuous reggae music track. No clicks or pops were evident. There is no choice other than the English audio track.
Audio Ratings Summary
|Surround Channel Use|
Menu Animation & Audio The menu operates via a series of rather small screen icons with no labels. Navigation is far from being intuitive, and first time users will find their efforts to get to their desired destination difficult to say the least.
DVD-ROM Extras-Images for colouring in If you're in possession of a PC equipped with DVD-ROM you can print out two separate Maisy pictures for colouring in. Although limited, this is a good use of the PC/DVD connection.
Karaoke There are 16 short songs with karaoke-style subtitles to sing along with. Each must be selected individually and, again, navigation is not made easy. Many of the songs become somewhat repetitive, and several are so heavily into the reggae style that finding the underlying melody is difficult.
Trailer Presented in full frame (4:3) format. Running time is 1:06 minutes. This is a simple advertisement for a collection of five Maisy VHS tapes.
Games There are five games, all playable on a normal TV screen with the DVD player remote control. They are:
1. Hide and Seek: Maisy hides behind one of the objects on screen - you have to correctly identify the hiding place.
2. Dress Maisy: You get to decide on what Maisy is doing and choose her wardrobe accordingly.
3. Spot The Difference: Identify differences between pairs of similar pictures.
4. Farmyard Sounds: Check out the sounds of six different farmyard animals.
5. Let's Count To 10: Count the number of objects and match them against numbers.
R4 vs R1
NOTE: To view
non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually
also NTSC compatible.
No Maisy discs seem to be available in R1.
I suggest you only consider this disc if you have young children and are already familiar with Maisy and her friends. If this is your child's cup of tea, then this will be a useful purchase.
© Murray Glase (read my bio)
Wednesday, January 02, 2002
|DVD||Toshiba SD-K310, using S-Video output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T43W1 (125cm).
Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.
Calibrated with Video Essentials.
|Speakers||Richter Wizard (front), Jamo SAT150 (rear), Yamaha YST-SW120 (subwoofer)|
Anthony C (read my bio)
The DVD Bits