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Featured DVD Review: Bratz: Desert Jewelz

January 9th, 2012

Bratz: Desert Jewelz - Buy from Amazon

Bratz started as a toyline a decade ago and they are still going strong. A number of cartoons, TV shows and movies based on the toys have come out over the years and recently a 3-Movie Collection came out. What are the three films included? And are they worth picking up for fans of the franchise?

The Movie

The prologue tells us of the legend of a genie, who was accidentally freed by a foolish master and who will remain free as long as his lamp is hidden. We then learn how to find this lamp, which will be a difficult task as one needs a ring to control a flying carpet, a flying carpet to take you to the hiding place of the lamp and a pure heart to lift the lamp.

We next see what can best be described as an Arabic ninja sneaking through a city running from rooftop to rooftop. (I guess she's more of a cat burglar, but ninja is more fun to say.) As she nears her destination, a prestigious museum, she sees a fashion show is taking place on the grounds. The Bratz are also there, as Jade is one of the finalists for the Future Designers contest. The rest of the Bratz are helping her get ready, including Katia, the newest member of the group. She's "borrowed" a special carpet from her father, Sebastian, to use in the fashion show. She didn't steal it, per se. It was to be brought to the to a museum for safekeeping. She just didn't say it will be used in a fashion show at the museum.

Meanwhile, the ninja, who we are soon introduced to as Alia, was able to grab the item she was looking for, a ring. When the guards interrupt the robbery, the curator calls Sebastian and tells him what happened. He also reminds him that he must protect the carpet, and Katia, at all costs. However, it's too late. Alia uses the ring to summon the carpet. Not only that, but the Bratz were using the carpet as part of their fashion show, so they are all carried with it to her. Alia is not alone and she's working with Willard, an archaeologist, who wants to use the genie to gain riches. He has the first two items he needs, now he just needs someone with a pure heart, so he kidnaps Katia.

Will the others be able to rescue her in time?

This film is a sequel to Genie Magic, which was one of the better Bratz releases. Desert Jewelz maintains that quality level. The animation still looks cheap and there are some pacing problems, but at least it has a story that has some adventure to it. It doesn't feel like a typical episode of the show stretched to fill its 73-minute running time. The show still has a little fashion and music, which are necessary ingredients for a Bratz movie, but it also deals with subjects that are not as simple or as shallow as the franchise usually is.

The Extras

There's a bonus episode from the TV series, The Chronicles of Karma, which I previously reviewed. There are two short behind-the-scenes clips for two Bratz commercials. And finally, there's a short stop-motion music video made with the dolls.

The Verdict

I am no where near the target audience for Bratz. That said, I've seen enough DVDs to be able to judge how well they work compared to the franchise as a whole. In that regard, Desert Jewelz is a success. If your kids like the dolls, but you don't like the often shallow and materialistic themes of the cartoons, then this show will be something you will be happier letting them watch. The DVD doesn't have a lot of extras, but the price-per-minute is right.

I've reviewed a number of these DVDs and this one is better than average for the franchise, but that's not a really big compliment. It certainly feels bigger than the average episode of their TV series and there's much more to the story than just music, fashion, and dating. It does have all three of those, but there's also a sense of mystery and danger. The movie does suffers from a lot of the same flaws as the series, including animation that is stiff and the characters are too shallow. The plot is more in-depth than most episodes, but it is also jumbled and confused. If you are a fan of the Bratz, this is a good movie to watch. But if you are not, this one won't convince you otherwise.


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