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Featured TV on DVD Review: Dora the Explorer: Dora's Big Birthday Adventure

July 31st, 2010

Dora the Explorer: Dora's Big Birthday Adventure - Buy from Amazon

At this point, I've lost count of the number of Dora the Explorer DVD's I've reviewed. Clearly I'm out of the target demographic for this show, but by now I've reviewed so many similar DVDs that it is easy to tell if the latest Dora's Big Birthday Adventure will please its fans.

The Show

There are three episodes on this DVD, starting with the double-length...

  • Dora's Big Birthday Adventure
    After so many adventures in the Magic Storybook, Dora and Boots are going home to celebrate her birthday. But when they try to jump out, a tornado (or twisty wind cloud as it is called) carries them to another part of the magic story book, Wizzle World. She needs to jump back to the real world, but she can't until the Wishing Wizzle gets his wishing crystal. Fortunately, Dora happens to have one on her, but the nasty witch still stands in her way, so the journey will be a challenge.
  • This does feel bigger than just two episodes combined into one, as it has a bigger sense of adventure. There are also lot more songs than normal, and not just the same few that are repeated in practically every episode. On the other hand, it does have a clip show feel to it, but this might not be a problem. In fact, for the target audience, the familiarity might be a selling point. (This is why shows like this are so repetitive in the first place, as kids like being able to following along and know what will happen next.)
  • Dora Helps the Birthday Wizzle
    Another story about birthdays, and Wizzles. Dora tells the story of the Wishing Wizzle, who grants birthday wishes. However, when he tries to grant his own birthday wish, his wishing wand is blown out of the story and right to Dora. Now Dora and Boots have to get it back to him.
  • Wizzle Wishes
    It's very windy in Wizzleland. In the first episode on this DVD, a wind blows Dora and Boots to Wizzleland. In the second episode, a wind blows the wishing wand out of the storybook. And in the third episode, a wind blows a wishing star out of the book. But this time the Wizzle follows it out of the book and Dora and Boots have to help him get back home.
The DVD has good continuity, as all three episodes deal with birthdays, wishes, and / or Wizzles, and while the wind gets overused as a plot device, I think the target audience will be forgiving.

The Extras

There is a game on the DVD where you explore the world and look for all of the people Dora and Boots met. If you find them all, you can listen to the song from the episode's ending.

The Verdict

The biggest selling point of Dora the Explorer: Dora's Big Birthday Adventure is the Wizard of Oz themed titular episode. It does work and avoids a lot of the pitfalls of creating a double-length episode. On the other hand, the price per minute is only average for this type of release at a time when other studios are increasing the number of episodes per DVD beyond the usual four. Still, if your kids enjoyed the previous DVD releases, then this one is worth adding to their collection.

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