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WIND IN THE WILLOWS
Second Season

Review by Chastity Campbell

Voice Actors: Ian Carmichael, Sir Michael Horndern, David Jason, Richard Pearson, Peter Sallis
Director: Various
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Video:  1.33:1 Standard Full-screen
Studio: A&E
Features: See Review
Length:  260 Minutes           
Release Date:  July 26, 2005

Film ***

For those of you who read my reviews, you will know that I am an advocate of family friendly movies.  We simply do not have enough movies and television shows out there that the entire family, no matter their age, can enjoy.

Thankfully, A&E has once again presented me with the opportunity to gush, and pontificate about a series that I not only enjoy personally, but it is also safe for the youngest child, or oldest grandparent!

The Wind In The Willows is an extraordinary series.  The second season of this wonderful series is now available in a two-disc DVD box set, which contains four and a half hours of fun filled, family entertainment. 

Back are the Claymation characters you have come to know and love.

Mr. Toad still causes more trouble than his friends can handle.  However, his giving nature and jolly spirit reverberate around Toad Hall, bringing delighted grins to all who visit there.

Mole is still the same sweet, caring character you have always known.  Although timid and sometimes shy, Mole proves time and again what a true and good friend he is to the other creatures of the wood.

Ratty is known and loved by everyone.  Whether he’s out on the river in his boat, or bringing a basket of scones to Badger, he never seems to tire of helping friends, and enjoying life.

The elder of the group, Mr. Badger is always a joy to watch.  Wise and all seeing, Badger helps his friends get through the seasons, with a little less enthusiasm than Toad likes.  Badger may be the elder of the group, but he does know how to appreciate life, and enjoy everything it throws his way.

Now that the cast of characters is set, get ready for some of the best episodes yet! 

Take a ski trip with Toad, enjoy a birthday party with Badger or, become a detective when Ratty disappears.  This series allows you to do all this and more.  Have some tea, sing a song, or grab some Mole made Jam!  There is no end to the entertainment value in each of these wonderfully crafted episodes. 

Claymation to me is an amazing art form in and of itself.  The attention to detail and amount of time that goes into each of these episodes is astounding.  Anyone with the patience and nerve to take on a project of this magnitude deserves some applause.

Oh, I forgot to mention the weasels!  I have to mention the weasels!  As always, they are out for only themselves, and always up to no good.  Mr. Toad can’t resist making bets with them, and they can’t resist being…well, weasels when it comes to betting! 

There is definitely something for everyone in this box set, so grab a copy today before they blow away! 

Video ***

The 1.33:1 Standard Full Screen presentation of these DVDs suits the stories quite well.

Each of the episodes is narrow in scope, so as to bring your focus and attention to the characters onscreen.  I think a letterbox format would ruin the effect of the claymation somewhat.

The colors were bright and airy.  There was some dirty and graininess to the print, but Cosgrove Hall did an excellent job of transferring this family friendly favorite to the digital realm, where it will be enjoyed for generations to come.

Audio ****

I love it when I pop in a DVD and my ears are met with great sounding audio that resonates around the room, in a harmonious fashion.    The Wind In The Willows DVD box set managed to do this quite well if I do say so myself. 

What always impressed me about this series is the way each characters voice resonates audibly.  Each voice is crisp and clear without any kind of audio degradation.  I especially enjoyed listening to how well the background sound effects and music complimented the dialogue.

Features *

I live in the South, so I’m going to assume there was a northerly wind pattern when these extra features were put together!

The only extras with this box set are a bonus episode from Season 3 titled “Mr. Toad’s Telephone” and chapter descriptions.

Summary:

The Wind In The Willows floats some dependable video quality, good audio inflection, and entertainment for the whole family your way on DVD.  Ah, it doesn’t get much better than this.

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