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THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
The Complete First Season

Review by Chastity Campbell

Narrated by: Ian Carmichael
Character Voices:  Sir Michael Hordern, Richard Pearson, Peter Sallis, and David Jason
Animation Director: John McManus
Video: 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Studio: A&E
Features: See Review
Length: 260 Minutes
Release Date: March 29, 2005

Narrator: And what a witty thing he had said to the policeman...

Toad: HEY FAT FACE!!

Film ***

Mr. Toad is back, and his driving is worse than before!!  The complete first season of The Wind In The Willows has finally arrived on DVD. 

I know what you're saying, it's been a long time since our old friends Toad, Mole, Rat, and Badger got together.  Well it's now official, you and your family can sit back, relax and enjoy some good clean fun on TV.  I kid you not, there is no pornographic language or any kind of off color humor!  Whether you are watching them for the first time, or reliving childhood memories, this two disk DVD box set presented by A&E will not disappoint you.

This series starts off with Toad retelling his triumphant battle with the weasels.  Mole, Rat and Badger know that Toad is full of bluster, but they good naturedly let him prattle on knowing that while he hung from his chandelier command post, they routed the villainous weasels and retook Toad's home! 

There are thirteen individual episodes that are approximately eighteen minutes long.  The adventures don't end with Toad's tall tales.  Come along for a ride when the gang takes a road trip in Toad's new car.  Sit a spell and enjoy the antics as Mole's rich cousin comes for a visit to his humble home, and enjoy Badger's Christmas variety show, including all the craziness that comes along with it.

There is no end to the good quality family entertainment these discs have to offer.  I am continually amazed at the creativity that goes into a production like this.  Stop motion animation takes a level of dedication and patience that only a few possess.  The detailed visible in every scene, whether it be Mole End, or Toad Hall will astound you.  Cosgrove Hall Productions really did a bang up job with these episodes. 

In addition, the voiceover work by Richard Pearson, Peter Sallis, Sir Michael Hordern, and David Jason was simply marvelous.  Each person added a touch of realism and really helped breath life into their character. 

I firmly believe, that no matter what your age, you will find something to enjoy on these DVDs.  Good quality family entertainment is hard to find these days, so when you do, grab on with both hands and don't let The Wind In The Willows slip through your fingers!

Video ***

I am more than impressed with the visual quality of these DVDs.

The 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen was very nice.  There was some dirt visible on the print and the occasional blast of graininess.  However, it was very minimal, and almost unnoticeable.   The colors were somewhat muted, but that is due in part to the filming style. 

Each episode brought with it a fresh viewing experience that will satisfy your visual needs, while entertaining you at the same time.

Audio **

These episodes were presented in a Dolby Digital Stereo format. 

The quality of the sound on these discs was alright, but it was lacking the level of clarity that I think we as a society living in the digital age have come to expect. The sound resonated fine, but there was audible hiss, and hum in the background.  Along with this some form of static crackling can be heard. 

However, I can easily attribute the audio flaws to the age of the audio tracks, and the recording technology of the times (early 80s).  This all translates to: these are minor problems that will not adversely affect your viewing experience.

Features *

Unfortunately, I wasn't blown away by the extras!

A bonus episode from season two, and detailed character descriptions are the only extras this box set has to offer.

Summary:

This DVD box set contains top notch stop motion animation.  In addition, it's an entire series of family friendly programming that will prove enjoyable to people of any age!  Don't let The Wind In The Willows blow by you...grab your box set today!

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