Caillou: Caillou's Winter Wonders
R1 - America - Paramount Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James Teitelbaum (2nd November 2008).
The Show

Caillou (uh, that's "kai-you") is ostensibly a PBS cartoon about a little kid with a big imagination. The only problem is that the people who have created the show do not have imagination to match. Maybe they need to go back in time and watch their own show as children, so as to develop the imagination needed to create a show about a little kid with imagination. I am absolutely in favor of any and everything that inspires the children of our society to expand their intelligence, their creativity, and their imagination. In fact, our world is sorely lacking in smart, motivated, and curious children. Actually, our world is also lacking in motivated and intelligent adults. So, yeah, we need things out there to inspire and teach people. On one hand, it seems as though the people who created Caillou (Annie Bovaird) had absolutely the best of intentions. But the non-adventures of the phenomenally dull Caillou only inspired me to get up off the couch and get another cocktail, and that's about it.

The other big flaw in Caillou is that it has a healthy dose of prequel-era "Star Wars" "tell me don't show me" syndrome. Somehow, George Lucas has decided that everything that happens in "Episodes I to III" (1999-2005) needs to be explained to us, rather than shown to us. For example Lucas feels the need to have Anakin tell Obi-Wan "Obi-Wan, your spaceship is on fire", rather than just giving us a shot of Obi-Wan's spaceship on fire. Then, Obi-wan puts out the fire on his space ship (or, maybe an R2 unit does it) while Obi-Wan says: "I'm putting out the fire, Anakin!". If the prequels haven't (somehow) been ruined for you already, make a drinking game out of them, taking a shot of your favorite adult beverage every time there is needless exposition for something that could have been indicated by a single visual image. You'll be wasted before the pod race in "Episode I" finishes.

So, yeah, Caillou's kindly old grandmother narrator won't shut her pie-hole long enough to let the kiddies observe for themselves what is going on. For example, we see Caillou playing with his cat as the narrator tells us: "Caillou is playing with his cat". Thanks, grandma.

Oh, and what is the deal with the weird white fuzzy frame around the whole screen, all the time? Watching Caillou is like looking through the window of a department store at Christmas time, after they've sprayed all of that toxic and weird white spray-frost-stuff all over the windows.

Caillou is wholesome entertainment for bland children everywhere. After a childhood spent staring at Caillou, your kids will be absolutely guaranteed to end up as good little mindless robots who won't ask questions, develop personalities, or form opinions, and that's just how the government wants them.

There are four episodes on the disc: "Caillou's the Snowman", "Caillou's Christmas", "It's Cold Outside" and "Winter". All of these episodes have a winter or holidays theme (in keeping with the low powers of observation cultivated by Caillou's well-intentioned grandmother, I had to tell you that in case you couldn't tell from the titles).

Are you still awake?

Me neither.

Video

Aspect ratio is 4:3 full frame. The remedial animation consisting mostly of primary colors is clean and free of dirt. Diagonal lines are occasionally a big jaggy, but otherwise there are no complaints about video quality. Running time is 1:23:54, including a "Chuckee Cheese" promo tacked on to the end.

Audio

Caillou is presented in English and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. Given that it was produced in French Canada, I wonder why there is no option for French? No specs are given for the audio, but it's stereo. Voices are simple and clear, but the music is cheap sounding and cloying. There are no subtitles available.

Extras

Paramount has included some character features, text information, some DVD-ROM content and a bonus trailer. Below is a closer look at these extras.

"Meet the Characters" feature six characters that can be selected from a menu, and Caillou tells us who each of them are.

"Message to Parents" text information, three pages of text tell us that four-year-old kinds will relate to Caillou, who was created by an acclaimed child psychologist.

DVD-ROM Content is also included on the disc and features:

- Interactive games
- “Caillou’s Coloring Pages” interactive coloring book

Rounding the extras is a bonus trailer for:

- "Backyardigans" runs for 1 minute 43 seconds.

Overall

The Show: F Video: B+ Audio: B Extras: D Overall: D-

 


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