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HTF DVD Review: Schoolhouse Rock! EARTH



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#1 of 1 Neil Middlemiss

Neil Middlemiss

    Screenwriter

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  • Real Name:Neil Middlemiss

Posted March 22 2009 - 03:39 PM

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Schoolhouse Rock!
EARTH






Studio: Walt Disney
Year: 2009
US Rating: Not Rated - Rated G (Canada)
Film Length: 50 Mins
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: None



US Release Date: March 31, 2009
Review Date: March 22, 2009

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Note: Portions of this review appear in my Schoolhouse Rock! Election Edition review.

Saturday mornings have always been a fertile ground for breeding childhood memories in us. For millions of Americans, nestled among serialized adventures for kids and popular cartoons wasSchoolhouse Rock!. Every generation has that special something that represents to them the start of the weekend; waking up to no school and countless possibilities for things to do. Part of that Saturday morning in the 1970’s for kids in the USA was a musical interlude that brought together animation and learning in a way that was fun, playful and crammed full of important information.

Schoolhouse Rock! originally ran from 1973to 1986 and brought into homes a genuinely entertaining musical excursion into matters of educational importance. Now, Walt Disney studios brings to home video 11 brand new songs, in widescreen, with a focus on the importance of saving the planet. A timely release that does, in all honesty, a lot of what I remember the school system did for me when I was growing up in teaching me about the precious resources of the earth, the effects of humanity on our environment and the outcome if things did not change. I can clearly remember when CFC’s was the buzz word since they were depleting the ozone layer and the news was rife with the dire warning that if hairspray and other aerosol can products didn’t change that one ingredient, the ozone layer would eventually disappear with serious consequences. A lot has changed in the intervening years since I was in school, most notably is the consistent and growing proof of the environmental changes on our Earth.

This environmentally conscious collection still has the same playful sense, nostalgic sensibility (meaning it doesn’t subscribe to the kinetic, absurdity of some modern cartoons) and still delivers educational and catchy tunes. This collection follows a somewhat linear storytelling technique, connecting the songs with three polar bear ‘hosts’ but retains the independent, individual sense at the same time to the musical numbers. You will recognize familiar Schoolhouse Rock! voices as well here. What impresses me with this collection, having the environmentally conscious soul that I do, is how well the sum of what I know about the threat to the earth and the tangible (and often simple) things we can do to help out are shared with fun, playful ditties.

As I waxed on in my review of the Schoolhouse Rock! Election Edition, for those who grew up with this in their lives, there is no doubt that these new songs can do for your kids a little of what the old songs did for you. We are evolving into a society that not only has our kids growing up faster, but increasingly more aware of the political and social machinations that spill into almost every aspect of our lives. Our civil responsibilities, fortitudes and experiences are in ever increasing ways coming under the scrutiny and spotlight of the national eye – so it is more important than ever, I feel, to be informed; armed with the what, who, when, where and why. That learning takes place, typically in school – for some at home from involved parents and from external sources that serve to add another voice of education. Nobody does it quite like Schoolhouse Rock! and certainly no-one does it in a more toe-tapping way.

Song List

1.Report from the North Pole
2.The Little Things We Do
3.The Trash Can Band
4.You Oughta Be Savin’ Water
5.The Rainforest
6.Save the Ocean
7.FatCat Blue: The Clean Rivers Song
8.A Tiny Urban Zoo
9.Solar Power to the People
10.Windy the Windmills
11.Don’t Be A Carbon Sasquatch
12.The Three R’s (Music Video by Mitchel Musso)

Bonus Song: The Energy Blues - a bluesy and musically rich zip through the discovery and consumption of fuel through the ages, up through coal, with hints at the concerns about consumption rates.




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This new collection of songs is presented in a widescreen, 1.66:1 aspect ratio and is enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This is uniformly bright, clean throughout. The color palette isn’t overly bright, but is easy on the eyes and spotless all the way through. You won’t be disappointed in how this collection looks.


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Schoolhouse Rock! Earth comes with a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound audio track and makes much better use of that audio option than the last collection release, the Election Edition. While the bulk of the action is in the center channel for the clear vocals and the front left and right channels, the surrounds come alive with water noises, animal sounds and other assorted effects.



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The Three R’s (Music Video by Mitchel Musso) - (3:16) - Certainly not for me, this music video should be fun for and the message is good.

Sneak Peaks




Final Thoughts

A good collection of songs, timely and important message and fun all the way – this is a great way to introduce or reinforce the importance of living in balance with the planet, and acting in a way that I believe to be responsible by conserving, reducing, reusing, and recycling. This collection of songs keeps the spirit of the original alive and is very much worth adding to your library.


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Neil Middlemiss
Kernersville, NC
"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science" – Edwin Hubble
My DVD Collection