Paramount Pictures’ Jurassic Park franchise is a hugely successful series of movies. That goes without saying. The property has spawned five movies with a sixth on the way next year. There is also a lego-based series on Nickelodeon and a series of related kid-friendly video games. It has even spawned any number of second-rate knock offs from so many independent studios that are anything but memorable. It really speaks to the franchise’s popularity and longevity. This past April, the franchise’s popularity was shown even more when PBS and PBS Kids aired a new Dinosaur Train “movie” in the form of Adventure Island. Unlike all of those noted knock-offs, this take on the Jurassic Park franchise this take is completely entertaining. That is thanks to its story, which will be discussed shortly. The bonus episodes that accompany the “movie” make the movie’s home presentation appealing in their own right. Considering that content featured in this DVD, it makes the DVD’s pricing a positive in its own right. Each item noted is important in its own right to the whole of the DVD. All things considered, they make Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island one more of this year’s top new family DVDs/BDs.
PBS Distribution’s home release of Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island is a welcome new addition to the show’s ongoing series of DVDs. It is so enjoyable that there is no doubt it deserves a spot on the list of this year’s top new family DVDs/BDs. The DVD’s appeal comes in large part through its main feature, its almost hour-long “movie,” Adventure Island. As has been noted, the “movie” is a spoof of the movies in the Jurassic Park franchise. In this story, the Pteranodon family is invited to Adventure Island, a theme part island populated by a bunch of robot dinosaurs and filled with what are supposed to be fun rides. The robotic dinosaurs are powered by steam, and when unexpectedly go wrong with some of the island’s systems, the dinosaurs get too hot and end up going haywire. Fittingly, it is up to the Pteranodon kids – Tiny, Shiny, Don, and Buddy – as well as the park’s employees to set things right and get the automatons working right again. The head of the whole operation denies the problems at first, but eventually admits something is wrong, leading to the eventual happy ending. While the story is clearly a lifting from the Jurassic Park franchise, it is still its own story. That originality — and the very fact that unlike the Jurassic Park movies, this movie is family friendly – makes for even more appeal.
The story’s pacing plays into the presentation, too. It ensures the story plays out fluidly from beginning to end. The result of the attention to that item is that it ensures audiences’ maintained engagement and entertainment in its own right. Keeping that in mind along with the story’s very presentation, the whole shows clearly why this main feature is so important to the DVD’s presentation. It is just one part of what makes the DVD so appealing. The bonus episodes that accompany the main feature add their own enjoyment to the whole.
The bonus episode, “Junior Conductor’s Academy” stands out because it marks the first time that the series has taken on the issue of autism. It joins the likes of Arthur, Hero Elementary, and Sesame Street to focus on the matter as the Pteranodon kids go to the Junior Conductor’s Academy and meet a new dino friend named Dennis. Dennis is autistic, but at no point do the show’s writers bring extra attention to this matter. Rather, they ensure that the Pteranodon kids treat Dennis just like he is one of them. In other words, the writers have normalized the condition rather than pointing it out. This is actually something hugely important. It is important because in reality, pointing out such a condition and bringing that added attention can in fact do more emotional and mental harm than good for someone who is autistic. It can actually be in advertently turned more into a stigma even if one’s attentions in pointing out the condition are honorable. The same applies to anyone with any handicap, whether mental or physical. Just like someone in a wheelchair does not want special attention or accommodations, but to be treated like a person first and foremost, so would a person with autism want to be treated as a person first and foremost. That is exactly what the writers have done here. The writers are to be highly commended for that approach, just like the writers on the other noted shows for their approaches.
The second bonus episode, “Rollin’ on the Riverboat,” is completely opposite from “Junior Conductor’s Academy.” In the case of this episode, the Pteranodon family takes a trip along a river on a paddle wheel boat. The kids learn about the animals that call the river ecosystem home. This lesson stands out because for so much of the series, the focus on aquatic life has been in the ocean or at a beach setting. So for the family to go down a more contained aquatic setting and learn about its ecosystem is a major change of pace for the series. The show’s writers are to be commended just as much for this switch-up as for the approach taken to “Junior Conductor’s Academy.” There is even a musical number that, in its own way, pays tribute to the one and only Tina Turner and one of her greatest songs. Audiences will be left to take in this moment for themselves. Along the way, the passengers even meet a giant dinosaur that they thought was only a myth, leading to a lesson about another dinosaur, which is sure to engage audiences of all ages even more. The combination of these two fully engaging and entertaining bonus episodes enhances the viewing experience even more. When that impact is considered along with the engagement and entertainment guaranteed through the DVD’s main feature, the whole shows the DVD’s content as one large whole that makes the DVD well worth the purchase. Considering the content featured in this DVD and its impact on the viewing experience, it makes the DVD’s pricing a positive in its own right.
The average price point for Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island is right at $8.00. That price is obtained by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Books-A-Million, and PBS’ store. Considering that the average price point is less than $10 speaks volumes, considering how much content is offered in this DVD and its ability to keep viewers engaged and entertained. It is definitely something in itself that will encourage audiences to purchase the DVD. The least expensive listing is through Amazon and Target, at only $5.89. PBS, Books-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers each list the DVD on the high end (so to speak) at $9.99. Walmart lists the DVD at $6.27, just above that lowest listing from Amazon and Target. Best Buy’s listing of $7.99 serves as the mid-range price. Looking at all of these prices, only three exceed the average price point, and Best Buy’s listing is the only one that even reaches that point. Walmart, Target, and Amazon all offer relatively affordable prices that will not break anyone’s budget by any means. Again, considering the amount of content featured in this DVD and that content’s ability to ensure audiences’ engagement and entertainment, it makes those prices all the more appealing. Keeping that in mind, it shows why it is just as important to examine as the DVD’s content. All things considered, they make Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island one more of this year’s top new family DVDs/BDs.
PBS Distribution’s recently released Dinosaur Train DVD, Adventure Island is yet another impressive offering for the while family. It continues to show why the series is such a beloved property in part through its main feature. The main feature is a nearly hour-long story that uses the beloved Jurassic Park franchise as its inspiration, while keeping the story family friendly at the same time. That blend of originality and familiarity pairs with the story’s family friendly nature to make the story so enjoyable in itself. The two bonus episodes make for their own entertainment because they are unlike one another and unlike the main feature. Considering the content and its impact, the DVD’s pricing proves to be its own positive. The pricing comes in largely at less than $10 both in terms of the average price point and the separate listings. In other words, it will not break any viewer’s budget. Keeping that in mind, the pricing works with the DVD’s content to offer audiences even more motivation to own this presentation. All things considered, they make the DVD one more of the year’s top new Family DVDs/BDs.
Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island is available now. More information on Dinosaur Train is available online now along with lots of activities, printables, videos and more at:
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