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Little Einsteins on DVD:Our Big Huge Adventure • Team Up for Adventure • Mission Celebration! • The Legend of the Golden Pyramid
Rocket's Firebird Rescue • Race for Space • Flight of the Instrument Fairies • The Christmas Wish
Fire Truck Rocket's Blastoff • Animal Expedition

Little Einsteins: Flight of the Instrument Fairies DVD Review

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Show & DVD Details

Executive Producer: Eric Weiner / Writers: Jeff Borkin, Abby Miller Pecoriello, Brian L. Perkins

Producer: Kris Greengrove / Supervising Director: Andy Thom

Voice Cast: Erica Huang (June), Aiden Pompey (Quincy), Jesse Schwartz (Leo), Natalia Wojcik (Annie) / Singing Cast: Harrison Chad, Jesse Goldberg, Emma Straus, Philip Trencher

Running Time: 96 Minutes (4 episodes) / Rating: TV-G
1.33:1 Full Screen (Original Broadcast Ratio), Dolby Digital Surround 2.0 (English, French, Spanish)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned
DVD Release Date: August 5, 2008
Three Episodes aired between January 29 - September 14, 2007; One Unaired
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9); White Keepcase
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99

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Three years after their introduction, the Little Einsteins just keep on keeping on. Devised as a logical follow-up to the short-term enrichment debatably offered by the infant series Baby Einstein, the Little Einsteins have become as regular a visitor to Disney's DVD schedule as anything else in the House of Mouse.
Having emulated the frequency of its predecessor, the next aim is longevity, which Baby Einstein celebrates this September with 10th Anniversary Edition rereleases of two "classic" titles. (These are actually a year late, the line having been debuted in 1997, but clearly the lack of Baby Einstein in DVD execs' cognitive development is now making itself known.)

One of the big differences between Baby Einstein and Little Einsteins is that the former was primarily a series of videos/DVDs and the latter is a television show aired every morning as part of the Disney Channel's profitable preschooler-oriented Playhouse Disney block. That should make "Little Einsteins" DVD compilations seem a lot less special, but that hasn't quite been the case as the franchise has sold nearly 3 million DVDs to date. Maybe it's the 7:00 AM timeslot or the fact that much of the target audience hasn't quite mastered using the DVR, but families continue to pay $14.99 for 70 minutes of what likely beams into their televisions daily.

Reaching stores in early August, Flight of the Instrument Fairies is the seventh Little Einsteins DVD issued. It one-ups the previous six by including four standard-length episodes instead of three (or the equivalent). The first of the four episodes, which lends its title to the volume, is also noteworthy for not having yet aired.

A baby flying violin fairy helps Quincy tread Alaska's Mount McKinley by avoiding slippery snowflakes. These three theatrical puppets get stuck in some sticky tree sap.

From all the "Little Einsteins" I've been exposed to (and that's enough to get me through this life), the show doesn't appear to have highs or lows. It is consistent and very adherent to its principles.

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The art, classical music, and flimsy plot tying them together may change, but the format never does. As a result, each and every episode feels quite similar. I would have to imagine that this elevates the educational value over the entertainment one for more discerning youths.

Many, however, will find the bright colors and soothing sounds alluring enough to invest in. If it was at all in the cards for these children to grow into the few for whom television is an occasional diversion and not a way of life, getting them hooked to the tube in the show's intended age group may just alter their destinies. But far be it for me, someone who has made an occupation out of viewing, to pass judgment on the pastime.

It's a lot easier to judge "Little Einsteins", although it's somewhat of a challenge to do so being neither a parent nor preschooler. Alas, if somehow this review marks your introduction to the spin-off empire, here's a quick rundown. The Little Einsteins are an ethnically diverse group of four little snobs and their vibraphonic pet/vehicle Rocket. Leo, June, Quincy, and Annie regularly set out on contrived missions on which perilous obstacles must be overcome.

The show proceeds with a constant stream of clear exposition, slipping in the occasional unknown word slipped to expand vocabularies and cultural awareness. With the music and visuals of impenetrable, long-gone artists tapped as a theme (this disc's use of Andy Warhol is "Little Einsteins" at its edgiest), each episode gets to a point where viewers have to help get Rocket to go "super fast" by gradually advancing per classical music terms. Yes, these crudely-animated characters leave room for interaction, but it's no substitute for conversing with attentive, well-spoken humans.

Each episode runs 24 minutes and 3 seconds long.

Only the Little Einsteins would crack smiles this big at the sight of Johann Strauss and his Blue Danube Waltz sheet music. To catch up to Big Jet, Rocket needs our help to make the tiny tunnel large enough to accommodate him.

"Flight of the Instrument Fairies" (Not yet aired in US)

Summoned by a baby violin fairy, the Little Einsteins journey to Alaska. En route to saving the violin's fellow colorful enchanted instruments from a locked cave,
the gang must brave calving icebergs, slippery snowflakes, and their own prejudices about polar bears.
Featured art: Ancient Roman mosaics; Featured music: Felix Mendelssohn's "Violin Concerto in E minor"

"The Puppet Princess" (Originally aired March 12, 2007)

The group travels to a puppet show in Prague. They're joined by a lost trio of self-sustaining puppets and encounter such obstacles as a sticky forest and a pastry factory. Though it employs the "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" theme music, that is where the similarities to the Master of Suspense end.
Featured art: Drawings by Leonard Da Vinci; Featured music: Charles-Franηois Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette"

"The Glass Slipper Ball" (Originally aired January 29, 2007)

Rocket takes the Einsteins to a Vienna ball, where June hopes to try on a glass slipper before the clock strikes 12. On the way there, she teaches Rocket a number of helpful dances.
Featured art: Andy Warhol's "Fish"; Featured music: Johann Strauss' "The Blue Danube Waltz"

"Little Red Rockethood" (Originally aired September 14, 2007)

Rocket intends to visit his sick grandmother and bring her Rocket soup. When Big Jet steals the soup in question, the Little Einsteins have their mission: terminate Big Jet with extreme prejudice. Or just get that soup back for Grandma.
Featured art: Alexej von Jawlensky's "Landscape Near Murnau"; Featured music: Giuseppe Verdi's "Aida"

Dance-loving June has some knowledge to share with the choreographically curious Rocket in "The Glass Slipper Ball." Pick out the right final two notes in the Virtuoso (Hard) level of the Music Mix-Up game.


There are no problems with either picture or sound. The 1.33:1 fullscreen transfers employ a bright palette, but it is just as consistent in color as it is in sharpness and clarity. The Dolby Surround soundtracks are straightforward and suitable. French and Spanish dubs are included, but subtitles are only provided in English.


The only bonus feature is a set-top game called "Music Mix-Up",
offered in Easy (Child Prodigy) and Hard (Virtuoso) formats. Either way, the short game plays out in two parts that quiz you on musical notes and instruments. Some replay value is found in the nice fact that each visit changes which one of the disc's four classical musical themes you'll be working with. Beyond that, there isn't great appeal, though kids should find the Hard version genuinely challenging.

The FastPlay-enhanced disc opens with a Disney company promo and an onslaught of ads for Sleeping Beauty: Platinum Edition, "Handy Manny": Manny's Pet Roundup, "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse": Mickey's Storybook Surprises, "My Friends Tigger & Pooh": Hundred Acre Wood Haunt, "Little Einsteins": The Christmas Wish, and the Disney Movie Rewards program. Post-feature/menu sneak peeks preview Chinese live-action/CGI film The Secret of the Magic Gourd, "Little Einsteins": Race for Space, and "Handy Manny" on Disney Channel.

Of course, the animated menus are identical to past Little Einstein discs. Surprisingly but unimportantly, no standard insert is found, at least not in my copy. There is, however, a Disney Movie Rewards code sheet and a mini-booklet which crams as much advertising for Playhouse Disney DVDs and other merchandise as its little pages allow. In contrast to the line's early volumes, the keepcase is white, not red.

It wouldn't be Little Einsteins without Leo prompting viewers to help Rocket go "super fast." Apparently, the Allegro stage calls for folding arms across one's chest. Ooh, look at the pretty instrument fairies. So that's where aurora borealis comes from. Or so we're told.


By this point, you should know exactly what to expect from a Little Einsteins DVD. The only surprise to Flight of the Instrument Fairies is that it holds four episodes as opposed to past compilations' three. That's a step in the right direction, but it's not enough to change how you already feel about the show and Disney's DVD releases of it. Though it's easy to see educational worth in the program, I can't find enough value in the disc to recommend it for those with Disney Channel and some kind of recorder. Still if you're going to buy only one Little Einsteins DVD, this might be your best bet by quantity.

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Related Reviews:
Little Einsteins: Race for Space • Little Einsteins: Team Up for Adventure • Little Einsteins: Mission Celebration!
Little Einsteins: Our Big Huge Adventure • Little Einsteins: Rocket's Firebird Rescue • Little Einsteins: The Legend of the Golden Pyramid
Little Einsteins: The Christmas Wish • Little Einsteins: Fire Truck Rocket's Blastoff • Little Einsteins: Animal Expedition
Little Einsteins: Musical Missions (CD) • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey's Treat • Higglytown Heroes: Heroes on the Move
New to DVD: Freakazoid!: Season 1 • Handy Manny: Manny's Pet Roundup • Phineas and Ferb: The Fast and the Phineas

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Reviewed July 24, 2008.