UltimateDisney.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | Complete DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Disney DVDs | Recent DVDs | Search This Site

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: Race for Space DVD Review

Buy Little Einsteins: Race for Space from Amazon.com Little Einsteins: Race for Space
Show & DVD Details

Executive Producer: Eric Weiner / Writers: Jeff Borkin, Eric Weiner

Creative Director: Olexa Hewryk / Producer: Kris Greengrove

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: 72 Minutes (3 episodes) / Rating: Not Rated (TV-Y equivalent)
1.33:1 Full Screen (Original Aspect Ratio), Dolby Surround 5.1 (English, French, Spanish)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
DVD Release Date: February 19, 2008
Two Episodes Originally Aired March-May 2007; One Unaired in U.S.
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9); White Keepcase
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99

Buy from Amazon.com

By Kelvin Cedeno

Disney's education-savvy group of children, the Little Einsteins,
are a genuine staple of the Playhouse Disney roster. Appealing to the same goldmine demographic that follows "Dora the Explorer" and "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," "Little Einsteins" contains the popular "interactive" format that most children's programming has been adopting recently. Characters consistently break the fourth wall to determine what needs to be done next. Every episode also features a formulaic framework of having each character utilize his or her musical abilities to overcome an obstacle. For this sixth DVD release, Little Einsteins: Race for Space, neither structure is broken for the contained episodes.

June needs your help in locating a jet the size of a luxury home in "The Treasure Behind the Little Red Door." Rocket finds himself, and the children, blocked by a hedge maze so terrible, one apparently can’t even fly over it.

They are as follows:

"The Treasure Behind the Little Red Door" (Not yet aired in the United States)
Rocket discovers a treasure map buried in the yard. He and the gang barely have time to marvel over it before his arch-nemesis Big Jet comes to steal it. The chase begins to see who will reach the treasure site first, but Big Jet has some tricks that can set back our heroes.

Featured art: Hawaiian Tiki statues; Featured music: Charles-Francois Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette"

"Super Fast!" (Originally aired March 26, 2007)
When three little pigs fail to control their respective airplanes, it's up to Rocket and the kids to rescue them. To do so, Rocket needs to be carefully handled in order to match the varying speeds of the planes, which happen to correlate with musical tempos.
Featured art: Chinese-cut paper; Featured music: Gioachino Rossini's "William Tell Overture"

"The Great Sky Race Rematch" (Originally aired May 12, 2007)
Sore after being beaten in a previous race by Rocket, Big Jet destroys Rocket's flying button just before the rematch. Luckily for the Little Einsteins, Rocket's enabled with boat, train, and pogo stick modes that can still help win the race.
Featured art: Utagawa Hiroshige's Whirlpool and Waves at Naruto, Awa Province; Featured music: Gioachino Rossini's "William Tell Overture" (yes, again)

It seems Disney realized how exhausting the show's presentation can be if stretched too long, for unlike the previous DVD release, the three episodes presented here each run the standard 24 minutes. Perhaps the studio couldn't think up expansive storylines, or maybe they wanted to keep things simple for broadcast timeslot adherence. Either way, the shows on display here feel more refreshed than Rocket's Firebird Rescue.

It helps that in the DVD-premiered episode (which has aired in Canada), "The Treasure Behind the Little Red Door", there's less of a reliance on music. The series as a whole focuses too much on the music, particularly in regards to the characters' personalities, thus isolating children whose budding interests stem elsewhere. To see an episode where musical ability isn't the only thing to save the day is encouraging. Another factor that helps save this compilation from monotony is in the villain Big Jet, who appears for two episodes. His antics give some needed conflict to the proceedings, and some of the tricks pulled by him could actually put the children in true danger.

The Little Einsteins gang admires a spider web large enough to trap all four of them. The three little pigs have a discovered a new alternative hobby to house-building.

Even with these slight modifications for the better, "Little Einsteins" still raises more than a few questions in regards to storylines. For example, if the children pilot Rocket and are vital to controlling him (despite his having artificial intelligence), then who's piloting Big Jet? Why are humans other than our leads non-existent? Then there's the title of the DVD itself. Race for Space bares hardly any resemble to the stories found here. "The Great Sky Race Rematch" deals with a race, but not in space. "Super Fast!" contains a brief excursion into space, but this is certainly not the focus of the episode. This makes the DVD marketing seem rather misleading, as children may expect to see their heroes in a full-fledged galactic adventure.

"Little Einsteins" still ends up being a solid show for preschoolers, however. Randomness in storytelling isn't going to vex them, and most children's shows don't have the most well-thought out plots, anyway. There's still a wealth of knowledge to be found here, and exposing young ones to geography and the fine arts is important, especially when done as tactfully as seen here. A show of this sort is perhaps the best way to get them acquainted with various cultural icons without boring them to tears. It isn't the type of series that adults can get their own enjoyment out of, but it's solid enough not to drive them mad in the way many children's shows infamously do.


The three episodes comprising Race for Space appear in the standard 1.33:1 fullscreen aspect ratio. As on previous releases, the transfers here are quite good. Being a digital series, there are no print flaws, and nothing's plagued with artifacts. Colors appear lush and vivid, and while there is some softness, it's more a stylistic choice than a transfer flaw.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are also of solid quality. Surrounds are used more than expected thanks to Rocket's sound effects and scenery ambiance. The classical scores are also nicely broad, and the front-heavy dialogue appears clean and crisp.

In the set-top game "Rocket Around-the-World," Quincy narrates the extraordinarily-detailed CG Sahara desert as Rocket chugs on forward. Lou and Lou proudly present the fake badge that allows them to terrorize innocent bystanders.


Bonus features begin with a game
that seems heavily influenced by the "Great Sky Race" episode. "Rocket Around-the-World" has Quincy guiding the player through Rocket's various controls. The transportation mode needed for traveling through a certain locale must be correctly selected. When this happens, Rocket will transform into the mode needed. Because so much time is spent with Rocket slowly traveling across different pieces of scenery, this game doesn't feature very much interactivity. Even the various set pieces aren't so interesting to admire, resulting in a rather dull experience.

Next come two 3-minute shorts from Playhouse Disney's "Lou and Lou: Safety Patrol." This brother and sister (the second "Lou" is for Louise) devote their lives to protecting any pedestrians they come across. In the first short, "Race for Safety", Lou and Lou prevent an unsuspecting group of children from entering a bike race due to the safety hazards found. In the second, "Buckle Down for Safety", the duo makes sure their father and older sister both comply with the safety regulations of the road. These interstitial shorts have good intentions, but Lou and Lou are both so obnoxious in their quest for safety that the message is deflated a bit.

The 4x3 animated menus are replicas of the ones found on other Little Einstein DVDs. All of them take place inside the clubhouse with the children running sporadically through the main menu. Disney's FastPlay kicks the disc off with promos for Disney DVD, 101 Dalmatians: Platinum Edition, "Little Einsteins": Flight of the Instrument Fairies, "My Friends Tigger & Pooh": Friendly Tails, "Handy Manny": Fixing it Right, and Disney Movie Rewards. All of these minus the Disney DVD intro can be found in the Sneak Peeks menu along with ads for WALL-E, The Jungle Book 2: Special Edition, Tinker Bell, "My Friends Tigger & Pooh", and "Handy Manny": Manny's Pet Round Up.

The disc continues the trend of white keepcases, after the series' first few came in red. Inside is an insert with the episode and bonus material listing on one side, and an ad for Little Einsteins DVDs on the other. A booklet showcasing Disney DVD releases is also included, along with a Disney Movie Rewards code. Surprisingly, the casing arrives sans the ever popular slipcover.

In "The Great Sky Race Rematch," Leo showcases a navigation system so complex, it takes four little Einsteins to get it running. Rocket fills himself up with musical gas in "Super Fast!". Not only are the station workers missing, but Rocket doesn’t seem to be affected by rising gas prices.


While one can find more memorable children's programming than "Little Einsteins", it's far easier to find a more grating one, too. The show can be rather bizarre if one thinks about its story elements too much, but it manages to present music, art, and geography in a way that's not cloying for preschoolers. Picture and sound are expectedly great, though the supplements are negligible. Race for Space earns a recommendation to families meeting this show's key demographic, particularly ones with a fascination for music.

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Related Reviews:
Recent Disney DVDs: The Aristocats: Special Edition • Hannah Montana: One in a Million • Snow Buddies
New to DVD: Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 1 • It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (Remastered Deluxe Edition)
Handy Manny: Tooling Around • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey's Great Clubhouse Hunt
Little Einsteins: Our Big Huge Adventure • Little Einsteins: Mission Celebration!
Little Einsteins: Team Up for Adventure • Little Einsteins: The Legend of the Golden Pyramid
Little Einsteins: Rocket's Firebird Rescue • Little Einsteins: Musical Missions (CD)
Higglytown Heroes: Heroes on the Move • Under the Umbrella Tree: Volume 1

UltimateDisney.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | Complete DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Disney DVDs | Recent DVDs | Search This Site

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

Search This Site:

UltimateDisney.com/DVDizzy.com Top Stories:

Reviewed February 22, 2008.