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Peppa Pig: The Balloon Ride DVD Review

Peppa Pig: The Balloon Ride DVD cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Peppa Pig: The Balloon Ride (2004-2010)
Show & DVD Details

Creators/Directors: Mark Baker, Neville Astley / Producer: Phil Davies

Writers: Neville Astley, Mark Baker, Phil Hall, Chris Parker

Main Voice Cast: Cecily Bloom (Peppa Pig), John Sparkes (Narrator), Richard Ridings (Daddy Pig), Morwenna Banks (Mummy Pig), Oliver May (George Pig), Alice May (George Pig), David Graham (Grandpa Pig), Frances White (Granny Pig), Lily Snowden-Fine (Peppa Pig), Harley Bird (Peppa Pig), Sarah Ann Kennedy (Miss Rabbit), David Rintoul (Granddad Dog)

Running Time: 61 Minutes (12 episodes) / Rating: Not Rated (TV-Y on air)

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: None; Not Closed Captioned
Episodes Originally Aired June 25, 2004 - September 27, 2010
DVD Release Date: August 12, 2014 / Suggested Retail Price: $14.98
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5) / White Keepcase in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover

Buy Peppa Pig: The Balloon Ride on DVD at Amazon.com

Ten years ago, the animated British television show "Peppa Pig"
premiered on airwaves around the globe. The current status of the preschooler-oriented series seems uncertain (no new episodes have aired since the end of 2012), but its reach and popularity have never been in doubt. DVDs of the show keep coming from Entertainment One (eOne), the international company that took over home video distribution from Lionsgate a couple of years ago.

eOne's latest DVD compilation, titled The Balloon Ride, reached stores Tuesday, six years after an identically titled and slightly different disc was issued to Region 2 in the series' native United Kingdom. eOne's disc holds twelve episodes, two more than the UK version, from the show's first three seasons, adding up to an hour of children's entertainment.

Riding uphill, Peppa Pig struggles to keep up with her family's tandem bicycle in "Peppa Pig."

"Peppa Pig" centers on a porcine British family of four, consisting of Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig, daughter Peppa, and her little brother George, who says little more than "dinosaur", his favorite thing in the world. These pigs are utterly anthropomorphic in every way, save for the occasional snort. Their fellow creatures are the same (simply change "snort" to "bleat", "bark", etc.). This serene, pastel-colored universe features simple yet striking character design. For instance, the pigs' snouts always appear to be on the side of their heads, their profiles assuming the shape of a sideways "p" or "b" depending on what way they're looking. The matter-of-fact narration by John Sparkes often states the obvious and the program has the feel of a children's book, but it was created for television.

The show is childish, of course, but not in a bad way. It forgoes didacticism entirely, preferring instead to just tell relatable stories involving the whole family. No attempt is made to Americanize the show for US viewers, and one could hardly question that, for the Britishness is a central part of the show's charm. As a result, though, expressions like "nappy", "parcel in the post", and "hire" (instead of "rent") may be confusing. Then again, what isn't confusing when you're a kid the age of this show's target demographic?

Episodes are incredibly short, needing a brief scroll of credits to surpass the 5-minute mark. As such, it's impossible to lose interest in them, even when watching en masse here.

On his second birthday, George comes face to face with his favorite thing in the world: dinosaur. It's scary to him. Daddy Pig breaks out his beret to paint like his children.

1. 2.25/77 The Balloon Ride (5:05) (Originally aired January 8, 2007)
Peppa wins a hot air balloon ride for her family, but drops Teddy while up in the air.

2. 2.33/85 The Cycle Ride (5:05) (Originally aired March 13, 2007)
The family takes bicycle rides,
with Peppa struggling uphill on her own as the rest of them share a tandem bike. Peppa races her friends downhill.

3. 3.28/133 Whistling (5:03) (Originally aired September 24, 2010)
Peppa tries to whistle, but can't quite get the hang of it.

4. 2.26/78 George's Birthday (5:05) (Originally aired January 9, 2007)
The Pigs go to the museum's dinosaur exhibit to celebrate George's second birthday.

5. 2.34/86 Ice Skating (5:05) (Originally aired March 14, 2007)
Peppa learns how to ice skate, with help from both parents.

6. 2.29/81 Painting (5:05) (Originally aired March 7, 2007)
Peppa, George, and their father paint.

The Pig family is thoroughly entertained by the home movies they just shot. The Pigs ride a new blue car while their regular one is repaired.

7. 2.31/83 The Baby Piggy (5:05) (Originally aired March 9, 2007)
Peppa and family visit newborn cousin Alexander and George pretends to be a baby too.

8. 1.40/40 Very Hot Day (5:04) (Originally aired November 2, 2004)
On a sweltering day,
the Pigs play in a pool and buy ice cream.

9. 1.51/51 Daddy's Movie Camera (5:05) (Originally aired November 29, 2004)
The family entertains themselves with a new video camera.

10. 3.29/134 Dr. Hamster's Tortoise (5:04) (Originally aired September 27, 2010)
Vet Dr. Hamster visits the kids' school and shows off some small pets, including Titters, a tortoise who goes missing.

11. 1.23/23 The New Car (5:05) (Originally aired June 25, 2004)
The Pigs get acquainted with a new car while the old one is getting repaired by Granddad Dog.

12. 2.24/76 George Catches a Cold (5:05) (Originally aired January 5, 2007)
George nurses a cold he gets from playing in the rain without a hat.

VIDEO and AUDIO

An hour of the show's simple Flash animation should not pose the slightest problem for compression, yet you will notice the DVD's 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation features some faint ringing around line edges. The Dolby 2.0 stereo soundtracks are without issue, and although viewers may not be literate enough to care, neither closed captions nor subtitles are offered here.

Peppa Pig takes a balloon ride all by herself on the DVD's animated main menu. The episodes menu lets you access the 5-minute installment of your choosing.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

No bonus features are included,
unless you wish to count the disc-opening, menu-inaccessible 45-second ad for an upcoming Peppa Pig DVD and the franchise at large.

The animated main menu plays the end credits' theme music while Peppa takes off in a hot air balloon. The only other thing on the disc are three static pages providing access to the individual episodes. Playback begins automatically if nothing is selected

Topped by an embossed cardboard slipcover, the white keepcase holds a booklet of ads and a magazine subscription form alongside its full-color disc.

Peppa and family visit their relatives in "The Baby Piggy."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

"Peppa Pig" proved to be a cute, charming little television show for this viewer way outside the target demographic and on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. While I can't really speak to the value of this one-hour compilation versus the series' other discs, the show may be worth a look on Nick Jr. if your youngsters want or need a change from their more rigidly educational American options.

Buy Peppa Pig: The Balloon Ride on DVD at Amazon.com

Buy from Amazon.com

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Reviewed August 13, 2014.



Text copyright 2014 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2004-2010 Astley Baker Davies, Rubber Duck Entertainment, Nick Jr., Five and 2014 eOne.
Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.