"Yes we can!" is the rallying cry of many in this world. Sure, Barack Obama is one of those, but he co-opted it from Bob The Builder. Maybe. Or maybe it was some labor movement or civil rights thingee. Enough with the politics, though. Can we review it? Yes we can. Come along with Bob, Wendy and their crew of Can-Do construction equipment pieces from their new home in Sunflower Valley as they give kids a rundown of how to build roads and bridges. Is it an attempt to get the kiddoes in line with our automobile-choked culture, or far more benign? Only Rupert Murdoch, or someone on down the line, or the creative team behind Bob The Builder knows for sure. Maybe I'm over-thinking this.
Using nice old-fashioned clay and model based animation, Bob and his team are brought to life, showing us all about building roads and bridges. But instead of being a series of 12-minute Bob stories, we get to watch Bob and friends work, then go on site to real-world construction projects, watching huge back-hoes, dump-trucks and cranes help build those mighty thoroughfares that keep us coursing and belching through hot summers. Again, sorry ... you just hit a theme and run with it. Actually, this is all way cool stuff for young boys and girls (older than mine at least, who kept wanting to speed through the on site stuff to get back to Bob).
First, Bob and Rolly, Dizzy, Wendy and the others show us how it's done in animation, then Bob narrates as we watch the real work. It's all very simple for the 3 and up set, and I found myself getting into the easy to understand, burly dynamics. To top it all off, Rolly then sings a groovy little song to sum up how it all works. You could probably give your child a simple quiz, after watching this once or twice, with no problems.
Bob has an odd appeal, hearkening back to simpler times even, that kids seem to universally love. Even my wife seems into Bob's new endeavors to work in a progressive, eco-conscious fashion on their new adventures in Sunflower Valley. On Site: Roads and Bridges isn't a traditional Bob The Builder story, but young fans and especially those into trucks, construction and the like will love all 60 minutes of it. Bob's OK by me!
Bob The Builder comes at us in a near fullscreen clear, sharp picture and bright colors. I thought I saw some edge enhancement as a dump truck started spilling gravel, but maybe it was just my old eyes or my set. In general, it's as top-notch as cartoons on DVD get these days.
Toddlers aren't that concerned with Digital Audio Processing these days. No information is given about such on the box. Suffice it to say there isn't much beyond stereo separation, but there are absolutely no audio problems to speak of. Your kids will be able to hear it.
Bob The Builder On Site: Roads and Bridges is not a collection of Bob The Builder episodes, rather footage of Bob and crew building roads and bridges, intermixed with footage from real life - all narrated by the ever-charming title dude. It's simple, reinforces the concepts through gentle repetition, and will enthrall Bob The Builder fans that are into the title subject, trucks or construction equipment. You arrested adolescent parents (dads, I'm mostly talking to you) will even enjoy watching. Recommended.
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