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DVD Review: Babar: The Movie

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Babar The Movie was originally released theatrically in 1989, and is now being re-released on DVD by Entertainment One, no doubt due to the popularity of the current series featuring Babar, the digitally animated Babar and the Adventures of Badou. This 80-minute feature-length animated film features Babar, King of the Elephants, in an exciting adventure. Book lovers and Babar fans will be pleased to learn that the animation style of the film is quite close to that of Jean de Brunhoff’s original children’s books. Other beloved characters from the Babar books, like The Old Lady and Cornelius, also make an appearance.

After Elephantland’s Victory Parade, Babar’s (voiced by Gordon Pinsent as Adult Babar and Gavin Magrath as Prince Babar) four children beg him for a bedtime story. He is only too happy to oblige. He tells them the origins of the Victory Parade, during his early days as King of the Elephants, and how he helped their mother, his cousin Celeste (voiced by Elizabeth Hanna as Adult Celeste and Sarah Polley as Princess Celeste), save her village from the leader of Rhinoland, Lord Rataxes (Charles Kerr). Babar, Celeste, and their new friend, the funny and smart monkey Zephir (John Stocker), manage to outwit the evil Rataxes and save the day.

Babar The Movie also features five fun songs that kids will love:

“Elephantland March,” performed by Judy Tate, Debbie Flemming, John Rutledge, Neil Donell, and The Nylons

“The Committee Song,” performed by Stephen Ouimette, Chris Wiggins, and The Nylons

“The Best We Both Can Be,” performed by Molly Johnson

“Monkey Business,” performed by John Stocker, Judy Tate, Debbie Flemming, John Rutledge, Neil Donell, and The Nylons

“Rataxes,” performed by Charles Kerr

Babar The Movie is in color, with an aspect ratio of 4×3 (1.33:1). Sound is 2.0 Dolby Digital, with English and Spanish subtitles available. DVD extras include “Monkey Business,” an episode from Season 2 of the Babar animated television series, which involves a practical-joking Zephir and young King Babar having to face off Lord Rataxes’s annual Rhino Rampage. Also included on the disc are previews for soon-to-be-released DVDs of the current Babar series, Babar and the Adventures of Badou, a well as the first two DVDs from the British animated television series Peppa Pig.

The charming film, directed by Alan Bunce, was drawn and not computer-animated, which gives it a fun, retro feel. Rataxes and his rhino cohorts might scare very young children, as they throw spears and try to capture Babar and his friends in their Mayan-inspired castle, but never fear, the danger to Babar and Celeste is only ever temporary, and conflicts are usually resolved in a clever or humorous move by our pachyderm heros.

The non-stop action should keep everyone watching involved. In fact, both kids and adults should love Babar The Movie. Babar is a true hero, brave and resourceful, always trying to do what he thinks is right.

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