Judge Dawn Hunt couldn’t have gotten this review read without you! Great job, everyone!
Dora the Explorer: Dora’s Butterfly Ball is a compilation of three episodes from the uber-popular kids’ show Dora the Explorer, which is about a little girl, Dora (Fatima Ptacek), and her monkey friend, Boots (Regan Mizrahi). Dora is on the block of Nickelodeon programming known as “Nick Jr.” which features shows for early elementary school kids and below; shows which focus on rudimentary skills like counting, remembering things, and differentiating between colors. But Dora the Explorer takes the learning a step further by introducing a bilingual aspect so kids can also learn the basics of another language.
The first episode is “The Butterfly Ball.” When Dora and Boots rescue Mariposa the Butterfly (Linet Adorno) from a bush she invites them to the Butterfly Ball. But there are some obstacles to overcome before they get their magic wings and party. Viewers need to count coins, distinguish colors, and remember landmarks on a map.
The next episode is “Vamos a Pintar.” Dora and Boots are on their way to meet their friend Daniela (Sofia Singer) at the art studio so they can all paint together. Kids will need to remember how to get there, be able to pick out colors, and help identify missing pieces in pictures.
The final episode is “Feliz Dia de los Padres.” Dora and her mommy are making a kite for Dora’s papi but it breaks free from its string and is carried away. As Dora goes to find it, she comes across a myriad of characters who all share with Dora what they’re giving their fathers.
We at DVD Verdict have been reviewing Dora for almost a decade, and in that time very little about Dora the Explorer has changed. That is, until recently. No, not within the show itself, that remains the repetitive juggernaut it’s always been. But rather I refer to the DVD offerings. Unless it’s a multi-disc compilation the average runtime for one of these discs is just under 70 minutes, and Dora’s Butterfly Ball is no exception. But a couple years ago you couldn’t get a Dora set that contained less than 90 minutes of fantastico fiestas! For those who feel as though Dora makes their eyes and ears bleed this is surely welcome news, as less Dora is always better.
However if you’re buying this for kids to watch (or yourself, no judgment) then don’t you want more? If you’re trying to distract (er, educate) kids then you probably want to keep them in front of the TV for a while. The issue with a shorter runtime means it may not be long enough, kids may want to rewatch the whole thing immediately after the third episode. Is that what you want?
Not to mention there are absolutely no special features on the disc. Heck, there aren’t even any commercials before the menu! (But there is a sticker sheet inside specially-marked packages.) It seems as though Dora’s Butterfly Ball is epitomizing the trend which is sadly cutting a swath through cartoons everywhere: bare bonesing it. Companies are putting out random packs instead of whole seasons and not offering any engaging extras, and Dora seems to be following that movement.
The audio and video are pretty bare bones as well, but the single-digit-crowd is not going to care about that. That’s not to imply they’re shoddy, because they aren’t; they look like a crisp DVR-ed transfer but like with the rest of the disc I wish there was more. Even an anamorphic widescreen video would be nice.
If you’re going to invest in a Dora set I’d choose one that has more to offer. Dora’s Butterfly Ball isn’t anything special and if your kids love Dora they’re going to want more, not less.