Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Focus on the Family Presents Auto-B-Good Where the Rubber Meets the Road|
Actor: Focus on the Family
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R. Wolfe | Philadelphia, PA | 08/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You must grab this DVD (and the others in the same set) whenever and where ever you find it--they are quite hard to find now, and these episodes seem to have been repackaged in a way that is slightly less impressive (in partnership with a new distribution company).
Auto B Good - "Where the Rubber Meets the Road" contains episodes from the first season of the show, one DVD release of six in this, the earliest edition of the show on DVD,(the older, NON-"Special Edition" set). These episodes need NOT be viewed in order, and this DVD may be viewed in isolation from the rest of the episodes available on the other DVD's of Auto B Good (but why you wouldn't want all of the episodes is beyond me!).
The 6 actual episodes included are:
A MILE IN THEIR TIRES - Tolerance - The one where the main characters have to try each other's favorite past times out.
STAGE FRIGHT - Consideration - Where Izzy puts on a show no one comes to see.
IZZY AND THE GIANT - Uniqueness - The one where Brock the Giant Truck appears and is judged by his appearance and not his character.
RUMORS OF WAR - Patriotism - Where a grass roots movement and a knowledge of uniquely American civics allow the community to save their public park from commercial development.
THE PRICE OF FREEDOM - Citizenship - Part One of Franklin's story of "The Big War" (allegorical of the trials of the Greatest Generation of Americans). Where the show goes sepia-toned and flashes back to a simpler age, marred by war but punctuated with honor and courage in service to one's country.
NO GREATER LOVE - Loyalty - Part Two of Franklin's story of "The Big War" where his cousin Elrod is motivated by something other than patriotism during his stint in the Service--culminating in a terrible loss to his platoon and his home community.
These are some of the best, most mature stories and character lessons in the series. The last 2 episodes on this disc are quite serious in tone, but not out of place or inappropriate for the young viewer--probably repeated viewing at different ages would bring out new meanings previously missed. I am tempted to say that if you were to only get one DVD of Auto B Good, this is the one. (Though I highly recommend them all, actually.)
This was from the batch of the first 4 DVD's produced for this set, when the episodes were around 10 minutes long and you got 6 episodes per DVD--an hour of content--sometimes with some additional bonus material (for the 5th and 6th DVDs' in this set, the episodes are about 15 minutes each and you only got 3 episodes-about 40 minutes of content). The bonus material included "deleted scenes" or "out-takes," sometimes different versions of entire episodes, etc. You could choose between 2.0 or 5.1 sound on this edition of Auto B Good DVD's (you have no choice on the newer, "Special Edition" ones--not sure what is provided, honestly).
All of the episodes were strung together in these first 4 DVD's of this older edition of Auto B Good by being introduced by a small (still 3D CGI) group of characters: a young boy and girl and their wacky inventor uncle-type character, who appeared to be "telling stories," which were the actual episodes which then played. For some reason, they dropped this approach, and after the first 4 DVD's, so you only get the episodes themselves with none of these other characters book-ending the stories. In DVD's 5 and 6 of this set, the episodes themselves are slightly longer (but you only got 3 episodes, so it ended up being about 20 minutes less content per disc on those last 2 DVDs in this set). I miss the introductions by the non-car characters, personally, as they provided the younger viewer with a little focus for what the coming or previous episode's theme was, and served to help string together the few double-episode stories.
Most or all of my copies of the DVD's in this edition (meaning the NON-"Special Edition" set) came with a set of 12 small stickers of the characters and an "Operator's Manual" which is a small, full-color brochure containing a short focus lesson on the character trait for each episode, with reference to an appropriate Bible verse.
The whole package is professionally produced, thoughtfully written, and lovingly animated in 3D CGI on par with anything out there (a little shy of the photo-realistic look of a movie like Cars (the Pixar Movie) but just as beautiful to look at--here they went for something only a bit more cartoonish and brashly colorful, which is perfect for the target audience of younger children). The characters are memorable and well-used to tell stories meant to inspire good character in young viewers. This, without being "preachy"--I would say even less so than a show like Veggie Tales (which isn't preachy, really, either). Most of what plays on these DVD's after you hit PLAY contains no overtly Christian content, actually--especially in the later DVD's, where the episodes are not bookended by other characters who make comment on them. I would like more of this, myself, but apparently there has been a big push by the producers and/or distributors to get this show into the "character education" market for elementary schools, so this is what it ended up being. Honestly, it still is a fabulous show for youngsters even with little to no evangelical or overtly spiritual edge. Compare this to Pokemon or whatever garbage passes for afternoon and Saturday morning cartoons, and you'll be running to find more Auto B Good any day of the week.
My 4-year old son loves these, and he has been watching them over and over for well over a year now. When his cousins of ages 3 through 6 come over, they are all mesmerized. I love them for being beautiful to look at, devoid of inappropriate scenes and themes, instead developing positive values and virtues.
These episodes are now produced in "Special Edition" fashion, which includes 3 episodes per DVD, sometimes with music videos (contemporary Christian music set to scenes from an episode on the same DVD) and a "bonus" episode (you can apparently purchase them either way, but for the same price). They have not necessarily kept the same episodes bundled together on each DVD, and they have re-named at least one episode, making it hard to figure out which DVD you need to complete your collection if you started with these older editions. Still well worth buying if you have nothing, but they seem frustratingly--almost deviously--designed to require purchase of at least several DVD's with episodes you already own if you want to complete a collection you started with this first, slightly superior, edition. There are quite few episodes that were produced after this first edition was put out, so if you want to get your hands on all of the Auto B Good episodes, you'll end up buying a fair number of the "Special Edition" DVD's after all. These newer-edition DVD's do not come with bonus material of the likes the older versions came with, they do not include the "Owner's Manual" or other goodies like stickers, either. You get less episodes per DVD, so I believe buying all episodes via the "Special Edition" seems costlier, as well (not that I know that it is even possible to obtain all of the episodes in the "Special Edition" set). Honestly, I am quite disappointed they moved to this new marketing approach for the retail market. (MUCH more expensive versions of these DVD's are now available with teaching manuals in PDF form included, or as an "Absent Parent" edition with special material meant to be used where a child has a parent overseas in the Service--I applaud both of these editions, but all I want are the great packaging and episodes of the initial set!)
All of which is why, if you can get your hands on these older DVD's, especially for anything close to what you consider a good price, you should snap them up without hesitation!"