Ahh, little Lizzie McGuire. The last time we saw our teen queen on DVD, she was surrounded by an assortment of special guest stars. This time around, the topic is one of the most popular among teen girls… the crush. Specifically, we’re talking about such dreamboats as the paperboy, a substitute teacher, Larry the geek, and of course, Ethan.
For me, some of the best scenes in this show feature my favorite Nerd, Robert Carradine. Many sitcoms paint the character of the father as either disinterested in…the lives of his children, or too stupid to know what is going on. Carradine gets it right, however, striking a humorous line between the caring parent and the clumsy fool. He loves his children unconditionally, yet he is still a flawed and human character. It’s nice to see him still getting work as an actor.
Another great feature of this show is the use of short asides to illustrate a point. These come in the form of animated Lizzie segments, a collection of still photographs, or even short video clips. The shows are stuffed full of these random thoughts, and they are frequently the source of the biggest laughs. In fact, I believe that Family Guy may be the only show that I have ever seen with more tangents. They work equally as well here.
All told, the four episodes on this disc are fun for parents and kids alike. When compared to Volume Three of this series (which is also reviewed on this site), this is by far the better collection. If you are a fan of Hillary Duff, you will certainly enjoy this disc from Disney.
The supplied Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is completely acceptable given the nature of this subject matter. I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear Lizzie in surround sound. Dialog is clear, and the cartoon sound effects come across nicely. Music, when present, also sounds clear, with low end coming in to fill out the sound when it is needed.
This is one of those soundtracks that has to sound good coming from a home theater as well as from a television, and I believe that the producers of this disc have done a good job of hitting that balance.
While the video is fine for the casual viewer or your average teenage girl, it is a little lacking when it comes to someone with a bit of a more discerning eye. While I have no problem whatsoever with the feature being presented in its original full screen format, the grain is a bit much. I understand that a little grain will be present on this disc, but it seems a bit excessive at times, especially when layered over lighter colors. Hopefully, future releases will clean up the masters a little.
Besides this minor annoyance, the quality is basically good. The producers play it safe with this one… nothing too risky, nothing to extravagant. Colors are bright, there is plenty of light, and the clarity is decent.
This disc features the same extras that were featured on Volume Three of this series; trailers and a bonus episode. I am always a fan of trailers, so the inclusion of no less than eight of them are great thing. The bonus episode, while just as good as the other three, doesn’t really count as an extra in my opinion. It should have just been included with the other four.
What ultimately makes Lizzie McGuire so entertaining is the fact that it doesn’t tale itself too seriously. Sure, the plots involve tween romances, homework, and Disney-style humor, but the whole thing is taken with a grain of salt. There is plenty here to keep parents entertained as well as children, which is a quality that is always held in high regard. When it comes to shows created for this age range, Lizzie is by far the best of them all.
Special Features List
- Bonus Episode