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DVD Review: Bratz: Super Babyz

 

R.J. Carter

The Trades
October 7, 2007

 

Cloe, Jade, Sasha and Yasmin. These are familiar names to any girl who collects the fashion dolls sold under the Bratz brand. But in this animated DVD, the girls look just a little different: they're not just Bratz, they're Bratz Babyz.

The toddler friends all stay with Gran, a nearsighted lady who babysits (and spoils) the girls while their parents are away for the weekend. When they go down for their naps, their stuffed animals all come to life and join them for a snooze.

But this night is different, because a flying saucer carrying living alien potatoes lands in the middle of an amusement park. These aliens -- escapees -- have come to Earth because they believe that babies are the dominant life form, treated like royalty and given anything they desire. With their Matter Exchanger (patent pending, I'm sure) they can change themselves into whatever they desire to be.

But when Gran takes the girls to the park so they can meet their favorite television super heroes, the Super Buds, the Matter Exchanger gets mixed in with similar-looking souvenir toys, and ends up making its way back to Grans house. While she tries to use it as a remote control, the girls are upstairs in bed wishing they had super powers like their idols. Zip, zap, and crackle, and the next morning they awaken with their wishes granted. Jade, who's always candy sticky, finds out that she's now super sticky. Yasmin, who's the first and fastest to wander away, now has super speed. Smart and bossy Sasha is now a genius who can read. And Cloe the crybaby now has a voice that can break glass. On top of all that, all four of them can fly.

The girls' super exploits bring them to the attention of the alien spuds, who lure them in with the plan to get their Matter Exchanger back from them. But the plan backfires, and the super tots capture the talking tubers, who then give a sob story about how hard life is back where they came from. The Bratz babies can commisserate, realizing that super-heroics is hard work, and they just want to go back to being babies.

In a tribute to coincidental timing, Gran chooses that moment across town to once again mix up the remote controls and press the Matter Exchanger. Suddenly the tubers are the babies they want to be (ugly potato babies, but still babies) and the Bratz are back to their normal but adorable selves. But in this state, they're no match for the aliens, who rush to Gran's house to be served like royalty -- and Gran's too nearsighted to tell that these babies aren't the Bratz! Now Sasha, Cloe, Yasmin and Jade have to come up with a pint-sized plan to put things back to rights.

Storyline aside (no one was expecting an epic, I'm sure), the animation on this DVD looks too much like it was done up for a specialized Sims game. It's not so much that it is CGI, just that -- in some places -- it's lazy CGI, most noticably when you see liquid that doesn't splash, and food that's eaten with no bites appearing. Apparently all the animation budget went into making the girls' fabulous tresses blow and flow like real hair.

This disc has a handful of bonus features, the first being a surprisingly cute two and a half minutes of bloopers, with the animated characters flubbing their lines and talking to the audience. After that, there's the "Super Who? Super You!" game, in which the viewer responds to multiple choice questions about their favorite colors, seasons, foods, etc. The game then responds with which super hero you are. I'm apparently "Climate Commander," given that I picked Spring, and told it my least favorite vegetable of the three presented was spinach. The girls go into detail about your character's abilities and personality, and a replay of the game shows that the same set of questions do not automatically appear, so there's some randomization going on.

The "Bratz Babyz Costume Creationz Fashion Game" is less than a game. It's not really even much of an activity. You can pick either Cloe or Jade, and then select one of three styles of bodysuits, capes, and glove/boot/mask sets. Your selected character then appears wearing the outfit in a still picture, while the girls tell you what a great design you made. Apparently they're all great designs, because I tried to get as garish as possible with the limited selections.

There are two songs selectable from the "Super Sing-Alongs": "Look at Us Now" and "Feel the Power" both are played throughout the movie, and the sing-along version shows clips while the karaoke style lyrics play along the bottom.

Audio for the feature presentation is in English, with optional Spanish subtitles.

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