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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Nico Rijgersberg
Cast:
- Unknown -
Writing Credits:
Meg Martin, Norah Pierson

Tagline:
The Girls with a Passion for Fashion!

Synopsis:
All Yasmin, Cloe, Sasha and Jade can think about is the prom ... until they get a last-minute homework assignment on self-expression. How will they get ready for the funky formal and turn in a kickin' cool project? Leave it to "The Girls with a Passion For Fashion" to express themselves with a scorchin' home video about their superstylin' prom prep ... even as a secret columnist begins to attack the pack in the school paper! But with a lil' hard work and some far-out flash 'n' dash, the girls just might create a high fashion hit - and save the prom!

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Audio:
English Dolby 2.0
Spanish Dolby 2.0
French Dolby 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 61 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 8/3/2004

Bonus:
• Deleted Scene
• Bratz Bloopers
• Jukebox/Karaoke
• Bratz Love Horoscope
• Bratz Fashion Mall
• Bratz Trivia Game
• “Summertime Girl” Music Video
• TV Spot


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Bratz: Starrin' And Stylin' (2004)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 30, 2004)

For today’s Personal Moment of Humiliation, we head to the toy store. I collect a few action figure lines - yeah, I’m a geek - and periodically hit the shops. Inevitably, this leads me past aisles with lines that don’t interest me, so I know a little about toys that fall outside of my own collector’s realm.

This means that although I don’t collect the Bratz dolls or have any reason to get involved with them, I’ve seen them in the stores and have an awareness of them as a major competitor for Barbie. I guess they’re Barbie for the hip-hop generation, as they’re multicultural and more in tune with contemporary fashions.

However, the Bratz apparently go for the more flamboyant side of that street, which means some of their outfits don’t look like they’d fit in at your local 7-11. My friend Kevin was with me when I saw some male Bratz aimed at a prom theme. One wore a flashy purple ensemble that I instantly mocked since it looked like nothing any actual teen boy would wear. Frankly, it made the doll look like he’d be a lot more interested in the other male figures than the female ones, and I had a good laugh at the toy’s expense.

Until I noticed the name given to the doll. Just like the Barbie line, all of the Bratz have individual names. This one’s moniker? You guessed it: Colin.

Needless to say, Kevin had a grand time at my humiliation and even proceeded to drop the six bucks necessary to pick up the Colin doll. It now proudly sits on top of his living room TV, there to taunt me whenever I stop by his condo.

Much to my relief, Colin fails to appear in Starrin’ and Stylin’, the animated feature based on the toys. The Bratz line revolves around four female high school juniors: Yasmin, Cloe, Sasha, and Jade. Everyone gets excited when Cloe buys a car with her savings, and they all prep for prom night.

Snags enter the mix, however, through a variety of sources. A teacher assigns them a project to express themselves artistically and makes it due the Monday after prom, which doesn’t leave them much time. The girls get permission to do theirs as a team, and they use videotape to work it into their prom preparation.

A few other issues cause friction along the way. Cloe crashes her car, and rumors fly that prom organizer Sasha is going over the edge. Jade worries that she’s losing her fashion sense. The program follows the girls’ attempts to overcome these and other obstacles as they shoot for the perfect prom.

If you watch Season Four of The Simpsons, you’ll find a great episode in which Bart and Lisa write Itchy and Scratchy shorts. They eventually get an award nomination, and they go up against an episode of Action Figure Man called “How to Buy Action Figure Man”.

That’s how I felt as I watched Bratz. From start to finish, the show demonstrated absolutely no reason to exist other than to push products. The paper-thin plot exists for one reason: to put the girls in as many situations - and as many outfits - as possible. All those situations and outfits exist for one reason: to showcase all of the totally awesome toys the target audience can immediately go out and purchase. Hey, in the Internet age, they don’t even need to schlep to the local TRU to snag the dolls - just hop online and order them there!

Very few attempts to differentiate the personalities occur. We get token scenes in which the girl Bratz relate some minor notes; for example, we learn that Jade’s the one who shoots for cutting edge fashion. These blurbs feel like they’re copied straight from the toy boxes and it remains very tough to tell the difference between the girls. They have minor variations but essentially come across as the same character.

Not surprisingly, the animation falls flat. The program jerks and stutters through the material awkwardly. It avoids looking as bad as something like Pokemon, I suppose, but its cheap origins remain obvious, and the unappealing character designs don’t help. Of course, they’re based on the dolls, but the artists made some odd - and ugly - choices. While the dolls have noses, the cartoons don’t. Add to this other factors like their enormous mouths and the figures tend to look really freakish.

At times, I actually questioned if any humans worked on Starrin’ and Stylin’. It seemed more likely that they just dumped a bunch of toys into some big machine and it cranked out this inane product. There’s absolutely no sign of real human involvement to be discerned. Heck, it doesn’t even credit the voice actors! From the predictable and bland plot to the one-dimensional characters to the stiff and unappealing animation, this flick was a total dud.


The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C+/ Bonus C-

Bratz: Starrin’ and Stylin’ appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While not an ugly picture, the visuals never became much more than average.

Sharpness seemed somewhat erratic. Much of the image stayed acceptably distinctive and well-defined, but more than a few exceptions occurred. Wide shots tended to look slightly soft and fuzzy. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering popped up, but a bit of edge enhancement appeared throughout the movie. No source defects seemed visible.

Colors came across as mediocre. The hues remained reasonably clear but they lacked much vivacity or brightness. I expected livelier tones from this sort of project, but instead I got average colors. Blacks were good, though, as they seemed pretty deep and firm, while the smattering of low-light shots appeared appropriately concise. The image of Bratz wasn’t bad, but it failed to ever look very strong.

In addition, Bratz featured a decidedly lackluster Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack. Music dominated the field and offered fairly good stereo imaging. Occasional examples of effects cropped up from the sides and meshed together reasonably well, though the mix didn’t feature much activity. Surround material appeared virtually non-existent, as I noticed nothing from the rear; those speakers may have added some light reinforcement, but that was it.

Audio quality was acceptable but no better. Speech suffered from a weirdly distant sound, as it demonstrated its recording studio origins with more reverb than I’d expect. Still, the lines were intelligible and distinctive. Effects sounded clean and accurate, but without much life; they didn’t boast lively range and were a bit flat. Music fell into the same category, as the score and songs appeared listenable but lacked definition or depth. The audio of Bratz was passable but nothing more.

A mix of supplements fill out the DVD. We find one Deleted Scene. Called “The Haunted Elm”, this 73-second snippet comes from the part of the program right after Cloe’s car crash right before they find the skunk. It’s not good, but it’s no worse than anything in the final product.

Following the tradition of fake goof-ups from animated flicks like A Bug’s Life, Bratz Bloopers gives us 65 seconds of silliness. Actually, some of this could be seen as cut footage from the movie. None of it views the characters as actors, so it comes across more as outtakes from the segments “videotaped” for the project. It’s cute and fans of the show will like it.

Six complete songs appear in the Jukebox/Karaoke area. We find “After All”, “Summertime Girl”, “It’s Our Time In the Sun”, “Groovy You”, “Girls Rule the World” and “Clothes Make the Girl”. These can be heard with or without vocals, which allows for the Karaoke element. I didn’t like any of the tepid tracks, but if you do, this makes for a nice addition.

In the Bratz Love Horoscope, you select your sign and hear some alleged attributes of your personality. You also find out with which Bratz character you have the most in common. The “Compatibility” area tells you the prospects between you and a friend or crush when you enter their star signs. It’s a cute exercise at best.

An interactive feature, Bratz Fashion Mall lets you chose a girl and then select her outfits. Essentially it’s just a high-tech paper doll. The Bratz Trivia Game asks questions about the program. These require that you actually remember specifics about the show, which is why I missed a few. Nothing special occurs when you finish the game.

Next we get a music video for “Summertime Girl” by Melody Patron. This simply matches the song with a montage of clips from the show. Lastly, a TV Spot advertises the “Girls Night Out” Bratz dolls.

Of course, that’s pretty much all that Starrin’ and Stylin’ does. A commercial gussied up as entertainment, the show never manages to become anything more than calculated and bland product. The DVD presents decent but moderately flat picture and sound along with a superficial mix of extras. A mediocre DVD for a terrible product, I suppose some girls in the target audience might derive a little entertainment from this junk, but I certainly can’t recommend it.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.9784 Stars Number of Votes: 93
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