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Christ Centered Gamer Blog

This blog contains non-gaming related reviews and random ramblings

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: It's a Beautiful Day Collection

Thank you PBS for sending us this 4 DVD collection to review!

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood ran from 1968-2001 and has 895 episodes (excluding specials). It’s hard to select just thirty episodes from such a large collection, but this sampling is pretty good. My only complaint is that they’re not sequential, so the trips to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe are not always coherent as they often have multiple segments that need to be played in order to get the complete story.

The last disc has the very first episode which is in black and white. Mr. Rogers looks so young and his hair was mostly dark back then. Some of the same actors appear in the colorized episodes, but there were many changes since then. The later episodes still have the same puppets in Make-Believe, the same house set, and even the same fish tank. It's great to see that some of the final episodes are also present in this collection.

Many great memories returned when viewing these episodes again later in life. I wish that this collection was available when my kids were younger. The positive and encouraging messages and lessons are timeless. Kids should definitely know that they’re loved just the way they are.

Throughout the fourteen-and-a-half hours of content, you’ll get to see many famous writers, musicians, and singers showcase their talents in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I was impressed with the musician who played Amazing Grace on a saw! You’ll also be able to accompany Mr. Rogers on many exciting field trips. During a trip to the zoo, Mr. Rogers gets to help feed a panda.

With the way Mr. Rogers encourages and talks to your kids through the television screen, your child will be engaged and feel good about themselves. Programs this wholesome are few and far between these days. The normal price for this set is $19.99 but I have seen it on sale on PBS’ website for $12.99. Amazon sells it too for even less.



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Anne of Green Gables - Fire and Dew

Thank you PBS for sending us this DVD to review!

Fire and Dew is the third installment from the Anne of Green Gables PBS movie series. It picks up a year after the previous movie where Gilbert vowed not to speak to Anne again after she chose her friends over him. Anne is not pleased with his behavior and finds it difficult to ignore him as they are academically equal and both selected to attend an advanced class to prepare for and apply to Queen’s Academy.

Anne is quite studious and applies for the Avery scholarship along with Gilbert and her friends hoping to earn it as well. Though Matthew and Marilla have budgeted for Anne’s education, they did not plan on their bank with all of their funds to be investigated and in danger of closing.

At Queen’s Academy, Josie is flirting with all of the boys and especially with Gilbert. Other emotions come into play as a character dear to Anne dies in this movie. All of us watching the movie got misty-eyed during that part.

As a result of the loss of a loved one, Anne has to make some difficult choices regarding her future education and employment. Anne is growing up fast and has many accomplishments to be proud of at the tender age of fourteen. I like the theme of forgiveness and sacrifice and hope to see more installments from these classic books. If not, I’ll have no choice but to read all nineteen of them to see how it ends.

Like the other movies, Anne of Green Gables - Fire and Dew is available to stream for free for Amazon Prime members. The DVD is also available to purchase from the PBS website for $14.99.


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Anne of Green Gables - The Good Stars

Thank you PBS for sending us this DVD to review!

Anne is settling into her new life and is acclimating to school and her household chores, though she’s not too fond of geometry or chickens. Out of all of the girls in school that Gilbert tends to tease, he seems to fancy Anne the most. She’s not too keen of his antics, but eventually she warms up to him. As she spends more time with Gilbert, her friends are a little upset and feel neglected.

Upon turning thirteen, Anne feels that she has some difficult choices to make and seeks the council of the adults in her life. Marilla urges Anne to be sensible while Matthew wants her to pursue romance. Anne also learns that loyalty is more important than honor and makes a difficult decision as a result. Unfortunately, the movie ended before we could see the impact that it made. Thankfully, there’s still one more movie left in the series for us to watch.

It’s pretty safe to say that my kids and I are hooked on this series. So much so that we’ve decided to do like Anne did and bake an apple pie from scratch for Thanksgiving this year. However, we’ll be mindful of the time and not let it burn. Like the previous movies, there are several funny mishaps that Anne must learn from. As usual, most of her mistakes are innocent ones and she tries to right any and all wrongs that she has done.

This film is family friendly and even has some Bible stories told by the newly married pastor’s wife. Forgiveness is a strong theme in this ninety-minute film. Like the rest of the entries, it’s only available in DVD format. It’s a shame since this island is so beautiful and can really benefit from Blu-ray visual enhancements. Either way, it’s still worth checking out for free on Amazon Prime or buying for $15 on PBS’ website.



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Anne of Green Gables

Thank you PBS for sending us this DVD set to review!

Anne of Green Gables was written by L.M. Montgomery and published in 1908. The book has sold over fifty million copies and has been adapted into several films. PBS first aired Anne of Green Gables on November 24th, 2016. This 90-minute movie stars Martin Sheen as Matthew Cuthbert who lives with his sister Marilla on a beautiful farm called Green Gables. They’re not getting any younger and can use some help with their chores and seek to adopt a boy to live with them.

Instead of a boy, Matthew and Marilla are greeted by a chatty redheaded girl named Anne Shirley. Matthew is more welcoming than most others that Anne meets, but even the meanest people are nicer than those that Anne dealt with growing up. She was physically punished in orphanages and lived with a family that had a drunk and often violent husband.

As rough as her past was, her future is looking bright at Green Gables and Anne gets to experience many firsts while living there. Her first friend, prayer, church service, school, and even ice cream! There are many humorous moments that my family enjoyed while watching this film together.

This movie is the first in a three-part series and I look forward to watching the rest with my children. The visuals are stunning, but are limited to the DVD format. I wish it was available on Blu-ray for even more vibrant colors. The acting is superb and there are many likable (and unlikable) characters that I look forward to being further developed in this series.

If you’re a fan of the book or for some wholesome family friendly entertainment, you should check out this film. Amazon Prime members can watch it for free as part of their subscription. PBS also sells the DVD on their website for $14.99.



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She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

Thank you DreamWorks for sending us a cape, tiara, pins, and glitter to decorate it all with!

She-Ra has been around since the mid-eighties. He-Man was geared for boys and got a motion picture. Over thirty years later She-Ra and the Princesses of Power gets its own animated Netflix series courtesy of DreamWorks.

The series begins with Adora, a hard-working Senior Cadet who quickly advances in rank because of her efforts. She’s an orphan and has some close friends including the troublemaking Catra. In order to cheer up Catra who is jealous over Adora’s new rank, they take a “borrowed” ship for a spin and crash it into a forest. In the forest, Adora sees a sword that’s calling for her to fulfill her destiny and fight for the honor of Grayskull.

Adora doesn’t hold a high regard for princesses; little does she know that she is one herself! When Adora uses the sword that has been calling for her, she transforms into She-Ra, a very powerful princess and a force to be reckoned with. It’s nice to see a princess that can hold her own in battle without needing the help of some wandering prince or plumber brothers.

The episodes are twenty-four minutes in length and are action packed. The characters are likeable and often have funny lines. Their voice acting is well done too. The animation is simple but nice.

My kids, including my son, enjoyed watching this show. If you have Netflix and younger kids, you should definitely look into this series. I didn’t pay much attention to She-Ra growing up so I can’t say how true to her story this series is. My brother grew up playing with He-Man so I’m familiar with some of the characters and I look forward to getting reacquainted with them.

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Secrets: Jonah and the Whale

Thank you Smithsonian Channel for sending us a screener to watch!

The Secrets TV series is in its fifth season and since we don’t watch much television around here, this is the first time I’ve watched an episode from it. This season premiere caught my attention, as I love watching archaeology reinstate what the Bible has written. Sadly, the title is a bit misleading as there isn’t much evidence or talk about the whale in this episode other than the possibility of it being merely “symbolic.”

The rest of the episode is pretty informative and interesting. On July 24th, 2014 in an attempt to cover up history, ISIS bombed what is believed by many to be Jonah’s tomb. Instead of erasing history, they exposed more of it! Under the tomb are many tunnels which are dangerous to explore due to possible bombs and collapsing. The tunnels are also prone to flooding so the chance to recover the many relics buried within is fleeting.

Inside of the tunnels are various inscriptions and ancient Assyrian Lamassu sculptures. The tomb is located in Mosul which was Nineveh 2,500 years ago. The archaeologists are convinced that Nineveh’s leader was Esarhaddon who claimed his throne by conspiring with his mother to kill his father. He definitely fits the bill of being an evil king and with Nineveh being Assyria’s capital, it would make sense that it was a sinful city. Though references to Esarhaddon are found within Jonah’s tomb, not everything adds up.

In II Kings 14, Jonah gives counsel to Jeroboam II who died in 742 BC. Esarhaddon died in 669 BC. While other sites claim to be Jonah’s resting place, this show assumes that the Bible is errant by the verbal transcription process that took over 250 years to complete instead of summarizing that this tomb may not actually be Jonah’s. Given Jonah’s disdain towards the Ninevites, I doubt he would want to be buried among them. There are many possibilities and explanations. I’ll leave the rest up to you if you wish to watch this episode and TV series.

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Garfield’s Halloween Adventure

Thank you PBS for sending us this DVD to review!

Garfield’s Halloween Adventure contains two twenty-five minute cartoon episodes with only the first one being Halloween related. The first episode begins with Garfield being rudely awakened by Binky the Clown’s TV show. Surprisingly, Garfield joins him in doing a few jumping jacks before getting annoyed with him. As he shuts off the television he realizes that it’s Halloween and looks forward to collecting a lot of candy with Odie as his sidekick. The duo dress as pirates and even sail across town in hopes of getting more candy, but they find themselves in a haunted house on a deserted island instead.

The second episode isn’t Halloween themed but it does involve everyone dressing up for a pet talent show competition. Jon, Garfield, and Odie won a local talent contest that gave them $1000 and a chance to compete in Hollywood. The local competition was a pushover compared to what was waiting for them in Hollywood. In order to increase their chances of winning, Garfield devised a plan that would remove Jon from their group. Unfortunately, this plan involved destroying some of his personal property.

The luxurious Hollywood lifestyle made an impression on Jon, Garfield, and Odie. While Garfield embraced it, Jon didn’t want them to be overtaken by it. Jon’s advice to Garfield was very wise and he said, “No matter the outcome, they will still have each other.” I won’t spoil the results of the contest.

This DVD sells for $6.99 on Amazon and it’s worth picking up for Garfield fans. If you don’t like ghosts and celebrating Halloween, you may want to skip this DVD. The sound and visual quality isn’t the greatest, but my kids enjoyed these classic episodes regardless. The songs in the episodes are catchy and Garfield’s antics are funny as always.


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Star Wars Rebels: The Complete Fourth Season

Thank you Click Communications for sending us this Blu-ray to review!

Star Wars Rebels takes place fourteen years after Revenge of the Sith and tells the story of the origin of the Rebellion as the Empire slowly takes control of the galaxy. This series is in its fourth season and it has already been announced that it will be its last. This Blu-ray set contains two discs and 353 minutes of entertainment. In total, there are fifteen episodes and some exclusive extras.

The fourth season begins with Sabine Wren, a Mandelorean trying to rescue her father who is a captive of the Empire. She has the help of Ezra Bridger, a Jedi, and his Jedi Master Kanan Jarrus. The Mandeloreans wear Boba Fett style armor which has significant sentimental value as well as defensive properties. The armor is passed down for generations and is being targeted by a prototype weapon being used by the Empire. Despite the risk of being incinerated, the Mandeloreans continue to wear the armor regardless.

While the Rebels have a common enemy, they are not unified by much else other than bravery. The main characters tend to go above and beyond what’s required of them. For example, instead of stealing just the flight recorder from the latest Tie Fighter Prototype, Sabrine steals the whole ship! Different Rebel parties have different tactics and they often conflict with one another and usually complicate the missions further.

There is plenty of humor and a little bit of romance. Kanan has difficulty trying to kiss his alien girlfriend, Hera Syndulla, without getting interrupted. Other than kissing, you can expect to find epic lightsaber and spaceship battles. No blood is shown, only destruction.

The characters are likeable and each of the twenty-five minute episodes kept the interest of my son, daughter, and me. If you’ve enjoyed the previous seasons, then you should definitely check out this finale.


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Little Women

Thank you PBS for sending us this Blu-ray collection to review!

The book Little Women was originally published as two volumes in 1868-1869. It was written by Louisa May Alcott and is loosely based on her and her three sisters. As popular as this book is, I still have yet to read it. I am, however, glad to have seen it in the recently released television series.

There are three episodes that are roughly an hour long each. My family was hooked after the first one and we watched an episode a night until it was finished. Even though the main characters are girls/women, my husband and son enjoyed their stories and felt for Laurie who had his love advances thwarted on several occasions.

Each of the sisters has a different personality yet they generally get along pretty well with the occasional spat here and there. Meg is the oldest sister and is quite social and beautiful as she attends various balls and festivities in town. Jo (Josephine) is rather tomboyish and wishes that she was born male. She’s strong willed and an excellent writer. Beth is gentle, sweet, and great at playing the piano. Amy is the youngest sister and is a good artist.

The March family is blessed but they still have their struggles. In the beginning of the series, the father is away at war and later becomes quite sick. The mother is good at keeping peace in the house and instills charity and other valuable lessons to the girls. I like how they tend to a family in need by offering their Christmas meal to them. When the mother gets word of her husband’s illness she leaves to tend to him. The girls fare pretty well but have some serious health hurdles of their own to contend with.

I won’t spoil any more of the story in hopes that you check it out on your own. The acting is well done and Angela Lansbury does well at contrasting her Ms. Potts role in Beauty and the Beast for a cranky old aunt in this series. The characters are likable and relatable in this film. I could relate with some of the sisters more than others though. I highly recommend this series for those like me, who have been meaning to read the book. The DVD sells for $15 and the Blu-ray can be yours for a little over $22.


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LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures Complete Season Two DVD Set

Thank you Click Communications for sending us this DVD set to review!

The Freemaker family has been known for their expertise in salvaging and repairing ships for the Rebel Alliance. Occasionally, they’ll be assigned to rescue missions when the need arises. The youngest family member, Rowan, is a Jedi in training who has caught the attention of the Empire. So far, Lord Vader’s attempts at capturing him have failed. The Emperor has commissioned a new prototype robot soldier named MOC to accomplish the task.

Lord Vader is concerned about his job security and tries to trip up the robot as much as possible in this season. In order to earn back the Emperor’s trust, Lord Vader must rebuild the Death Star. Everything is in place with the exception of some special crystals. Rowan is also looking for these crystals to complete the ship he envisioned called the Arrowhead. While searching, Rowan encounters an alien race that worships the crystals that their ancestors left in their care. Rowan befriends a girl that doesn’t believe in the Force or her family’s religion.

Who will secure the highly volatile crystals first and complete their project? You’ll have to watch this twelve episode season to find out. The DVD set consists of two discs with six episodes on each one. Since this show is geared for kids it’s pretty family friendly. There is space combat and cartoon violence. When it comes to language there is some name calling including terms like Scum Weasel and Nerf Herder.

My son and I both enjoyed watching this show. The humor and storytelling can entertain adults as well as children. We’ll have to catch up on the first season now which is available in Blu-ray or DVD formats. I’m not sure why the second season is only available on DVD. Both seasons can be purchased on Amazon.



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Luminoodle Color Bias Lighting

Thank you Power Practical for sending us this product to review!

The Luminoodle helps reduce eye strain for watching TV or playing video games late at night in a low light environment. The Bias Lighting comes in two flavors (white and color) and three different sizes (1M, 2M, 3M). The 1M length is designed for TVs and monitors up to 30" while the 2M length is intended for TVs and monitors up to 55". If you have a TV bigger than 55” then you’ll want to consider the 3M model. We were sent the $29.99 3M color model to review. The white model is $10 cheaper in comparison to the similarly sized color one.

luminoodle

Installation is pretty easy though the double sided tape may come off on the product while trying to remove the protective tape. The LED strip is powered by the TV’s USB port but Power Practical also sells an external USB power adapter on their website if you don’t have a USB port available.

You can power off and change the dimming/lighting modes through the remote that comes included with the product. The CR2025 battery for the remote was installed, though you have to remove protective tape to get it working.

 

luminoodle

There are R(ed), G(reen), and B(lue) buttons on the remote to switch to those colors. Variations of those colors can be achieved by pressing the mode button. Despite all of the nifty options, I still preferred white. There is an option available that to me was very difficult on my eyes, and that was something like a strobe light. I'm not sure what the purpose of this option is, but it may cause seizures.

After learning all of the options available with the remote, I am quite happy with this product. If you’re a night owl like me, you may want to consider picking one of these Luminoodles up.


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Power Rangers Super Megaforce: The Complete Season DVD Set

Thank you Lionsgate for sending us this DVD set to review!

Following the cliffhanger ending from the Power Rangers Megaforce DVD Collection, the Super Megaforce season resumes with the Earth in peril from an enormous alien fleet invading it.  The Power Rangers have exhausted all of their options and need a way to drive back the invaders.  In this series they learn to harness the powers of the legendary Power Rangers from the past. 

Fans of previous seasons will recognize the costumes and abilities used in this season.  I feel old knowing that this series has been running for twenty years now.  Some of the abilities used are from the following shows:

  • Mighty Morphin
  • Zeo
  • Turbo
  • Lost Galaxy
  • Lightspeed
  • Time Force
  • Jungle Fury
  • Ninja Storm
  • Dino Thunder
  • Mystic Force

Some of the cast members of the older series reprise their roles in the movie, The Legendary Battle, which is on the fifth DVD in this set.  The interviews of the cast in the extras are worth watching too.  My son enjoyed all of the discs and is looking forward to the feature film coming out this spring.  Unlike the show, the upcoming movie looks to have some decent special effects!

The characters and actors remain the same from the previous season and their friendships continue to grow and get tested as they face challenge after challenge.  Even on their day off, the Power Rangers get summoned to save the world yet again.  There are some good lessons including valuing and trusting your friends even when they are not in agreement with you.  There are some losses that the Power Rangers have to endure and even though some of their team may disappear, they are not completely gone or forgotten.  

Aside from the fighting, the only other moral concern is that the Power Rangers get “in tune” with their spirit animal to harness the power of the Jungle Fury rangers.  The good outweighs the negative in this series and I can see why this show has kept on going over the years.  For less than $10 you can own and enjoy this series which is mostly complete with the exception of a couple of holiday episodes.

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Your Brain On Video Games

Thank you Daniels Murphy Communications for sending us a screener for this special!

It has long been debated about the effects of video games on the human brain.  Do they make people more violent?  Can they be addicting?  Are there practical uses for them?  The BBC’s special Your Brain On Video Games which premiered on the Science Channel on November 1st, 2016 set out to answer all of those questions.

More and more violent video games are coming out every year and despite the bad press they are receiving, they only account for 5% of the games that are released.  There are 1.2 billion people in the world who play video games and a majority of them are over thirty-five.  Many of them have been gaming since their childhood and video game addiction is only attributed to less than 1% of them.  Gamers who play extended gaming sessions every day (on the tune of 20 hours a week) did not scientifically qualify as addiction through both the use of personality tests and brain scans.  According to Valerie Voon from University of Cambridge, one of the indicators of video game addiction is requiring instant gratification in many real life scenarios.  

Many professors including Craig Anderson and Doug Gentile from Iowa State University and Brad Bushman from Ohio State University have studied the effects of playing violent video games and how they raise levels of aggression.  Their findings indicated that after playing a violent video game the aggression level of college aged students showed an increase between 4-9%.  Studies have also revealed that gamers are desensitized to real world violence after playing violent video games.  

Despite the desensitizing and slight aggression level increases there is no direct correlation of video games influencing violent crimes.  In fact, many of the professors featured in the special believe the opposite.  They believe the routine activities theory is taking place where less opportunities are available for potential criminals since they are too busy playing video games instead of committing crimes.  

Besides possibly preventing crimes, video games have been shown to restore cognitive brain function in three different areas of the brain.  The game used in the study was Super Mario 64.  Therapeutic games have also been developed to help retirees restore brain functionality. To prove their effectiveness, the patients have scored better than twenty year olds playing the same game for the first time!  

Video games could possibly save lives too.  A custom game has been developed that is used to train prospective keyhole surgeons.  Be warned that there is some surgery footage shown and it’s pretty gritty.  I guess I haven’t been completely desensitized in my thirty plus years of gaming.  I recommend this show to any concerned parent or gamer interested in the impact of video games on their friends and family.

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Power Rangers Megaforce: The Complete Season

 

Thank you Lionsgate for sending us this DVD set to review!

This is the first time my kids have watched Power Rangers and they enjoyed this series.  My son more so than my daughters, though they related with the female rangers.   This collection ends in a cliff-hanger and is missing the holiday episodes so I wouldn’t really consider it complete.  However, the less than $10 asking price is still pretty reasonable for twenty episodes and seven hours of entertainment. 

The first episode introduces the high school students soon to be the next generation of Power Rangers.  Troy, who becomes the red ranger, is good at handling adversity and is a martial arts expert.  Gia, with her calm demeanor, morphs into the yellow ranger.  Emma is Gia’s best friend and appreciates nature; she transforms into the pink ranger.  The nerdy, but likable Noah becomes the blue ranger.   Last but not least is Jake, who is strong, has a crush on Gia, and turns into the black ranger.

The character development is decent and held the interest of my daughters while my son likes the battle scenes with the insect-like alien invaders.  The special effects are cheesy and make Sharknado look like Avatar.   Each episode features a new insect-like invader with a different method to thwart the Power Rangers and to take over the world.  Thankfully, their plans get squashed every time until the final episode.  I won’t know the result of the epic battle until the next season of the Super Megaforce Power Rangers.

One thing I can count on is that the battle formula doesn’t change much.  At first the Power Rangers try to subdue the invader with hand to hand combat.  If that doesn’t work they start to use their weapons and then switch to their mega weapons.  If more force is necessary then the Zords come out and ultimately combine into the Mega Zord to finish off the attacker.

While this show has a lot of tacky special effects and violence, it does teach some good moral lessons as well.  The value of friendship and team work is shown as crucial to a successful outcome.  Believing in yourself is also expounded upon along with the value of honesty.  

There is much to like in this DVD set for current and future Power Ranger fans. I know my kids enjoy the show and that the epic theme song gets stuck in my head shorty after hearing it.   My children are looking forward watching the next season.

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Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales

Thank you Click Communications for sending us this DVD to review!

Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales first aired on Disney XD in the summer of 2015.  With its recent DVD release, everyone can now enjoy the retelling of the Star Wars saga from C-3PO and R2-D2’s perspective.  The overarching story is that R2-D2 has been kidnapped and while chasing after his captor C-3PO recalls and shares his adventures with different audience groups during some downtime.  This 115-minute DVD is broken down into five episodes and here’s a quick summary of each one:

Exit from Endor – The victorious rebels are celebrating and Luke Skywalker sees the ghosts of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Mace Windu.  At the campfire,C-3PO recalls the story of Anakin’s childhood and run in with Qui-Gon Jinn and Queen Amidala.  Extra comedy is added into the retelling of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones including several severe injuries of Jar-Jar Binks and Darth Maul’s overuse of the word awesome.

Crisis on Coruscant – While still tracking down R2-D2’s whereabouts, C-3PO shares his version of what happened in Revenge of the Sith.  General Grievous and Count Dooku “kidnap” the emperor in order to lure Anakin to join the dark side.  Darth Vader makes his appearance in this episode.  On a lighter note, Yoda’s line, “Oh heck what the” cracked us all up.

Mission to Mos Eisley – C-3PO heads to Tatooine to track down R2-D2.  He reminisces about A New Hope where he and R2-D2 are sold to Luke Skywalker after all of the other robots scavenged by the Jawas mysteriously break during their inspection.  Luke Skywalker begins his Jedi training with Obi-Wan and Yoda and later destroys the Death Star.  At the end of this episode, C-3PO reunites with Chewbacca and continues his quest of rescuing R2-D2 from his mysterious captor.

Flight of the Falcon – C-3PO retells the events from The Empire Strikes Back to Chewbacca and Nien Nunb as they head to the old Battle Droid Factory.   The rebels faced the wrath of Darth Vader after destroying the Death Star.  Luke trains with Yoda in Dagobah and hilarity ensues.  Han Solo got a little terse with C-3PO by telling him to shut his protocol hole.  By the end of this episode, R2-D2’s captor is revealed and both robots are in danger of being recycled into battle droids.

Gambit on Geonosis – While C-3PO and R2-D2 are stalling for time, C-3PO shares the events in Return of the Jedi with the interested Stormtroopers.  Han Solo is freed from his carbonite prison and the rebels have to deal with Jabba the Hutt.  While Luke is portrayed with two different colored hands, the details are not revealed in this series.  In the end, R2-D2, General Ackbar, and the Ewoks save the day and provide a happy ending.  

My kids enjoyed this series and I recommend it for any Lego and Star Wars fans out there.  While it’s not as funny as the other Lego Star Wars DVDs, it’s still worth checking out.  The DVD sells for less than $13 on Amazon.


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Touched by an Angel: The Complete Series

Thank you BH Impact for sending us this DVD set to review!

Touched by an Angel began in 1994 and was almost cancelled after its first season. However, it was brought back for eight more seasons after the fans of the show wrote enough letters to change CBS’ mind.  During season’s three through six, Touched by an Angel was one of CBS’ highest rated series.  While it was nominated several times for the Golden Globe Awards it never won them.  It did however win multiple Outstanding Drama Series awards, and rightfully so!

The series begins with a couple of angels named Tess and Monica.  Tess is Monica’s supervisor and Monica is a newly promoted “case worker” who lends a helping hand to people in dire situations.  The show doesn’t pull any punches with the topics it discusses.  There are shows about alcoholism, drug addiction, AIDS, cancer, teen pregnancy, racism, homosexuality, and that’s just within the first couple of seasons!  While many of the shows are kid safe, some of them have serious themes and minor language that may not be suitable for young children.   I am happy to report that intimate relationships are eluded to and not explicitly shown.

I also like how this show displays God's love and even though we may be going through tough times, God never abandons us.  It also makes it clear that tough times are not necessarily a punishment and our mistakes still have consequences despite repenting and being forgiven for them.  The angels are not depicted as being perfect either; both Tess and Monica let their pride and emotions get to them and they get set back on track and confess their sins and make amends.  Andrew (from season two on), the angel of death, often appears in the show as well.  His appearance doesn't always mean that someone is going to die, but it's usually the case.  

Throughout the nine seasons and fifty-nine DVDs in this set there are numerous guest appearances from many popular celebrities including Bill Cosby, Celine Dion, Montel Williams, Randy Travis, and Wynonna Judd.  I also like how the show’s finale has guest characters from the first season reprising their roles and bringing closure to this inspiring series.   

Despite the low picture quality of the first couple of seasons, the stories are timeless.  Widescreen format is not available until the final season!  The musical talents of Della Reese (Tess) and other guests is a pleasure to listen to and the writing is excellent.  Some of the episodes will bring tears to your eyes so keep some Kleenex handy!

The complete series retails for $145 but is available for less than $90 on Amazon.  That’s a great price for over one hundred and sixty-five hours of inspiring entertainment.


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My Little Pony Friends Across Equestria

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Odd Squad: Dance Like Nobody is Watching

Thank you PBS kids for sending us this DVD to review!

The Odd Squad is a government agency that’s run by kids.  Their mission is to investigate and rectify strange occurrences and to keep everyone safe.  All of the agents have names that begin with the letter “O”.  Field agents Otto, Olive, and their boss Miss O., are in each of the six episodes on this 90-minute DVD.  As the title suggests, each episode is musically themed and most of them use math logic to solve the perplexing mysteries in their neighborhood.

Here’s a break-down of each episode:

Dance Like Nobody is Watching – The agency is under a lockdown as their alarm system got triggered.  Their scientist, Oscar has put many booby traps in place and has long forgotten their patterns.  Otto gets to show off some of his dance moves while de-activating a tricky laser trap. 

Sound Check – There’s a hot boy band called Sound Check and all of the townsfolk and agents (except for Olive) are digging their new single – “Take Away 4.” The problem is that whenever people hear the song, four of their items disappear!  

Sound Check Part Deux – Sound Check is back, well at least one of the members is.  The Odd Squad has to help put the band back together by locating the missing three members.

Case of the Sing Alongs – The mayor has developed an unusual habit of singing and dancing at public events.  The Odd Squad has been called in to figure out why and to put a stop to his strange behavior.

O is not for Old – The agency wants to throw a surprise birthday party for Miss O.  Everything is set up except for the forgotten present and birthday cake.  Oscar can produce them quickly if the group can decide on what type of cake and present to give her.  Olaf’s suggestions for potatoes for both are not very helpful. 

Mystic Egg Pizza – The pizza delivery girl and egg sandwich delivery guy have discovered that pieces of their products show up missing after they are placed into their delivery boxes.  The Odd Squad is called in to follow some leads and crack this tricky case.

My kids enjoyed this show and its wacky humor.  Besides entertaining, it teaches logic and math concepts like fractions and graphing/charting.  I highly recommend this DVD which sells for less than $10 on Amazon (Affiliate link).

 

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Dear Sofia: A Royal Collection

Thank you Disney for Sending us this DVD to review!

Dear Sofia: A Royal Collection DVD features six episodes with wonderful life lessons and special appearances from popular Disney princesses to aide Sofia in times of trouble.  This 114-minute DVD is available on Amazon for less than $13 and is well worth it for any princess loving girls out there.  

Here’s a breakdown of the six episodes on this disc:

  • The Amulet and the Anthem – Sofia is randomly picked to sing the Enchancia Anthem and the privileges that go with it get to her head.    Her friends that were hoping to get picked get tired of her bragging and leave Sofia to her duties.  The only problem is that Sofia suddenly becomes cursed to randomly ribbit!  She discovers that this curse is from her special amulet.  Despite apologizing to her friends, the curse is not lifted.  Admirably, Sofia does not disobey her father to give the amulet to Cedric to undo the curse.  Instead, Belle comes to the rescue and helps Sofia and her friends feel better.  
  • Princesses to the Rescue – Princes James and Jin stumble upon a treasure map of the Jade Jaguar.  They set off to locate the treasure doubting the existence of the Jade Jaguar.  When the kings find out, they set off immediately to stop the young boys.  Unfortunately, they all get caught in the same trap together.  With the advice of the mage, the princesses set out to rescue them by taking a side entrance into the jaguar’s cave.  The path is perilous and all but Sofia want to give up.  Mulan shows up and encourages them to keep going and to think outside of the box to solve many obstacles in their way.
  • Winter’s Gift – Sofia made a wand holder for Cedric, but after hearing him complain about the useless gifts he had received in the past she doesn’t deem her gift worthy and sets off to find another.  On her journey with her rabbit, Clover, they meet a fawn named Winter who is cursed.  Whatever or whomever Winter touches, becomes frozen in enchanted ice.  In order to undo this curse, Winter must appease the mountain witch with a nice gift.  After failing at offering a gift, princess Tiana appears and teaches them that gifts from the heart are worth more than any material thing.
  • Two to Tangu – The princesses are heading to a party and risk taking a magic carpet instead of their royal carriage.  Unfortunately, they get lost on the way and end up in the town’s marketplace instead.  A fortune teller there gives them directions but the two princesses still manage to get stranded because their magic carpet has yet to be tamed.  Jasmine appears and teaches them how to tame their carpet and the princesses discover that some risks are worth taking.
  • Minimus is Missing – Princess Amber is struggling to learn how to ride a flying horse and is on the verge of giving up.  After a lunch break they discover that all of the flying horses have gone missing!  While searching for their horses, Amber learns how to fly a gryphon and learns that sometimes it takes a few tries to learn something, but it’s always worthwhile in the end.
  • Cool Hand Fluke (bonus episode) - Sofia visits and offers to throw a party for the merpeople.  However, Fluke is jealous of Sofia  and tries to one up her and her friends.  In an attempt to get a pearl, he winds up stuck in a giant clam.  When Sofia and Flip rescue him, he is ungrateful and doesn't care that Flip was injured during the process.    Upon learning that mantacorns shed their horns once a year, Fluke gets the (bad) idea to take an old horn to replace Flip's broken one.  Again, Fluke gets trapped and upon rescuing him, everyone learns that jealousy is bad and that asking is always better than taking.


I like how each episode teaches one or more valuable lessons.  Better yet, they're not overly preachy either.   As an added bonus, there is some stationary bundled with this DVD collection.  My daughters, despite getting older,  enjoyed the stationery as well as the episodes.


(Amazon Affiliate Link)

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Lego Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles

Thank you Disney for sending us this DVD to review!

Almost everyone likes Star Wars and kids love Legos.  So mixing them together is a match made in heaven.  Add in everyone's favorite characters with their famous lines, a solid script, and it'll be 92 minutes well spent.   The humor in this series had both kids and adults cracking up.

Darth Vader had many funny moments with his voice getting messed up due to a short in his wiring.  His cape also got in his way often and choked him while flying his pod racer.  Another great moment was when he scolded a storm trooper for being clumsy and then tripped over him!  I dare say that these episodes are more entertaining than the original movies.

Here's a synopsis of the four episodes in this DVD:

  • Escape From The Jedi Temple - Luke and his friends are nearly captured by Darth Vader and after they escape, Yoda and Obi-Wan's ghost believe that further training with the help of the Holocrons is required.
  • Race For The Holocrons - Luke Skywalker needs to retrieve the Holocrons that Obi-Wan hid to complete his Jedi training.  Darth Vader is looking for them as well.  Who will get to them first?
  • Raid On Coruscant - With the Holocrons in their possession, the Sith empire can locate and root out the Rebel Alliance.  The Rebel Alliance must fight back to re-claim the Holocrons.
  • Clash Of The Skywalkers - After the Sith's defeat, the Sith set out on a mission to put an end to Luke Skywalker for once and for all.

My kids and I are now officially fans of this series and highly recommend checking it out on TV or in its DVD form.  The DVD sells for less than $13 on Amazon and is worth every penny.


(Amazon Affiliate Link)

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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