Saturday, May 31, 2014

Strawberry Shortcake: Fun Under The Sun

I have to admit a lot of the things that I review on the A GEEK DADDY blog really often have a more interesting connection for my son than my daughter based upon their personalities and likes.  So my daughter was thrilled when the newest Strawberry Shortcake DVD movie arrived in the mail from Fox Home Entertainment for our family to review.  STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE: FUN UNDER THE SUN with its tropical themes came at a great time as summer vacation for my kids is just beginning.

The synopsis for the DVD is:
Join Strawberry Shortcake and her berry best pals on some sweet sunshine adventures! Blueberry makes a berry big blunder when she overhears Strawberry and thinks her friend is taking all the pals on a tropical vacation.  After Blueberry makes some very funny attempts to make things right, Orange Blossom tries to build the girls their own fabulous resort.  When they all work together to make it Berry Bitty City-style, it's perfect, in fact that TV host Mavis Maraschino decides to do a segment on Cherry Jam right then and there! Will the girls ever get the Fun Under the Sun they've been dreaming of?

The DVD features three separate 22 minute episodes that all have a Fun Under the Sun theme.  In addition to entertaining their audience the shows also have some positive messages incorporated into their stories involving topics such as the importance of honesty and telling the truth, valuing friendship, and promoting imagination and creativity. The DVD also features some special features that include a music video titled "It's a Beautiful Lovely Wonderful Day" and Strawberry Shortcake themed coloring pages that you can download on your computer and print out. Talking about coloring pages, here's one you can have your kids enjoy (click to enlarge):

In the first episode, Blueberry overhears Strawberry talking about a tropical vacation and assumes that Strawberry is taking along all of her friends. The secret gets out and the girls become overly excited and start big getaway.

Blueberry discovers she heard Strawberry talk about the trip as her entry into a contest giveaway and realized it wasn’t an actual vacation. Rather than tell her friends the truth, she continues to make up stories about the trip, trying to discourage the girls from going. Eventually, she tells her friends the truth and all is forgiven.

In the next episode, Strawberry Shortcake and her friends are planning their big vacation before the end of Summer and discover the resort is closed due to bad weather. Orange Blossom comes up with a great idea: to create their own resort. The girls are so busy building the resort that they lost sight of the true meaning of the trip, spending time together.

In the final episode, the Strawberry Shortcake friends are packing their favorite belongings to take on their vacation when TV celebrity Mavis Marichino shows up to film a segment for her new show about the girl's resort.  Mavis drives the girls crazy enough that they come up with a plan on how to get her to leave so they can enjoy their vacation.

One thing I did notice while my children were watching this video was that there has been a significant alteration to the Strawberry Shortcake characters from their previous animated television series incarnation that my kids currently watch on Netflix.  In the previous animated series, the Strawberry Shortcake characters had a more elementary school aged vibe to them and were engaged in stories similar to what you might see in episodes of shows like Nickelodeon's Dora the Explorer or the Disney Channel's Doc McStuffins that were aimed at preschooler to elementary school age audience. My son and daughter both love to watch those shows. The Strawberry Shortcake characters are "grown up" in Fun Under the Sun and aimed at an older girl focused audience compared to the previous television shows.

In Fun Under the Sun, Strawberry Shortcake and her pals are portrayed more as tweens or teens. They are now very focused on being style-conscious and popular, things that are important to tweens and teens but not necessarily to younger children.  These new episodes on the DVD have more of a Barbie or Disney Princess vibe to them than the tom boy portrayal on the Netflix Strawberry Shortcake shows we've seen.  My son is always very interested and enjoys watching the Strawberry Shortcake animated series episodes on Netflix along with his sister, but he left the room a quarter way into the first episode of Fun Under the Sun to go play with some toys and never showed any interest to watch the rest of the DVD.  On the other hand, my daughter giggled throughout all three episodes and asked to watch them again right after the last one concluded.  So if you have daughters age 5 - 12, I'd recommend picking up the DVD to enjoy on a rainy summer day or to watch on a portable DVD player/laptop/tablet (digital version is also available) during a long vacation road trip or flight.  If you are looking for something to entertain a combination of girls and boys or children under the age of 5 this probably wouldn't be your best bet.

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE: FUN UNDER THE SUN DVD was released on May 13, 2014 and is available to purchase from retailers now.  The DVD also includes a digital download (via UltraViolet) for use on computers, smart phones, laptops and so on.

DISCLAIMER:  I received a complimentary STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE: FUN UNDER THE SUN DVD from 20TH CENTURY/FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT to review.  The views and opinions expressed are my own.  I was not mandated to write a positive review to receive the product.

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