American Girl: Lea to the RescueOverview -
Born for adventure, Lea Clark heads deep into the Brazilian rainforest, where her most exciting story awaits. When Lea's brother, Zac, goes missing while studying the ecology in South America—and she suspects he's fallen prey to a band of ruthless animal poachers—Lea convinces her mom to spring into action. From the minute their plane touches down, Lea's mom wants her to stay safe in the city, but Lea is determined to save both her brother and the endangered exotic animals she loves! Will Lea come to the rescue of her brother before it's too late?
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
I'm sure if you're a collector or have a young sister, niece, cousin, or kid, you've probably heard or at least come across something from 'American Girl'. They're like the new 'Barbie', but they don't rely on the glitz and glamour that 'Barbie' does. The 'American Girl' franchise derives from a line of popular dolls that all have unique talents and promote girl power and strength. In 'Saige Paints the Sky', we saw a school arts program saved and some horseback riding, and in 'Grace Stirs Up Success', we saw Grace save her grandparent's bakery from closing, while competing in a reality show cooking contest for young kids.
Of course, in addition to the dolls, there are just about every product you can imagine that have the 'American Girl' brand on it, from stickers to books, to arts and crafts, and all the way to these movies. These films are basically a big sales pitch for the parents of these young girls to purchase everything 'American Girl', and really only appeal to that young age range. They are very family friendly films, so there's no need to check for any bad language, violence, or gore - although I think these films could use a bit of all those aspects.
This year, the film is 'Lea to the Rescue' and is the first film in the series of movies to actually feature an adventure of sorts, where the main young girl sets out into the wilderness of Brazil. No, nothing is ever suspenseful or thrilling, but the young crowd will eat it up for sure. Lea (Maggie Elizabeth Jones) is a young girl in grade school who loves her older brother and family. After a trip to the Brazilian rain forest, Lea finds out that her brother Zac (Connor Dowds) is missing, while he was on an ecological assignment. This has Lea and her mother, as well as Zac's new girlfriend Paula (Laysla De Oliveira) back in Brazil to find Zac and bring him back alive.
To add insult to injury, Lea is jealous of Zac's new girlfriend, due to Zac devoting some of his attention to his new love. I know, it's ridiculous, but the two are paired up to look for Zac and get into a few mild adventures, all while Lea is being a complete pain in the ass. There are snakes, traps, tribes, bugs, dancing, and some evil poachers that Lea must contend with. Everything is over-the-top, silly, and made for young girls. Nothing is truly entertaining for the adult crowd, but should be something that should satisfy the little ones for at least an hour or two.
The acting is the worse and the dialogue is on par with the delivery. The film, visually looks decent enough, but nobody is really likable in the film. Oh yeah, there is a fake sloth puppet in the movie too, which makes you laugh every time you see it. Again, this fits the bill for the fans, but everyone else won't enjoy the experience.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'American Girl: Lea to the Rescue' comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc and a DVD copy from Universal that is Region A Locked. There are two inserts included here. One is a coupon that gives you $10 off the purchase of the Lea doll and the other is the digital download code for the movie. The discs and inserts are housed in a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. Trailers play before the main menu sets up.
'Lea to the Rescue' comes with a 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The image has a crisp, digital look to the film and is not filmic whatsoever. It's harp vivid and full of color. Detail is quite sharp in both the closeups and most of the wider shots, particularly on location outside. Every strand of hair, feather, and scale on the snakes are easily seen and distinguishable. The trees and streets of Brazil are rich with detail as well, sometimes at a disadvantage as you'll be able to tell what's fake and what's real.
Colors for sure pop right off screen with all the bright primaries, however in some of the interior scenes, the colors look like they've been bathed in a light yellow tint. Black levels are deep and inky for the most part and the skin tones are natural, when in actual sunlight. There is some minor video noise, but other than that, this video presentation looks good.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and does a good job with most of the surround activities. This isn't a high-intensity track, but given that this is made for young girls, there is a well-balanced soundscape. When the heavier adventure scenes are in place, the bass picks up a bit and the surround speakers pick up all of the sound effects and rainforest ambient noises nicely.
I wouldn't say it's completely enthralling and immersive, but it gets the job done. Other than the heavier action scenes, this is a front heavy sound mix. The score and music pop with that bubble gum flavor, which should excite the girls and the dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow. There are no cracks, pops, hiss, or high shrills here, leaving this audio presentation with solid marks.
Born For Adventure: Meet Lea Clark (HD, 3 Mins.) - This is an interview with the young Maggie Elizabeth Jones who plays Lea in the film. She talks about playing the role and her character traits, as well as working in Brazil. It's short and sweet.
Star Power: Meet the Cast (HD, 3 Mins.) - Most of the female cast talk about girl power and being girls on the set of the movie.
Welcome to the Rainforest: A Day on Set (HD, 2 Mins.) - This has some behind the scenes footage of the first scene of the movie with some on set interviews with the cast.
The Adventure Collection: Creating Lea's Style (HD, 2 Mins.) - The costume designer of the film goes through the outfit changes in the film with clips of the movie spliced in.
How We Did It: Animatronics in the Amazon (HD, 2 Mins.) - Remember the animatronic sloth from above? Well here is an extra about how they made it.
Trailers (HD, 8 Mins.) - Four trailers for the other 'American Girl' movies, but not one for this particular film.
'American Girl: Lea to the Rescue' isn't a good film, but it will satisfy the young girl crowd for an hour or two. There are adventures, messages, and fun to be had here if you are under the age of 11. For the older adult crowd, you won't want to spend too much time here, however you won't have to worry about anything offensive in the movie, leaving your kids or young ones in the safety and fun of the film. The video and audio are both good and the extras should entertain it's core audience. That all being said, this adventurous 'American Girl' film is for fans only.
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