The Teddie Bear may have been named after President Theodore Roosevelt, but the two most famous teddies in children’s literature come from England, not America: Winnie the Pooh and Paddington Bear. This week, Paddington comes to home theaters on Blu-ray and DVD, featuring perhaps the most sophisticated blend of live action and animation yet. Ben Whishaw gives voice to Michael Bond’s beloved character, a Peruvian bear that was found at Paddington Station in London by a family who decided to care for him. Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins headline the live-action cast, while Imelda Staunton and Michael Gambon lend their voices to Paddington’s animated aunt and uncle. It’s rated PG for mild action and rude humor.
For families with older kids there’s 50 to 1, the PG-13 story of a group of New Mexico cowboys who raise blueblood eyebrows when they bring their horse, Mine That Bird, to compete in the Kentucky Derby. There’s alcohol use, mild swearing, and a bar brawl, but no sex or sexual situations except one instance of a man “getting fresh.” But the story of a group of underdogs who race an underdog horse is a compelling one. As I said in my review, this low-budget film may not be as flashy or talent-rich as Seabiscuit (2003), or Secretariat (2010), but I liked it every bit as much. In fact, I’m surprised that Sony Pictures is releasing it on DVD only, and not high definition Blu-ray.
Then there’s the loosely plotted story of a single mother who, upon realizing that her six-year-old son is a genius, tries to raise him in a way that will help him to grow and develop. Starring Jodie Foster as the mom, Adam Hann-Byrd as the boy, and Harry Connick Jr. as an adult student who teaches the lad a few non-genius things, Little Man Tate explores the relationships and world of a gifted child and his average-intellect parent. This week Olive Films is releasing the PG-rated film—Foster’s directorial debut—on Blu-ray for the first time.
That’s it, really, unless you have little ones who are fans of My Little Pony and Franklin and Friends. This week My Little Pony Tales: The Complete TV Series comes to DVD, which sounds like an impressive package, but this isn’t the original 1986 series. Rather, it’s the 1992 follow-up that lasted only 22 episodes, which is confusing, since the press information on this DVD release lists 13 episodes for a total of 285 minutes. Still, if you have a fan of My Little Pony, they’ll want to watch these episodes.
Franklin and Friends: Deep Sea Voyage takes the popular children’s book characters on a Magic Schoolbus-style adventure. But you can wait until Sunday, May 3, to decide if you want to buy the DVD, because it will be telecast that afternoon on ABC Kids network. Consult your local listings for the time.