Lots of kids DVDs have been released lately . . . including another riotous edition of "SpongeBob" and another quietly charming "Peanuts" cartoon.
— "SpongeBob Squarepants: Lost at Sea" (Paramount, 1999, not rated, $19.99). More hilarity from SpongeBob and friends, with nine episodes — including the double-length "The Sponge Who Could Fly" and other episodes from the VHS tapes titled "The Sponge Who Could Fly" and "Anchors Away." This is great stuff for youngsters, of course, but there are plenty of gags funny enough for parents to enjoy as well.
Extras: Full frame, audio commentary, storyboard, etc.
— "It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown" (Paramount, 1974, not rated, $19.99). Besides the title TV 'toon, this DVD also includes "It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown." Most enjoyable, in its own ambling way — for children and any other "Peanuts" fans out there.
Extras: Full frame, interactive game (for "Charlotte's Web 2"), etc.
— "Inspector Gadget 2" (Disney, 2003, G, $29.99). The first Inspector Gadget movie (made for theaters) wasn't all that great; a sort of kid-friendly "RoboCop," with Matthew Broderick in the title role. This one stars French Stewart (of "3rd Rock from the Sun"), who is a poor substitute at best, and it was made for video. Variations on the same lame gags ensue, but it's even worse than the first.
Extras: "Family Friendly Widescreen," audio commentaries, bloopers, deleted scenes, storyboard, music video, interactive games, etc.
— "Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure" (Paramount, 2003, G, $19.99). Ditto this sequel to the 1973 cartoon adaptation of E.B. White's beloved children's book about barnyard animals, in particular Wilbur the pig and wise, motherly Charlotte the spider. For small fry only, and even they may be bored.
Extras: Full frame, interactive games, etc.
— "Pokemon 4Ever" (Miramax, 2002, G, $29.99). This fourth "Pokemon" theatrical film doesn't look all that different from others I've seen, though it's being touted as the best of the series. If your child is a fan, it won't matter one way or the other. The plot has to do with time-travel and a "dark ball" that turns the Pokemon into evil creatures. Includes a new 20-minute "Pokemon" short.
Extras: Full frame, audio commentary, interactive games, trailers, DVD-Rom applications, etc.
— "Stanley: Spring Fever" (Disney, 2001, not rated, $19.99).
— "Stanley: Hop to It" (Disney, 2001, not rated, $19.99). The "Stanley" series is for small fry, educational and entertaining shorts about the world we live in, as seen through Stanley's vivid imagination.
Extras: Full frame, interactive games, music video, etc.
— "Baby Einstein: Baby Neptune" (Disney, 2003, not rated, $19.99). More "Baby Einstein" educational shows, this one focusing on water, from the bathtub to the ocean.
Extras: Full frame, discovery cards, on-screen aquarium, interactive games, DVD-Rom applications, etc.