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Title: American Girl: Lea to the Rescue

Movie: :2.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :2stars:

HTS Overall Score:72

The “American Girl” series has always thrived on one thing. Marketing marketing marketing. Just like “Monster High”, except aimed at only pre-pubescent girls, it has made a name for itself flooding the market with all sorts of dolls, books, films, toys, stickers, backpacks, the list goes on and on. The series has been what I like to dub as “wholesome kiddy fun”, much like “The Boxcar Twins” or “Valley High” series for young adults back when I was a kid (I know, I just dated myself). This time around it’s based off of the “American Girl” doll of the year, Lea, and has her starring on her very own girl power inspired adventure down into the rain forest after her lost brother. It’s a simple film, and definitely one that is NOT in my usual wheelhouse, but for the 8-11 year old girls it has enough charm, adventure and fun without turning into something a parent has to screen for all sorts of offensive content.

Lea (Maggie Elizabeth Jones” has just got back from the Brazilian rain forest with her family when they receive shocking news. Her brother Zac (Connor Dowds), who is still in Brazil on an ecological assignment, turns up missing. This prompts Lea and her mother to head back down to Brazil to find out what happened to their missing family member. To make matters more interesting, they find out that Zac had a girlfriend named Paula (Laysla De Oliveira), which makes Lea just a little jealous of the competition to her favorite brother’s affections. While the local police don’t seem to have a clue what is going on with Zac, Lea has a lead of her own. It seems that Zac was looking into poachers and their activities around the location and Lea is CERTAIN that they have caught her brother.

Paula is left in charge of Lea while the adults go off on their own hunt for Zac, but that won’t stop Lea, who’s just as desperate to find out what happened to him. Following leads in Zac’s little journal, the two girls head out on an adventure that will have them meeting up with poachers, natives of the rain forest, and all sorts of other adventures.

Simply put, “American Girl” Lea to the Rescue” is an adventure film (the first ever in the “American Girl” series) for the littler kids. It has a wholesome sense of fun and adventure without getting TOO slapstick or hammy, as others in the genre tend to be. However its’ also not going to be something that the whole family is going to want to watch outside of when little Jill or Lucy wants to pop it in the Blu-ray player. It’s cute and sweet, and something that has gotten quite a rep for being the mommy/daughter bonding experience for those who tend to use film as that medium, and I have to say it seems to fit the bill quite well.


Not Rated by the MPAA

Video :4stars:
“The Other Side of the Door” comes to Blu-ray with a very dark, but very pleasant looking 2.39:1 scope picture. It was shot using the Red Epic camera systems and looks very clean and precise, with great detailing in the Mumbai inspired setting. The movie is pretty much bathed in darkness, except for a few flashbacks and intermittent daylight sequences throughout the movie, and sports a very dark blue/teal color grading to complement the shadowy darkness and greys situated throughout the film. Black levels are usually good, but sometimes get crushed and milky, obscuring some of the shadow detail. There is also some softness that creeps up in the deepest darkest points, and while there really isn’t that much banding it does make some of the night time sequence a bit hard to see in. Overall a very nice looking transfer that looks right about on par with most digitally shot horror films.

Audio :4stars:
The 5.1 DTS-HD Ma is sharp and clear, allowing the imaging of the rainforest to breathe properly. Dialog is crystal clear, with no signs of distortion or any other abnormalities to speak of, although I did notice that the mix tends to be very front heavy, despite the more action oriented nature of the film (in comparison to the other “American Girl” series). Surrounds get some moderate activity once the girls go on safari into the forest itself, with some ambient jungle noises and the beating of drums in the native encampments. LFE is tight and clean, but fairly laid back overall and the entire sound mix appears to show its DTV roots at times. A pleasant experience, and done well, just not a wildly dynamic track.

Extras :2.5stars:

• Born for Adventure: Meet Lea Clark
• Star Power: Meet the Cast
• Welcome to the Rainforest: A Day on Set
• The Adventure Collection: Creating Lea's Style
• How We Did it: Animatronics in the Amazon•

Overall: :3.5stars:

“American Girl: Lea to the Rescue” is just what it sounds like. An “American Girl” film that has their first action movie in the spotlight. Instead of baking, horseback riding, or the like, Lea gallivants across Brazil in an effort to save her lost brother. There is childish fun, some horsing around, villains that don’t do much to scare the young ones in the house. It won’t be something I will pop in the Blu-ray player and grab a cold one with the guys over, but if you have pre-pubescent teen girls, then this is just the type of thing that will work as an electronic babysitter.

Additional Information:

Starring: Maggie Elizabeth Jones, Hallie Todd, Storm Reid
Directed by: Nadia Tass
Written by: Karen Bloch Morse
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, English DD 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1
Studio: Universal
Rated: NR
Runtime: 98 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: June 14th, 2016

Buy American Girl: Lea to the Rescue Blu-ray on Amazon

Recommendation: Recommended for the young ones

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