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Lizzie McGuire 1 - When Mom Attacks

Magna/Magna . R4 . COLOR . 126 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Mums can be vicious things, but they mean well. Sorry, rephrase, they are good at being, well, mean. Seriously, where would any of us be without our mums? Obviously, we wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for them. The first six episodes of Lizzie McGuire spend time with the beloved Disney family theme, and the relationship between mothers and daughters. Now I can hear your whinging already – who am I to judge the mother-daughter relationship, but still this is the best you’ve got so sit down, stop your whinging and get ready for a male opinion on the matter. And yes, males can have opinions too!

Within every family, tensions can sometimes rise between various members, and the kids think they’re hard done by. C’mon, surely you can remember one argument or situation where you knew you were right yet kept getting told off? Well, if you can, then you know where Lizzie McGuire is coming from – she’s that kid who has the entire world against her. Well so she feels anyway. She has a geeky friend Gordo, total alternative friend Miranda and an archenemy Kate, an ex-best friend who acts just as if something stuck up her... uh, well, lets place a full stop here. Her brother, Matt, is an obnoxious, coy little bugger who just knows how to get under his sister’s skin and is the family con artist. Now don’t forget the happily married parents, who seem to be there just to make Lizzie’s life hell, although they do have a purpose, even if she can’t quite see it yet. However stressful, upsetting, annoying, embarrassing, humiliating and parents and brothers can be, they are an integral part of your own development from a child to a mature individual. But for all the teenagers reading this, remember that it’s not only you who is going through the changes – your parents have to learn to let go as well, something that some find hard to do.

This teenage series is the best thing to come out since Larissa Oleynik in Alex Mack, and Lizzie McGuire succeeds as it deals more with relationships rather than strange science experiments. Starring Hilary Duff, from Casper Meets Wendy, in the lead role of Lizzie, this series just takes off on a journey into her world, and also brings along her animated conscience just for fun too. Even for a guy this series is thoroughly enjoyable, and this disc gives you a taste of what’s to come in future episodes. C’mon Magna Pacific – give us more! The series just deals with issues that teenagers are able to relate to – crushes, assignments, jobs, parties, boys (or girls, depending on sex and preference), identity, popularity, rumours, geeks, sports, mothers, brothers as well as school photos. It has it all, as well as a fantastic cast and believable situations. It captures the heart and soul of growing up from the teenager’s point of view, and gives them the chance to see things from the other side, such as their parents, without actually being stressed out themselves with their own issues, giving them the chance to see that they are not always right, even if they think otherwise.

So enough hooplah, on with the episodes. Note that there are plot spoilers in these so just scroll down if you’d prefer not to read these.

101 - Pool Party
The pilot of the series starts with a bang as Lizzie and Miranda are invited to the hottest pool party of the year, except things aren’t quite that smooth at home when Lizzie finds out that it is her Grandmother’s 80th birthday that same day. So the true friends come out to play on this day as things just keep changing at the last minute, as they do. If there are any Sam Mendes or American Beauty fans out there, keep an eye out for the McGuire’s house – it’s just missing the red door...

102 - Picture Day
It’s school photo day and it’s just a disaster waiting to happen. Lizzie’s mum is a pain in the behind as she demands that Lizzie wears the sweater that her Grandmother knitted for her. Oh for the record, it’s red with a lovely unicorn on the front. But oh no, Miranda and Kate have their own war as they both have the same outfit – shock horror. Even Gordo is in trouble with his “look” before the photo is taken. Should he look cool? Or should he just be himself?

103 - Rumours
It’s an amateur Bring It On when Lizzie and Kate try out for the cheerleading squad, however Lizzie misses out. That night when Miranda and Lizzie are chatting online, Lizzie comments that it was only because Kate stuffs her bra full of tissue. But, Miranda accidentally sends this message to the entire school, starting a real war between Lizzie and Kate. So when Kate confronts the group about the message, Miranda shows true friendship and takes the blame for this mistake. Meanwhile, Matt hasn’t done his homework and doesn’t like the sound of a pop quiz so he fakes being sick. But Mrs. McGuire finds out he’s faking and makes sure that he gets better – a combination of good ol’ fashion remedies sure to make anyone better in a hurry.

104 - I’ve Got Rhythmic
In the years where everyone just has to be perfect in one area, Lizzie can’t find hers, yet suddenly has a calling to the geekiest sport imaginable – rhythmic gymnastics. But being perfect at something you’re not passionate about is nothing compared to being a B grade student for something you absolutely love.

105 - When Mom Attacks
It’s the overnight science camp, and Lizzie just can’t wait. However, then the over-protective mother steps in, packing toilet paper and all sorts of embarrassing condiments. But at the last minute the girls’ chaperone pulls out, so who better to take her place than Mrs. McGuire? However embarrassed Lizzie feels, Mrs. McGuire shows how cool she can be by taking the blame for a come-back prank the girls did to the boys. Meanwhile, the McGuire men have to fend for themselves, but end up destroying a few oranges, some hamburgers and the kitchen.

106 - Jack of All Trades
Matt has a new identity – M-Dogg, because he’s sick of being ordinary. However the McGuire parents have their own fun with that name, and give him a bit of a reality check. Meanwhile, Lizzie and Gordo swap science projects to try to prove that their science teacher hates Gordo, hence no As and only Bs. Yet hate is a very strong word, and teachers do, in the end, try to help you, not hate you.

  Video
Contract

The video is presented in a rather odd aspect, which is not anamorphically enhanced. When watching the series on a conventional television, the image looks fine in its 1.33:1 aspect, capturing the attention of the audience with funky animation and comic mental images. Colours are bright and vibrant, giving healthy skin tones and strong supportive tones. Blacks too are solid, delivering fairly strong shadow detail to highlight the image. Film grain comes in quite heavily at times, giving a slightly messy background, however this really isn’t too annoying. Being over two hours in duration, a layer change exists somewhere, yet this must be between titles as no pause can be notice during any of the episodes. Some slight aliasing and a faint softness to the focus are minorly apparent throughout, but nothing terribly distracting.

  Audio
Contract

The single Dolby Digital stereo English track is adequate for this television series and provides plenty to listen to, starting with some crystal clear dialogue. Accompanying the action on screen is a pop-based soundtrack featuring all sorts of artists including AC/DC (Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap), Nine Days (Absolutely (Story of a Girl)) and Smash Mouth with a cover of Why Can’t We Be Friends?. Bass levels are adequately strong, to support effects and the music, but really to be totally honest there is little to draw the audience in with the audio track – it’s nice, it’s neat however it’s nothing special.

  Extras
Contract

After the copyright information and Magna tags and so forth we are presented with some static menus that are in a full frame aspect with the theme song looping over the top. From here you can start individual episodes or go to the Scene Selections option to find two screens of three lists of scenes. When you’ve watched all six episodes you can take a peak at the extras which are limited to some biographies on Hilary Duff, Laline and Adam Lamburg which give a character run down and some background information, as well as a gallery of ten images.

In the form of DVD-ROM features we have a screensaver and a single wallpaper. Now there’s no nice and automated way to find these, so get searching in the root directory of the disc and you will find two files – one for the screensaver, and a bitmap image wallpaper.

  Overall  
Contract

Fans are going to be rejoicing as Lizzie McGuire finally reaches Australian shores on DVD. Magna Pacific’s transfer does the series justice with no serious flaws, but nothing really remarkable either. These six episodes introduce us to the world of Ms. McGuire and just whets the appetite for this reviewer for the remainder of the series, and all of this just in time for The Lizzie McGuire Movie’s late 2003 DVD release!


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      And I quote...
    "Mums can be vicious things, but they mean well. Sorry, rephrase, they are good at being, well, mean."
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Philips DVD 736K
    • TV:
          TEAC EU68-ST
    • Receiver:
          Sony HT-SL5
    • Speakers:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony SS-CNP2
    • Surrounds:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony SA-WMSP3
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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