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Running Time: 132 minutes
Starring: Mary Kate Oldsen, Ashley Olsen
Studio: Warner Bros.
Retail Price: $19.98
Features: Bloopers, Photo Gallery, Interactive Quiz, Trailers
Specs: 1.33:1 Full Frame, English Dolby Surround Stereo, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Chapter Index (6 Chapters)
Released: August 13th, 2002
The Olsen twins have finally entered the DVD market these past few months, and I'm scared. This is just the next stop on their quest for world domination I tell you! I'm warning you now, they're out to take us all down in their whirlwind of fashion, corny movies, makeup and cheesy teen antics! When will their madness end, if ever? Think what you want, but in this world, there are two kinds of people: you either love the tween antics of the Olsens, or you despise them. But let's be honest here: these twins are lucky. I must admit I've seen quite a few episodes of "Full House" in my day, and as legend has it, the only reason they were picked for their role as Michele Tanner is because at the auditions, they were the quietest. So, when "Full House" was finally canned off the ABC network in 1995, someone thought of a brilliant idea to captialize off them even more. The Olsens had an album and television movies and the like, yet their empire expanded further with a lot of direct to video series and the like. Basically, those around them saw them as something incredibly marketable, and built around it. Quite a smart move, if you ask me.
Basically, the twins have become a brand name with their own magazine, television series (the ABC one flopped a few years back, but this new one I'm about to discuss is going pretty steady), fashion line, video games... it's just amazing. And since people know who they are, and the things they put out appeal to quite a deal of pre-teen girls, it's a cash cow of sorts. It's not art. Pure business and some luck. As many know, they truly have a media empire, as they are worth over 500 million dollars combined. Kids and tweens buy into them for family entertainment, to be hip and I guarantee, IT'S ALL A PLOT FOR WORLD DOMINATION. I'm not saying the twins are not talented, I'm just saying their a marketing tool to make money as they take advantage of the amazing, large and mainstream audience they happen to hold. I suppose they were at the right place at the right time to create such an empire they take an active part in. It's not art, it's just pure chance and business that clicks with so many and works. I can't blame them, I mean, I wouldn't be complaining if I was as lucky as them.
As I just mentioned, a few years back, the duo had a sitcom on ABC entitled "Two Of A Kind." It was supposed to be a rebirth of them of sorts, but the show flopped. During the past years, the empire I just described had grown nicely, so it's no surprise the two would go back to try the sitcom world yet again. Fox Family, AKA ABC Family these days on cable, did just that. Without the pressure of competing in a primetime slot against other major shows, the show has gained an audience and done quite well for the network (even scoring only ONE of the twins an Emmy nod!). Still, from what I hear these days, the show is now on hiatus (who knows if it'll return).
This "family sitcom" so to speak is really aimed for the tween set. And boy, is it ever... uh, interesting. The series follows Chloe and Riley Carlson (the Olsen twins in a stretch of a role!). They have some butler dude who provides comic relief, their parents are seperated but are on friendly terms and they're pretty rich... which explains a lot, and a lot of this sounds like a typical California family in Malibu. So yes, the focus is on the sisters and their family somewhat, but more on their high school experiences.
How is the show? If you're young it's decent, I suppose. It's clean fun, but high school is not portrayed in an accurate manner here... not by a long shot. If high school was this easy for everyone, then hell, it wouldn't be such an intricate topic that would have to be discussed and stereotyped. Ironically, the show here is all high school stereotypes: first love, boys, driving, pressure of classes, etc. The only difference is that these clichés have been played out so many other times in so many other shows, only much better. And the so-called "jokes" are downright lousy. The acting is decent. The Olsen twins still don't do much (their antics in "dramatic monologues" are laughable), but I think the charming Taylor Negron is good here, doing his best to hold up.
Still, to capitalize on the show's success, Warner has now released two volumes of the show on DVD (and perhaps more to follow). This first volume, "School's Cool," has six episodes: "The Breakfast Club," "The Color of Monkey," "Girls Just Want To Have Fun," "True Lies," "Trading Places" and "Teacher's Pet." And yes, they all are named after films, aren't they? DAMN THEIR USE OF POP CULTURE!
"So Little Time" is presented in 1.33:1 full screen, and the results are pretty good. Detail is okay and color saturation is pretty nice. Fleshtones look rather natural. The way the show is shot is interesting... it's like a hybrid of film and video tape, like it's put through some kind of filter process. The transfers have a little bit of noise on them, plus they can be a tad bit grainy. There's also a somewhat faded out look to them as well, resulting in some softness. No matter, though... the key audience for this DVD probably won't even notice.
The English Dolby Surround Stereo track for the episodes are actually quite good. Despite their limitations, I was surprised how well everything sounded. The laugh track feels pretty natural in how it plays against what's going on in the show. The music brings a surprisingly strong ambiance to fill up some room in a pretty cool manner, while dialogue and sound effects are crisp and clear. Nothing groundbreaking, but fidelity is very high and the range of the material in sound is good for what it happens to be. Also included are English subtitles, French subtitles, Spanish subtitles and English closed captions.
Not much. There are some Bloopers for the episodes (and for some reason, they're in pure video tape. I wonder if the episodes are filtered a certain way for their look). In the end, there's a decent worth of stuff here, lasting a bit over eight and a half minutes. Amusing though? Not quite.
There's a standard Photo Gallery, an Interactove Quiz on episodes and tons of Trailers advertising other Olsen twins merchandise such as their video game, fashion dolls, website, cartoon, CD and other DVD/videos. Ugh.
"So Little Time"... is this the Olsen twin's best work? Not by a long shot. If you're a fan of the show, go nuts on the DVD releases. You're treated to excellent sound, good transfers and your usual, fluffy extras. The price for a volume is slightly steep, but if you gotta own 'em... you gotta own 'em.