DVD
The Little Polar Bear
Lars and the Little Tiger

Starring (voice): F. Rothchild, Megan Wicks and Cindy Robinson
Warner Home Video
RRP: 12.99
Z1 71665
Certificate: U
Available 06 February 2006


Lars, the little polar bear, travels to exotic places, including a harbour city, the Tiger Forest and Colour Island. Along the way Lars finds new friends including Nemo the seafaring cat and Theo the little tiger. Follow Lars and his friends on their incredible journeys...

Lars and the Little Tiger is marketed as a feature length animated movie. In actuality it is three shorter adventures that are stitched together - a fact that is so obvious it makes me wonder why they didn't just run them as three separate stories.

The first third of this DVD sees Lars get caught in the net of a large trawling ship. Once onboard ship, he befriends the ship's cat, Nemo, who promises to show Lars the sights of his home town when they dock. Meanwhile Robby the little seal, who saw Lars captured by the fishing net, follows the trawler thanks to a surprisingly helpful (seals are one of the main food sources for killer whales in the real world) killer whale called Orca. Robby meets up with Lars and then the two return home.

In the second adventure, Lars goes to investigate a train that has stopped near his home. Once inside one of the goods wagons he discovers a little tiger called Theo. Theo explains to Lars how he has come from Tiger Forest by mistake - he jumped inside the train when it stopped there. Then the train starts up again, and both Lars and Theo are on the move. They eventually pluck up the courage to jump from the moving train and then set off for Tiger Island. In the meantime, Lars's father is on their trail. Lars and Theo finally make it back to Tiger Island and discover that both of their fathers have already met, while both out looking for their offspring.

The final story sees Lars's parents getting tired of the little polar bear's stories about Colour Island. But when a beautiful butterfly arrives they start to wonder whether Lars wasn't telling the truth all along. Lars's dad decides that he and his son will get on an iceberg and travel to Colour Island to see if it exists.

Now, here comes the anorak in me... but I couldn't quite fathom why the DVD producers had ordered the stories in this way. Surely the Colour Island story should have been the first tale - as Lars's father has already travelled to Tiger Forest in the previous story, why would he not believe that there is a place out there where the landscape is not all white? Even the youngest of viewers will spot this continuity error.

Extras include a two minute interview with the scary looking sound effects creator, Helmut Kowanda, and a seven minute look at how some of the animators draw their characters. While these are both interesting they don't seem to be very well thought out, and both features stop suddenly.

As this release is aimed at the very young it's very hard to find fault with it. It tells three heart-warming, if somewhat similar (Lars leaves his home to visit a foreign land, and gets home before tea time) tales. The animation is above average, and the stories are just short enough that small minds won't start to get restless.

An above average release that will keep small children entertained.

Amber Leigh

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£9.74 (Amazon.co.uk)
   
£9.99 (Blahdvd.com)
   
£9.99 (Thehut.com)

All prices correct at time of going to press.