As a family, we do not own cable, satellite, or any of those services. We do own DVDs and use a subscription service or two for streaming videos. Last fall, I stumbled upon When Calls the Heart, the series, or the first season rather on one such service and with my girls we curled up and watched episode after episode day after day. In years past I read the book which the series is based on with the name When the Heart Calls by Janette Oke. I enjoyed the book and the first season, thus when a review opportunity came up from FishFlix.com ~ (http://www.FishFlix.com) to watch a DVD featuring Movie 3 from Season 2, When Calls the Heart, Heart of the Family, I was ecstatic. The problem that I find with subscription services is that the material is always changing, while when you own it on a physical DVD you can watch it anytime and never have to be concerned about it going away. DVDs are always my preference.
What I have discovered is that while you can purchase the entire series as a collection for a hefty penny you can also get a movie length DVD featuring two episodes from the Hallmark Channel TV show. This Movie 3 that I have in hand features the fifth and sixth episodes from Season 2. The packaging is extremely attractive from images used to font quality and coloring. I am delighted to add this to my collection, and wouldn’t hesitate to allow my girls to watch it as to what I’ve seen.
I have to confess a bit of my opinion is based on the comparison facts that I know the book story (Mounty Wyn, not Jack… but hey you know, Hollywood.) Also, my experience with watching the first season. While jumping into this DVD I do find that I have missed bits of the story (as the TV series does not continue to follow the book series) so I am perhaps about four episodes behind on knowledge. Yet in the first season, Hope Valley is a poor, dirty, gritty, mining town where the majority of the male population has died in a tragic accident and this is where the new city-grown, heiress to fortune, Elizabeth Thatcher comes to the frontier to become a school teacher where she believes she is needed and meant to be by God’s guidance. The story was set in typical frontier historical sepia tones and work-ready dresses of calico. Thus, I am completely shocked by the vast appearance changes with near designer clothing, full makeup and nearly no scenes with Jack in his Mounty uniform – baffles me.
The costumes and designs are gorgeous and time appropriate, but more to my opinion what you would find in Boston or the modest neighborhoods of Philadelphia, New York, or even P.E.I. in 1910, not in a small ‘poor’ mining town in the Canadian western frontier. Everyone’s outfit seems to be a brand new purchase and that stands out to me rather than just being a portion of the visual story. But, it’s beautiful and doesn’t ruin it for me. It’s enchanting to imagine a life when people did go for more than a tv shirt blouse and jeans on a daily basis city or town.
The specific DVD that I was blessed to be able to obtain and watch is very tactful and fully family friendly. There are some romance bits and a kiss, but no more than a giggle and grin would benefit of a reaction. Romance is a big theme here with Abigail and Bill, Elizabeth and Jack, Elizabeth and Charles, Clara and boy from the market, and Rosemary and Lee, as well as random two scenes with Elizabeth’s sister and a beau. Definitely more romance than what I recall to the stories, but all happy, cute, TV episodes to enjoy. In the end, I am definitely still left with a desire to see what will happen next because of course it has to be Elizabeth and Jack, even though there isn’t anything really wrong with Charles…
This is my first experience with FishFlix.com and I am very pleased. This is a great cast of characters and I enjoy the story that they are bringing to the film stage and to life for the imagination of viewers. As a person who grew up watching such stories of life in the wilderness of a certain Boston doctor moved to Colorado Springs who met with adventure and romance… I am delighted to find new and good quality things to put on our TV for my girls to watch as they grow. It is entertaining and a bit educational to the time and location to present a view of what it might have been like for those in the past.
In our family, we watched this DVD on a blu-ray player. While I didn’t make any changes, it appears you have the options for 2.0 stereo or 5.1 Dolby Digital sound. There are also English or Spanish subtitles available in the menu. While you can go directly to scene selections, I chose to click play and this took me to two or three previews before directly starting the film (or episodes). The two When Calls the Heart episodes in question are edited to continue in a legato flow that a viewer would not even notice they were separate episodes if not looking for it. The bonus features include one behind-the-scenes interview with new character Nora Avery and a sub-menu for seeing more trailers and previews for other family-friendly films (as far as I can tell).
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