I literally cut my eyeteeth on Frog And Toad, not only the books but the audiobook as well. Which makes it all the more strange that I had not seen this show until I was older. The
narration, which is done by Arnold Lobel just like the narration on the audio tape/CD, is so beautiful that one could fall asleep to it (or at least I could as I have done many, many
times while listening to the audiobook). The clay animation style is also really nice and really fits with the tone of the books. Finally, the voices for Frog And Toad go with them quite nicely, even if Toad's voice is just a touch gravely for my taste (at times he almost sounds like he has laryngitis). All in all, another fine addition to the beautiful world of Frog And Toad. PS: This
review was posted on my grandfather's birthday. PPS: I notice they seem to have made Frog And Toad Are Friends and Frog And Toad Together but not Frog And Toad All Year, what is up
I honestly enjoyed the first 10 Land Before Time movies, some more than others and none can beat the first, which is one of my favourite movies ever. I wasn't expecting much from this one based one the title alone (also, mini longnecks, seriously), but nor was I expecting it to be as bad as it was. For one thing, the animation has experienced a severe downgrade; with the visuals
being glaringly bright and the colours are washed out to the point that it feels nauseating. I also don't like any of the songs this time around (the only one I can even remember is the dad song which, while relatable, just has a grating pitch to it). But the worst part is that Littlefoot is completely out of character. Littlefoot is the heart of the previous movies but here he comes across as a brat, for lack of a better word. But with all that said it's not the worst Land Before Time movie, that award goes to Wisdom Of Friends. I gave the movie 2 stars instead of 1 because I like the message about respecting all forms of life and I like Tria, Cera's new stepmother. But Journey Through The Mists has a similar message and Tria appears more later on.
There are literally no words to describe this movie. First of all, who's idea was it to take this tragic story and turn it into a cutsie musical lovefest? What's next, Chernobyl: The Legend Goes On? Second, I could get past it being a musical if the songs were any good. The rapping dog song made me pause the movie for a full 10 minutes before I could muster up the strength to continue
and looking back I should have stopped there, although I suppose I could listen to that song when I'm sick to induce vomiting. The animation, if you could call it that, struck me as lazy fill-in-the-blank faire and I swear some of the colours seem faded, smudged, or even unfinished. But the worst part, and this is saying something, is the rather astounding numbers of characters
and moments ripped right from Disney or Bluth. Cinderella is the most obvious one but there's also a group of Dalmatians and a pair of bungling thieves and their leader who's a lady with striped hair (101 Dalmatians), a family of Russian mice (An American Tail), a kleptomaniac bird (The Secret of NIMH), the rapping dog looks suspiciously like Jock from Lady & The Tramp,
and Sherlock Holmes even makes an appearance. I'm honestly surprised that the iceberg didn't get to sing in this mess that steals from several from better movies. The one star is for the song Hold Me.
While it's somewhat easy to draw comparisons with Teletubbies, In The Night Garden is in a class of its own, a far better one in fact. The idea behind this show is to bridge the gap between running around and bedtime, which I think it does quite admirably. Episode begin with a scene of a young child being lulled to sleep which then shifts to series protagonist Iggle Piggle sailing
his little boat to the Night Garden, a magical realm of fun and wonder. Besides Iggle Piggle, there's also Upsy-Daisy, Makka Pakka, the Tombliboos, the pint-sized Pontipines, and the big billowing Hahoos. There's also an assortment of activities that our cast gets into such as playing with the Ball or riding around on the Ninky-Nonk (a train) or Pinky-Ponk (a zeppelin). Makka Pakka also always finds a way to wash various things like the Ninky-Nonk, Pinky-Ponk, Ball, or his little bike and Upsy-Daisy will try to kiss everything and everyone. The overall atmosphere is just so restful and relaxing to the point where it sometimes makes this 22-year-old reviewer sleepy. Unlike the admittedly uncanny-looking characters in the oft-compared Teletubbies, this bunch actually looks soft and lovable, especially Iggle Piggle with his equally comfy-looking blanket and the pillowlike Hahoos. The narrator also provides a soothing, almost grandfatherly, presence. I wonder where this is filmed, it's beautiful.
I really enjoy the Koala Brothers. It's quite adorable, both in terms of look and story. The Koala Brothers, Frank and Buster, have two things that the rest of their outback friends don't. They have a little plane and they have each other. Knowing this, they vow to make it their life mission to always try to help everyone else. Friends such as Ned Wombat, Mitzi Possum, Archie Crocodile, Josie Kangaroo, George Turtle, Sammy Echidna, Alice Platypus, and Lolly Emu
are all always eager to receive help from the titular brothers. The gang are sometimes joined by Penny, a penguin who occasionally visits the outback. She makes penguin noises instead of talking but the koala brothers or their other friends translate for her. The koala brothers also have a helping song that they sing and their friends sing it as well. The helping song is quite cute
and catchy, as is the theme song in the middle of which a narrator always asks who the koala brothers are going to help today. Finally, the animation is top-notch, one of the finest examples of stop motion that I've seen. You really can't go wrong with The Koala Brothers.
"I have this little sister Lola. She is small and very funny" so begins every episode of Charlie & Lola. This line basically sums up any episode: Charlie has to navigate through Lola's funny antics and find ways to help her try new things. Indeed, these may as well be the arc words for the show itself. One such example can be found in the episode I Will Not Ever Never Eat A
Tomato. When Charlie is tasked with giving Lola lunch, she proudly lists off all the things that she absolutely refuses to eat, including carrots, peas, mashed potatoes, fish fingers, and especially tomatoes. But not to worry,
because Charlie will always find a way to get the stubborn Lola to try
something new. This is just one example of the loving sibling relationship showcased here: although he may become exasperated, Charlie is always ready to gently guide his sister through life and most episodes end with the laughter of a twosome enjoying each other's company. The animation is that of a simple cardboard cutout style, but it's imaginative and pays an amazing attention to detail. It also helps that it's nearly identical to the art style of Lauren Child's beloved picture books. Add to that superb voice acting, enjoyable side characters like Marv and Lotta, and a catchy theme song. Pure delight.
I must confess that I had forgotten about Boj until I recently found it on Youtube. When I saw Boj on Youtube it all started coming back to me. The show is about a young bilby (a mouselike marsupial) who moves from the Outback to the bustling community it Giggly Park. There he meets new friends like Mia, Rupa, Denzil, and Gavin. This group, along with their respective parents and Mr Cloppity, gather together to do various things like camping out and putting on concerts. Whenever something goes awry, Boj digs a tunnel to his house to get some supplies to help with whatever the problem is. For example, bringing a new drum or a paper roll to use as a telescope. The theme song is very catchy and entertaining, especially with the didgeridoo at the very beginning and end. I also like how the voices are done by children; and Havyn, Michael, Anthony, and Emily (Rupa, Denzil, Gavin, and Mia respectively) do a good job with their respective roles. It's also nice to a such a little known creature get a starring role. If you have never seen a picture of a bilby I highly recommend that you look for a picture or video with bilbies because they are some of the cutest things you'll ever see. All in all, an underrated gem.
I admit I wasn't too keen on Paw Patrol when I saw it for the first time, but it later grew on me. The pups themselves are cute and funny, I have a particular soft spot for Sky. Many of the Paw Patrol's missions are also kind of cute, such as making the world's biggest pizza or helping Chase overcome his fear of the dentist. I must say I agree about Alex being annoying (he was actually the main reason why I didn't particularly care for Paw Patrol the first time I saw it), but it doesn't detract enough to make the episodes featuring him completely unwatchable. In fact, despite Alex's prominent role in the dentist episode is actually one of my favourites because you get to know the members of the Paw Patrol better by hearing about their fears. Heck, I have anxiety about the dentist so I'm just like Chase. Overall, not a great first impression but I'm glad I
watched it anyway. I find that I have a soft spot for kiddie shows that emphasize teamwork (Wonder Pets, Bob The Builder) and each Paw Patrol member's skills are valued. Each character has certain qualities that make them special but it's all of them combined that save the day, whether that calls for Rubble's digging, Chase' sense of smell, or Zuma in the water. One thing, how come the pups can talk but the animals they rescue can't?
Although I personally don't find it as enjoyable as Friends Are Never Far Away or Dancing In The Clouds, I still found Runaway Rainbow to be somewhat enjoyable. Everyone is preparing for the Rainbow Celebration and the first rainbow of the season and Cherilee has been teaching Rarity how to summon the rainbow. But Rarity accidentally uses the magic wand to transport herself into the Breezies' home where she befriends them. Later, she ends up getting homesick and has to find a way home just in time for the first rainbow of the season. The animation is just as nice as in the others that I mentioned. It is a bit sad when the colour leaves and everything looks all drab, but rest assured even when I first saw it I knew that all the colours would somehow come back, and come back they do. I like Spike in this and the Breezies are pretty cute. The
songs aren't the most memorable but are still nice. Overall, I don't think it's as good as Friends Are Never Far Away, Dancing In The Clouds, or even A Very Minty Christmas.
Like with my Springtime With Roo review, I originally wanted to post this review on or near Halloween but I didn't have the time. So here it is now instead. First things first, I think Lumpy's adorable and his voice is really sweet, as is the story of him learning to be courageous. The one thing that disappointed me, and the main reason why I didn't rate it higher, is that when Roo tries to unscare Lumpy by telling the story of how Piglet learned to overcome his fear it literally just plays the second half of Boo To You Too. I would have preferred if there were simply silent flashbacks from Boo To You Too with Roo narrating over it or even better simply have Roo summarize how Piglet learned to be brave. That quibble aside, I find that I rather enjoyed
A Heffalump Halloween. I already mentioned enjoying Lumpy overall and it's always nice to see another Halloween episode since, at least in my experience, even the worst holiday episodes are at least watchable. Finally, and I know I say this every time I review something Pooh-related, but I just love Winnie the Pooh and everything associated with it.
I wasn't expecting much from Candyland: The Great Lollipop Adventure, but I decided to give it a go anyway. In all honesty, I'm glad I did. It may not be anything spectacular, but it is nice and has some very genuine moments such the ending and Jib saying goodbye to his mother. The songs are better than expected, although none of them really stick out, the animation is colourful, and there are even a few funny moments such as "what is this goo?" and "there's more than chocolate in that swamp." There are also some great lessons like helping others and being on time. In terms of critique, the animation is a little too colourful. Everything is very bright even when it's supposed to be dark. Also, while the songs are better than I thought they would be, there's still not much to them. But for the most part, I'm glad that I saw it. Overall, it may not be one of my favourites but it has some sweet moments and little kids will definitely like it.
I wasn't expecting much from Hero of Colour City but I was pleasantly surprised. There isn't much to it, but it's cute and there is some funny dialogue such as when Green complains that the crayons' young owner draws like a six-year-old to which Blue points out that he is a six-year-old. The theme of overcoming fear was also a welcome addition and the music was quite nice. I
couldn't help but think that there were some questions left unanswered such as what happens when the crayons wear down and whether each crayon box has its own individual world inside or if they all lead to the same world. The animation is a mixed bag. On the one hand, there is a mysterious lack of motion blur. On the other hand, the animation itself, while not what it could
be, is very expressive and vibrant. On the whole, The Hero Of Colour City turned out to be better than I was expecting. While not without its flaws, but most of them stem from things not being explained as much as they should be and I can't help but think that it could have been better if the world inside the crayon box and how it all works had been better explained. But for what it is, I liked it more than I was expecting and I can certainly see little kids enjoying it. As a bonus, the movie is partnered with the non-profit The Crayon Collection, which donates crayons for kids in need. I give it 6/10.
Like Once Upon A Time in the West, Pinocchio 3000 is an idea that could have worked but simply doesn't. That's not to say that it's horrible; there are some redeeming qualities. I like the idea of adapting old stories such as this for a futuristic setting (think Treasure Planet), it just wasn't done well here. Pinocchio himself looks very awkward with a realistic mouth on an otherwise metallic head and several other characters look similarly awkward. Scamboli (or is it Scamboni, I couldn't tell) appears to have toilet plungers on his head and there was no reason for the fairy to have that weird seahorse-ish lower half. The dialogue is mostly subpar and sometimes painful, while also raising too many questions such as in the scene where Pinocchio and Marlene are seeing who can imagine more and Marlene gets the medal yet Pinocchio is able to calculate that he imagined more, although I did kind of like the ant-arctica joke. I won't go into too much detail but there's quite a lot of things in this movie raise more questions than they answer. The voice acting for Scamboli was surprisingly good but everyone else has an annoying voice. I'd suggest AI for a much better take on Pinocchio-as-a-robot. I also wouldn't mind seeing Unit 12 get a movie.
I must confess that I wouldn't have even heard of this movie if it weren't for Bobsheaux. Honestly, I'm not surprised that I couldn't find it anywhere else because I'm honestly not sure where to begin with this one. While I liked the idea of having a standard fairytale with a cast full of cute animals (not unlike Disney's Robin Hood) the execution leaves a great deal to be desired. Moving this old tale to a wild west setting was also something that could have worked
but again it simply didn't do much for the movie itself. For one thing, the animation certainly doesn't help. Although Cinderella looks pretty good, especially in her feathery blue dress (I know this sounds borderline blasphemous but I almost prefer deer-Cinderella over human-Cinderella
appearance-wise), almost everything else looks absolutely cringeworthy. There are even a few cameos of creatures that look more like vegetables than animals. The pirate subplot had absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the story; and also, pirates in the desert, seriously? Prince Vladimir is interesting but has an annoying voice and the duchess is probably the best character (not that that's saying much); but honestly, those are they only characters I can
even remember. I can't even remember most of the characters, the story was all over the place, and the animation is bad enough to make some animals look like vegetables (unless this is a world where animals and vegetables coexist). All this just disappoints because it could have been so much more. Not terrible, but disappointing.
If I could describe Romeo & Juliet: Sealed With A Kiss in one word, it would be "OK." It's debatable whether OK is a word but that's beside the point. I came into Sealed With A Kiss expecting it to be pretty bad, but was surprised to find that it was better than I thought it would be, not great or even particularly good but not horrible either. Don't come in expecting Romeo And Juliet because this is more a light introduction for the 3-6 crowd. Besides the fact
that all the characters are seals (aside from Friar Lawrence, who is an otter for some unexplained reason), there's a somewhat happier ending and some characters are either combined or eliminated entirely. Paris and the Prince are combined into the seal prince and Tybalt and the Nurse are nowhere to be found. Anyway, not as bad I as was expecting but still something of a mixed bag. One the one hand; the animation is quite nice (especially considering it was done by only one person), there were some good character designs, most of the characters were likable enough, and the Kissy Fish was cute, although I wasn't a fan of the voice. As for the bad points; while most of the character designs were good but the Prince looked oddly phallic and while I like the Kissy Fish's design, her voice I found irritating. I also wasn't too keen on the
songs and honestly thought that this could have just as easily been without them. Also, I would have Tybalt and the Nurse to be at least mentioned, but at least it's not missing nearly as many characters as The Black Cauldron. Overall, I thought it was just OK; not all that good but not as bad as either people say or I was expecting it to be.
I have certainly made no secret of how much I enjoy Winnie the Pooh and that I have a particular soft spot for Tigger. This entry is certainly a worthy one in the Winnie the Pooh pantheon. All's Well That Ends Wishing Well: OK so Tigger is just a wee bit out of character here but is still fun to watch and a source of some really funny quotes. Aside from a minor mistake wherein Pooh's birthday hat appears to teleport, the animation is also well done. Luck Amuck: Another episode where Tigger steals the show, plus some hilarious lines like "We can't let him leave. Not for seven years! He'll miss my birthday!" Rabbit going done the drain still makes me laugh. Stripes: This is probably the most emotional episode of Tigger-ific Tales. The animation is beautiful as always and Tigger is at his most likable here, with his song being a standout. I do wonder exactly how Tigger lost his stripes since he just seems to wake up
without them but I love the message that Tigger gets accepted with or without stripes. That little bug is also adorable by the way. Overall, Tigger-ific Tales is yet another sweet collection of witty, charming stories.
Blue's Clues is a classic in childhood entertainment and honestly it's kind of a wonder that I didn't review it sooner. There's a lot to be said about just great the show is and even those who have never even seen it have at least a passing knowledge of what its about. The basic plotline of every episode is that the titular blue puppy wants something and leaves clues by putting
paw prints on various items. Then the host Steve has to solve the mystery to what Blue wants with help from the viewers. Yes, this is one of those interactive kid's shows but while this format can feel awkward in other shows, Blue's Clues uses it to its advantage and I always got a sense of pride feeling like I helped Steve solve Blue's clues. In case anyone is wondering, the title
for this review comes from the song right before the search for the clues begins. Another good song is the "mail song" which I actually sometimes find myself singing when I check my email. Last but not least are there are several amusing characters. Besides Blue and Steve, there's Mailbox, Sidetable Drawer, Pail and Shovel, the Shakers (Mr Salt, Mrs Pepper, and Paprika), Tickety, Slippery, Magenta, and Periwinkle. There's a spinoff called Blue's Room which I
haven't seen so I can't comment on that. I can say, however, that I wholeheartedly recommend Blue's Clues.
I have long held a soft spot for Babar. There's just something about it that seems to speak to time spent with longtime friends and family. Not only did I really enjoy Babar when I was younger, but it helped me to recovery from surgery. For some background, last summer I had surgery on one of my eyes and afterword in my hospital room I got to watch TV while being given room
service. The hospital had a network called Qubo, which had several shows that I have fond memories of including Jakers, Anne Of Green Gables Animated, Marvin The Tap-Dancing Horse, Timothy Goes To School, and of course Babar. Between these shows and the food I was almost sad to leave the hospital (I know saying that sounds really weird). Back on topic, I love its charm and simplicity. Children will definitely love it. I certainly did and I have some
young cousins who love it. I can't wait to show it to my niece when she gets a little older. The animation is exceedingly pleasant, bright but not overly so. The music is also very melodic and there are some wonderful morals that children can pick up on but aren't shoved down your throat. There are also lots of wonderful storylines and characters (Babar's children are adorable). Truly a classic for the family.
After reading reviews of The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, I wanted to see if it were as bad as I had heard. I was trying to keep an open mind but the negative reviews were absolutely right. It makes Boohbah look good tame in comparison. Now, if you're thinking "don't be so hard on it, it's for little children"; toddlers are not stupid. While shows targeted at them
can be annoying at times, preschoolers can recognize when they're in real danger and this movie is a danger to the psyche. The plot is paper-thin, the colours are so bright they're almost nauseating, and the costumes are right in the uncanny valley. Our story concerns Goobie, Zoozie, and Toofie, who are essentially just ripoffs of the Teletubbies (they even have a vacuum
sidekick). Anyway, the Oogieloves are planning a birthday party for their friend Schluffy, who just happens to be a pillow, but accidentally lose the balloons (our more accurately the vacuum loses the balloons). So essentially, the entire plot consists just of the Oogieloves going from place to place to find the balloons and along the way meet guest stars such as Chloris Leachman, Cary Elwes, and Christopher Lloyd (all of whom probably only agreed to be in it for the money). Overall, just skip this one, it's just not worth it (besides, the DVD is impossible to find). Instead, show the preschooler in your life something like Little Bear, Little Bill, Kipper, Bob The Builder,
Dragon Tales, Peppa Pig, to name but a few.
Littlefoot Meets Someone Unexpected In The Next Land Before Time
At long last we arrive at the 10th installment in the Land Before Time series. It turns out that both Littlefoot and his grandparents have been having a recurring dream where the sun goes dark and falls from the sky. It turns out that other longnecks all over the place have been having this same dream and have all decided to go on a trip, which Littlefoot's friends eventually decide to follow along on. I won't give anything more away but when he and his grandparents arrive at their destination, he meets someone unexpected and very special. Overall, this may just be the best sequel since Stone of Cold Fire. The animation quality is declining (though still good for
direct-to-video) and I didn't care much for the songs in this one where in the previous movies I was able to find at least one song that I liked. But with that said, it's very nice that Littlefoot gets another figure in his life and I like that Littlefoot's mother is mentioned.
Maybe you all are getting tired of hearing me rant about how much I love the Winnie the Pooh series but I'm going to say it anyway. I love the entire series and this entry, part of the Winnie the Pooh Friendship Collection, is no exception. Gone With The Wind: A touching episode with an opening that sets the tone perfectly. Piglet is really likeable and it's so easy to root for him while he's trying to overcome his fear of the wind. The sunset at the end is lovely, the drain scene is hilarious, and there is some amusing dialogue like "What a blustery morning. It must be winds day again." My Hero: This is probably my favourite story on this video, especially Tigger
dancing with the mop. Owl trying to save Eeyore only to find that Eeyore is too heavy to carry is funny as well. Owl Feathers: Owl is always amusing with his long rambling stories and it's nice to see him get some more attention. Plus, Piglet trying to help him fly brings back a lot of memories.
Where Oh Where Has My Piglet Gone: One of the funnier episodes, especially with lines such as "Say what's that? Sounds like a heffalump with a bad head cold. Nah, it's the maiden call of the yellow-bellied double parp sapsucker! What if whatever it is has Piglet? Oh it's all my fault for losing him!" Overall: Clever Little Piglet is yet another wonderful entry in the series. All the characters are equally wonderful but Piglet really gets a chance to shine here. The animation, music, and dialogue are once again top-notch. Certainly not to be missed.
While I love all of the Beatrix Potter tales, The Tailor Of Gloucester is special in that it combines my love of all things Beatrix Potter with my love of Christmas. The animation is soft and warms and looks just like the pictures in the book. The music adds to the Christmassy feel, using Christmas carols and nursery rhymes to great effect (gotta love those drunken rats), as well as the
haunting pathos of Silent Falls The Winter Snow. The Tailor Of Gloucester has a simple and charming story and the writing is remarkably true to the spirit of the story. All the characters are wonderful as well. The mice are resourceful and the tailor is a sweetheart, you really feel for him as he's trying to finish the mayor's coat. Simpkin is at once engaging but crafty and cantankerous as well. He comes across as somewhat selfish at times, such as when he hides the twist from the sick old tailor. But he eventually becomes redeemed and the mice turn out to be quite helpful. Overall, a classic Christmas must-see.
The Tale Of Mr Tod is yet another splendidly done adaptation of an equally wonderful story. For one thing, the animation is like the drawings come to life and the music is, as in every episode, very gentle and melodious. The dialogue is very true to the book and there are some funny moments such as Benjamin's father falling asleep when he's supposed to be watching over the children. As for the story itself, it takes place when Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny have children of their own. Peter and Benjamin ask the latter's father to babysit the bunnies unaware that Mr Tod (a fox) and Tommy Brock (a badger) have been lurking around. Benjamin's father ends up being visited by Brock and when the former falls asleep while talking, the latter carries off the bunnies and meets up with Mr Tod. Meanwhile, Peter and Benjamin team up in order to go and rescue the little ones. Tod and Brock are great villains, the flopsy bunnies are adorable, and it's nice to see Peter and Benjamin again. Another winner.
I love all of Beatrix Potter's tales, some more than others but all of them are simply timeless. The Tale Of Samuel Whiskers is another great entry, not the best but still very enjoyable. It's a pleasure to see Tom Kitten and family again. He's a troublemaker but so cute, just like my cat. Basically, Tom Kitten has been captured by Samuel Whiskers and his wife, who plan to cook him, while Tabitha Twitchett, Moppet, and Mittens are preparing for a celebration. While Tabitha, Mittens, and Moppet can come across as a little callous towards Tom in The Tale Of Tom Kitten, here they are genuinely concerned for him. John Joiner, who is eventually sent to help find Tom, is reminiscent of Jock (Lady and the Tramp). The animation is also gorgeous, resembling the original illustrations and the music is equally memorable, being lushly orchestrated, whimsical, and melodic. The pacing is perfect, not too fast and not too slow and one genuinely feels sorry for Tom Kitten. Overall, just as beautiful as ever.
I love all of Beatrix Potter's tales, some more than others but all are timeless. It's rare that every episode of a show is great and usually even really good shows have a lemon (Powerpuff Girls has Town And Out, Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends has Bendy, Arthur has Arthur's Big Hit). But Pigling Bland is far from bland. Pigling and his brother Alexander's trip to the market ends up as an unexpected adventure. Pig-wig, the little girl pig whom Pigling meets on his journey, is plucky and it's really funny when she eating the treats that Pigling sneaks under the door. Upon closer inspection, they do have chemistry. The intro segment is quite lovely as Beatrix Potter ambles through the garden and indoors, greeting a rabbit as Peter, a dog as Kep, a duck as Jemima, a hedgehog as Miss Tiggy Winkle, a fox as Mr Tod, a badger as Tommy Brock, and a frog as Jeremy Fisher. The dialogue sticks closely to the writing of the story and the animation bears a resemblance to the book illustrations.