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VEGGIETALES: LYLE THE KINDLY VIKING

veggietales.mzzzzzzz (7560 bytes)

Review by Michael Jacobson

Director:  Tim Hodge
Audio:  Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Stereo
Video:  Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio:  Big Idea
Features:  See Review
Length:  45 Minutes
Release Date:  March 24, 2001

“Prince Omelet, these are the last eggs in the kingdom!”
“The last poor yolks!  I’ll chew them well, Horatio…”

Film ***

It’s rare to find true family entertainment these days…you either have the programming that delights the kids but annoys the hell out of the parents, like Barney, or you have the big animated films that the adults like and the kids buy into, but don’t really have anything worthwhile to say or teach to the young ones.

I had never experienced VeggieTales myself prior to looking at their latest DVD offering Lyle the Kindly Viking, but I have to say, I was impressed, and I think these simply rendered pieces of produce might just be the right mix for kids and grown-ups alike.  It teaches faith and values to the little ones, but with enough humor to keep the big ones in smiles.

The theme of the program is sharing, and it gets started with it by Bob (the tomato) and Larry (the cucumber) giving Archibald (the asparagus) the chance to run the show.  With a Masterpiece Theatre set and the help of some French peas, the show takes on a classical air, beginning with the story of Omelet, the Prince of Denmark who learns to share his eggs with his kingdom after a game of Battleship with a little boy (“2B?”   “Not 2B.”).

This segues into Silly Songs with Larry, which, under Archibald’s guidance, becomes Classy Songs with Larry, getting an operatic makeover as Larry sings about his high silk hat.

The finale is the “lost” Gilbert and Sullivan opera “Lyle the Kindly Viking”, in which little Junior gets to teach his Viking friends a little something about the fine art of sharing.

This is all whimsical, colorful, musical fun with a good message about morals and values (presented with religious overtones), which is what the VeggieTales are all about.  There are plenty of other programs to teach kids about counting and reading…the VeggieTales are all about learning to become better people.

Overall, I found myself chuckling out loud frequently, and buying into this colorful, fanciful world where vegetables could indeed be our friends  This a terrific family DVD offering…a worthwhile and fun program that’s as entertaining for adults as for the kids, and makes for a great family evening together.

Video ****

Computer animation looks outstanding on DVD, and VeggieTales is no exception.  The colors are bright, vibrant and remarkably contained, with a full palate at work.  Images are crisp and sharply rendered, with no distortion, grain or other distractions to mar the visuals.  The “Classy Songs With Larry” segment is purposely given a few scratches and spots to compliment the old-fashioned number; this is not a transfer flaw.  Overall, this is a perfect DVD transfer.

Audio ***1/2

Opt for the 5.1 mix if you can…though not a speaker-rattler, this multi-channel offering will make good use of your surround system, including a dynamic sea storm sequence and plenty of more subtle discreet channel usage, like voices coming from different directions off stage.

Features **

The disc contains a trailer for the upcoming VeggieTales movie Jonah, storyboard-to-film comparisons, interviews with Big Idea founder Phil Vischer and director Tim Hodge, plus a widescreen version of “Larry’s High Silk Hat”.

Summary:

Lyle the Kindly Viking is a good disc for the whole family…funny, colorful, entertaining, and bearing a worthwhile message.   Pop this disc in with your kids and share the sharing experience with them.