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VEGGIETALES: ULTIMATE SILLY SONG COUNTDOWN

Review by Michael Jacobson

Creators:  Phil Vischer, Mike Nawrocki
Audio:  Dolby Digital 5.1, Stereo
Video:  Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio:  Big Idea
Features:  See Review
Length:  43 Minutes
Release Date:  September 18, 2001

Film ***

I became an instant fan of the VeggieTales with the release of their first DVD Lyle the Kindly Viking.  These simple characters were funny, musical, smart, and had good lessons to teach about morality.

With their second disc release, The Ultimate Silly Song Countdown, these computer generated vegetables go straight for the funny bone.  There’s no lessons to be learned here, but there are laughs to be had, as the troupe counts down the top ten most popular Silly Songs as featured in previous episodes and voted on by the VeggieTales fans!

The countdown is hosted by the Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything (“We’re doing something today!”  “Not again…”), who also have a song on the list.  Most of the tunes are from the show’s Silly Songs With Larry segment, as Larry the Cucumber pipes out some outrageously memorable tunes.  Some of them will make you chuckle out loud, others will tempt you to raise your eyebrows and say, “What the (bleep)?”, in spite of the fact that there may be kids in the room.

I won’t spoil the order, in case the countdown status is important to you.  But my personal favorite inclusion has to be “The Dance of the Cucumber”, where a sombrero clad Larry dances and sings in Spanish, leaving Bob the Tomato to translate the bizarre and sometimes insulting lyrics into English for him.  It’s a riot!

Other numbers include the Silly Song that started it all, “The Water Buffalo Song”, the strange “Song of the Cebu”, the unspeakably weird “Yodeling Veterinarian of the Alps”, the operatic “Larry’s High Silk Hat”, and the terminally funny “Hairbrush Song”.

It’s a good 45 minutes of unabashed silliness that your kids will definitely love.  The best part is, you will, too.  The songs are funny and catchy…just pray that you don’t accidentally break into “Love My Lips” at the wrong time, or you may be picked up by some nice young men in white coats for an extended vacation.

Video ****

As with their previous DVD release, The Ultimate Silly Song Countdown earns top marks for video quality.  The computer animation is bright, vivid, and beautifully colorful, and it renders onto disc with near 3D quality.  Edges are sharp and crisp, tones are bright and well contained, and there’s not a hint of anything to mar the viewing pleasure.  (Please note:  “Larry’s High Silk Hat” was designed to look like a film clip; the faint lines and occasional specs are there on purpose).

Audio ***1/2

Opt for the 5.1 soundtrack, but turn the volume down first…it’s surprisingly loud.  The audio is a crystal clear digital rendering, with plenty of dynamic range from the music and effects, and also makes good use of the surrounds in several in-between sequences.  A terrific and fun listen all around!

Features ***

For a children’s video, this disc is nicely packed, especially if you like to hunt for Easter eggs!  Hunt through the menu screens to find the “Oh, Santa” song, the complete version of “Lost Puppies” from the Esther video, the actual final counts on the Silly Song voting, and the Japanese version of “The Hairbrush Song”.

In addition to the hidden features, the disc also includes interviews with Big Idea founders Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki, who discuss the creation of each Silly Song, some deleted footage, plus a karaoke version and split screen making-of for  “Do the Moo Shoo”.

Summary:

They’ll make you laugh, they’ll make you cry…no, actually, they’ll just make you laugh.  The Ultimate Silly Song Countdown is a good dose of weird and wacky musical fun from the VeggieTales.  If you loved Lyle the Kindly Viking, this disc will make another great addition to your family library.