Tango Entertainment // 2002 // 120 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // April 25th, 2006
Their mission...to make sure there's a happy ending.
Fairy Tale Police Department: Case File # 1 contains five episodes of the kid's cartoon from "down under." This Australian import has plenty of strange accents and fractured fairy tales that require cop involvement to have a happy ending. I recently read The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert Rankin, so I was in the mood for some hard boiled detective work in the land of Mother Goose. This series isn't gritty, but it does promise fairy action-and-adventure tales that children should really dig if they are fans of the original stories. It's harmless fun with some of your favorite stories given a police procedural flair (thinkCSI: Happily Ever After or Law and Order: Fairy Princess Unit).
On file in the first volume: Pinocchio's kidnaping, the Frog Prince's disappearance, a stolen apple from Snow White, the disfigurement of Sleeping Beauty, and bad construction on the three pigs' houses. Handsome, vain Johnny Legend partners with smart, redheaded Christine Anderson to bring the villains to justice and free the famous characters before their stories meet a more desperate conclusion. In each episode our heroes are assigned a case featuring popular characters they have to rescue. Each narrative goes on for twenty-four minutes, and usually has a couple of surprising twists to make things interesting.
The animation is nice, retro-looking cel drawings which seem to be in the style of Don Bluth studios (The Secret of NIMH) rather than the CGI enhanced renderings of today. The Australian company co-produced the show with a German distributor, and released it throughout many parts of Europe and Australia in 2002. The show is jazzy and bright with a lot of action spinning around it at a frenetic pace. Kids will find it more interesting than their adult counterparts; the humor is nowhere near as sly as a Shrek movie (which is obviously part of the appeal of releasing this in the States on DVD). The transfer is clean and bright with a clear soundtrack. It looks good for animation on DVD, without much aliasing or digital noise.
This collection is titled Case File # 1 which means there are more installments to come (the show ran for 26 episodes). It's priced well, and shouldn't set you back more than eight bucks at most. There is a money-saving full series collection available (if you think this might work for your kids) which will save you a couple of bucks over the individual volumes. Otherwise try this collection, because the Pinocchio story serves as the pilot and introduction of the two heroes. This one's strictly for the kidlets, so adults should pass it by unless you want a simple silly story with a happy ending.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Tango Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Not Rated