Sony // 2002 // 46 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron (Retired) // September 9th, 2002
Great Googly Moogly!
Maggie is a young adventurer who loves to explore Nowhere Land. Her friends Hamilton Hocks and the Ferocious Beast live there. While huge and fierce, Beast is also tentative and unsure of things that are new. Hamilton is a very dapper and proper pig, who keeps everything he loves in a wonderful magic box. Maggie is inquisitive and brave. She faces the unknown with an innocent curiosity and immeasurable faith in her kind heart. Whether it's taking a ride with the dream sheep on their clouds, or crossing the River of Dreams on the Big Duck, Maggie is never alone. Hamilton and the Beast are right by her side. And all together, they laugh and play in world full of friendly fish, singing cows and jocular jellybeans.
While it might look like a bad acid flashback to a family outing at Rock City's Fairyland Caverns, in reality, Maggie and the Ferocious Beast is a cute, harmless piece of cuddly fun which substitutes far out psychedelic imagination for hard moralizing. Inventive and mischievous, it provides simple stories in a colorful, clever world of wonders. Unfortunately, this will have limited appeal to anyone over, say, the age of drooling. It's always difficult to measure a kid's DVD for overall entertainment value, but it's a safe bet to assume that only those unable to hold their heads up without assistance will find this Must See TV. There is no intricate plot construction or multi-layered characterization. What you do get is base emotions and clear issues presented in an honest fashion that makes their points without being ponderous, or pretentious. Interestingly, the show features the character's using arcane, early pop culture catch phrases. (Tumbling Teddybears? The blues/Zappa/drag race riff "Great Googly Moogly"?) You'd expect some of these maxims to fall from the lips of an outlandishly dressed gangster, guns blazing. Not an oversized yellow monster with red polka dots.
Visually, the unique animation style is a cut above other children's fare. The characters are rendered in a very fluid, old-fashioned manner that makes them quite expressive. Their child's picture book design permits them to be instantly interesting and accessible. The characters then interact in backgrounds suggesting subtle references to 1960s pop art and Yellow Submarine (the place is called Nowhere Land, after all) with lots of shaded colorings and techniques ranging from airbrushing to rough penciling. Parents of pre-schoolers can feel safe in purchasing this DVD package. They do not have to worry about things like complicated menu games or rampant merchandising. The picture is bright and bouncy, filling the screen with engaging, engorged color. The Dolby Digital stereo allows the music and cast voices to be heard in all their simple, if sometimes annoying, glory. Aside from trailers to other kiddie fair, Maggie's only other feature is a continuous play option which presents the episodes enclosed in a non-stop droning barrage of hyper hues and occasionally cloying creatures. While your toddling progeny will scream "goodie gumdrops," the rest of the family may feel they're reverted back to the fetal stage. Unfortunately, once the young ones have hung out with Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, there may be "nowhere" to hide.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 46 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Trailers
* Play All Uninterrupted Stories Function