Disney // 2007 // 57 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 30th, 2008
There's Magic in the Music!
Johnny (John Tartaglia) is a singer/songwriter who heads to a secluded cabin in the woods to focus on his musical career. He's hoping for a creative infusion, but finds a lot more than he bargained for when runs into the Sprites, a civilization of magical, colorful creatures. No one else can see Basil, Lily, Ginger and Root and that's probably for the best, because judging by how much they harass Johnny, it wouldn't take long before humanity opts to commit genocide against these lovable creatures.
Five 12-minute episodes and short music video at the end:
"Ginger's Antenna Dilemma"
Ginger struggles with self-esteem problems when she focuses on her curly antennae. No one else has curly antennae and she rightfully suspects she's a freakish outcast. Despite the encouragement of her friends, Ginger can't stop feeling like crap. Can Johnny and his song about individuality snap her out of her depression before she starts down the path of self-mutilation?
Root, a diminutive orange-haired Sprite comes down with a bad case of the "dadoots," which is something like Sprite gas. Apparently, it's contracted after the ingestion of walla-walla fruit. Johnny takes Root around to the rest of the sprites to get their suggestions for remedies to this debilitating disease. Meanwhile, Johnny is suffering from songwriter's mental block.
"Where's the Water, Lily?"
Johnny builds a garishly ugly fountain that doesn't work so asks his pal Gwen to swing by and use her plumbing prowess to make the water flow. Over in the Grotto Grove, the Sprites are panicking when their water supply mysteriously vanishes. Is there a relation between these two things? Yes!
Basil sees some TV footage of a popular boy band and gets a great idea -- he's going to form his own Sprite band and convinces some of his fellow Grotto natives to join. This results in a stirring musical finale about friendship. The after-party scene where the Sprites do coke off each other's chests was edgy.
"The Sprites and The What?"
Johnny is consumed with putting together a nice meal for Gwen and wants to make spaghetti. He accidentally loses his colander and the Sprites find it and try to figure out what the @#$% it is. The moral of the story: small kitchen appliances provide hours of amusement for magical felt-covered forest inhabitants.
Sure, I'll give this disc a hearty recommendation. In an age where annoying kids shows seem to be norm, Johnny and the Sprites is a great little puppet-centric blast of energy with singing, smiling, and CGI pixie dust. And as I wrote that last sentence I realized I made the series sound like one of those annoying kids shows but trust me, this is a fun DVD. The writing is deceptively clever (one of the Sprites uses the word "post-modern") and the acting, particularly from John Tartaglia, is exuberant. Plus you get the usual easy-to-digest life lessons.
The usual technical stats for releases of this ilk: full frame, 2.0 stereo and a handful of extra features -- previews, a sing-along and 20 minutes worth of original shorts.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 57 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Original Shorts
* Music Video
* Official Site