Big Idea // 2010 // 50 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 8th, 2010
Father 'nose' best...
The good dudes at Big Idea unveil their newest release, the annual spring feature, which tackles the all-important lesson: listen to your parents, you stinking brat!
Gelato is a kind, old toymaker (also a talking cucumber, of course) who's lived his life sad and childless. One night, he decides to carve a little kid out of wood, and the result of his hard work is -- amazingly! -- a cute little boy made out of wood who makes bad decisions.
His star-crossed path kicks off very soon, as he refuses to listen to his father and ends up falling in with the wrong crowd at a carnival. After he blows his money, he finds himself even further removed from Gelato. Also, he's taken on a nasty habit of lying, which translates into terrifying facial mutations.
Another winner from the VeggieTales folks. These folks are creative machines, pumping out these releases twice a year and, for the most part, they're all pretty much gold. I've viewed more than a few during my Verdict tenure and the number of shows that have under-performed is tiny.
With Pistachio everything we VeggieTales aficionados have come to enjoy is on display here: an inoffensive but genuinely funny sense of humor, high-quality computer animation and substantial morals that manage to embrace the Bible-based nature of the messaging without being a jackhammer of patronization. And then you've got the silly song, an epic Broadway-inspired showtune called "Where Have All the Staplers Gone?" It's all very fun and totals a satisfying kids feature that parents will be able to soak in without feeling their brain cells atrophy.
This time around, the entire runtime is devoted to the story of Pistachio, which is, obviously, a Veggie-take on the Pinocchio story. These giant stories could be risky if there's no creative traction from the get-go, but it's engaging from frame one. In fact, I tend to appreciate these mammoth features versus the alternative, two separate stories; the narratives tend to be more fleshed-out, as do the characters despite the fact they're, er, not made of flesh.
The Pinocchio/Pistachio set-up allows more than the "listen to your parents" lesson. Though this is the primary moral of the story (and exasperated parents you'll be happy to know, it comes across quite clearly), you'll get some added mini-lessons about lying (don't do it or your nose will grow hideously long), strangers (avoid them, especially if they're from a carnival and want your money) and how to make a whale throw up. There's also a hint of the Prodigal Son tossed in for good measure.
A solid DVD brings it all home: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital and a healthy selection of extras (though not as many as I'm used to seeing in VeggieTales releases) including audio commentary from the filmmakers, a singalong with the Staplers song, an art gallery and featurette on marionettes.
Big Idea serves up another delicious and nutritious offering of quality kids programming.
Not Guilty. And an excellent source of vitamins and minerals!
Review content copyright © 2010 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Big Idea
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 50 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Art Gallery