Big Idea // 2011 // 49 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 4th, 2011
A lesson in being yourself.
Big Idea's beloved VeggieTales series continues to roll-out quality kids animation and their latest takes a spin on the classic "Prince and the Pauper" tale, gives it a dose of the contemporary bubblegum pop music craze, adds standard-issue charm and liveliness, and presto! You've got another winner on your hands.
Princess and the Popstar tells the tale of two girls shaped like fruit. Acutally, no...they are fruit: Princess Poppyseed is the daughter of a blue collar (Do anthropomorphic talking vegetables wear collars? Sure!) family that own a busy farm. While Princess scurries around handling chores, she daydreams about what life would be like as a double-platinum superstar singer liker her idol, Vanna Banana. Meanwhile, Vanna is unhappy herself, swamped by the fans and paparazzi, yearning only for a normal life with friends and peace and quiet.
Wouldn't you know it, Vanna and Princess's paths cross and the two hatch a diabolical scenario: switch places! And they do, each getting a chance to experience the other's life, which is straight-up good time until, inexorably, they are drawn to the conclusion that it's better just being yourself.
There's your central moral for this installment: embrace yourself. Of course, this being VeggieTales, the self-esteem is grounded in Biblical principles -- e.g. God created you just the way He wanted to, so embrace your makeup, go forth, and conquer. It's a solid theme and not the usual self-esteem-at-all-costs crap that was all the rage in middle schools a while back, which led to a large number of dumbasses in my senior English high school classes. If you're of the Bible-centric persuasion, rest assured the principles espoused here jive what your kiddo will be learning in Sunday School.
If you're the non-religious type and skeptical about exposing the kids to something explicitly Christian, you don't have to worry. God is referenced and a Bible verse pops up, but that's as deep as the doctrine goes. You're not going to hear Larry the Cucumber enter into an extensive monologue on the Atonement and how it relates to inheritable, original sin or anything. Besides, the kids should like this plenty: the animation is cute and colorful, the writing is witty, the music is light-hearted and catchy, and there's isn't a Bratz to be found!
The Princess and the Popstar story takes up the entire runtime, save for the usual goofy song respite stuck in the middle as an intermission. You can choose between a full-frame or 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers, 5.1 surround pushes out the sound, and extras include a studio commentary, "Princess Poppyseed's Points for Being Uniquely You," a featurette on Francesca Battistelli's music, and a sing-along.
Not Guilty. More dip!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Big Idea
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (CC)
Running Time: 49 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated