Porchlight Entertainment // 2004 // 65 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kristin Munson (Retired) // April 30th, 2008
Do you wanna get funky with me?
Somewhere away from the electronic hustle and bustle of Funky Town, far from the temptation of Funky Ceilis, is Funky Valley, home to a farm with a barnyard full of offbeat animals, including a duck who hates water, a wise owl, and a baby crocodile.
At first it's hard to see where Funky Valley gets its name. Several of the stories are typical pre-school fables, like the caterpillar that all the other animals call ugly becoming a beautiful butterfly, or a fox on a treasure hunt discovering the real treasure are his friends, but then the animals stop being scared of the dark by throwing a disco and a grumpy duck falls madly in love with a rubber bath toy and suddenly you know the show is going to be decidedly odder than the stuff on Nick Jr.
Everything in Funky Valley looks like a kindergarten craft project come to life. The animals move in the same floppy way as puppets made from oak tag and brass fasteners, bouncing through a textured world of tin-foil mountains and torn paper skies. The show is narrated, not voice acted, like an animated storybook with Mark Williams (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) acting as stand-in parent. Williams is like the cool English uncle who does all the embarrassing sound effects and funny voices during bedtime stories, making matching barnyard noises before each character talks so your kid can learn their animal sounds along with the episode's lesson.
Return to Funky Valley contains 13 five-minute romps through the sunny fields of Funky Valley. The disc's visuals are beautiful, bright and colorful, but the stereo mix is very loud and very uneven, with every music cue and sound effect blasting directly from the front of the speakers.
Return to Funky Valley is only 65 minutes, and there are no extras to make up for the super-short run time. Worse than that, each of the 13 episodes is still in broadcast format, so every four minutes you have to suffer through the ear-splitting Funky Valley theme over the end credits and then again at the start of the next episode. When you try to escape by skipping ahead a chapter, you'll get a millisecond of blissful silence, only to run smack into the opening credits for the episode after that. All in all, you have to hear the tune 26 times in one hour, regardless of whether you "Play All" or skip around the episode list. If your child watches Dora the Explorer, this obnoxious repetition won't bother you any, because you're already dead inside.
Review content copyright © 2008 Kristin Munson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Porchlight Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 65 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated