Questar Inc. // 2006 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 2nd, 2006
Toys will be toys.
Sick of your preschoolers watching SpongeBob? Or bellowing at the television along with Dora? Or playing with blocks? The makers of The Toy Castle have an alternative for you: ballet! Yes, through the grace and fluidity that is men prancing around on the stage in junk-revealing tights, The Toy Castle offers a differing take on storytelling for the young. Stories are told primarily through dance, propelled by a narrator and the occasional over-dubbed vocal work.
Here's the skinny: when these two kids go to sleep each night, their toy castle spring to life, and the dolls start dancing around like crazy, embarking on that evening's story. Plots are simple, usually something like "We forgot her birthday!" or "Sharing is fun!" The stories themselves are brief, clocking in at a shade south of ten minutes each. The major players are designed to be as one-dimensional as possible, as if they were indeed toys come to life, and include: Rag Doll, Sailor, Soldier, Ballerina, Strongman, Goblin, China Doll, Frederick and Freda the bipedal frogs, Clown, and the Mouse Family.
This disc gathers 12 episodes starring Ballerina as she lands in a series of low-impact misadventures:
* "Ballerina Big Top"
* "I Promise"
* "Beautiful Tears"
* "Music Box"
* "Dance With Me"
* "Me Too"
* "The Most Beautiful"
* "One Quick Game"
* "Home Sweet Castle"
So, will your kids like it? I don't see why not. The costuming and production design are very good, and stories, while very, very simplistic, are tuned that way for a reason. The Toy Castle is, after all, geared toward preschoolers. There's even a moral or two tucked in there. This particular collection may be ideal for little girls, what with Ballerina as the central character. Recommended for parents looking for something decidedly different than the typical cartoon-based stimulus.
Each disc contains bonus "Learn to Dance" segments, where characters run through some beginning ballet moves. Games and activities are available through DVD-ROM.
Review content copyright © 2006 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Questar Inc.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Learn to Dance"
* DVD-ROM Games and Activities
* Official Site