Sony // 1996 // 74 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Eric Profancik (Retired) // September 7th, 2005
"Whatever you do, don't get a gink."
One of the all-time most cherished characters had a short-lived television show. How could Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat last for just one year when almost every other children's show seems to last for an eternity and a day? I think that's a good question, but I don't have the magic answer. After watching this DVD, a collection of three shows from The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss created by the Jim Henson company, I can only say that it's a mildly entertaining, nicely produced, wholesome, average show. All of your favorite Seuss characters are here: the Cat, the Grinch, Norville, Sam I Am, and others. Unlike other, more famous iterations of Theodor Geisel's books, this show is not a cartoon but, being from Henson, a puppet show. The characters look great, of course, and children will find them all cuddly and cute. Talking in Seussian verse and rhyme, the characters frolic about in a land of CGI, which I found to be somewhat distracting. Outside of the puppets and a few props, most of the scenery is CGI, and it's obvious. While children may not mind blue halos around the puppets, I found it annoying.
But what about the show itself? As with all kiddie TV, you can bet there's a chewy moral at the center of each show; and you'll find them here too. Each is as plain as day, and I was actually amused by (what I interpreted as) the blatant twist of two of them. The three episodes included are "The Gink," "The Cat in the Hat Takes a Nap," and "The Feed You Need." In "The Gink," Eliza Jane wants a pet and decides she wants a gink -- a cross between a gunk and a skink. She takes it home and is overwhelmed by her new pet's needs. But she eventually learns the lesson of family, love, and responsibility. In "Nap" and "Feed," Terrence is being a nuisance because he's cranky and won't take a catnap (because birds don't take cat naps) and he's hungry but will only eat red birdseed brickle (the kind his mom made). After much song and dance and reverse psychology, Terrence eventually takes his nap and feels better and eats the blue and pink brickle and loves it. The lessons, as my twisted mind interpreted them: Kids, shut up and take a nap and eat your food. Or, in more gentle terms, kids, listen to your parents and take a nap and eat your food. You'll feel better when you do.
The episodes look great on DVD. Each is presented in a full-frame transfer with bold cartoon colors and rich details. (All is which is what I would expect with so much CGI at work.) On the audio side, the Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix is adequate for the show, presenting the dialogue and songs sans any hiss or distortions. It might have behooved the show to try a 5.1 mix since there's so much music and song in each episode. Outside of trailers for Stuart Little 3, Family Fun, and The Swan Princess Collection, this is a bare-bones release. Sadly, no subtitles are included.
In the great pantheon of children's programming, where does The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss stand? I don't know. It's seem harmless enough, has a message, and kept me entertained for about 15 minutes out of each 24-minute show. As a blind buy, nope, I wouldn't go there; but if you're already familiar with the show, there's nothing to hold you back from adding it to your collection.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 74 Minutes
Release Year: 1996
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Trailers for Stuart Little 3, Family Fun, and The Swan Princess Collection
* Official Site