Judge Lacey Worrell was relieved to find that this wasn't porn.
Join us for a sweet adventure!
Let's give credit where credit is due: the beloved board game Candy Land has been around for what seems like forever. After all, what child can possibly resist its premise? A fantasy world filled with lollipops, peanut brittle, and candy canes, where even the pitfalls are delicious and made of things like molasses and gumdrops. The game is easy to play and requires only that children (and the adults they cajole into playing with them) be able to recognize colors. It has outlasted many flashier games thanks to its simple, straightforward rules and its irresistible setting, and despite numerous redesigns of its look, shows no sign of slowing down.
Candy Land: The Great Lollipop Adventure is the board game's first foray into DVD entertainment, with mixed results. Young Jib Gingerbread has been sent by his mother to take her famous gingerbread icing to the Sweet Celebration being held at King Kandy's castle. Unbeknownst to Jib, the celebration is about to be undermined by the evil Lord Licorice, who plans to steal Princess Lolly's scepter, which is the key to the festivities. Jib, along with his friend Mr. Mint, stumbles across Lord Licorice's plan to take over Candy Land, and together they plot to outwit him.
This DVD is perfect for the under-five set; Lord Licorice and his little henchmen aren't all that scary, and Jib's resourcefulness is refreshing. Princess Lolly's reluctance to be at the center of the Sweet Celebration is a simple concept children will relate to, even if the outcome is readily apparent from as early as five minutes into the plot. The picture and colors are bright and sharp, and the voice acting is lively and quite good. The only problem—and it's a big one—is that the story is paper-thin and begins to feel tiresome after only about 20 minutes or so. The best in children's entertainment manages to entertain adults as well as kids; but in this case, adults (and older siblings) will begin to feel restless right away. Fortunately, there is nothing so offensive that an adult can't leave the room for a few minutes to do some dishes or vacuum—which, let's face it, is the central benefit of parking the kids in front of the television for an hour.
This DVD emphasizes teamwork, cooperation, and problem-solving skills, but it is highly likely that its message will be lost amidst the confectionary bliss. To its credit, there are only a few moments that feel like a commercial push for the Candy Land brand, the most glaring of which is the part where one of the characters exclaims, "This is Candy Land, and Candy Land means fun!" I wonder what Ivan Pavlov would think about his principles of classical conditioning being used to peddle merchandise to kids.
Die-hard fans of the game will notice that in the DVD version Queen Frostine is referred to as "Princess" Frostine, and she is Princess Lolly's sister. While the DVD packaging claims that the running time of the film is 60 minutes, it is in actuality closer to 53 minutes; it is possible the 60 minutes takes into account the two forgettable musical extras included as special features, but the overall impression is misleading nonetheless. Each extra features a song from the movie, one of which is in sing-along format, with the lyrics flashing along the bottom of the screen. Considering the target audience, however, it is unlikely small children will possess the reading skills necessary to follow the words.
Another drawback to this DVD is the staggering amount of promotional advertisements that precede the actual film. Using the menu button on the remote control is fruitless; viewers are forced to skip from chapter to chapter until the menu appears. This is an incredibly annoying (and ever-increasing) trend in children's DVD entertainment. It is an improvement, however, over some of the titles in the Thomas the Tank Engine series, where viewers can't even skip the advertisements. While I can understand the need to promote other DVDs—this is America after all—the least the producers can do is allow easier navigation to the actual story.
One can only assume that Candy Land is adjacent to Cavity Land, considering the strong emphasis on sugary treats throughout the movie. Of course, given a choice between a story about a world filled with candy or the finer points of proper tooth brushing techniques, kids will chose the candy storyline every time. Overall, despite a weak story line, this is one small children will most likely ask for over and over again, making it a good investment. Excuse me now while I go and brush my teeth.
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