Judge David Johnson likes his porridge hot as @#$%!
Get ready for a "beary" good time. (Their words.)
The newest entry into the "Unstable Fables" collection takes a revisionist, MTV-styled look at the epic tale of a young blonde girl and her intimate encounter with a family of anthropomorphic bears.
Facts of the Case
In this retelling, Goldilocks is a spoiled reality TV show host who has earned immense popularity among the talking woodland creature demographic (including realty show magnate Simon Owl) through her home renovation program. Her latest project is the home of the Bears, fronted by Papa Bear, the hardworking fishmonger, Mama Bear, the failed talent show contestant and their socially awkward son.
The episode is such a big hit, a new reality show is launched: throwing Goldilocks and the three bears into the house and filming all the high jinks that go down. Yep, it's a Real World spoof.
My experience with these Unstable Fables is that they are well-done, usually funny and a nice option for families looking for straight-to-DVD animated good time. Goldilocks is no different. While the comedy is certainly broader than Pixar's efforts, it's not dumbed-down for ADHD consumption either. That could be a good thing or a bad thing I suppose: there's enough wit to keep older viewers engaged, but there isn't enough action going on consistently to appeal to the younger demographic. In the end, however, I think The Jim Henson Company struck a good enough balance for the film to be called a success, especially when you consider far less clever crap like Space Chimps finds a way onto theater screens.
The reality TV gimmick might be lost to a few of the young viewers (The Real World gags, especially—the opening, the confessionals, etc.—unless of course you're a pathetic parent and you allow your toddlers to watch sleazy 20-somethings exchange bodily fluids in hot tubs on national TV), though the American Idol spoof will probably make sense to everyone. Fitting the Three Bears story into this framework is a good idea and yields a fair amount of laughs. The downside is that the action is static, with much of the film just happening in the confines of the house.
For a central conflict you have Goldilocks's ambition for fame colliding with the general good of the nuclear Bear family; the endgame pits her and her shady agent against the Bears in Simon Owl's talent show, where Goldi will of course be forced to make An Important Decision and, perhaps, Learn a Valuable Life Lesson. The moral is nice, and thankfully the journey to that climax is sprinkled with a tidy amount of laughs. Voice work is up to the task, featuring solid B-list talents like Tom Arnold, Brooke Shields and Jamie Lynn Spears offering their pipes.
The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen does a good job transmitting the colorful and attractive animation and the 5.1 mix will have Tom Arnold's voice filling your room with verve. Extras: a making-of featurette with cast and filmmaker interviews, a "how-to-draw-a-character" lesson and trailers.
It's rich in pop culture references, diminishing its long-term relevance, but Goldilocks and the Three Bears makes for fun, fleeting family entertainment.
Not guilty. It's just right!
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