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Case Number 07574

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Lazytown: New Superhero

Paramount // 2004 // 96 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 14th, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson was exhausted after watching this high-octane kids' show, but that just might be the exact effect you'd want for your rambunctious rugrats.

The Charge

Nightmarish and surreal, yet not entirely unwatchable.

Opening Statement

I've stumbled upon this odd kids' show several time while dashing through the channels. After a few minutes, I would usually take off, not having the foggiest clue what in the name of Pete was going on. Well, thanks to this DVD, I'm all caught up in the mythos of Lazytown, and I'm still not entirely sure what's happening.

Facts of the Case

Lazytown has been around a lot longer than its American TV incarnation (which started in 2004). You see, it's Icelandic in nature, created by Magnus Sheving, who also plays the lead, Sportacus, and he's been going at it for over a decade.

Here's the premise: Lazytown is populated by a mixture of puppets and human beings in colorful jumpsuits. Watching over the town is Sportacus, an active, in-shape superhero whose function is to keep the inhabitants of Lazytown from being lazy, as well as saving the day when it's called for. Aiding Sportacus is young Stephanie, clad in pink and relentlessly perky. The villain is Robbie Rotten, who loves to lounge around and watch television and eat junk food and cook up schemes to get rid of Sportacus. That's the human contingent; the rest of the cast is comprised of puppets.

Yes, there's a bad guy, but trust me, there's not a malevolent molecule in this show's makeup. Robbie Rotten is a complete goofball and never has anything more malicious in mind than preventing kids from eating vegetables.

The Evidence

This show is crazy, but if I were, like, four or five, I'd probably dig it. From the opening sequence, which usually features Sportacus zipping around in his blimp doing something pointless and active, to the closing "silly words" song, this show has the hyperkinetic momentum of a toddler freebasing Blow-Pops. It's all about being active, running and jumping and twirling and eating cucumbers. To the average adult Lazytown will probably seem like a bizarre live-action migraine, but I honestly think the youngsters will enjoy it. It's easy to watch and pretty infectious.

Yes, the characters are overblown (Robbie Rotten especially) and subtlety is sacrificed on the altar of message reinforcement and squat thrusts, but you could do worse as a parent than buy this DVD. There is certainly no shortage of overstimulating material out there, but at least Lazytown has a solid point behind it.

This disc offers three episodes, including the titular double-length "Lazytown's New Superhero." Let's take a closer look:

• "Lazytown's New Superhero"
The Lazytownies convince Sportacus to take a day off from his superhero work. Motivated by her hero's nobility, Stephanie decides to fill in as Sportastephanie. Unfortunately, she will have to exercise all her wits to thwart Robbie Rotten's newest diabolical scheme: unleashing a small mechanical dog on Lazytown.

From this episode I learned:
Everyone needs a break, and that's healthy.
Forgive your enemies, even if they have plastic hair.
Puppets hate robot dogs.

• "Cry Dinosaur"
Stephanie and the kids are off to go camping and tell ghost stories. While consoling Ziggy, Sportacus admits that dinosaurs creep him out. Seizing on this bit of trivia, Robbie utilizes his unlimited resources to create a dinosaur costume to menace Sportacus.

From this episode I learned:
If you face your fears you can overcome them.
It doesn't take much costuming ability to convince Lazytown residents that pink dinosaurs exist.

• "Dr. Rottenstein"
Sportacus tells everyone that his source of strength is vegetables and steroids. Kidding—it's just vegetables. Robbie fools everyone into thinking they're sick, then shows up dressed as a doctor and prescribes a vegetable ban to beat the illness.

From this episode I learned:
Vegetables are delicious and good for you and can be grown cheaply.
If you put felt dots on puppets, it makes them think they're violently ill.
Be wary of a mysterious doctor who looks just like the only adult human in town who happens to be evil.

The episodes are presented in their original fullscreen aspect ratio, and the video quality is strong. The colors, prominent as they are, are bold and clear. A Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix provides the audio, and it is quite active. That Euro-chic techno will rock your world. Some trailers and text-only character bios and nutrition tips for parents are it for extras.

Closing Statement

Sure, it's pretty insane, draped in ultra-bright pastels and scored to throbbing jock music, but New Superhero boasts solid messages and a feast for the senses. The little, little guys for whom this was crafted will likely eat this up.

The Verdict

Not guilty. Though there is an excellent chance I will have nightmares.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 85
Audio: 85
Extras: 70
Acting: 80
Story: 90
Judgment: 87

Perp Profile

Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• All Ages
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Character Bios
• Nutrition Tips
• Trailers

Accomplices

• IMDb
• Official Site








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