Appellate Judge Rob Lineberger thinks there's nothing wrong with Max and Ruby that a little "Ruby" diet wouldn't cure. Rabbit stew, anyone?
Our reviews of Max And Ruby: Bunnytales (published February 6th, 2011), Max And Ruby: Everybunny Loves Winter (published September 29th, 2010), Max And Ruby: Rainy Day Play (published May 8th, 2011), Max And Ruby's Christmas (published November 2nd, 2004), Max And Ruby: Springtime For Max And Ruby (published April 18th, 2005), and Max And Ruby: A Visit With Grandma (published June 15th, 2010) are also available.
"I told you so, Max!"—Ruby
Max and Ruby: Springtime for Max and Ruby provided a reasonably enjoyable 48 minutes of quiet time (times two if you count the bonus episodes) when I watched it with my toddler. He laughed, he danced; it was great fun for both of us. Max and Ruby's Halloween is the functional equivalent of Springtime for Max and Ruby. In fact, they are so similar as to be indistinguishable, save for the time of year depicted. My son laughed anew at Max's antics, picking up right where we left off.
Meanwhile, I sat on the edge of the couch cushion and gritted my teeth every time Ruby emitted her bossy banter. "No, Max!" or "You can't do that, Max!" with maybe a "Stay here, Max!" for contrast; Ruby is all about poor listening skills, tunnel vision, and egocenticism. I wanted to grab her by the scruff of her fluffy bunny neck.
How can an innocuous bunny sibling inspire such resentment in mature adults? I think it is an artifact of Max and Ruby's presentation. It is basically a Flash cartoon dubbed in a sterile sound stage, with no sense of atmospheric depth. Often the only two characters are Max and Ruby, alone in the house or in the yard, and Max is pre-verbal. I think you see where I'm going with this. The brunt of each episode consists of Ruby locked in her antiseptic queendom, constantly bossing Max around in a purgatory of pushiness. The plots are identical to each other, which makes Max and Ruby an animated Sisyphus myth for the more cognitively developed viewers.
Of course, Max and Ruby's Halloween is not aimed at me, it is aimed at the little ball of Id I call my son. He seems to like it fine, so the gig does its job. Just don't expect to ride shotgun and be entertained.
Paramount gives us twelve episodes, conveniently separated into two blocks of six to prevent a mini-marathon viewing session. The disc autoplays with what seems like a half hour's worth of previews for other Nickelodeon shows, even going so far as to repeat ads for the same show before we finally see the main menu. The video and audio quality are fine; though the audio sounds stuffy and the video has occasional twitter, the colors are bright and engaging and dialogue comes across clearly.
Max and Ruby's Halloween will probably please your wee ones to no end, but you might experience a sinking sensation when they call for it. If the episodes had more cadence and diversity, and if Ruby could see past her own nose long enough to relent now and then, Max and Ruby's Halloween might be a treat for grownups too.
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