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Case Number 18850: Small Claims Court

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Runaway Ralph

Scholastic Video // 1988 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 6th, 2010

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All Rise...

Ralph is a bad influence on Judge David Johnson. He wants to jump on a tiny motorcycle and run away now.

The Charge

He's born to ride.

The Case

Scholastic presents a true blast from the past: the 1988 live-action telling of Beverly Cleary's legendary motorcycle-riding mouse saga, sporting some charming stop-motion animation and an all-star cast.

Garfield (Fred Savage, The Wonder Years) is a shy dork with huge glasses who's not too thrilled to be going to summer camp. He doesn't quite fit into any social class, has a hard time making friends and resists structure. All the makings for a successful time at camp!

Meanwhile, Ralph the talking rodent decides to hop on his hog and blow out of the Mountain View Inn. His adventure takes him to the same camp and he quickly makes friends with Garfield—just two loners, trying to figure life out.

There's definitely some nostalgia going on here. I know I read the book way back when, and there's a good chance I saw this somewhere at some point (I was circling the appropriate age range). Runaway Ralph is a sweet little adventure, clocking in at only 40 minutes, and packed with enough good-natured fun life lessons to make it worthwhile to revisit, dated as it may be.

The antiquated feel is due mainly to the technical presentation, a full frame effort that doesn't look to have been digitally retouched in the slightest; if you saw this on a projector back in the day, chances are the visual fidelity hasn't improved. The special effects are also old-school, but in a good way. The mice and cats are animated with stop-motion and, yes, it might not be completely disbelief-suspending, but I'll take that over some half-assed CGI (or even full-assed CGI).

Another live-action short accompanies, a wacky thing called "Commander Toad in Space." Which is exactly what it sounds like; a story about a space commander that looks like a toad.

Your disc: full frame, stereo, discussion questions and "read-along" options (i.e., subtitles).

The Verdict

Not Guilty. Ride, Ralph, ride!

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 85

Perp Profile

Studio: Scholastic Video
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 1988
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Adventure
• Animation
• Comedy
• Drama
• Family
• Fantasy
• Romance
• Romantic Comedies
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Read-along
• Discussion Questions
• Short Film


• IMDb

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