This sequel to Attack of the Pod People left Judge Bryan Pope decidedly unimpressed.
"Everything is more fun when you do it with your friends!"
The Weebles, those venerable Playskool toys that wobble but don't fall down, have been given face lifts and starring roles in a series of manic, computer-animated shorts, and the results are wobbly indeed.
Until now, I never thought about the secret lives of Weebles. I had a few as a kid, sure, but they were usually relegated to battling my collection of Star Wars action figures (to Skywalker and company, the Weebles were part of a sinister race of alien egg people bent on intergalactic domination). In reality, though, it seems Weebles spend their days wiggling and rolling through a wildly colorful city, engaging in the most gosh-darned adventures. Key players in the Weeble wrecking crew are Pendleton Wrongrighter (a penguin), Tibby (an elephant), Diddy Wishingwell (a cow), Demby (a Hippo), Zuzie Q. (a chicken), Tooey (a turtle) and Bumpus (a dog and the town's friendly mailman). They're a peppy bunch, but their adventures aren't anywhere near as thrilling as the package description wants us to believe. Just check out this disc's lineup:
• "Welcome to Weebleville": While delivering mail, Bumpus gets a package all muddy and enlists his friends' help in whistling, singing and wiggling the mud off the parcel. (What, they don't have wet wipes in Weebleville?)
• "Weebles to the Wescue": Tooey must overcome his fear of heights to save his friend Zuzie Q, who is trapped on top of a teetering tower of donuts.
• "Spaghetti Days": The Weebles have to work together to make the annual Spaghetti Days Barn Dance a success.
• "Tooey's Wobbly Weekend": The gang gets into a pickle while camping, but Tooey is once again on hand to save the day.
• "The Wednesday Race": Slow and steady is passé as Zuzie Q. and Noomie get fast and furious in a race to see who is the speediest.
Compared to these storylines, my whole "alien egg people" scenario is bursting with excitement and intrigue (although anything involving a tower of donuts can't be all bad). Not helping is dialogue of the "things are always easier when you work together" sort. I appreciate the effort to incorporate lessons about teamwork, patience and sharing, but when they're handled in as graceless a fashion as they are here, I'm not inclined to give the writers any pats on the back.
The production and sound design, on the other hand, is quite stunning. Every color of the rainbow (plus a few not found in nature) is on glistening display, and each story is chock full of sound effects. It's as if the contents of a child's toy box have been spilled across the television screen. But the expansive palette of colors and flurry of action and noise simply tries to mask the fact that there ain't just a whole lot going on in the world of Weebles and that the Weebles have no discernable personalities. Basically, they're all loud and rambunctious. Toddlers may enjoy watching it once or twice, but better viewing options are available (check out Noggin's morning television schedule).
All five shorts are presented in a full-screen format, and the transfer is just fine. Weebleville and its denizens look as shiny and colorful as they should. The package's stereo sound is passable, but just think of what a little surround action could have done with this show's many, many goofy sound effects. No subtitles and no extras, unless you count the never-ending stream of direct-to-DVD previews that precedes the shorts.
The Weebles' first foray into home video entertainment is a depressing bust, but I wouldn't worry about them. These resilient critters survived multiple Chewbacca attacks in my youth, and they'll survive this. Wobble as they will, they won't fall down. At least not for long.
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