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Not Rated.

Standard 1.33:1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Stereo

Runtime: 30 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 3/19/2002

• Origins of Larryboy
• Animation Progression
• Storyboards; Storyreel
• Backgrounds and Sets
• Characters; Superheroes
• Promo Materials
• Top-Swapper Game
• Draw Larryboy
• Bok Choy’s Pop Quiz
• Easter Eggs
• DVD-ROM Materials


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VeggieTales: Larryboy and the Angry Eyebrows (2002)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson

While the first two VeggieTales DVDs provided the program’s standard computer-animated characters and gently comedic situations, Larryboy and the Angry Eyebrows goes down a different path. It features traditional cel animation and gives us a full narrative during the 22-minute story. Larryboy takes Larry the cucumber from VeggieTales and puts him in superhero situations. Voiced by series co-creator Mike Nawrocki, Larry acts as a janitor at newspaper The Daily Bumble during the day, but when danger calls, he transforms into Larryboy, crimefighter extraordinaire!

In this pilot episode, Larryboy opposes his first arch-villain: Awful Alvin. Bitter and hateful, he wants to bring everyone else down to his level. As such, he sets some evil flying eyebrows loose in Bumblyburg; they’ll alight on the faces of anyone who holds in their anger. Once this occurs, the victims become totally possessed by their ire. Larryboy needs to stop Alvin and free the citizens from their excessive nastiness.

During my limited exposure to the show, I’ve enjoyed VeggieTales. It seems sprightly and fun as it provides clever and witty comedy and some cute characters. While entertaining, Larryboy doesn’t seem as good as the regular program. Part of that stems from the piece’s tone. VeggieTales provides a gently moral message but doesn’t beat the viewer over the head with the attitudes. While Larryboy isn’t strident, I think it seems a little heavy-handed at times. It pushes the whole “let go of your anger” theme too strongly and gets a bit tiresome.

Nonetheless, it provides a fun spoof on superhero conventions. Larryboy comes from the Batman mold, though he also combines some other characters. Obviously his newspaper career reflects Superman, and the show provides additional jabs related to different heroes. It’s a nice nod to that genre that adds some charm to the show.

At the end of the 22-minute Larryboy episode, we find a seven-minute short to expand the program. Entitled “Fly By Might”, this dialogue-free bit differs from the Larryboy piece in that it focuses on slapstick. Larry’s bothered by a pesky fly, and he attempts to eradicate the winged menace.

I didn’t care for “Fly By Might”. It lacks much cleverness or spark, and it seems to actively oppose the message seen during “Angry Eyebrows”. After all, the whole piece deals with Larry’s escalating anger and his quest for revenge. Why in the world would the VeggieTales folks include something so negative? Personally, I don’t mind the short’s tone; I just think it seems strange since it bluntly contradicts the prior show’s point.

Despite those problems, Larryboy seems like a fun little program. It isn’t the best I’ve seen from the VeggieTales universe, especially because of its periodically heavy-handed message. Nonetheless, it offers an amusing and inventive tale that starts the new superhero series on a good note.

The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

Larryboy appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. All told, this was a very nice transfer with only a few concerns to mar the presentation.

Sharpness seemed to be positive for the most part. A few mildly soft shots appeared, but those happened only a few times. During most of the show, it remained crisp and detailed. However, some noticeable jagged edges appeared, and a few examples of moiré effects occurred as well. Print flaws appeared to be absent, as the program seemed clean and fresh.

As with the other VeggieTales shows, Larryboy presented a very bright and varied palette. The tones remained appropriately cartoonish and bold, and they were displayed in a very solid manner. At no time did any of the colors show signs of bleeding, noise or other concerns, as they always looked tight and distinct. Black levels were also nicely deep and rich, and though shadow detail was only a minor consideration, all of those sorts of shots came across as appropriately clean and visible. Ultimately, Larryboy provided a very satisfying visual experience.

Also fairly strong was the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Larryboy. For the most part, this soundfield stayed with an emphasis on the forward spectrum, where it offered nicely broad and engaging audio at times. Music seemed to be nicely delineated, as the show provided positive stereo separation. Effects appeared more active than the average VeggieTales episode, as the superhero milieu offered additional opportunities for action. Elements moved cleanly across the front and they blended together neatly.

The rear speakers backed up the music well, and some decent effects usage also occurred. In general, the surrounds remained minor partners, but they became more active at times. The action sequences were moderately lively and engaging. As a whole, Larryboy showed fairly useful usage of all five speakers, though it wasn’t a tremendously powerful piece.

Audio quality seemed to be fine across the board. Dialogue was consistently warm and natural, and it showed no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, and when appropriate they came to life quite vividly. Music showed nice dynamics and fidelity. Highs appeared clear and bright, and bass response was positive. Overall, the soundtrack didn’t excel in many ways, but it offered a good complement to the program.

Larryboy tosses in a mix of supplements. In the “Secret Stuff” area of the disc, we start with Origins of Larryboy. This three-minute and 55-second featurette mainly provides an interview with creator Mike Nawrocki, who also voices Larry. He offers a brief but interesting discussion of how VeggieTales spun off into Larryboy.

Under the “Making of a Hero” umbrella, a few pieces appear. Animation Progression features comments from supervising director/character designer Tom Bancroft. During the 115-second clip, he covers the creation of the concept art and talks about some other sketches. While too short to be a great discussion, the “Progression” gives us some interesting notes.

In the Storyboards domain, we find 20 screens of art, with two images per screen. The Storyreel runs for 71 seconds, as it shows the filmed storyboards on the left and the final show on the right. Neither of these extras did much for me.

When we jump to the “Bumblyburg” area, we find three subdomains. Backgrounds and Sets includes nine screens of drawings; we see some concept art and final backgrounds used in the program, Characters shows 14 screens of design sheets to keep the art consistent. Superheroes runs for two minutes, 28 seconds as Bancroft discusses Larryboy, some of the folks in the Superhero Class, and a couple of villains. It’s another nice little chat about the program.

Within the Promo Materials realm, we find a mix of extras. We get trailers for Jonah, Heroes of the Bible, Larryboy and Rumor Weed. Printed Stuff also provides nine screens of art designed for the video release. The trailers seem a little dull, but the art offers a fun look at alternate concepts.

Once we jump to the “Fun” section of the DVD, we locate a few other pieces. The Top -Swapper lets you change the hat, hair or other components of some Larryboy characters. It’s cute but insubstantial.

Draw Larryboy offers a seven-minute and 35-second demonstration from Tom Bancroft. He actually demonstrates how to create both Larryboy and Awful Alvin, and he also illustrates the differences between Larry and Larryboy. Even if you don’t want to draw anything, it’s a fun and informative discussion of the process.

Bok Choy’s Pop Quiz provides an eight-question test. You get extra chances to answer them, but you receive no reward even for flawless performance. The queries change with each administration; obviously, some repeat, but they don’t remain static.

A couple of Easter eggs also appear on the DVD. They’re easily found, so I’ll leave their locations undisclosed; just look for the egg icon. One offers “If Only Lampy Could Play Top-Swapper”; basically that puts Lampy’s head on the other characters. In addition, we discover a 15-second “First Pencil Test” for the program. Both of these make sense as eggs; they’re cute but not anything you’ll miss if you don’t locate them.

Finally, the disc provides a couple of extras available for those with DVD-ROM drives. The Treatment offers a short text piece that describes the episode’s basics, while the Script gives us exactly what we’d expect. Note that both of these features must be accessed via direct DVD access. Unlike most DVD-ROM bits, they don’t pop up through the use of the Interactual player; you have to dig into the source and read them with Acrobat.

I’ve enjoyed my periodic viewings of the VeggieTales universe, and Larryboy offered another fun and creative enterprise. It didn’t seem quite as entertaining as episodes of the regular show, partly because it rammed home its theme too heavily. Nonetheless, I liked it and think it’s another good program for family viewing; both kids and adults should get a kick out of it.

Picture and sound quality appeared very positive. While Larryboy provides a reasonably decent roster of extras, the package as a whole seems pretty light. After all, the main program lasts only a half an hour, and that’s if we count the “Fly By Might” short; “Larryboy and the Angry Eyebrows” itself runs a mere 22 minutes. Frankly, $20 retail seems pretty steep for such a brief program. If they knocked the price down to $10 or even $15, I could more readily recommend it. If the cost doesn’t bother you, then Larryboy’s a nice bet, but I still feel it’s a bit too pricey for the content.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.1818 Stars Number of Votes: 11
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