VeggieTales: It’s a Meaningful Life appears in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. For a standard-def DVD, this one looked terrific.
Sharpness was very nice. Virtually no softness impacted the presentation, as the show appeared pretty concise and accurate. Jagged edges were minimal, and I noticed no haloes or shimmering. Source flaws failed to create any distractions.
Like most VeggieTales programs, this one went with a broad palette. The colors appeared lively and peppy throughout the show. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows seemed clear and concise. Across the board, the episode provided solid visuals.
As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio of Life, it worked pretty well. The show’s first half lacked much pep, but the more fantasy-oriented second half demonstrated greater flair. Shots with the train moved and engulfed well, and a few other moments gave the piece some zing. The elements blended nicely and offered a decent setting.
Audio quality was positive. Music showed good range and vivacity, while speech seemed natural and concise. Effects offered nice clarity and accuracy, and low-end response was fine. Nothing here excelled, but the track satisfied.
The usual VeggieTales extras round out the set. These launch with an audio commentary from creator/actor/writer Mike Nawrocki and producer/director Brian Roberts. They sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story and themes, cast, characters and performances, visual and technical elements, influences, music, and other topics.
Odd point: unless I missed it, neither Nawrocki nor Roberts ever actually alludes to It’s a Wonderful Life. Despite that strange omission, the pair offer a good little commentary. They deliver a nice range of details and do so in an enjoyable manner. The track moves well and keeps us interested.
A Music Video for Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Meant to Be” follows. It mixes studio shots of Chapman, clips from the show, and some photos of kids. The song does nothing for me, and the video bores.
Behind the Song “Meant to Be” runs four minutes. Chapman discusses the tune, working with VeggieTales, and some topics reflected in the show. He seems heartfelt, so I’m sure his message will work for fans.
Another featurette follows via the four-minute, 27-second Larry Rides a Real Train. “Railroad Steve” of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum tells us a little about trains, and we take a virtual ride on one. We also see a little of the museum. We learn a smidgen of info here, but mostly this feels like an ad for the museum.
An Art Gallery features 12 screens of concept and character drawings. Prior galleries also included commentary but this one doesn’t. It’s till got some good shots, but I miss the comments.
Next we get a Sing-Along for “Goodnight Junior” (2:28). It displays the lyrics at the bottom of the screen, and the audio button allows you to turn on or off the vocals. Simply the same scene from the show, it does nothing for me, but kids might enjoy it.
Under Meaningful Family Life Guide, we get some text. This uses the letters in “meaningful” to offer tips on ways to keep your family happy. My family’s beyond help, but maybe this’ll be good for yours.
An ad for The 27th Annual Crisper County Easter Pageant opens the DVD. It also appears in the Previews area along with clips for SweetPea Beauty, Saint Nicholas, Show Hope, Secret Keeper Girl and Family Life.
Rather than simply rehash its influences, It’s a Meaningful Life manages to develop a reasonably creative story of its own. It packs the usual morals in a satisfying way and turns into a creative, enjoyable show. The DVD features very good picture, pretty nice audio and a few extras highlighted by an interesting commentary. VeggieTales fans should dig this release.