DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Mike Nawrocki
Mike Nawrocki, Tim Hodge, Lisa Vischer
Writing Credits:

Once upon a time in the small Italian town of Bologna-Salami, there lived a lonely toymaker named Gelato and his assistant Cricket. Gelato had no children he could call his own, so one day he decided to carve a little boy out of wood. Imagine Gelato s surprise when he learned that this little toy boy could walk ... and talk ... and definitely had a mind of his own!

Will Pistachio learn that obeying the wisdom of a loving father will help him find what he really needs and could be the key to saving his whole family from becoming fish food? Find out in this all new VeggieTales adventure with a lesson about the importance of family and listening to your parents.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1/16X9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Not Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 51 min.
Price: $14.93
Release Date: 3/2/2010

• Audio Commentary with Director/Actor Mike Nawrocki and Producer Kevin Gamble
• “Discussion Guide”
• Art Gallery with Commentary
• “SingAlong Song”
• “Larry Visits a Marionette Theater” Featurette
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


VeggieTales: Pistachio (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 13, 2010)

Some VeggieTales efforts spoof well-known tales, and 2010’s Pistachio falls into that category. A play on Pinocchio, this program introduces to a lonely toymaker named Gelato (voiced by Mike Nawrocki). He has no family, so he compensates with a caterpillar friend named Cricket (Tim Hodge) and a trio of ducklings who followed him home.

When he gets a log of pistachio wood, he carves it into a little asparagus-shaped boy. Magically, the creation comes to life in the form of a willful kid Gelato names “Pistachio” (Lisa Vischer). The youngster immediately declares that he knows what’s best for him, but Gelato tries to teach him to follow his new dad’s teachings.

The odd little family goes to a museum and Gelato shows Pistachio lessons related to paintings. Pistachio doesn’t take much to heart, and he scams his old man to get five cents so he can see a puppet show. This doesn’t go well, and it leads Pistachio on a series of misadventures.

Pistachio boasts some serious production value upgrades for VeggieTales. The series goes widescreen and features improved animation and more dynamic audio.

Apparently the folks behind the series got so happy about their new toys that they forgot to come up with a good story. This one seems flawed from beginning to end, as it feels awfully ham-fisted. The basic “why should kids do what their parents say?” theme isn’t particularly rich and certainly doesn’t have enough depth to it to sustain us across a 51-minute show. They probably could’ve illustrated the concept with a shot of kid who ignores his dad, runs into traffic and gets hit by a bus.

That’d be more efficient and not much less heavy-handed than Pistachio. The series works best when it treats its subject matter in a subtle manner, but that doesn’t happen here. It goes out of its way to connect to its theme, even though the tale and the moral don’t fit especially well.

When we first meet Pistachio, he does come across as unwilling to listen to anyone else. However, he quickly just turns into a dope. Pistachio gets in trouble less because he doesn’t follow Gelato’s rules and more because he’s simply stupid.

Which is somewhat different than Pinocchio - at least when we compare to the Disney version. In that film, Pinocchio is kind of a dope, but he also screws up because he does what he knows is wrong. On the other hand, Pistachio usually doesn’t seem to know any better. He makes an initial mistake but tries to fix it and just gets in deeper because he’s such a moron.

Pistachio does muster the occasional amusing moment, but the show never gets up a head of steam. The program’s character and narrative flaws are too substantial, and it features an awkward attempt to teach kids lessons. This isn’t an awful show, but it’s one of the lesser VeggieTales.

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

VeggieTales: Pistachio appears in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The first widescreen VeggieTales episode, the visuals looked quite good.

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.

Though prior VeggieTales also featured Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, Pistachio featured a more involving soundfield than usual. The show used the speakers to create a good sense of environment, and a few more action-oriented sequences kicked the audio into higher gear. For example, the shots at sea formed a strong wall of sound and added zest to the show.

Audio quality was always good. Speech was concise and natural, without edginess or other issues. Music seemed perky and lively, while effects displayed nice clarity. Those elements appeared accurate and full. This was the best soundtrack I’ve heard for a VeggieTales episode.

We get a pretty standard set of VeggieTales extras here. These launch with an audio commentary from director/actor Mike Nawrocki and producer Kevin Gamble. They sit together for a running, screen-specific look at the new opening sequence and other up, cast and performances, character and story issues, music, and a few other production areas.

If you’ve heard other VeggieTales commentaries, you’ll know what to expect here. Nawrocki and Gamble provide a good overview of the film that comes with a sunny tone and some wit. We probably hear a little too much praise for the project and participants, but we get a nice examination of various production areas, so this becomes a reasonably good piece.

A few text questions appear under Discussion Guide. This is simply a way for families to chat about various issues with the kids.

An Art Gallery features 15 screens and comes with commentary from Nawrocki and concept artist Joe Spadaford. You can skip through the art at will or just let it run with the narration. We see concept and character drawings while we learn about the various design topics. The art offers a nice glimpse of the details, and the commentary offers a solid explanation of the choices.

Next we get a Sing-Along presentation for “Where Have All the Staplers Gone”. This three-minute, 27-second clip shows the veggies as they croon the song. 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.

Larry Visits a Marionette Theater goes for four minutes, 50 seconds. It shows a behind the scenes look at how puppets are made and used. We find comments from Wood and Strings Theatre producer Clarissa Lega and artistic director Leon Fuller as they discuss those topics. They offer a decent overview of the subject matter.

An ad for Sweetpea Beauty opens the DVD. It also appears in the Previews area along with clips for Silly Little Thing Called Love, Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Noah’s Umbrella, Abe and the Amazing Promise, 25 Favorite Action Songs and 25 Favorite Toddler Songs.

As an update on Pinocchio, the VeggieTales show Pistachio fizzles. It doesn’t turn into a bore, but it’s one of the series’ more heavy-handed and less enjoyable affairs. The DVD boasts very good picture and audio along with a smattering of supplements. While I don’t actively dislike this release, I think Pistachio ends up as a disappointment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 5 Stars Number of Votes: 3
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main