VeggieTales: Princess and the Pop Star appears in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 TVs. This was a very good transfer for SD-DVD.
Sharpness looked quite good. The program displayed solid clarity, especially given the limitations of SD-DVD. I noticed no shimmering, jaggies or edge haloes, and source flaws remained absent.
As always, VeggieTales opted for a dynamic palette. The colors consistently looked nicely bright and lively, as they showed good reproduction. Blacks provided nice depth, while shadows were clear and full. I didn’t mistake this for a Blu-ray image, but it delivered a top-notch SD-DVD.
I also felt pretty pleased with the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Princess. Though the show lacked the action sequences that added pep to other VeggieTales programs, the active use of music added zing to the proceedings. The songs filled out the side and rear speakers in a positive way, and effects brought out decent atmosphere. The music was the dominant element and worked the best, though.
Audio quality was perfectly fine. Speech remained natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music demonstrated nice life and vivacity; bass response didn’t dazzle, but low-end was pretty good. Effects seemed accurate enough. All of this was good enough for a “B”.
The DVD comes with fewer extras than usual. These launch with an audio commentary from director Brian Roberts, writer Mark Steele and executive producer Leslie Ferrell. They sit together for a running, screen-specific look at changes made for girl-oriented projects, story and themes, cast, characters and performances, visual and technical elements, influences, music, and a few other areas.
Like most VeggieTales commentaries, this one manages to be pretty peppy. It’s a little heavier on moral lessons than most, but I don’t view that as a negative; the participants never become preachy, and let’s face it: if you’re watching VeggieTales, the religious side of things appeals to you. We learn some nice notes in this useful track.
Behind the Music of Princess and the Pop Star runs three minutes, 59 seconds and offers notes from Roberts, series co-creator Mike Nawrocki, singer/songwriter Moriah Peters, and recording artist Francesca Battistelli. The piece discusses story and themes, cast and performances, music, and moral lessons. “Music” flies by quickly and offers little substance.
Next we get Sing-Alongs for “Astonishing Wigs” (2:33) and “Right Where I Belong” (1:10). These display the lyrics at the bottom of the screen, and the audio button allows you to turn on or off the vocals. Simply the same scenes from the show, they do nothing for me, but kids might enjoy them.
Points for Being Uniquely You delivers some text. This gives girls lessons on how to live a moral life and be themselves. Last time I looked, I wasn’t a girl, but the young females in the target audience may get something from this.
An ad for Little Drummer Boy opens the DVD. It also appears in the Previews area along with clips for Veggietales.com, Sweetpea Beauty, VeggieTales Live, Hosanna!, MOPS, Secret Keeper Girl and World Vision.
After two mediocre offerings, I guess it’s time I skip future girl-oriented VeggieTales. Princess and the Pop Star has a few enjoyable moments but it usually comes across as a flat, forgettable tale. The DVD delivers excellent visuals and good audio but skimps on supplements; though we still find some useful components, we get fewer bonus features than normal. While the target audience seems likely to get more from Princess than I did, I still think it’s a lackluster VeggieTale.