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BIG IDEA

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Brian Roberts
Cast:
Keri Pisapia, Rebecca Walker, Mike Nawrocki, Phil Vischer
Writing Credits:
Mark Steele

Synopsis:
Princess Poppyseed's life on her family's farm is far from the glamorous world of her favorite pop singer Vanna Banana. While Princess milks the cows and dreams of a life on stage, Vanna has her own dreams of a life far from the hectic pace of stardom. On a chance meeting Vanna & Princess cross paths and realize they look almost exactly alike which leads to the crazy notion that maybe they could switch lives! In a flash the girls secret plan is launched but as Princess tries to live up to the demands of being a diva and Vanna learns how to milk the cows each girl realizes that the life they longed for doesn t fulfill all their dreams after all and the life God gave them is the one for which they were uniquely and lovingly designed.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Not Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 50 min.
Price: $14.97
Release Date: 8/16/2011

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Brian Roberts, Writer Mark Steele and Producer Leslie Ferrell
• “Behind the Music of Princess and the Pop Star” Featurette
• “Points For Being Uniquely You” Text
• Two SingAlongs
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
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: Princess And The Pop Star (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 25, 2011)

Almost exactly a year earlier, VeggieTales offered their first firmly girl-oriented title with Sweetpea Beauty. I guess it sold well because they’re back with another via 2011’s The Princess and the Pop Star.

Princess Poppyseed (voiced by Keri Pisapia) lives on the farm with her family but she feels dissatisfied with her rural existence. She idolizes pop star Vanna Banana (Rebecca Walker) and envies all the fortune and fame the singer enjoys. Or seems to enjoy, as Vanna actually doesn’t live life all that high on the hog; even with all her success, she feels lonely.

When Vanna comes to Princess’s town for a show, she happens to bump into her fan on a playground. Both recognize that they look an awful lot alike – and they both envy the other’s lifestyle. This leads to a swap during which Vanna and Princess see how the other half lives.

I wasn’t wild about Sweetpea Beauty, and I can’t say that Princess leaves me eager to see more of VeggieTales’ attempts girl-oriented material. Granted, I couldn’t be much farther away from the target demographic if I tried. I’m a 44-year-old guy, not a pre-teen girl, so it’s unlikely I’ll have much in common with the DVD’s natural audience.

However, I didn’t share much with the kids the earlier shows aimed to entertain but I found enjoyment in many of those, so I don’t think I must be part of the target to find value in Princess. Unfortunately, it shares the same flaws that marred Sweetpea, mainly a lack of zing. At its best, the VeggieTales franchise delivers some gentle but clever wit and a slightly skewed take on things.

That doesn’t occur much in the bland Princess. Maybe the show’s creators think that girls just like bland morality tales without much humor. Yeah, the program delivers mild attempts at gags, but they lack the creativity of the better VeggieTales.

This means we’re left with a fairly ordinary little morality tale. The two girls learn the expected lessons and the kids in the crowd get the message. The show does throw out a few minor twists, but mostly it follows the standard path. All of this leaves it as a pretty ordinary VeggieTales.


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

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.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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