Voices of: Christina Ricci Wayne Brady Tom Lowell Rosie Perez Jess Harnell David Kaye Owen Wilson Craig Ferguson Sean Astin
THE HERO OF COLOR CITY
This film is clearly made for very young children—preschool/kindergarten age. It has brilliant colors and animation; however it has nowhere near the imagination and educational value of what we have come to recognize about the long running Sesame Street on TV. Very telling is the fact that one of the main figures is taken from a commercial enterprise, Bumble Bee Seafoods. As expected, it is formulaic with a couple of fart jokes and one fistfight. The story is that when Ben the child goes to sleep, his crayons come out to play. Oh, what a new concept!
After Ben has gone to sleep, the crayons slide down an incline to go to Color City. Although Brown (Lowell) is checking everyone in, he fails to notice that Yellow (Ricci)--of course she is the skittish girl--is not present. She has been terrified by a sock monkey, so all the other colors discount her as a wimp and head off to have fun. Of course, she is too addled to notice that everyone is leaving and she is left alone. Suddenly, she has to face the Unfinished Drawings, King Scrawl, a giant “monster” and his sidekick Gnat (Ferguson).
The Unfinished Drawings think that if they just had color, they could be used and be happy, so realizing that Yellow is not enough (they need greater variety) they get her to reveal how to get to Color City. She flees toward Color City, with the other two right behind her, and when they arrive, they attempt to hoard all the colors that come from a “color-fall” in the city. This results in the crayons’ colors beginning to fade, so a crisis is looming.
In the process of meeting this crisis, the values of negotiation and cooperation are realized and brought to bear, apologies are made, and needs are satisfied by the crayons’ colors being reconstituted. Fearful strangers are accepted as allies and given color, Yellow is transformed into a heroine (not very plausible after how she is shown in the first part of the story), and they all make it back to their box before Ben awakens.
Perhaps it has something to do with having five writers and 15 producers, but this story just does not have oomph. It has some good messages about judging someone new in a negative light without enough information, the acknowledgement of mistakes and apologies, and the value of cooperation, but the formulaic approach drains it of interest and spontaneity.
This movie has such a commercial thrust to it, it seems like an extended commercial.
Kids may love this, but I’m not sure I would take my kids to see it.
By Donna R. Copeland