Saturday, February 12, 2011

Review of It's A Meaingingful Life

From the Cover:
"It was the biggest football game of his life, and Stewart (Larry the Cucumber) had a chance to win it all. Injured in one bad play, his hopes of playing in the Salad Bowl- and living a life of fame and fortune- are dashed forever. Years later, silly-but-sweet Stewart loves his family, friends and job at the toy train factory, but still wonders "what if" things had been different. When he meets a mysterious train conductor who can turn back time, Stewart gets a chance to have the life he always wanted. Will he finally find all he's been looking for? And what does this mean for those he loves most? Find out in this story of wonder and a lesson in being content."
It's A Meaningful Life is an episode that, in most ways, does not disappoint. I say "in most ways" because of a somewhat minor problem, namely the technical quality. Ever since they stopped using the animation house in Canada, the quality of the animation has slowly been going down. This show isn't as bad as Sweetpea Beauty (that one was just painful to watch), but I did notice some issues such as some of the character's bouncing looking rather unnatural, some objects being a little too shiny, and several other things.
But for the most part, I think this is a very good episode. It was well-written for the most part, and very entertaining. I've never seen the movie It's A Wonderful Life, but I love The Polar Express movie and enjoyed the references to it.

There are many great songs in this video, all of them sure to become classics. 110 Percent is really catchy, as is the Munchie Dream song. Junior's Bedtime Song is really cute and reminds me of myself when I was little. And if my memory serves me correctly, this one is the 2nd Silly Song that doesn't feature Larry (the first one being The Cheeseburger Song).

Little Emma the Rhubarb just melts your heart. Her little song that she sings with Larry is just adorable, and the scene with her in the orphanage is probably the best scene in the entire show. I'd love to see her play roles in future videos.

Gabe the train conductor is also a really great character, but I feel like his first scene could have been written a little better. I mean, Stewart gets on this train that suddenly shows up in the middle of the football field, finds this weird old guy who says he's been driving the train for one hundred years, and although you can tell that he's confused, he doesn't seem to wonder how Gabe even knew his name. But I really did enjoy Gabe. Like I said, he's a great character, and he did a great job at delivering the lesson.

This episode has some really great moments and scenes, both funny and more poignant. Some of my favorites include the scene with Morty and Stewart, and the orphanage scene.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable show with a great lesson about trusting God's plan. I give it a rating of 3 1/2 stars.

Oh, and a couple little things that I want to point out before I finish up here. If you watch closely during the Silly Song, you may notice a certain stuffed manatee among Junior's stuffed animals. And for those of you who listen to a radio show called Adventures in Odyssey, the name Torry Martin may be familiar to you. Well, he was the creator of the character Wooton on that show, and he did some voices on this episode, including Arthur (the guy with the umbrella hat) and a couple of the workers at the Toy Train factory.

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