Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Children > Babes In Toyland (1997)

Babes In Toyland (1997, animated)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Film: C



The tale of Babes In Toyland has never been a big hit, though a famous live-action film exists from 1934 with Laurel and Hardy that many consider definitive, also known as March of the Wooden Soldiers.  Disney had less success in 1961 with an animated version, and Don Bluth produced this second animated version with MGM in 1997 that is even less distinguished.  If the overly simple cherub-like animated style Bluth uses in his own distinct way that always seems dated is not problem enough, it is very removed from the original Victor Herbert/Glen MacDonough operetta.  If anything, the songs are rushed through and make The Disney Channel singers sound like pure Gospel by comparison.


That’s a shame, because there has always been potential in this material for a new production and only a phobia about Opera and art have stopped this from happening.  Voices include those of James Belushi, Lacey Chabert, Christopher Plummer, Bronson Pinchot and as a talking, wise-cracking egg (pun intended), Charles Nelson Reilly.  Best known for the TV Ghost & Mrs. Muir and a famous ad campaign for Bic Banana Pens, Reilly became immortalized as a wisecracking regular on the original version of TV’s Match Game.  This may be a talented enough cast of known voice actors, but the missed opportunity in using Reilly to the fullest is a huge missed opportunity that could have helped this become at least some kind of sleeper or cult item.  Alas, it is too dull and standardized for its own good.  In it, kids go to a toy factory and into a supposedly happier world of fun and plenty, until the villain shows up.  Yawn.  The talent here, especially in Reilly’s case, could have had fun with an all too familiar situation.  Too bad.


The 1.33 X 1 full frame image is clean and some of the colors are interesting, but it is nothing spectacular either, with some colors looking too flat for their own good.  The sound is credited as “surround sound” only on the print and is here in English, French & Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with Pro Logic surrounds.  It looks like this may have begun as a Dolby A-type analog production mix before that idea was thrown out, when Dolby’s own records are consulted.  The only extra is the trailer, which shows no sound logo either.  Very young children may find something in this one, but it is one to skip otherwise.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com