The Fairly Oddparents
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 126 minutes
Retail Price: $16.99
Features: Crimson Chin Interstitals
Specs: 1.33:1 Full Frame, English Dolby Stereo, English Closed Captions
Released: February 3rd, 2004
It was actually announced a little while back that "The Fairly Oddparents," an animated program on cable's Nickelodeon, was the second most popular program on the channel. It was only at this point many people whet "Huh!? What's that?" Like so many other Nickelodeon cartoons before it, "The Fairly Oddparents" is a show that gets heavy rotation on the network - so much so that kids watch it obsessively and talk about it and know about it, but their own parents are oblivious to what it is until it gets in the news, word spreads and a load of merchandise hits which they then buy up for their children.
For those unfamiliar with the show, it's about an average tween boy named Timmy Turner who has crazy parents and an evil babysitter who tortures him. However, Timmy has two fairy godparents named Cosmo and Wanda who can grant him wishes (though there are a few exceptions to what he can wish for). So of course, Timmy wishes and his whole world goes crazy because of it and he usually has to fix his problems (with help from the godparents, of course).
In my opinion, "The Fairly Oddparents" is yet another attempt by Nickelodeon to achieve the same kind of creative and financial success with their competitor, Cartoon Network. For those familiar with the type of original programming Cartoon Network shows, they're far from traditional and are pretty inventive, as some of their original cartoons uses a 1960s-esque animation technique with bold color schemes but looks a bit flat overall, making it a bit stylized. That's how "The Fairly Oddparents" looks (I personally enjoy this technique). On top of that, the show was actually spun-off from a show called "Oh Yeah! Cartoons" where three different shorts were shown each week (how do I KNOW this!?). I suppose "The Fairly Oddparents" was pretty popular to warrant its own show. And I'm sure a lot of you know that Cartoon Network had their own show which did the same thing: three different shorts a week, and many shows were spun-off from it. Though I suppose Nick stole from the best, as the creator of this show, Butch Hartman, was also a key force on the Cartoon Network show "Johnny Bravo."
But what is it about "The Fairly Oddparents" that kids find so appealing? I guess it's the simple fact that it's about an ordinary boy who gets the opportunity to do great things, and has to fix his mistakes because wishing doesn't always get you everything you want (read: be careful what you wish for). Of course, kids probably respond to the characters: the "we-mean-well-but-we-have-no-clue-about-anything" parents, the mean babysitter, the evil teacher, the ordinary boy and the comic relief stylings of Cosmo and Wanda (who also provide guidance). Maybe this show has some kind of archetype... nonetheless, I know there are plenty of older fans of this show out there, so if you like the show or know younger ones who do, so there's something in here that works for everybody. I think the voice acting is great, but maybe it's just that the show is very silly, and it's not afraid to be ludicrous or go crazy. It's amusing and very light entertainment.
Paramount released the Fairly Oddparents movie on DVD in 2003, and this is the first "best-of" DVD release of the actual series. The theme of this volume is - you guessed it - superheroes and superpowers. Nearly half of the episodes here deal with a recurring character, that being the superhero The Crimson Chin. That character is actually voiced by the one and only Jay Leno which is a brilliant touch (probably the role he was born to play, and if it wasn't him playing it, I don't think it'd be as amusing). With that said, the following episodes are included: "Chin Up!", "Boy Toy," "The Crimson Chin Meets Mighty Mom and Dyno Dad," "Crime Wave," "Mighty Mom and Dyno Dad," "Action Packed," "Totally Spaced Out," "So Totally Spaced Out," "Miss Dimmsdale" and "Mind Over Magic." Hopefully, these are episodes fans wished for - but if they aren't, I'm rather sure more are to come.
The episodes are in 1.33:1 full screen and look quite good. Detail is pretty strong and color saturation looks quite fitting and can be rather vibrant. The overall image on the episodes looks rather sharp as well and has a very clean-cut look. Contrast is a bit on the episodes and as a result, there is some noise. I also noticed some artifacting. Nonetheless, these episodes look pretty good and there's nothing too distracting about them (in case you really care).
English stereo tracks are provided for the episodes and they are pretty decent. While they aren't up to what a 5.1 mix can pull off, there is some power to these tracks and some cool effects (such as when The Crimson Chin's chin ends up hitting Cosmo and Wanda to the left). And yes, since these are superhero-themed episodes, you better expect some other action noises - like crimefighting - to add some nice, strong punches to these tracks. Other than that, the music sounds good and dialogue is easy to hear. These are very straightfroward tracks, but do work quite well. English closed captioning through your television is provided.
Nine minutes worth of Crimson Chin Interstitals are provided. These apparently were shown on Nickelodeon during commercial breaks and act as two-part mini-episodes featuring The Crimson Chin and Timmy. The animation is by no means full, and the only dialogue comes from a narrator. It's all pretty much the same except with different villains, but I bet kids will rewatch these over and over just like the episodes. It's a nice little touch though. Oh, and there are previews too.
"The Fairly OddParents" is a fun show, but I still think Nick has done better cartoon shows (I long for shows quality of those from the early 1990s). The DVD has a decent presentation for the episodes, but I would have liked to seen more extras. The retail price isn't incredibly steep - but I still say it should be a few dollars cheaper. Fans of the show, who have probably seen these episodes eighty times since Nick doesn't stop reairing what's popular, will probably want to pick this up.