Scary Godmother: Halloween Spooktakular (2003)

Rating: **
Review Date: 10/23/05

Jill Thompson's beloved series "Scary Godmother" makes a rough transition to video with this computer animated holiday special. It's Halloween night and rotten kid Jimmy promises to take his younger cousin Hannah Marie trick-or-treating with him and his friends. Fearing that she'll get in the way and slow down the festivities, Jimmy attempts to ditch Hannah Marie and scare her into running home. Fortunately for her, a witch known as Scary Godmother shows up and takes Hannah Marie to the Fright Side where she learns that not all monsters are mean and scary. She meets the skeleton Mr. Pettibone, Harry the werewolf, Count Max, Ruby, and Orson (a vampire family), and the frightening Bug-A-Boo who hides under children's beds. They hold a festive Halloween party and then decide to get back at Jimmy by scaring him witless.

Maybe I'm just too old to appreciate this kind of entertainment anymore, because it seemed to lack the warmth and charm of the holiday specials I used to watch as a kid. The translation of Jill Thompson's wonderful watercolors to the screen proves to be difficult, and the 3D rendering looks overly flat and plastic. In fact, everything about the production seems solidly mediocre, from the modelling and choreography to the music score and the voice acting. Maybe I just haven't gotten used to low budget computer animation as a common medium for children's programming, since I found it technically uninspired. Still, youngsters will probably get a kick out of seeing it, just like I enjoyed watching the "Fat Albert Halloween Special" and "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" over and over again in my youth.