The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure is an independently produced, preschool-friendly puppet movie from the marketing executive who introduced American audiences to the Teletubbies and Thomas the Tank Engine. The Oogieloves are giant-headed, human-sized creatures that look like puppets but are actually actors in costume. With the characters' rhyming names and interactive instructions for kids to follow along, this movie brings the Dora and Diego style of engaging kids to the big screen. Teamwork and friendship are emphasized, and there's very little iffy stuff, even for the youngest viewers. It's unlikely that anyone over the age of about 5 or 6 will be interested or entertained, but the movie's good intentions and appeal for preschoolers earn it an extra star.
What's the story?
The three brightly colored Oogielove friends (green Goobie, a "scientastic" inventor; yellow Zoozie, a "deliciousness" animal lover; and purple Toofie, an "adventurific" risktaker) live together in LovelyLovelyville, where they're taken care of by an upright vacuum (appropriately named J. Edgar) and visited daily by Windy, who shows up as a face in their home's window. The Oogieloves are throwing a birthday party for their friend Schluufy, a fuchsia pillow, but their plan is ruined when five magical golden balloons (Shluufy's present) float away. To retrieve the balloons in time for the party, the Oogieloves and their pet fish, Ruffy, follow Windy's directions to visit five wacky adults, who each have a balloon.
Is it any good?
The Oogieloves are like a mash-up of the colorful Teletubbies creatures and the upbeat musical friendliness of Barney the purple dinosaur and his prehistoric pals. They're a bit odd looking (although not as much as the Teletubbies), but the youngest viewers will watch in awe as Goobie, Zoozie, and Toofie encourage kids to stand up and perform different little exercises or dance moves at each stop on their overlong (83 minutes to find five balloons!) mission to recover Schluufy's gift.
The five human friends the Oogieloves make on their big balloon adventure are a treat for parents desperate for a familiar face amidst the made-up adjectives and oversized Oogielove heads. Cloris Leachman, Chazz Palminteri, Cary Elwes, Toni Braxton, Jaime Pressly, and Christopher Lloyd all make notable appearances, but they can't save the movie for grown-ups. Pressly's awful accent as supposedly Spanish-speaking Lola, a salsa dancer, is especially cringe-inducing, as is the slightly inappropriate allure of Braxton's song-and-dance number. But none of that matters to preschoolers, who will be charmed nonetheless.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the Big Balloon Adventure's interactive aspects. Do you think little kids will enjoy following the instructions? What about older kids?
What do you think will draw preschool-aged viewers to the movie? The color palette? The simple story line? The Oogielove creatures?
What can kids learn from this movie? Is it important that little kids learn something every time they engage with media?