LazyTown: Anyone Can Be A Hero Review
If Magnús Scheving has anything to say on Lazytown, it is that exercise must not be talked about as such in front of children. Exercise sounds so much like, well, work! It's partly that belief that causes the older generations to look upon exercise with suspicion. That, an unhealthy dollop of laziness and a PE regime during secondary school that promoted cross-country running, cold showers and masters who could have taught Stalin a thing or two about the ill-treatment of those in their charge. Add to that the viewing of tracksuits and sports gear with concern - one makes an honourable exception for the stained white vest, gutties and shiny satin running shorts of the Superstars-era sportsman - and it becomes, as one gets older, remarkably easy to shy away from exercise.
What's so good about Lazytown is how it brings Scheving's ethos to the screen almost untouched. Were there less puppets, one fewer airship with its attendant superhero, one less girl in a bright pink wig and an absence of a lanky villain in a purple and blue jumpsuit, Scheving might well be described as an auteur. But he's added all those things and more to Lazytown, set in a bouncy, pillowy town in which Mayor Meanswell, being all too typical of the very small population, wants a very quiet life. Unfortunately, the arrival of his niece Stephanie (Julianna Rose Mauriello) changes all of that, as does her calling in of Sportacus (Magnús Scheving). The very tired and very lazy Robbie Rotten (Stefán Karl Stefánsson), who dislikes children as much as he dislikes exercise, hopes to be rid of the pair of them as son as he can.
This third DVD from BBC Worldwide continues the ongoing adventures in Lazytown with four episodes taken from the show's first season, two of which concern themselves with there being a new superhero in town. Unfortunately, neither one of which is quite on a par with not-quite-a-superhero-more-an-above-average-hero Sportacus. Hero For A Day has the sweet-toothed Ziggy, who dresses like a superhero with his cape, blue suit and giant Z on his chest, dreaming of being like Sportacus. But everything goes wrong and Sportacus has an even busier day than usual. Then Robbie comes up with a plan to destroy the children's treehouse, leaving Ziggy to save the day!
Sportacus is in need of saving in Sleepless In Lazytown, in which Robbie overhears the superhero telling Pixel, who has a habit of staying up all night playing computer games, the secret of his success...be in bed each night at 8.08pm! Robbie, as quick with a plan as ever, aims to keep Sportacus up all night with an exhausted Sportacus barely able to keep his eyes open in playing a baseball game to stay in town. A late night is also in Stephanie and Pixel's heads in Cry Dinosaur when they plan on sleeping out and telling ghost stories at night. Ziggy isn't so sure and is a little frightened at what the night holds for them. A big dinosaur is what! A purple and blue one...
Finally, Lazytown gets a special double feature in Lazytown's New Super Hero, in which Stephanie and the rest of the Lazytown kids try to give Sportacus a day off! Not that he actually wants a day off but he doesn't have a choice as Stephanie tells him off every time he does to do a little super-stuff. And who will save Lazytown? Sporta-Stephanie, that's who! Or Sporta-squirt as Pixel describes her. One shouldn't be surprised to learn that Robbie has a plan for Sportacus' day off and it involves a vicious robot dog. But as ferocious as it is, can Robbie control his own pup or is everyone in Lazytown at risk from it? And is Stephanie really a superhero?
Once again, the DVD format gets a thrashing courtesy of Lazytown, with such bright colours, frenetic camerawork and digital effects that it never really stands much of a chance. As before, that it's interlaced means that some of its problems are of its own making but these are particularly evident on a big screen when all of the problems are exaggerated, mostly the noise and artefacts in the picture. Being as sharp a picture as it is, there isn't any blurring to disguise these faults, leaving it something to put on a smaller screen in a play room or a child's bedroom rather than on a big flatscreen television. As for the DD2.0 audio track, it's fine and exhibits no faults but it's largely ordinary. Finally, there are English subtitles.
"No one's lazy in Lazytown!" So sings Sportacus in Take A Vacation (1m35s), one of the two sing-alongs on this DVD, the other being Step By Step (1m40s). As Sportacus well knows, that's not entirely true but it's easier not to mention Robbie Rotten in Lazytown's brand spanky pop than to explain him away. Finally, there is the chance to print out some Sportacus Hero cards, either in colour (for lazy kids) or black-and-white for those who prefer to do their own colouring-in.
Last updated: 23/06/2018 20:12:53