Monday, June 18, 2012

Dr. Seuss Classic Features Timely Moral

Copyright: Warner Bros. Home Video

The newer big screen productions of Dr. Seuss books like “The Lorax” and “Horton Hears a Who,” are definitely impressive. Trying to capture the heart and style of the good doctor is not an easy task, and these two did a very fine job. They are full of color and contain beautiful animation and are… long, which is a mistake. Dr. Seuss’ stories are typically short, almost always rhyme and don’t hold much of a plot. Sometimes the original half hour TV specials are superior to the big budget flicks. Warner Bros. Home Video will be releasing one of those favorite specials this month and it may be one that you forgot about.

“Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham and Other Stories, Deluxe Edition” will hit store shelves on June 26. Originally titled, “Dr. Seuss on the Loose,” the special first hit the airwaves on CBS back in 1973. It contains three stories including “The Sneeches,” “The Zax” and of course, the famous breakfast dish story with a slight green hue. Each story is introduced by the Cat in the Hat.

While a little too sweet and somewhat boring for older children, “Green Eggs and Ham” is the perfect preschool video with good morals to boot. The video is filled with cheery, happy songs that will no doubt annoy parents but will delight the little ones.

“Green Eggs and Ham” may be the more famous story of the three featured here, but it is “The Sneeches” that is the biggest surprise on how timely and relevant it still is. (See a clip below) Sneeches, if you don’t already know, are big yellow-feathered birds who all look identical except that some are born with a blue star on their stomachs and others are born san stars. The “star-bellied Sneeches” take the position that they are more superior to the other Sneeches just because they have a star. The star-bellied Sneeches don’t allow the others to join their social groups; they treat the others like dirt and don’t allow the plain Sneeches to enjoy the same benefits as their starred brethren.

This all changes when Sylvester McMonkey McBean arrives with his special machine that applies blue stars on bellies – for a price. Soon, every un-starred Sneech is now starred and are ready to join the ranks of the elite group. The original star-bellied Sneeches do not like this at all and complain to McBean about his machine. McBean takes this opportunity to unveil a new machine, designed for star-bellied Sneeches, that removes blue stars. It could be argued now that stars are no longer in fashion. Soon, all of the original star-bellied Sneeches go through the procedure to have their stars removed and feel superior once again. As you can imagine, the leftover star-bellied Sneeches go through the process of removing their stars as well. Soon, all of the Sneeches go through the machines over and over again applying and taking off the stars until they all run out of money. When that time comes, McBean packs up and leans the land with two kinds of Sneeches once again, only now, the Sneeches can’t tell which Sneech is which. They finally come to the conclusion that none of the Sneeches are more important or powerful than the others.

“The Sneeches” is a tale of racism that children can easily digest without being preachy. The other two tales have messages too, but not as strong as the first one. “The Zax” is a tale of a “north-going  Zax” and “south-going Zax” who meet in the middle. Each have their own principles that they either only travel north or south and will not move out of the way for the other. The two never give in to the other and the tale ends with a city and highway being built around the two who refuse to give in, even to this day.

“Green Eggs and Ham” is simply a metaphor for a parent trying to get their child to try out different types of food. Sam-I-Am nags his friend (who has no name) to give the dish a try, but he will not until many scenarios later when Sam finally wears his friend down and finally gives them a try. To his surprise, the friend not only likes the green eggs and ham, but actually loves them and thanks Sam for bringing the dish to his attention. There is no proof that this story will help transform your picky eaters at home, but it couldn’t hurt.

The “Green Eggs and Ham Deluxe Edition” comes with both a Blu-Ray disc and a DVD. The program has been re-mastered and contains four interactive puzzles.

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