Judging from the audience reaction during its regional theatrical run as weekend matinee fare, pic will satisfy even easily distractible small fry while mildly amusing their indulgent parents. Brief but spirited animated trifle inspired by long-popular board game should come up a winner as a homevid product and could spawn a franchise.

Judging from the audience reaction during its regional theatrical run as weekend matinee fare, “Candy Land: The Great Lollipop Adventure” will satisfy even easily distractible small fry while mildly amusing their indulgent parents. Brief but spirited animated trifle inspired by long-popular board game should come up a winner as a homevid product and could spawn a franchise.

Featherweight scenario by scripters Janna King Kalichman and Jymn Magon cleverly incorporates imagery and mythos from the board game. Jib, a gingerbread man (or, more precisely, a gingerbread youngster) voiced by Alberto Ghisi, sets out to the capitol of Candy Land to join the annual Sweet Celebration led by King Kandy (Scott McNeil).

Unfortunately, prior to the festivities, King Kandy entrusts his royal scepter to his flighty daughter, Princess Polly (Britt McKillip), who promptly loses it to pint-sized minions of evil Lord Licorice (Mark Oliver). But don’t worry: Jib saves the day, with a little help from new friends Mr. Mint (Ian James Corlett) and Grandma Nutt (Ellen Kennedy).

Animation throughout “Candy Land” is brightly hued but occasionally less than fluid, and likely won’t cause too many sleepless nights among Disney toonists. On the flip side, target demographic will be amused by involving but not-too-intense narrative, engaging stock characters — including a fantastically malleable creature that appears on loan from a “Pokemon” adventure — and some hummable original songs.

By the way: Concept of previewing kid-centric homevid productions as theatrical weekend matinee offerings has potential. But someone’s missing a profit stream by not having DVDs and vidtapes available for sale to parents at concession stands.

Candy Land: The Great Lollipop Adventure

Production

A Paramount Home Video release of a Hasbro Entertainment, Sabella Dern Entertainment production in association with Wang Film Prods., Hong Guang Animation Co. Produced by Cheryl McCarthy, Robert Winthrop. Executive producers, Carol Monroe, Paul Sabella, Jonathan Dern. Directed by Davis Doi. Screenplay, Janna King Kalichman, Jymn Magon.

Crew

Animation director (color), Kunio Shimamura; art directors, Sean Platter, Doi; voice casting and dialogue director, Michael Donovan; music, Robert Irving; songs, Mark Watters, Lorraine Feather; sound (Dolby Digital), Chris McLaren, Alex Hall. Reviewed at Edwards Greenway Palace 24, Houston, Feb. 12, 2005. MPAA Rating: G. Running time: 58 MIN.

With

Mamma Gingertree - Jane Mortifee Jib - Alberto Ghisi Princess Polly - Britt McKillip King Kandy/Licorice Bite - Scott McNeil Mr. Mint/Snow Beaver - Ian James Corlett Jolly/Gloppy - Doug Parker Lord Licorice - Mark Oliver Princess Frostine - Kathleen Barr Gramma Nutt - Ellen Kennedy

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