The Hero of Color City uses bright, bold colors and A-list actor voices to entertain very young children by making animated crayons come to life. Unfortunately, anyone older than a Kindergartener might find it below average or even a knockoff of Pixar’s timeless Toy Story trilogy.
Although only 77 minutes long, my first viewing of the film ended with a quick descent into a deep sleep. On my second viewing, I tried my best to stay alert. The film begins when 6-year-old Ben draws a sketch of mouthless “King Scrawl” and a tiny bug sidekick, “Nat” (Craig Ferguson). Before he can color in his drawing, Ben goes to bed and leaves his crayons scattered on his untidy bedroom floor – prompting them to come alive. Here we meet the star-studded crayons and their specific personalities: feisty “Red” (Rosie Perez), cool-guy “Blue” (Wayne Bradey), organized “Green” (Jess Harnell), and extremely timid “Yellow” (Christina Ricci). The remaining crayons personify their colors, with “Grey” acting like an old man and “Black” as the predicted pessimist.
While Ben is asleep, the crayons travel one-by-one through the magical crayon box portal and enter the vivid, dazzling world of Color City. But when Yellow misses roll call, she gets stuck in Ben’s room and awakens mute King Scrawl and spunky, pun-loving Nat. Since their only way of avoiding the trashcan is getting color, King Scrawl and Nat follow Yellow into the magical portal and follow her to Color City (and cause many problems in the process). The crayons band together to stop King Scrawl and Nat from draining them of their colors and manage to belt out some catchy songs along the way.
Although the film has some wink-wink puns for older audiences, everything else is tailored for a very young audience. Bright colors flashing on screen seems like a cheapened way to tell a story to children who deserve a little better. The voice work from the high-profile cast is the best part about The Hero of Color City. Craig Ferguson and Rosie Perez stand out as funny Nat and spirited Red, along with Christina Ricci’s endearing performance as lead protagonist, Yellow. Scenery in Color City is an eye-catcher, but the story by four screenwriters (Jess Kedward, J.P. McCormick, Kristy Peart, Rich Raczelowski) needed more substance to keep anyone older than five somewhat engaged.
Review © Brigid K. Presecky (11/01/14)
Bottom Photo: Christina Ricci voicing “Yellow” as she tries to protect her color from “King Scrawl”
Q: Does The Hero of Color City pass the Bechdel Test?