Based on the book by Joe Troiano, the film tells the story of Spookley, the only square pumpkin in his patch. Tormented and ostracized by the other pumpkins – especially the jerk-tastic duo of Big Tom and Little Tom – Spookley begins to doubt he belongs in the patch at all.
But then, his chance to prove himself comes with the Jackalympics – a series of pumpkin-centric events (sadly, no Punkin Chunkin) where the winner will be crowned “pick of the patch” for Halloween, and Farmer Hill will place the winner on his front porch.
Pros/Cons (depending on if you’re an adult or child):
• For what seems like a direct-to-DVD or made-for-TV movie, Spookley’s animation is pretty well done, featuring good use of depth, textures, and color.
• The dialogue’s a bit over-delivered, probably for the sake of its target audience – which I would peg as first-graders and younger.
• Kids will enjoy the songs, but adults will find them merely tolerable, sub-Disney fare (with one notable exception – see comments).
• The film does throw a few bones to the grown-ups watching, with in-jokes such as brother-and-sister bats named Boris and Bella, and a trio of spiders named Edgar, Allan, and Poe who specialize in “web design.”
Spookley’s message is ultimately a positive one of acceptance and believing in yourself. It’s been done before (a certain red-nosed reindeer, anyone?), but it doesn’t hurt to reinforce these positive feelings in kids one more time.
I’m adding an extra star to my rating, based on my kids’ experience (and constant requests for repeat viewing), but grown-ups will probably zone out after a couple of showings (and by that I mean literally two).
Funny P.S.: When Little Tom tells the other pumpkins that Spookley is “a freak of nature,” my wife thought he said that he’s “a freakin’ a-hole.”
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5).
Will your kids like it?My kids (ages 5 and 2) were glued to it, not uttering one word the whole time. Hope that helps answer the question.
Will your FilmMother like it?As much as kids may like it, I think mothers and fathers alike will fall victim to my two-and-out viewing rule described above.
Spookley the Square Pumpkin
* Director: Bernie Denk
* Screenwriter: Tom Hughes
* MPAA Rating: G
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