Thursday, January 31, 2008

Jakers! Slightly more interesting than Zoiks! (****4/10)

Jakers is something that appears to have been delivered to me by accident. I may well have ordered it by mistake, in fact. You see, I order movies from a few companies so that I can watch them and review them before they come out on DVD. And sometimes I will order something I have never heard of, in the hopes of finding a hidden gem. Like, King of Kong. Or The City of Violence. And sometimes I find something much worse than a "gem", like Dragon Heat. In this case, I was simply completely wrong about what it might be. However, since Paramount had sent me the DVD, I felt obligated to watch it and review it anyway. Jakers! Treasure Hunt on Raloo Farm will be released on Tuesday, February 19th. So here goes:

Jakers is a series about a small pig named Piggly-winks, and his friends, which are a very small cow and a very large duck. (They are all the same size. I am assuming that as the main character, the pig is drawn to scale, and the sheep are about the same size as he is, but he is not yet a full-grown pig, so I will assume that he is merely a pig the size of a sheep, and therefore the cow is smaller than usual, and the duck is larger. Got it so far?) I have no idea what Jakers means. But every now and then it is something Piggly Winks says, so I think it is the equivalent of Shaggy's "zoiks" on Scooby Doo. The set-up of each episode is an old man pig talking to his grandchildren piglets, reminiscing about the times when he was their age. Only, when he was their age, he looked very cute as a piglet, and his own grandchildren are comparatively unattractive. Piggly-Winks is not the only character with a catch-phrase. The cow, whose name escapes me, has a catch phrase that escapes me too. But that's because I can't understand what he's saying. It sounds like "jerry-mac". But that doesn't make much sense, so I think I'm hearing it wrong.

Jakers is an Irish kids series, which means the characters all have Irish accents, and that's pretty funny. This particular DVD, Treasure Hunt on Raloo Farm, features four episodes. The first episode concerns a treasure hunt. You see, Piggly-Winks father wants Piggly-Winks to do the chores, so he sets up a treasure hunt. Piggly-Winks is so excited at this treasure hunt that he doesn't even realize he's doing the chores until he's done! And the duck says "that's a right bonny pa you got there", or something to that effect. But I beg to differ. If the father was willing to spend that much time laying out a treasure hunt for his son, he could very easily have done the chores himself in that time. So the son doing the chores is unnecessary, and therefore cruel. I mean, Piggly-Winks could have just been left alone to play his space-alien game, and all this could have been avoided. Furthermore, this is psychologically abusive to the child-pig. It's kind of a Tom Sawyer and the whitewashed fence scenario, where you trick someone into doing your own work. Work you yourself could easily have done. A bonny father? Hardly. A cruel and deceitful taskmaster, perhaps.

The second episode is called Our Dragon's Egg. The kids find an egg. It is bigger than the chicken eggs. So they assume it is the egg of a dragon. Spoiler alert - it's a swan. I hope I gave you enough warning with that spoiler alert. I don't want to ruin the end of this thing for anyone. Well, I'm going to assume very few four-year-olds read my blog, but you never can tell. I am also going to assume that most people who read my blog have totally lost interest in the adventures of Piggly-Winks at this time, and they have stopped reading by now. So I am going to include a list of people I don't like right here, because no one is likely to ever read it. Karl Rove, Julia Stiles, Keanu Reeves, Dick Chaney, Pierre Polievre, Patrick Swayze, Michael Buble, Michael Irvin, Fred Phelps, and Colonel Sanders. And that concludes my review of Piggly Winks and his livestock-related adventures. Jakers!


  1. I always find it funny when adults review kids' movies. Especially funny when they give it a poor rating, and yet a bazillion kids will see and none of them seem disappointed.

    "So, Timmy, what did you think of this movie?
    Well, Sally, it started a little slow, the acting was a bit two-dimensional, and did yo see the size of that duck?...overall, I give it a thumbs up."

    My wife and I have brought our daughter to a dozen movies in the past year and she hasn't said a bad thing about any one of them. Ok, she's only 14 months and has no recognizable vocabulary. She also slept through a good many of them, often facing away from the screen.

    My point, if I had one, is that movies for 4-year olds are best reviewed by 4-year olds.

    Here's a review from a 4-year old "Jesspeeps"(who I presume had some help writing it):

    Apparently all the movies that Jess reviewed got 4 stars.

    Here is one of the comments on the review of Roobarb And Custard Too: Volume One - Here Comes Trouble:

    "I like Roobarb and Custard but some of the jokes were for older children and I didn't really understand them because I'm only nearly five."

    You are a man of your obligations, though, so I commend you for that.

    By the by...Ferny (Fernando) the cow (which is odd, 'cause he's a he)...his catch-phrase is "Janey Mack!"...kind of like saying "Golly!" or "Gosh!".

  2. Yeah - I have always been of the opinion that kids will like whatever kids' movies they watch. In the end, with most kids' movies, my reviews are simply on the level of "will you like this when you are forced to watch it with your kids". And occasionally, I will find a kids' movie, like Ratatouille, that I would watch on my own more than once. If I could have found a 4-year-old to write a review for Jakers, I would have. In fact, I would have transcribed their review and voiced it for cynical cinema. Unfortunately, I have no four-year-olds at home. Is "janey mack" a standard Irish saying? For that matter, is "jakers" a standard Irish saying also?

  3. Yes to the Janey Mack! thing...but I've never heard of Jakers! before.

  4. Yup, "jakers" is another Irish expression. Actually, I have a 3 year old who begs to watch Jakers every day, often twice a day. And I have a mother who's from Ireland, who always chooses Jakers because she thinks the sheep are hilarious. I did read your blog all the way through & am dying to know what the last 2 episodes are. Stunning as you may think this is, but we have about 30 episodes recorded on our Tivo. If this DVD contains even a few of my daughter's favorites, I'll preorder the DVD & erase them from our Tivo in a minute!

  5. Your mother is right. The sheep are priceless. There are four episodes on the DVD, they are the Treasure Hunt, the Dragon's Egg, and "Dannan Does a Jig", where the duck must learn to dance to impress her grandmother, and "Growing Pains", where Piggly-Winks becomes the adult and runs the farm when his dad is laid up with a broken foot. Hope this helps clear out your TiVo!