Don't Hesitate to Bring Home New "Roach Approach" DVD
- Harold Schrader Contributing Writer
- 2004 15 Nov
Release Date: November, 2004
Run Time: 45 minutes
Publisher: Bruce Barry's Wacky World Studios/EMI Music CMG Distribution
Remember learning about the oxymoron in school; when two opposite words work together to convey meaning, such as “pretty ugly” or “jumbo shrimp?” Along those same lines, consider “cute cockroaches.”
Bruce Barry’s Wacky World Studios is banking on this wacky concept in a new cartoon franchise, "The Roach Approach," which features somehow lovable insects re-telling Bible stories from unique perspectives. Adults may not be convinced at first, equating the sight of multi-legged creatures with a knee-jerk call to the exterminator. But Mr. Barry, whose impressive resume includes helping to design The Rainforest Cafes and E.T. ride at Universal Studios, knows that many kids are fascinated with all things creepy-crawly.
The series’ first release, "Don’t Miss the Boat!," introduces little Squiggz and his young-at-heart grandparents, Lou and Nan, who have retired to Miami. One day, as a hurricane looms in the forecast, Squiggz returns home upset because friends have made fun of him for praying before his lunch of throwaways out behind the hot dog stand. The combination of stormy weather and a story about being laughed at reminds Grandpa Lou of when he and Nan spent their honeymoon on Noah’s Ark. (Yikes, how long do roaches live?!).
Taking the action back to Bible times, when Noah obeys God’s command to build an ark despite the ridicule of onlookers, "Don’t Miss the Boat!" hits full stride when the rain begins. Entering the animated world of the famous watercraft invites much fun in the way of creative visuals that are very well done here, somewhat comparable in style to polished Pixar films like "A Bug’s Life" and "Finding Nemo."
The redemptive plot steers away from Noah and instead focuses on Lou and Nan, and a tortured-soul aardvark, each of them struggling to believe they will make it through the flood alive. Along the way, a sassy but sweet caterpillar reminds her shipmates repeatedly to “Keep the faith … we’re all a part of God’s plan.”
Ultimately, it’s that faith that convinces Lou to catch a ride on the dove sent out by Noah to search for land. Innocently rewriting history, "Don’t Miss the Boat!" says the roach had to steer a direction-challenged bird and snapped that hope-filled olive branch himself. When the setting returns to modern times, young Squiggz realizes that his grandpa’s walking stick is made from the same olive branch, which Noah insisted the roach keep as a souvenir of God’s faithfulness.
The script is full of such playful twists, likely due in part to the refreshing newness of creator Barry’s own faith. Much has been made of his conversion to Christianity, which happened in 1999 after a church enlisted him to build an animated environment for its children’s program.
Coming from the Hollywood background, Barry is thinking big with "The Roach Approach." In addition to the first DVD/VHS release, there is a soundtrack CD featuring Michael McDonald, and other ancillary products. A second movie, "The Mane Event," is already in the works for spring 2005 with voiceover contributions from tobyMac and Nicole C. Mullen.
It might seem odd to bring roaches into your house, but there was probably a time when people felt the same way about talking vegetables. "The Roach Approach" is definitely worth a look.