STUDIO: Walt Disney Home Video
MSRP: $14.99
RUNNING TIME: 194 Minutes

The Pitch

“Let’s capitalize on the growing Flipper craze with an animated series about Flipper and some kid who can breathe underwater!”

The Humans

Keith Scott (voice) is the only person with any billing on Amazon or IMDB. There are others cited in the credits, but apparently they were too embarrassed by this to have their names made more public.

The Nutshell

An eight-episode series that focuses on Lopaka (an island kid who can talk and breathe underwater) and Flipper. Most of the plots take place under-the-sea with a variety of creatures including Sharks (as the title suggests). The funny thing… the sharks aren’t really a priority. They are henchmen to the main bad guy, Dexter, an Octopus. I have no idea why Sharks are mentioned in the title or given top billing.

Most episodes also feature a sub-plot on land in Lopaka’s village (nothing like Shyamalan’s The Village). The two plots go together in theme and lesson (usually the lesson is taught by the wise old man on land and played out in the water).

hear he
“To be or not to be…that is the question. Whether tis nobler in the mind to…to…ah fuck it…where’s the sardines?"

The Package

Officially this comes from the Miramax Family division and I’m guessing they put no money into this disc at all. They probably got the US rights (it was created in Australia) and then dumped it unceremoniously onto DVD for unsuspecting US families to grab up.

Oddly, the sound on the disc is really good. It is in Dolby Digital and sounds as if they spent a mediocre amount of time to get the sound right (although, then I noticed that the series won some Australian award for sound – so I doubt Miramax did anything special with it).

"You mean I’m going to stay this color?"

The Lowdown

Much like Jeremy mentioned in his review of Disney Sing Along Songs the other day, I am not the target market for this DVD. Unfortunately, I do not have access to a 5 year old to test this DVD on them either.

I can, however, shift my mindset to match that of a 5 year old. It’s a gift I have. (My wife calls it me being emotionally noncommittal. Whatever.) I watched these as a kid would… and I was still bored out of my mind.

The animation reminded me a lot of The Smurfs. The plots were about as bad too. Or, at least, what I remember the Smurfs to be like. It’s been awhile since I ventured into the land of mushroom houses.

The problem with this DVD is that the lead characters are not exciting. I can’t imagine any kid who would want to be Lopaka; and I can remember friends that wanted to be Brainy Smurf. But, Lopaka? I can’t think of one friend that would want to be him. Besides being able to breathe underwater and talk to dolphins… the kid is really boring.

Flipper is the same. There is nothing too exciting about Flipper. Maybe if he was chopped up in a can of tuna I could bring myself to care about him. But, until that happens…

The only character almost worth a damn is Dexter. Dexter is the evil octopus that serves as the villain of the show. The only reason he is halfway enjoyable is because the voice talent gives Dexter a Jack Nicholson-enhanced voice. At times I found myself wishing a maniacal Dexter would crash through Lopaka’s door with an ax. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

To bad. That would have been interesting.

2 out of 10

"Uh…boss? Where’s your other tentacle?"