This is one of
the most difficult reviews of a DVD I've ever done. I'm
caught between two semi rigs coming at me at the same
time. It's my personal opinion versus offending the very
people I've admired for years who worked on "Click &
Clack's As The Wrench Turns" DVD set. This hurts like
dropping a heavy wrench on my bare foot. I took this PBS
series out for a test drive and came back convinced that
perhaps it was just a faulty car on the dealer's lot. It
wasn't a reflection on all the other fine vehicles that
the makers of "As The Wrench Turns" have made in the
"Click & Clack's As The Wrench Turns" is now available on DVD.
My dad used to listen to National Public Radio. If I went out with him to run errands on Saturday's, he'd turn the dial to NPR. There was this wacky show by Tom & Ray Magliozzi, two brother mechanics from "Bawston," Mass. who gave callers advice on what was wrong with their automobiles. Their New England accents and goofy charm was a refreshing change from the occasionally bland programming on NPR. These two guys were entertaining, smart (M.I.T. grads), and helpful like no mechanic I'd ever come across. They never took themselves seriously. I've been listening to them, though not as much I should, for over 20 years now.
One of the animators involved with "As The Wrench Turns" is someone who've I've known for a couple of years now since I started writing a book on the groundbreaking film, "TRON." Bill Kroyer is regarded amongst his peers in animation as one of the top tier guys in the industry. He's an outstanding animator and director, having worked at Disney and Rhythm + Hues on a variety of movies, commercials and television shows. He's also a great guy.
I jumped at the opportunity to review "As The Wrench Turns," and it pains me to say that the results of the show aren't what I expected, or hoped, they'd be. As I understand it, filmmakers were given a fairly small budget to work with. The animation and production value of the show looks good and doesn't seem to reflect a low budget. What the show lacks are solid storylines and the magic of the "Tappet Bros."
It's not made clear who the audience is on this animated show. It's not for kids, though there isn't anything objectionable. But kids won't understand it and there isn't very much comedy and action to keep them interested. Grown ups who listen to their show on NPR will be let down because Tom & Ray aren't really the focus on the TV show. They're seen here as buffoons and don't seem like their radio selves. The Tappet Bros. are hilarious when they're allowed to let their humor loose. In this show, they're not given much to work with. I would've much rather seen them talking about cars, and it seems they don't do much of that here. They're also surrounded by stereotypical characters who aren't enjoyable or interesting to watch.
Some shows do better on the radio rather than in live action or animation form. The Tappet Bros. are totally enjoyable on the radio and have been for years. Their radio show is silly and smart, offering excellent automobile advice with a wink and a nod. The jokes are bad, but their witty execution makes them wonderfully funny. But their crossover into animation is, unfortunately, a disappointing venture.
Special thanks to Click Communications
Photos: © CTTV LLC. All rights reserved.
|DVD Quick Glimpse|