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Family | Look and Listen

'Joseph: King of Dreams' Wisely Avoids the Gimmicks

November 16, 2000|LYNNE HEFFLEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Video

Joseph: King of Dreams. DreamWorks. $25; DVD: $27. Don't expect an animated rehash of the perennial Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice rock opera romp "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." DreamWorks' "Joseph," with its beautiful, big-screen quality, flowing animation and striking computer-generated imagery--and with its dignity and heart--is a fine telling of the biblical story of Jacob's favorite son, who rose from slavery to become Pharaoh's right hand.

Ben Affleck heads an expressive voice cast, and the soft-pop score, orchestrated by Danny Pelfrey with songs by John Bucchino, pleasantly complements the well-crafted screenplay by Eugenia Bostwick-Singer, Raymond Singer, Joe Stillman and Marshall Goldberg.

And, wonder of wonders, this lovely family film stands on its own without slapstick humor or talking animal stand-up comedians.

Thomas and the Magic Railroad. Columbia TriStar Home Video. $23; DVD: $25. The video release of the first feature film starring the beloved little blue steam engine Thomas and his friends (and a foe) will please young fans with nifty visuals. The treacly mishmash of a story, and an almost somnolent performance by Peter Fonda as a sad widower grandpa obsessed with trying to repair a steam engine named Lady, makes it a bit of a pull for grown-ups.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday November 22, 2000 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 2 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
Music credit--Danny Pelfrey both composed and orchestrated the score for DreamWorks' new home video feature "Joseph: King of Dreams." Pelfrey was mistakenly credited only with the orchestration in a review that ran in Thursday's Calendar Weekend.

Alec Baldwin plays the Lilliputian Mr. Conductor, who uses magic sparkle dust to travel from the real world of Shining Time Station to the magical realm of Sodor, a fantasy toy train set up where Thomas lives and works for Sir Topham Hat's railroad. (Didi Conn makes a brief appearance as Shining Time stationmaster Stacy.)

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Audio

Whaddaya Think of That? Two Tomatoes Records and Rounder Kids. CD: $15. (888) 711-SING, http://www.laurieberkner.com.

This new CD release of Laurie Berkner's 1997 cassette recording is 21 tracks of fun for preschoolers and kindergartners. Children's recording artist and former preschool teacher Berkner knows what kids like. Many of the songs she sings are tried and true--"She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain," "I Love My Rooster," "The Cat Came Back," "All the Pretty Horses"--but her warm soprano, playful delivery and sunny spirit make them sound like new.

Her own adaptations and original songs expertly use rhythm, rhyme and humor irresistible to little ones for play-along fun.

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