The product of a weirdly fraught production cycle, with creative differences leading to firings and recriminations, this tedious cartoon (with a few live-action sequences) has too much cutesiness and not enough heart. Based on Johnny Greulle’s famous stories about a pair of rag dolls with sweet personalities, Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure bombards viewers with cloying voice performances, saccharine songs, and a huge number of uninteresting supporting characters. Beginning in a child’s room and then extending to various fantastical realms, the picture suggests what The Wizard of Oz (1939) might have been like had the filmmakers failed to imbue Dorothy Gale’s journey with meaning. Whereas in that film each new development advances the plot, in this movie, each new development underscores the forgettable nature of the protagonists. If Raggedy Ann and Andy have distinctive qualities in Greulle’s books, those qualities did not reach the screen intact. The gist of the piece is that seven-year-old Marcella (Claude Williams) gets a new doll for her birthday, a ornate French number called Babette. When Marcella leaves her playroom, a pirate toy called the Captain becomes aroused by Babette, breaks free from his snow-globe prison, and kidnaps the French doll. Raggedy Ann and Andy, the leaders of the toy community, make chase, eventually enlisting the aid of a sea monster that uses tickling as a combat technique. Also woven into the narrative are an obnoxious king and a redneck camel. As for the songs, they’re atrocious, with all due respect to composer Joe Raposo, who did lots of wonderful work for the Children’s Television Workship. (His credits include “Bein’ Green” and the Seseme Street theme song.) The tunes in Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure run the unpleasant gamut from brash vaudeville-type numbers to sugary ballads. The nonmusical scenes are just as bad. The film’s design style is lifeless, and Didi Conn gives a nails-on-chalkboard vocal performance as Raggedy Ann, each line delivery more sickeningly sweet than the preceding.
Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure: LAME