‘The Hero of Color City’: Crayons in various shades of lame

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The best thing about “The Hero of Color City” is its good voice talent — and its running time of only 77 minutes.

Other than that, this is a pretty lame computer-generated animated movie that will likely not engage kids much past the first grade.

Not that there’s anything wrong with creating a film geared solely to preschool tots. I just wish the folks behind “The Hero of Color City” had infused their picture with a bit more creativity and fun.

The actors — including Owen Wilson, Christina Ricci, Rosie Perez, Craig Ferguson and Sean Astin — have done as much with their wonderful vocal acting ability as they possibly could.

People likely will compare this to “Toy Story” because, like the toys in the phenomenal Pixar franchise, the crayons here come to life after the kiddies have gone off to sleep.

The situation is this: When little 6-year-old Ben drifts off to dreamland, his crayons hustle off to Color City thanks to a magical door in their crayon box.Think of it as a CGI-created world where the crayons renew their colors and scamper about in their own happy, little environment.

Not surprisingly, the crayons sync up with human interpretations of their various colors. The black crayon is, of course, always in a bad mood. Grey is an old coot, constantly reminiscing and pining for the good old days. White is boring and bland and, well, you get the point.

Yellow (voiced by Ricci) is a coward and it’s her screw-up — missing a roll call of the crayons — that adds the drama to the film. Yellow runs into the evil King Scrawl and his buggy sidekick, Nat (Ferguson). They are unfinished drawings made by Ben and they know they need to get more color, or else they’ll be thrown in the trash.

They follow Yellow through the magic door to Color City and cause all kinds of problems once they get in.

The lesson here is that the crayons have to all work together in harmony to solve the situation, but it’s done in such a simplistic and silly way — and by utilizing so many trite puns and jokes — that it will kind of leave you flat.

Lately, the well-made animated films have operated on two levels — providing good entertainment for the children and some wink-wink, sophisticated dialogue to keep the adults who accompany them happy.

“The Hero of Color City” unfortunately provides humor, music and storyline that will only appeal to very young kids.

[s3r star=1.5/4]

Magnolia Pictures presents a film directed by Frank Gladstone and written by J.P. McCormick, Rick Raczelowski, Jess Kedward and Kirsty Peart. Running time: 77 minutes. Rated G. Opens Friday at local theaters.

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