Green Eggs and Ham is a classic book from Dr. Seuss, one of the most beloved children’s book writers ever. First published in 1960, the book has sold over 8 million copies and has now been adapted by Warner Bros. Animation into an animated series for Netflix. It became the most expensive animated program to make, with each episode costing five to six million dollars. But more money doesn’t necessarily make it better. Luckily for this series, it did.
As told by narrator Keegan-Michael Key, he introduces us to Sam-I-Am (Adam Devine) who rescues the rare Chickeraffe from a zoo and intends to return it to its natural habitat. After he accidentally swaps his briefcase, containing the Chickeraffe, for that of failed inventor Guy-Am-I (Michael Douglas), Sam and Guy end up on an adventure with EB (Ilana Glazer), a girl who wants to adopt the Chickeraffe as a pet, and EB’s overprotective mother Michellee (Diane Keaton), who can’t deny the romantic chemistry growing between herself and Guy. The four are unknowingly pursued by Snerz (Eddie Izzard), a poacher who wants to claim the Chickeraffe as a trophy, and his employees, minions McWinkle (Jeffrey Wright) and Gluntz (Jillian Bell) and the bounty hunter Goat (John Turturro).
Produced by Ellen Degeneres‘ production company, A Very Good Production, each episode title is a place mentioned in the book where Sam-I-Am offered Guy-Am-I to try the titular dish. True to the book, Guy refuses to do so, saying he will not eat them in said location (ie. Train, Car, House, in the Dark, etc). We travel with our two main characters through inventive landscapes that not only rock kids’ worlds, but also adults’. Creator Jared Stern (writer of ‘The Lego Batman Movie‘), infused the timeless tale with modern jokes and pop culture references that would fly right over kids’ heads, such as an escape out of prison just like ‘Shawshank Redemption‘ – dialogue and everything. Enjoyable as it blends the well known writing of Dr. Seuss with a more contemporary style of writing to connect with a younger generation that’s new to Dr. Seuss’ story. Adults who grew up watching ‘Matilda‘ (written by another children’s book author – Roald Dahl), might even recognise David Newman‘s score, as it has a lot of similarities with his work on that particular film.
The wonderful storybook 2D-animation works well with the more modern 3D-animation, but it’s the voice cast, and in particular Adam Devine, who work magic with the source material that has truly been elevated. Devine, who’s known for his more adult humour in ‘Workaholics‘, brings a certain charm to Sam-I-Am, overly excited by everything that happens around him and totally obsessed with Green Eggs and Ham. But it’s the heart and story behind his love for the dish that will hit home to many of us.
Each episode dives even deeper into subjects such as, deception, love, friendship, success and dreams. With such a vividly colourful world on your screen, you can’t help but let your eyes drift away from what’s right in front of you, and explore what’s in the background. Some episodes will interest you more than others, in my case the “Box” and “Goat” episode didn’t really work entirely, although they are part of the bigger picture and there’s never really any filler episodes to get to the final destination of these beloved characters.
Green Eggs and Ham is 13 episodes of fun for the entire family. Staying true to its source material, this series handles the beloved book with respect and gracefully modernises parts of the story, without letting go of its fantastical setting and unique characters. “I do so like green eggs and ham, Sam-I-Am!“
Netflix Review – Green Eggs and Ham – Season 1
Reviewed on Netflix, Sydney, Nov. 8, 2019. Australian Classification: PG. Running time: 13 episodes of each 28 min.
PRODUCTION: A Netflix release of A Stern Talking To, A Very Good Production Inc., Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Gulfstream Television, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Television production. Producer: Helen Kalafatic. Executive producers: Ellen Degeneres, David Dobkin, Mike Karz, Jeff Kleeman, Sam Register, Jared Stern. Co-producer: Mark Rizzo. Line producer: Timothy Yoo.
CREW: Directors: Lawrence Gong, Piero Piluso. Based on the book by: Dr. Seuss. Creator: Jared Stern. Editor: Sheila McIntosh. Music: David Newman.
WITH: Adam Devine, Michael Douglas, Jillian Bell, Daveed Diggs, Ilana Glazer, Eddie Izzard, Diane Keaton, Keegan-Michael Key, Tracy Morgan, John Turturro.