Milking It: Incredible Berry Crunch!

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Incredible Berry Crunch! Disney Magic Selections Rating: Two spoons out of four

Cereal description: Yellowish, puffy corn and oat squares accompanied by rough orbs that appear in four different colors more typically associated with ink than food: blue, purple, red and green. There's a name for this kind of stuff: Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries. But where's the Cap'n?

Box description: The front-cover Incredible Berry Crunch! logo -- purple letters against a yellow stripe -- doesn't show much evidence of intensely focused art design; it looks like something high school students tricked up for the yearbook during lunch hour. A picture of the cereal itself, which has been "enlarged to show detail" (and to make it seem like you'll need a knife and fork to carve it), appears amid splashes of advertising milk in a three-quarters circle flanked by two characters from the 2004 film The Incredibles: Bob and Violet. So where are Helen, Dash and Jack-Jack? They only appear in a back cover "'Incredible Search" -- and they're rendered in weird, stylized versions that make them appear either mostly red or mostly green. Screw job! However, two other (much less interesting) Disney characters, Lilo and Stitch, are on view; they can be seen in the lower right-hand corner of the cover, letting consumers know that a "Free Cool Splasher" can be found inside. Cool Splashers receive more hype on the panel opposite the nutrition information, while the back features that aforementioned search puzzle and a generic "Kid's Guide to Healthy Eating" that can be found on all the Disney Magic Selections. Way to phone it in, marketing department.

Taste: Incredible Berry Crunch! couldn't help reminding me of Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries for one important reason: That's basically what it is. I happen to have a box of Crunch Berries in my cupboard right now -- as all real Americans should -- and comparing the cereals side by side, they look absolutely identical. So I consulted the list of ingredients and was struck by a slew of similarities. Their first three ingredients -- corn flour, sugar and oat flour -- appear in the exact same order on both, and the rest of their recipes are mighty close. Incredible Berry Crunch! doesn't have coconut oil or sodium citrate, but that's basically it. And while my palate isn't refined enough for me to say that skipping the sodium citrate was a key error, I do know that the Disney cereal didn't give me nearly the satisfaction of the stuff associated with the good Cap'n. Granted, The Incredibles movie isn't wholly original. It contains plot points and characterizations associated with The Fantastic Four and even Watchmen. But director Brad Bird and his team gave the flick a wonderfully distinctive twist that allowed them to make it their own. Where's the twist in this cereal tie-in? Nowhere. It's a straight line to Incredible Ripoffsville.

Conclusion: If I had wanted Crunch Berries, I would have bought them. Which I did. And will do again. Unlike Incredible Berry Crunch! -- Michael Roberts

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