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I just got back from the theatre from seeing this film. I took my 3 year
old daughter who is an avid veggie fan to see the film. It was her first
movie and Jonah was well worth being her inaugural film going experience.
But this is far from just a kid's movie. One of the Chicago newspaper
reviewers said that this was not a film for adults without children. This
would be far from accurate. The movie certainly works for children, but
those familiar with the Veggie franchise understand that much in the same
way as Bugs Bunny, The Flintstones, and the Muppets that much of the humor
is for the adults.
The movie works on a number of levels:
1) It tells a cohesive story for both the Veghead and the Veggie novice. Three of the main characters in the film are the Pirates who don't do anything who have a prominent part in the Veggie sing-a-long videos. However, there is nothing in the film that hinges on previous experience with Bob, Larry et al.
2) The movie entertains and instructs. Veggie Tales are educational. They are meant to be. This film is certainly no exception. The point of this story is to be compassionate and merciful. It makes that point by telling the story of a character who was neither and a God who was both. The story effectively segues between Veggie present and Bible past to let the modern day characters learn from the Biblical ones. I do not want to leave you with the impression that this film is merely a 90 minute flannel graph (Oooh flannel graph) for church going children. This is a fine and funny film for kids of all ages (Including 38). The animation is crisp. The musical numbers are fun and provocative.
3) Junior Asparagus is in a limited role. I am not certain if I am the only one who thinks this but Jr. Asparagus is the animated Wesley Crusher. (He actually does help save the ship in one episode.) I like Jr. in small doses and I was certainly able to swallow his part in this movie.
4) Larry the Cucumber is an integral part of the film. I am a big fan of Larry and I certainly think he is the funniest cucumber making movies today.
5) Silliness abounds. From the opening car trip sing-a-long to the closing credits, the high standard of Veggie insanity is maintained.
The film is certainly not Citizen Kane for the green grocer section. It could certainly be better in parts. Some of the teaching points are a little too pronounced. I also took umbrage with a legal proceeding taking place in a land where we are continually told that they did not know wrong from right. Also I write very silly songs and live near Lombard, IL where the movie was filmed and my phone never rang once. The film is certainly strong enough to overcome these minor flaws (but when Veggie 2 starts being created, I better get a call!)
Overall, Big Idea Productions should be very pleased with this movie and I think the film going public should be as well.
Do you know all of Larry's Silly-Songs by heart? Can you and your
friends/children/parents recite an entire episode of VeggieTales
without having the video in the VCR? If you answered yes, then I
see no reason why you won't absolutely adore this great
accomplishment and wonderful new addition to the Big Idea
A full-length VeggieTales movie (83 minutes is a bit on the short side, but that works better for the kids) is slightly different from one of their videos. The plot is more developed and drawn out; attention is given to more details; the full story of Jonah (as found in the Bible...Veggie style, of course) is portrayed. The kids might get a little antsy with such a long movie compared to the Veggies they're used to, but they broke it up nicely with the narration sections.
The whale was impressive, but it might scare some of the kids at first. After the initial "swallowing", though, it's not nearly as scary. The creators didn't sacrifice the message to release this movie on the big screen, and I was proud to see it.
Overall, I loved the movie. Larry was cute, the message was positive, the songs were entertaining and educational/fun. If you've never experienced VeggieTales, you might not get all of the jokes or might think it's a little strange to see "hopping" talking vegetables, but believe me...it's worth it.
Happy movie watching, and stick around through the credits for a cute little addition!
After countless 1/2 hour videos and even more countless silly songs, Veggie
Tales hits the big screen with a whale of a tale (get it, WHALE of a tale?
HA HA!) in JONAH: A VEGGIE TALES MOVIE. True to the Veggie theme, the
entire cast is made completely of talking fruits and veggies (save for a
camel, a whale, and an annoying little catapillar named Khalil). Although
the movie tells the biblical story of Jonah, plenty of artistic lisence is
taken to provide an upbeat, musical, and knee slapping experiance for the
entire audiance. And when I mean the entire audiance, I mean everyone from
little bitty kids to adults. You see, the creators of Veggie Tales (Big
Idea) always try to throw in a few jokes every now and then that only adults
will be able to enjoy, but unless you are actually paying attention to the
film you might miss it.
Now I've said that artistic lisence is taken in telling the Jonah story; however, this does not mean that you are being told an entirely different story from the one in the bible. Overall, the story told in JONAH is basically the same as it is told in the Bible, so parents don't worry about showing this film to your kids...in fact, I encourage you to see this film with your kids. Have a good time with them. Know that you are seeing a quality film and a pretty faithful retelling of the Jonah story.
... you'll love it! Lots of insolent humour, good songs (a great
number, for instance, and "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything"), and a
-- a little broadly spread, but not unpalpable.
It's sort of nice to have God in a movie without his name being taken "in vain." Nice change from the sort of movie I prefer.
And my kids loved it.
I hope this gets a wider distribution before its video release.
Jonah: A Veggie Tales movie should only be the kind of fodder to show
to kids who have gotten too bored with the boring Bible readings in
Sunday school. But somehow, based on a recommendation from a friend
(who sometimes leans towards the strange and abstract anyway), I
watched the Veggie Tales movie and it is actually much better than
should ever be considered. A first impression I had looking at the
Veggie-Tales, even from afar, was that it looked like the healthy,
slightly (only slightly) more coherent version of Aqua Teen Hunger
Force, which I am still mixed on. But it's a little different than
that, at least as far as the movie goes.
It is ultimately very silly and marketed more for a specific target group of kids- Christian kids looking for morals in the stories of the Old Testament, in this case being the tale of 2nd chances taken and missed and slipped up on with a prophet via a giant whaler- and yet there is an appeal as far as taking less than two pages of the bible and making it into a 75 minute movie. And it actually works at being unpretentious in its less detailed CG animation in this form. This isn't Pixar that one will be getting, but a lot of very clean-looking talking vegetables (where are their arms, minus the caterpillar guy, you might ask), and with a lot of extra-goofy songs; one of them is even a gospel tune, sung by angels whilst Jonah is trapped in the whale's belly. All I could think watching this scene was "wow, what the hell, no pun intended, is this?" That was much of the reaction I had to what went on, and I even got a few genuine surprises through the story as I wasn't totally familiar with it all.
If there is any crossover appeal, aside for the parents in watching their kids having fun enjoying the coolest little figures out of cartoon-like abstractions, with creatures bouncy and bright and even very cute (those peas are about as adorable as Miyazaki creations, if less textured). It's nothing very special in the recent boom of computer animated features, but it's probably a whole lot less cynical (and maybe less cruel and sophomoric) than a lot of those films, and it is in a very oddly formed way almost brilliant.
I bought this movie before I ever even bothered watching it because I
figured, hey, it's Veggie Tales. How can you go wrong, right? Well, I
don't regret buying it, but it's not quite as good as most of the
regular Veggie stuff.
Most of us have a pretty good grasp on the Jonah story right? Well, just as always with Veggie Tales, the heart of the story is there with the most important details, and then everything else gets mixed up and screwed around with. It starts off with Dad Asparagus and Bob the Tomato driving a bunch of the little veggies to a Twippo concert. Then they encounter some difficulties on the road and find themselves with two flat tires and crashed into a tree stump.
They get out and head for the nearest building, a seafood restaurant. When Junior Asparagus sits down at the table, he hears some people talking on the other side of the glass. It's the pirates who don't do anything! I don't remember what they ask Junior, but they eventually strike up a conversation, and the pirates tell Junior the story of that one time when they met Jonah and had a little adventure Jonah was a prophet who traveled across Israel delivering God's messages to His people. Then Jonah gets a call from God to deliver a "turn and repent" message to Ninevah. But why Ninevah? The Israelites and the Ninevites don't get along, and Jonah would rather die than go there. So he decides to go against God's orders and sail as far as possible in the opposite direction, to Tarshish. He hires the pirates who don't do anything to take him out there, and so the four of them set sail for Tarshish.
Just like in the Bible story, there's a big storm because of Jonah, and after they cast lots to determine who is responsible (done quite ingeniously in the movie I think), they throw Jonah into the ocean. The storm goes away when they throw him in, and a whale (not a big fish like the story) comes along and swallows Jonah up. There Jonah has a little encounter with a choir of asparagus angels, and then the whale barfs him up on the shore, and he heads out for Ninevah.
I think the hilarious thing is how the pirates end the story. Just like in the Bible story, at the end, Jonah is wailing and mourning and whining and crying and there's no real conclusion, and that's how it ends in the movie. The pirates just say "the end" and that's pretty much it. Of course, there's still some other stuff that happens outside of the story segment of the movie.
Overall it's done pretty cleverly, but it doesn't quite have the same Veggie Tales zip that it should. The special features on the DVD and certainly worth the cost though.
Bottom Line: 3 out of 4 (worth watching)
Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie is a perfectly good-hearted, innocuous tool
to help indoctrinate your children into the Christian faith. Of course,
that's a little too brash, but it's an accurate summation of the
animated film that features bright colors, grandscale animated
settings, themes relevant to real life, and talking vegetables that
simplify stories to make them accessible to your little ones.
This film seems to defy film criticism in the way that it already has its own route to its target audience. In addition, the audience who wants nothing to do with the film will find no challenge in trying to ignore it. Its target audience will find the film recommend to their young children at certain church events and religious gatherings and children will likely be fascinated by the franchise's aforementioned traits. Honestly, the VeggieTales shorts aren't the worst type of videos to show your children. However, if one can look past the colorful qualities for just a few moments, they will find nothing more than a surface-level, preachy, morality play that grows tiresome quickly and is thankfully punctuated by a fluffy song in between the dreary exposition of the Bible.
The film opens with Bob the Tomato driving Dad Asparagus and several young vegetable children to a concert. They wind up getting into a bit of a wreck and seek help at a seafood restaurant where they meet "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything." "The Pirates" decide to entertain the gang by telling them the story of Jonah, an ambitious prophet who makes a living preaching the word of God to different towns. One day, God himself implores Jonah to preach his word to the town of Nineveh, a dangerous, unholy village, to which Jonah refuses and decides to travel to Tarshish, the furthest you can get from Nineveh.
What unfolds is something of a road movie, with Jonah, who is an asparagus creature mind you, meeting random assortments of food, getting infamously swallowed by the whale, and learning such themes as compassion and mercy. Even the Veggie children learn of such themes, one meaning to respect your companions, the other meaning to give others second chances even if they don't deserve them. Such morals are the foundation of Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie's existence and, in seventy-eight minutes, it does more than get its point across. It beats the morals and themes into the head of the viewer until you feel like telling everyone within your vicinity what you learned just to make the knowledge you gained seem more useful in some way.
Thank the lord there are at least catchy songs that turn up every now and then to snap you back into reality. One song in particular I enjoyed, and wish was actually a complete tune, is "Billy Joe McGuffrey," which the young Veggie children are singing in the car which winds up distracting Bob the Tomato as he drives in a rush to see the concert. The fast-paced tune, the frantic animation, and the excitement of everything happening at once made me feel like a young kid watching the VeggieTales on a Saturday morning. What followed were other catchy tunes that, thankfully, were complete songs, like "Message From the Lord" and "Jonah Was a Prophet," two songs I'll be damned if I could get out of my head.
I think that's value of watching something like Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie when you're either too old or an outsider of the target audience is the nostalgia factor. My generation was one that probably got the most use out of this franchise, and seeing these characters come back for one harmless film was something that, at the very least, was cheerful and amusing. On another note, not completely necessary. However, at a concise seventy-eight minutes and featuring a few catchy anthems, it's not a real task by any means.
Voiced by: Phil Vischer, Mike Nawrocki, Tim Hodge, Lisa Vischer, Dan Anderson, Shelby Vischer, Kristin Blegen, and Jim Poole. Directed by: Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki.
My family and I are big VeggieTales fan from the UK. The movie wasn't
released over here, so I had to get a Region 1 DVD and a Multi-region player
just to see it.
To be honest, the film, while good, was slightly disappointing. However the DVD extras were fantastic and also explained the reason for my initial disappointment.
One of the DVD extras tries to justify what I consider the movies two biggest faults. These are the choice of story and the choice of characters from the VeggieTale universe.
The problem with the story is that they stick to the well-known Bible Story TOO WELL. They carry on past the 'famous bit' and show the end of the story, which shows that actually Jonah is a bit mean and was disappointed that God didn't kill everyone! This means the main story ends on a bit of a down, and the tacked on `big finale' seems out of place to me.
The fact that the main character turns out to be not so nice partially explains the "casting".
If you're a big VeggieTale fan, you'll be left wondering why both the stars `Bob and Larry' have such a small part. If you're not a fan, you'll be wondering who all these characters are, especially "The Pirates who don't do anything!"
As a VeggieTale fan, I was also disappointed by a) The introduction of a major non-vegetable character!!! b) The fact that they continue to move away from the original joke' that vegetables can't hold anything (due to lack of arms). The movie has object's being held by invisible' hands and that just doesn't seem right to me.
All that aside, the movie is pretty good. Bright, fun, silly, and a good `moral' Bible story without `morality' being laid on too thickly.
The DVD extras disk was full of VERY funny stuff, and made up for the aggravation of having to send across the pond for a DVD.
P.S. It took me a while to realise that while the Outtakes appear in Spanish (!?!) the English version is available as an alternative' language.
I caught this movie while flipping through channels on local television
in Houston and couldn't turn it off. I had never seen any VeggieTales
before this and it blew me away. The talent it took to make this story
witty, touching, and engaging all at the same time is obvious. Not only
that, but the music and songs are excellent! Seriously...I don't mean they
are excellent in some snobby religious way but actually catchy and fun.
Maybe I'm a weirdo...actually, I know I am...but I had to get up and sing
and dance while the choir sang inside the whale. Yes, I am 31 years old
I was dancing to a cartoon...alone.
I know it isn't popular to say anything like this, but I am going to say it. I really and truly felt the anointing of the Lord on this movie.
My future kids WILL be watching this flick.
PS - one of the best parts is the credits song after the movie ;)
10 out of 10 stars - **********
I am a very big fan of Veggie Tales. But hearing they had a motion
picture, I had some doubts. Sometimes movies based on TV or video
series feel like just one long episode. And that is what I did feel was
the case with Jonah. The animation has improved (though nowhere near
Pixar level of course), song writing is just as great as ever, and the
editing is all fine, but it was a story that could have been greatly
shortened to have made standard video show length. And that's the
problem with Jonah: pacing. It feels long even though it has a modest
running time. Sideral elements have obviously been added to pad out the
time (side characters and plots) to feature length, and so everything
Kahleel (spelling?) is one of the most annoying side characters I have met mostly because he rarely adds anything to the movie. Random side comments from characters for laughs are all fine and well, but they shouldn't distract from the flow of the movie. The scriptwriters threw in large jokes that took a long time to set up, but left us with lame pay off lines. Some of the plot transitions to get us from one scene in the movie to the next are also heavy handed.
That being said, it is a movie that will delight children; it's principle target audience. It's message is easy to understand and it contains enough goofiness and action to keep them riveted (as it did with my boys). My critiques are mainly geared towards the adult viewers, whose tastes are more refined. But Jonah is a children's movie with pop culture in jokes for adults. And that is very refreshing considering that many animated features these days can't make up their minds if they are for children or adults (Dreamworks studios being the biggest culprit). If you have kids, definitely let them see this. If you are an adult, look elsewhere.
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