Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (2002) Poster

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Jonah is a catch!
rolleriffic5 October 2002
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.
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All Hands On Deck!...And Get Me Some Popcorn!
MovieRat-213 December 2002
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 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.
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I laughed, I moved me, Bob!
LVW_happygirl_411 October 2002
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 Productions family.

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's worth it.

Happy movie watching, and stick around through the credits for a cute little addition!
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If you're a Veggie-Tales fan ...
Bryce Rumbles21 October 2002
... you'll love it! Lots of insolent humour, good songs (a great Gospel number, for instance, and "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything"), and a moral -- 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.
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as my introduction to VeggieTales, and as someone who isn't even too much into Christianity, I was very surprised by Jonah
MisterWhiplash19 July 2007
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.
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The Veggie gang makes its way onto the big screen to tell the tale of Jonah.
schmimic24 May 2005
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)
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A film dedicated to its target audience and nobody else
Steve Pulaski8 November 2013
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.
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Touching, Funny, and Clever - an absolute delight!!!
victoria3333 November 2003
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 and 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 - **********
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good kids' film
jirdd28 October 2002
So I have a two year old at my house and we watch a LOT of VeggieTales. However, I have lots of friends with no children at their houses who also watch VeggieTales (albeit less than we do). That's because the Veggies, unlike so many kids' videos and other entertainment, talk to kids without talking down to them, and also throw in stuff that parents like. Good entertainment, and smart marketing -- more kids' entertainment needs to realize that parents BUY the videos, and are much more likely to buy stuff that the parents like, too.

That said, while I didn't like this movie as much as I like the half-hour VeggieTales videotapes, I still liked it much, much better than 95% of the kids movies I've seen. My two year old (his first movie) sat through it without a peep, except for the occasional observation about Jonah or the whale or the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.

This movie is actually a bit more overtly Judeo-Christian than most of the videos. I honestly don't get how people are put off by the Veggie videos, as they are very non-preachy and simply teach kids, in an entertaining way, that it's good to share, be thankful for what you have and to have the courage to stand up for your convictions. The movie is a little more, "We should do what God wants us to do." Still, kids will be entertained and parents won't be checking their watches.
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Very Good. Not GREAT, but Very Good!
jwrowe318 October 2002
Warning: Spoilers
A good `A' for effort film. My kids love the whole series of Veggie videos, and I have to admit, that I get a good laugh out of each that I have seen. But, about the movie….

=POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT! Here's a film that starts out of the gate, very strong. The Veggies are on their way to a concert and get side lined, in a VERY funny way. The quality of animation in the opening moments alone, are worth the price of admission. Some good gags, and a wonderful song about `Billy Joe McGuffrey", are a hoot and a half. Then they end up in a restaurant, and the main tale of Jonah is told by, my favorites of the Veggie Family, `The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything'.

And, I have to say, that's where the steam seems to start to go out of the film. Where as the videos never seem `preachy', the movie just seemed to stall when we get the first tune about Jonah going. Yeah, I know that this is a religious movie, but I wonder why the videos seem different. I just think that it started to go `over the heads' of my kids. I gauge all family films we see by `The Squirm Factor'. If it's a great flick, the squirms by my daughters are few, but if the squirming is bad, then they are not watching, or not caring too much. In the last 1/3 of the movie, my 6 year old, who loves all the videos, was at `Squirm Con 3', and bouncing in her seat. My 8 year old, DID sit still, and watched, so it's a split decision in our house. I did laugh at some parts, and so did the parents around me in the theater. It seemed the older folks were laughing more than the wee ones, for whom the movie is really aimed.

Will I buy the video when it comes along? Of course! Will I see another Veggie Movie? Good chance, but I hope it's a better keeper of my daughters attention. Why not a good Pirate's Who Don't Do Anything movie?

DO be sure you stay and watch the credits, for a great tune, and note the fact that `NO vegetables were harmed in the filming'.
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