When Mr. Nezzer tries to knock St. Bart's church down to make way for his new amusement park, Easter Land, he is visited by a vision of the late Granny Nezzer. She tells him to expect a ...
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When Mr. Nezzer tries to knock St. Bart's church down to make way for his new amusement park, Easter Land, he is visited by a vision of the late Granny Nezzer. She tells him to expect a visitor. The visitor, a small angel named Hope, shows him the past, present, and future of Nezzer's Easter, helping him see the error of his ways.Written by
EASTER EGG: From the main menu, select "Fun!", then go right. You will see a large Easter egg. Press Enter to see David Pitts discussing how clever editing can simplify the animation of complex scenes. He shows rough-rendered versions of the "Bob and Nezzer spinning in the factory" scene to demonstrate. See more »
As the egg container flies past Bob and Larry (having a conversation)once collecting eggs along the way, during the end of their talk eggs pop out but aren't collected from the container, they just disappear in mid air. See more »
This is the first Veggie Tales feature (it's almost a shortat 49 minutes, it's just on the edge of IMDb's time qualification for a feature) that I've watched, and I have to say that it has made me a bit reluctant to watch more. While there are positive aspects, and the animation is attractive enough, the story and script left much to be desired. Worse, An Easter Carol is very thinly disguised religious propaganda. In terms of content, it feels more like a computer version of a Jack T. Chick tract (those infamous Christian propaganda comics). This is the kind of thing that will be popular in Sunday schools. At that, if you're Christian and you have kids that you want to indoctrinate (or "brainwash", even less charitably) into your beliefs, then An Easter Carol isn't a bad choice. You should preferably show it to your kids close to Easter, of course.
The story is a fairly transparent adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (originally published in 1843). The characters even have campy English accents. It concerns a cucumber named Ebenezer Nezzer (this is a Veggie Tales film, so of course all the main characters are vegetables), who is basically an "evil capitalist". Nezzer runs a factory that manufactures hollow plastic Easter eggs (a bit like Silly Putty containers without the Silly Putty); they emerge from mechanical chickens.
Meanwhile, the reverend--who is a stalk of asparagus, his son, and two of Nezzer's workers are urging him to celebrate Easter in church. Nezzer, who seems obsessed with upholding his grandmother's legacy--she started the factory over 100 years ago--says that he can't close the factory down for even a day. In fact, he refuses to even give his workers the day off. He will not let his grandmother be forgotten.
So late at night on Easter eve he dreams of the ghost of his grandmother, who tells him that he'll receive a visitor at midnight. The visitor is Hope, an angel (oddly she isn't a vegetable) who emerges from an egg-shaped music box. She serves as the "ghost of Christmases past, present and future", or Easter past, present and future in this case, and tries to stress the "true meaning behind Easter" by showing him his grandmother in church, his contemporaries talking about him, and the consequences of his plan to knock down the church to build an amusement park-like Easter facility instead.
The Christian propaganda arises initially with the constant talk of the "true meaning of Easter". There is an anti-capitalist, anti-materialist overtone to all of this. Of course, a similar message can be found in Dickens' A Christmas Carol, but it is far subtler there, and far subtler in most filmic adaptations of Dickens. The Christian propaganda isn't overbearing here at first, either, although it is less subtle. But once the angel takes Nezzer to Easter future, writer/director Tim Hodge drops all pretenses and goes into a full-on evangelical mode. Using the stained glass windows of the church--the unveiling of new windows is a subplot--he tells the story of Jesus, up to his crucifixion and resurrection, of course, with a heavy emphasis on the typical gobbledy-gooky Christian metaphysics.
It's odd that they chose not to make Jesus a vegetable. I suppose they believed that it might turn out to be offensive to some of the audience, but that only underscores the propaganda nature of the work. Hodge can't risk anything that could possibly be read as controversial, even though it would make a lot more sense in context for Jesus (and the angel) to be a carrot, or a rutabaga, or something else.
The animation is done exclusively by computers and has the look of your average computer or console game. The means that it isn't extremely high budget or sophisticated, ala the typical Pixar film, say, but it is attractive enough if you enjoy the typical environments you encounter in game worlds. There is at least a fair amount of 3D modeling, and there are a lot of intriguing textures incorporated. I found a number of "sets" in the film enchanting, but I'm easily drawn in to fantasy worlds. Most children will be, also.
For adults, at least, there are a couple weird aspects to the animation, however. The strangest aspect is that the vegetables, although they're generally anthropomorphic, do not have any limbs. This tends to make them seem like quadruple amputees as they move around the Veggie Tales world. Because the characters need to manipulate objects, the problem is solved by merely having objects float around as necessary, as if the vegetables hand arms and hands but they were just invisible. I'm not sure why that tactic was chosen. If we're going to give vegetables faces and make them talk, why not give them limbs, too? Maybe it's just because limbs, and especially hands, aren't the easiest things to draw.
Like a large percentage of children's films, An Easter Carol is also a musical. The music is serviceable to pretty good, and one tune even cleverly spoofs the song performed on the train by the salesmen at the beginning of The Music Man (1962). That was a nice touch. There are other kinds of artistic touches and references that are enjoyable, too, such as the Willy Wonka references in Nezzer's factory.
However, the deciding factor for most viewers/consumers will solely be whether you agree with the film's religious ideology. For many people, including myself, Easter _is_ just a holiday mired in bunnies, colorful clothing and decorations, candy and such. Before it was pre-empted by Christianity, it was simply a celebration of the vernal equinox, or the coming of spring. For those folks, this is not the best Easter-related film to show your kids.
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