The Veggie Tales have produced a series of popular computer-animated videos for children and their families, with fruit and vegetable-inspired characters in engaging and funny stories with gentle moral overtones. Their new feature film does not mention God, as the videos do (briefly but explicitly). It is a fable-like story of three unlikely heros who find themselves called upon to rescue a captured prince and princess. They have been captured by their evil pirate uncle, who is planning to usurp the throne. We know he must be a bad guy because like all classic movie villains, he has a deep voice with an English accent. Unlike the other characters, he also has arms and legs, or rather one leg and one peg.
Princess Eloise, in a Princess Leia-like desperate call for help, throws a golden ball into the ocean and tells it to find her some heroes. But the people, or rather, vegetables it finds do not seem very heroic and certainly do not think of themselves that way. They are “cabin boys” (waiters) in a pirate-themed dinner theater called “Pieces of Ate” who can’t even manage to get up the nerve to try out for the show. Elliot is afraid of so many things that he keeps a fight list. Sedgewick is lazy and thinks trying is too much work. And George, who has the husky cadences of a Borscht Belt comic, does not respect himself and realizes that his children do not respect him, either.
But the golden ball finds them and soon they find themselves on a rowboat in the ocean, on their way to rescue Princess Eloise and her brother Prince Alexander. Each of our trio will face important challenges and learn important lessons. And of course there will be a little adventure and a lot of silliness and a couple of musical numbers along the way.
The Veggie Tales’ colorful but limited animation can seem static on the big screen, and children used adventures that conclude in a brisk half hour may find this feature film a little long. But the gentle humor and equally gentle lessons will be appealing to younger children and long-time fans.
Parents should know that even though this film is G-rated, it may be too scary for the littlest viewers, with sword-fights, explosions, and some scary-looking creatures both big (rock monsters and dragons) and small (toothy worm-like cheese doodles) and some pirate-ship peril. Characters are scared and nervous. There is brief potty humor.
Families who see this movie should talk about what makes a hero. Who are your heroes and why? Where do you look for help when you need it? Can you remember a time when you found you could do more than you thought?
Families who enjoy this film will also enjoy other animated stories about performers who become unlikely heroes like Yellow Submarine and A Bug’s Life. And they will enjoy the gentle humor and gentle lessons of Veggie Tales classics like VeggieTales – The Complete Silly Song Collection, VeggieTales Classics – God Wants Me to Forgive Them?, and VeggieTales – Lyle the Kindly Viking. Beliefnet has an exclusive clip of the film on our Idol Chatter blog.