Idol Chatter

abeandamazingpromise.jpgLately VeggieTales releases come in two kinds, the inspired and the merely inspiring. The latest VeggieTales release, “Abe and the Amazing Promise,” due out February 10, fulfills the promise of every VT production: to get some Bible knowledge into your kids’ head while showing them how to be better people. It alludes to the majesty of God and inspires us to be better people. But at no point did I or my test audience of pre-tweens wonder if Phil Vischer or Mike Nawrocki had finally lost their marbles.

“Abe and the Amazing Promise” teaches the virtue of patience in two related stories, one straight from the Bible (well, as straight as it ever gets with VeggieTales–Bob the Tomato interviews Abraham, the father of monotheism, played by the Yiddish-inflected Pa Grape, about how long it took for God to give him and Sarah a child) and another a comical tale about an impatient inventor who learns to give his ideas time to ripen–or the glue on them to dry–before he foists them on the world.
I’d have enjoyed them both more if I’d felt that the VT team had let their own ideas cure a little longer before they sent them out into the world. The telling of the story of Abraham and Sarah is so telescoped into a few minutes that neither of the youngsters I watched the DVD with caught the full import of what Sarah and Abe went through. Instead of giving room for the story to play out, the tale was tricked out with punny gags. When a Bible story requires more patience than it teaches, it suggests the writers didn’t have much faith in the material.

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