With very little on the cinematic horizon for the young ones, I decided to take the boys to see the only game in town that met their demographic: The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie. I really had zero interest in this but that didn’t stop the kids from wanting to see it. It seems they remembered the trailer from when the wife and I took them out to see Bee Movie. There was no turning back now . . .
I discovered from my researching for this review, that the VeggieTales was a successful Christian-themed children’s video series started back in the mid 90’s. Apparently things didn’t go so well for Big Idea (the producers of the show) after they released their first full length feature – Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie. The poor showing it received pushed them into bankruptcy (I suspect the Christian pandering had something to do with that). This time around new owners, Classic Media LLC, decided to turn down the religious overtones, in a play for mass appeal. From my point of view, this is a good move, since I don’t appreciate it when my entertainment preaches to me or my children (especially my children). What they do maintain though, is the message that overcoming adversity and the importance of believing in yourself are traits of the utmost importance.
This is conveyed through 3 main characters – George, played by Pa Grape; Sedgewick, played by Mr. Lunt (both voiced by Phil Vischer); and Elliot, played by Larry the Cucumber (voiced by Mike Nawrocki). These lovable losers are down on their luck; not even their own loved ones believe in them. Lucky for them, they’re chosen to be saviors by a contraption known as a Helpseeker from the 1700’s set forth by Princess Eloise (voiced by Laura Gerow). It turns out she needs their help to save her brother Prince Alexander (voiced by Yuri Lowenthal), who has been kidnapped by their pirate uncle, Robert the Terrible (voiced by Cam Clarke). To provide the aid needed, our heroes must go back in time and fight through various trials and obstacles, which just so happen to relate to their fears and poor self-esteem.
For the most part, the excursions in The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie are mildly imaginative and entertaining. Everyone loves pirate ships and giant rock monsters, don’t they? The writing, on the other hand, isn’t anything overly thought out and neither is the computer generated imagery (CGI). The animation powering the various fruits and vegetables running around the screen definitely has an old-school feel to it – akin to something you could throw together on an old Pentium machine. My boys thought they looked like the baseball players on Wii Sports (no arms, legs or texture) and the more I think about it, the more I agree with them. They did however, like the bright colors, the silly songs and especially the scene comprised of hungry, angry Cheese Puff-like creatures (that one got a lot of hooting and hollering).
From an adult male perspective, I was a bit bored. There are absolutely no grown-up overtones to this film, something I think is now a staple for all animated family features (you’ve got to keep the parents entertained too, you know). But it’s not about me or my rapidly aging bracket, it’s about the kids. So from the parental perspective, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie fits the bill as a good, clean, fun movie that the little ones should get a kick out of. I would suggest renting or buying the DVD though; the movie is plagued with several prolonged slow sections, which tend to cause kids to get rather antsy – moments much easier dealt with in the comfort of your own home.