*** Official "JONAH: A VEGGIE TALES MOVIE" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chris, Oct 4, 2002.

  1. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    A lot can be said for the movie "Jonah" A veggietales film. For those that are fans of the VeggieTales, or who have kids that are, probably the most important thing that can be said is this: the staff behind "Veggietales" stays very true to their roots with no big changes in a film version. Many animated films have come from television or small screen roots only to self destruct on the big screen through massive changes designed to reach the next level.. when I think of films that are good examples of this, I often think of "Transformers: The Movie" - a film I enjoyed later in life, but one that as a child, basically ruined the toy for me, and crushed Hasbro's efforts..
    Jonah, of course, is a much less violent or graphic storyline then say, Transformers the movie [​IMG] My children, (3 and under) have always been fans of Veggie Tales, primarily because the songs are catchy, and the music is pretty good. More then that, the simple, bright primary colors in which the characters live make for bright pictures that they tend to enjoy.
    Upon deciding to go to VeggieTales tonight, I had a few concerns: how different would the film be from it's roots (#1) and (#2) will we be in an empty theater? Surprisingly, I can say that both of my concerns went by the wayside. The film was much like the animated videos, and the theater was jam packed with other kids.. which turned the entire event into a virtual sing along by the five year old and under crowd, and lots of audience participation in the form of clapping when kids thought appropriate.
    Jonah's bright colors and creative songs.. as well as humorous jokes kept the kids entertained with some barbs that gave adults something to laugh at here and there as well. Several of the song numbers were top notch, and, while I enjoyed "Lilo & Stitch" the quick pace and musical numbers made "Jonah" a far more entertaining film for me, and as an animated film may be the best animated film (released this year) that I've seen this year.
    There are moments in Jonah worth truly watching for: stick it out through the ending credits, in which a song (called "The Credits Song") drags into the singers admitting that there should be rules about what kind of song should go into the credits.
    Veggie Tales The Movie, is of course geared at the fairly religious (Judeo Christian, all old testament references) without beating you over the head with it. Jonah is a bit more of the religous flavor then most of the videos.
    Jonah, a popular bible story, is told often but most of the time it tends to change the outcome in order to make the story more passable to the listener; I think about this when I'm reminded of TV takes on the story of Jonah. The VeggieTales movie really surprised me when the characters telling the story (The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything) said "that's it" and pointed out that Jonah ended up living a life of futility; in fact, the movie ended with a large number "The Prophet who didn't Get It". It's sometimes difficult to take a short story of the bible and convene it in a way that will make people happy; I'm sure quite a few will be unhappy; I personally thought it was one of the more accurate ways of representing the tale to the audience present.
    My wife & I have always been fans of the show, but as agnostics, we focus more on the base messages. The Veggietales movie made no semblence of anything but a religious film. That having been said, if you are one of those who looks for fairly religious, enjoyable childrens film to take kids/family to, Jonah is a sure fire winner.
    I eagerly look forward to a SE DVD, as some of the song numbers will become favorites around our house.
    ****/*****
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.
    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!
    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.
    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

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    Saw this today with my wife (both in our 40's). I'm a cgi animation nut as it is, and a big fan of Veggietales (own all the DVDs so far. We both laughed out loud throughout the movie ("Alf comes on in half an hour.") Story was a fairly accurate retelling of the Jonah story which surprisingly (pleasantly so) remained true to ending of the Old Testement book and ending with the song "The Prophet Who Didn't Get The Point." Yes, it was told through the filter of the Veggie Tales (Ninevah's sins consisted of not being nice and hitting people with fish; instead of casting lots to determine who to throw overboard, the pirates and Jonah played "Go Fish," etc.) It was also the most God-centered movie I've seen in years, accurately explaining Jonah's dilemma of following the command to go to the Ninevites, and his hopefulness that God was going to destroy them anyway. Some pretty heavy stuff for a kid's movie, but extremely well done. And yes, absolutely stay through the credits. Besides a great song by the Newsboys about Jonah that I can't wait to get, there's the bonus "Song that goes under the Credits" that left a bunch of us in stitches.

    No, we don't have kids (or grandkids) that are the target audience, but I think anyone with a pop culture sense of humor will have a great time.
     
  4. Ivan Lindenfeld

    Ivan Lindenfeld Second Unit

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    So, as an Old Testament based story it stayed true to that? We are Jewish and while we hope our children have an understanding of many of the world's religions in the future we want to get a bunch of Jewish stuff in their heads first. [​IMG] Specifically, are there references to strictly Christian things like Jesus? I don't possibly see how there could be with this subject matter but I just wanted to ask.
    I hope I have worded this well so that it is about the movie and not about religion, as is my intent.
     
  5. D. Scott MacDonald

    D. Scott MacDonald Supporting Actor

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    I like it overall, but was still a little disappointed. My two beefs:

    1) It wasn't as clever as some of the other VeggieTale DVDs and the music wasn't as catchy. Not that it was bad, but the jokes were a little more spread out and none of the music was as catchy as any of the silly songs or the bunny song.

    2) One thing that I've always liked about VeggieTales is that they were pretty non-denominational. I haven't watched everything that they've ever produced, but from their DVDs and a few of the VHS tapes that were given to us, I've always got the impression that they wanted their stories to appeal to Jews as well as Christians. In Jonah, they had one scene that was way too "Southern Baptist" for my tastes.

    But overall I enjoyed it and may consider buying the DVD when it comes out. I was happy that they told the whole story of Jonah, and while they did take some creative license, I think that the story was well told.
     
  6. D. Scott MacDonald

    D. Scott MacDonald Supporting Actor

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  7. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    I'm a big fan of these as I own them all on video. My daughters are fans too. I felt a little underwhelmed by the movie. Granted, I was tired, but we didn't find it very enjoyable. It didn't seem as clever, funny, or spontaneous as their video titles have been. Maybe I expected more since it's a movie? Not a horrible experience, just not a great experience.
     
  8. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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  9. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

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    Wow. 6.5 million for its opening. Considering that it's only playing in 970 theaters nationwide, Jonah had a better per screen average than every film this weekend, except Red Dragon.
     
  10. Jeff P

    Jeff P Agent

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    I think I have to agree with the underwhelmed part.. We own every video/DVD, CD, and the like. It seemed to me that everything was just a little rushed. Several examples come to mind:

    1. Several songs should have been expanded a little more - Bald Bunny, Combo Platter to name a few - These types of "funny" songs are the type I enjoy the most.

    2. Niniva - Could have expanded on the storyline of how bad they were. I think they underscored this a little too much and it would have had more of an effect if it looked a little more "evil"

    3. Not enough Larry and Bob - I think the cast was set right but the little wormapiller didn't do it for me. We plain needed more silliness to keep the movie going.

    Anyways, that was my 2 cents worth. I too could have been a little distracted as it was my 21 month old's first movie and, at that age, tend to be a little squirmy!!

    All in all, I would give it a 4/5 compared to most movies but 3/5 compared to other Veggie Tales.

    Anybody know a good Twiddle tune??

    Anybody know how to get that Billy Jo Mohoney song out of my head (yes, we bought the CD also..)
     
  11. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Big Idea’s foray into the big leagues by releasing a feature length film is an admirable one. Effectively, they have created a niche market with their numerous 30-minute animated Christian videos teaching virtues and moral values to small children. But Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie underwhelms.
    Simply stated, there isn’t enough material here to warrant an 83-minute running time and a theatrical release. For me, what made the short video productions work is that they were simple and get its points across. In Jonah, the messages are made loud and clear within its first 40 minutes. But then it goes on and on about those same themes for another 40 minutes or so with little spark to hold one’s attention.
    Parts of the film where it is supposed to provide tension fails. After a while, there were a few restless kids at my screening. When a film loses the interest of children who is supposed to be its target audience then there is a problem. It is an even bigger problem especially when the film is supposed to teach them Christian values in a more entertaining way.
    The film is also more religious than its home video counterparts. If Big Idea is trying to reach a wider audience with its product, I’m not quite sure they have succeeded with this one. Obviously, Jonah would have been the perfect vehicle for those who have not seen any of the Veggie tales to be introduced to their Christian animated series. But this one borders on being sermonizing and preachy in its style.
    The film does have some very good animation, funny lines and some catchy musical numbers. But overall, it just tried too hard to raise itself above its video productions (or maybe in this case, it just didn’t try hard enough). To get into the big leagues requires more imagination and creativity. This is one area where Jonah failed to excel.
    Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie rates [​IMG] [​IMG] (out of four).
    ~Edwin
     
  12. Randall Z

    Randall Z Stunt Coordinator

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    I think my wife and I were the only people in the theater that didn't bring kids with us (we don't have any) [​IMG]
    While I really enjoyed Jonah, I definitely felt that the story was stretched out a bit to create a feature film length of 83 minutes. This story could have been done in 60 minutes easy. That said there are some clever, memorable moments in the film, and as a whole it is true to the story. Also, Jonah uses the story to convey a couple simple lessons (mercy and compassion) that all members of the audience (young and old) can take to heart.
    I don't think that Jonah was necessarily more "preachy" than previous installments. The basis for the Veggie Tales series is to promote obedience to Judeo-Christian values and to encourage the audience to obey what the Bible says. This film is no different. In fact, with the elimination of the song that usually ends each video (I don't know the name of the song, but its the one that says "What we've learned applies to our lives today, God has a lot to say in His Word..."), I thought that this VT was actually less "preachy" than others, in that it didn't seem to specifically refer the audience to the Bible even though the story was taken from the Bible.
    I would tend to agree with those who thought Jonah didn't measure up to previous VT episodes. Jonah was not as good as some of the original VT videos, but was an improvement over some of the later ones (Esther in particular). The animation was head and shoulders above the previous releases. So as far as VT goes, I would give it 7/10. I would have had a higher score if they had thrown in a silly song!
     

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