Making the Grades
Unless you're already familiar with the animated garden produce in the Veggie Tales series, this retelling of Jonah and the Whale will be decidedly different than anything you've heard in Sunday School. Full of more vegetables than a stir-fry, this Old Testament narrative is spiced up with snappy jokes and toe-tapping tunes aimed at imparting moral lessons.
Bob the Tomato (voiced by Phil Vischer) is driving a van full of singing kids to a Twippo concert when a navigational error sends the vehicle down a deserted back road and straight into the path of a very protective mother porcupine. While the stranded passengers wait for a tow truck to change the flattened tires, tempers start to flare. But a chance meeting with the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (voiced by Vischer and Mike Nawrocki), gives the trio of sea-faring scalawags an opportunity to teach the warring parties about compassion and mercy through a Biblical story.
Jonah (played by Archibald the Asparagus and voiced by Vischer) conveys God's will to the people of his time. However, he hesitates when he is sent to preach to the inhabitants of Ninevah, an unpleasant crowd who slaps each other around with fish. Rather than carry out his instructions, this prophetic messenger heads in the opposite direction and ends up on a stormy sea. When the crew discovers that he is the cause of the tempest, he is hastily disembarked by means of the plank and ends up as fish food. There, in the belly of a whale, he encounters some heavenly intervention and learns about second chances.
With only moments of mild peril included, Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie is Big Idea Productions first foray into the theatrical arena. The company founded nearly a decade ago, set out to create value-based family entertainment and now has a sizable hold in children's home video market. While the notion to produce positive media message may not seem odd, their choice of characters is truly out of the ordinary. Starring cucumbers, tomatoes, peas and squash, they may finally have found a way to make vegetables more palatable for kids.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie.
The people of Ninevah apparently didn’t know the difference between right and wrong. Is it fair for people to be judged by laws or rules they don’t know about or understand? Is ignorance an acceptable excuse for errant behavior? How did the people react when they got the message?
Were the Veggie Tales kids the only ones who needed to learn about compassion and mercy? What other characters showed a change of heart?