Reviewed by: Douglas M. Downs
Produced by: Big Idea Productions
“The Star of Christmas” is the first Holiday release for our imaginative friends at Big Idea since the 1996 release of “The Toy That Saved Christmas”. A lot has happened since those early years. When the first Christmas video hit the marketplace, Big Idea was still in its infancy. Only about 10 people were on the staff at that time. Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki’s company has grown by leaps and bounds since then, but their simple passion continues to permeate everything that they do.
“The Star of Christmas” is a story within a story and a prequel to their upcoming Easter release, “The Easter Carol”. Phil came up with the idea of taking the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol and put it in the context of Easter. While working on this “Big Idea,” he got the thought of a prequel that will later set up the other story. Now to really make things complicated in VeggieWorld, they simultaneously worked on “The Star of Christmas” while putting many of the finishing touches on “Jonah-a VeggieTales Movie”. The company added 200 more computers to fuel these exploding dreams and visions. The result is a heart warming Vegan delight!
Our holiday VeggieTale is set in 1880’s London. It is Christmas time (duh! I’m sorry—you already knew that). Cavis Appythart (Bob the Tomato) and Millward Phelps (Larry the Cucumber) are tired of their humdrum lives of writing jingles for Durling’s Dental Wax. Phil once again tips his hat to the days of Gilbert and Sullivan (I personally love their musicals). This dream team goes on to weave personal facts of these two well-known show writers, some history and of course the culture of London in the late 19th century. Even the names that were used are names of Gilbert and Sullivan’s friends or actors that starred in their musicals. It is this attention to detail that adds tremendous grace and intelligence to the melting pot (veggies included) of dreams.
Let’s see… now where was I… Oh yes (sorry about that Bob). Cavis and Millward come up with a theatrical Christmas Spectacular—“The Princess and the Plumber.” It is filled with song, spectacle and more electric lights than 19th Century London has ever seen. Just a quick note (sort of my own trivia commentary within a review): Gilbert and Sullivan were the first ones to use lights within a production. They even included lights one time in the costumes of fairies complete with lighted wands with wires attached to battery packs. Now, back to the story…
Our theatrical duo has hit few minor snags. They only have three days left and the songs are not finished. They haven’t cast anyone for the part of the Princess and London’s most influential theater critic, Prince Frederick has not yet agreed to come. Cavis is stressed and distressed. He has this vision that this musical could teach all of London how to love.
Meanwhile, across town a small church is planning their annual Christmas pageant. Little Edmund Gilbert (Junior Asparagus) is a pastor’s son, this year’s director of the drama. He convinces his ministerial dad (Father Asparagus) to let him use an artifact that has not been seen in 79 years—the Star of Christmas. But schemers Cavis and Millward begin to plot how they can steal the star and, in turn, “steal the show.” What follows is the most action and adventure ever seen in a VeggieEpisode (chase scenes included). Don’t worry, no vegetables were harmed in the making of this film.
“The Star of Christmas” is a bright and shining example of the reality that it is possible to tell and retell the marvelous truth of Christmas in a relevant way for every generation. That is the best IDEA of all!