Reviewed by: Timothy Blaisdell
|Featuring:||Esther, Mr. Nezzer, Mr. Lunt, Pa Grape, Philippe and Jean Claude Pea, Larry the Cucumber|
|Producer:||Big Idea Productions|
Let me begin by saying that my family is chock full of Veggietales fans. At our house, the release of a new Veggietales video creates more excitement then the theatrical release of “Star Wars: Episode I.” The Veggietales videos get more screen time in our house than “Star Wars”, “Toy Story” and everything else combined. When “Esther: The Girl Who Became Queen” came out, we picked it up the morning it was released. We were near bursting with anticipation as we popped it in the VCR and dimmed the lights. It was the same thing we had done in the Spring with “King George and the Ducky,” and before that with “Larry Boy and the Fib from Outer Space.” We love these things. We watch ’em over and over, and listen to the songs in our family minivan.
So, perhaps you can understand the pang of sadness I feel at what I have to report.
“Esther: The Girl Who Became Queen” doesn’t deliver. About half way through the film, one of my kids voiced what we were all thinking: “this isn’t funny.”
The quality of the animation is great. Better than anything they’ve done yet. The lesson in courage and trusting God is well taken, but, well, it’s not funny—and it’s supposed to be funny!
I’ve tried to analyze what happened. Are my kids just getting too old for this? That can’t be. They still regularly pop in the older Veggies. I’ve got four of them between 2 and 11 and I regularly catch them about the house humming “I Can Be Your Friend” or “Where is My Hairbrush?” No, they still love Bob and Larry. Unfortunately, Bob and Larry are not in “Esther”. Larry makes a cameo appearance (which, by the way, is one of the few bright points in the video), but Bob is no where to be seen.
But Bob and Larry aren’t the only things missing. They seemed to have dropped the “Saturday morning fun” from their familiar tagline. The Sunday values are certainly there, but the fun part seems to have been thrown in at the last minute. The video follows the Esther story right from the Bible in almost every detail. The parts that were presumably supposed to be funny, such as the “Isle of Perpetual Tickling,” just aren’t. In fact, they seem to stick out like an afterthought thrown in by a writer who didn’t understand what makes Veggietales appealing.
At the beginning of the video is a fairly promising preview of the new “3-2-1 Penguins” series. As the credits rolled I was left hoping that the folks at Big Idea would drop the Veggietales concept before they completely ruin it and focus on making something good out of the Penguins.