Movie Review

Esther… The Girl Who Became Queen (Veggie Tales)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Reviewed by: Timothy Blaisdell
CONTRIBUTOR

Excellent!
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Preteen
Genre:
Animation
Length:
39 min.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
_____
Relevant Issues
Featuring: Esther, Mr. Nezzer, Mr. Lunt, Pa Grape, Philippe and Jean Claude Pea, Larry the Cucumber
Director: _____
Producer: Big Idea Productions
Distributor: _____

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.

Xerxes, the King of Persian (played by Mr. Nezzer)

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 Queen—Esther 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.


Viewer Comments
It never occurred to me that the movie wasn’t funny. I was disappointed in that Queen Esther was portrayed as a whiny self-absorbed brat, when the Bible story gives a clear picture of a selfless, courageous, obedient girl. I personally prefer Bob, Larry, Querty, and “Silly Songs” but can easily live without all that. However, we gave our copy of “Queen Esther” away after two viewings. I thought they could have stayed truer to the story, especially since all the real names were used (unlike the story of David and Bathsheba in “King George”)
—Rachel Townsend, age 36
I use this sight to help decide which movies my family will watch, but I have never been compelled to write. I am apart of a huge Veggie Tales family of fans. We waited just like everyone who reviewed this. And I think I am in agreement with most of these people. I miss Bob—infact, Veggie Tales is called Bob in our house. The dropping of the piano seemed out of line with Veggie Tales quality. My husband quietly and regrettably said, “I just don’t like this!” The morality was great, as it almost always is. But they did sacrifice the Saturday morning fun with Esther. I don’t think it was nec. to do, either. Big Idea proved with King George and the Ducky that heavy lessons and Bible stories can be addressed with humor without losing the moral impact. I was so impressed that they chose the David and Bathsheba story over the more standard “children’s” Bible stories. I had full confidence that they could pull off Esther. But, sadly, I think they slipped. I look forward to a regrouping and better show with their next try.
—Cindy, age 26
When my husband and I sat down to watch this movie, we were quite disappointed, thinking we wasted our money. We weren’t laughing. However, even though we didn’t think it was quite as funny or entertaining as other VeggieTales, our children LOVE it! Our four year old sings one of the songs ALL the time. My seven year old has started acting out scenes from Esther. None of the other VeggieTale movies have been watched quite as often as this one. I guess it depends on your taste and what your expectations are. My Ratings: [5/4]
—Julie, age 31
What a sad disappointment. Esther was a boring character. The story was bland. The script was very weak. Even the greatest animation can’t save an awful script. I was so disappointed because I was so looking forward to this. I could barely sit through it. Esther never seemed courageous because there was never any real conflict. I just can’t believe the folks at Big Idea let this slip past the quality control monitor. Oh well. No one I knew liked it, and I couldn’t get my kids to watch it. A first for Veggie Tales. My Ratings: [4/2]
—Jessie Blake, age 34
Our family had not yet purchased Esther when I read your review (the only review I could find). I was taken aback and wondered how Big Idea could go so bad after such a run of great videos. I’m glad we decided to get the video despite your review. I feel as a society we have been duped into thinking that every scene in a movie must bring a level of laughter if it is to be funny. Moral content, great story telling, and character building aren’t enough anymore. Thank you Big Idea for keeping the Sunday morning lessons well intact and top priority while still finding time to poke enough fun at yourself to certainly keep our children (and their parents) laughing. It concerns me that the reviewer’s only concern was that this video should somehow have been funnier regardless of its impact on the story and its moral integrity. If our Christian reviewers cannot stand behind videos like Esther and the companies that make high quality Christian entertainment, why should we expect Hollywood executives to even attempt to create morally sound work in their studios? If you can’t support what is so obviously GOOD, do not blame Hollywood when all they put out is BAD. My Ratings: [5/3½]
—Paul Hunter, age 35
I think the reviewer was too hard on this film. Not all Veggie Tales have to be hilariously funny. This was my favorite one since “Madame Blueberry,” partly because there was more substance to it than to some of the more recent ones. My family laughed out loud several times, too, so we thought there was plenty of humor. The main flaw I saw to this video was the annoying lock of hair that is constantly in Esther’s face! It drove me crazy! Also, because the animators were trying to do more with the action in the story, it is more obvious than ever that their characters are lacking arms. I sense that the folks at Big Idea Productions are just itching to get into their new penguin series so they can more thoroughly explore the creativity that the latest advances in computer animation will allow. I personally hope they can do that without abandoning Veggie Tales altogether. I might add that other members of the family had the following comments: that they missed “Silly Songs,” that Esther’s speaking voice sounded like a pre-teen’s, and that it seemed a shame that the producers used professional singers rather than staff members like they used to. But, in general, they all liked “Esther”. My Ratings: [5/4]
—Julie Gridley, age 46
We agree with the review by Timothy Blaisdell. We were excitedly waiting for this video and we were also disappointed. It is my least favorite Veggie video and the only one I regret buying. No silly song, No introduction with Bob and Larry, No “God made you special and loves you very much”. Esther’s hair was distracting as it was always hanging in her face. My children don’t want to watch this one again. I hope Veggie Tales does not leave its original format. This was not a funny video. Where is the innocent Humor we love Veggie Tales for? My Ratings: [4/4]
—Penny Klinger, age 34
I have to agree with the reviewer. Morally, this is far above average and had a good message about courage and faith. However, it played more like a Disney musical than a typical Veggie Tales. The zany humor wasn’t there. Also, I was a bit concerned that “cartoonish” violence was so prominently featured here (the piano and cake scene). Please BIG IDEA, keep it clean and harmless. Don’t lower your standards. I though Esther would have worked better as a non-Veggie story. My Ratings: [4½/3]
—Kevin, age 29
I too was disappointed with this one. I am VERY sorry to say that. I too missed Bob, and the “Saturday Morning Fun.” This one seems almost to have been aimed at an older audience than most others. One other thing that bothered me was the fact that Esther continually had a piece of hair hanging in her face. It was distracting, and messy… I kept wanting to move it. I’m eagerly awaiting the first Penguins movie however! Veggie Tales Fan Forever! My Ratings: [5/3]
—Angelica, age 21
I have to say that I think you are waaayyy off in your assessment of the latest Veggie Tales. We had to stop and replay it bits at a time because we were laughing so hard we missed a lot of it. My four kids (ages 17, 13, 10, and 9) and I absolutely LOVED this episode. We thought that things like the French Peas (with their lame assassination attempt of trying to drop a piano on the king), the ultimate punishment of being cast to “Tickle Island” (by the cloaked death figure prodding with a huge feather instead of a sickle), and Larry Boy’s hilarious shadow character (but an extremely important one) of being the scribe who reminds the king of Mordecai’s heroics to be some of the funniest scenes yet in a Veggie Tales episode. There might not have been a “Silly Song With Larry” (which we REALLY enjoy), but this EXCELLENT development of the story of Esther took longer than other Veggie Tales. I think you totally missed this on your rating, but you are right about the graphics. They are superb! Esther is an A+++++! My Ratings: [5/5]
—Patrick D. McGuire, age 40