July 8, 2008

The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie (2008)

You’ve probably heard of VeggieTales, even if you haven’t seen their home videos or their TV show on Qubo (NBC’s Saturday cartoon lineup). A quick history: Since the early ’90s, VeggieTales has promoted Christian morals through animated, talking vegetables, and made a small fortune in the process.

Now that they’ve gone more mainstream, the VeggieTales have curbed a lot of the Bible lessons and references, which are completely absent from The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. Still, the film delivers a positive (if not recycled) message about believing in yourself and the power that comes from within.

Working at a pirate-themed dinner theater as busboys, Elliot, Sedgewick, and George (Larry the Cucumber, Mr. Lunt and Pa Grape) dream of starring in the theater’s big pirate show. But Elliot's timidity, Sedgewick's laziness, and George's lack of self-confidence all seem to get in their way. Things change when a mysterious ball drops from the sky, sent from the past in search of heroes. Our heroes push a button on the ball, which sends them back to the 17th century and into a series of dangerous encounters where there bravery is put to the test.

At times, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything feels little more than an extended episode a VeggieTales home video. But there are several memorable musical numbers, and animation that’s on par with most of the other CGI-animated feature films out there. You may find the action and pacing a little more subdued than a Pixar or DreamWorks film, but it should keep you engaged.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5).

Will your kids like it?
My boys were almost 5 and 2, respectively, when we saw The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (their first movie theater experience). Big Bro was glued to the screen the whole time, while Little Bro got restless about halfway through the film and had to be taken to the lobby by FilmMother for about 10 minutes. (Of course, this is a moot point when you watch the DVD at home.)

The only things possibly scary are the giant rock monsters and the cheese curls with teeth (don’t ask), but they’re both done with such a soft, cartoonish edge that they shouldn’t upset any young viewers.

Will your FilmMother like it?
She’ll probably like it, in that she’ll watch it with your kids and go the distance without any eye-rolling or glances at her watch.

The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie
* Director: Mike Nawrocki
* Screenwriter: Phil Vischer
* Stars (voices): Phil Vischer, Mike Nawrocki, Cam Clarke, Laura Gerow, Yuri Lowenthal, Alan Lee
* MPAA Rating: G

Buy this movie for less at Half.com >>

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