Monday, February 25, 2013

Video Review: What's in the Bible? Vol. 4 - Battle for the Promised Land!

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good information on three more Bible books; entertaining
Cons: Some bathroom humor; some okay songs
The Bottom Line:
Bible overview
Continues to move forward
Informative fun

Moving Forward to the Second Section of the Bible – Housewares, I Mean Histories

Phil Vischer is attempting to provide kids, their parents, and anyone willing to learn with an overview of the themes of the Bible in a thirteen volume series.  After the first three entries, we've made it through the first five books of the Bible.  It's time to start kicking it into high gear, and that's just what happens with What's in the Bible? Volume 4: Battle for the Promised Land!

Phil is best known for creating the popular VeggieTales series, but instead of computer animation, this time he's using giant puppets and even stepping in front of the camera himself to handle some of the tricky bits and more serious moments.  But the show is still filled with humor and entertainment.  It's hosted by a newscaster and got a Sunday school teacher, two ladies watching and commenting occasionally, and a pirate.

This video boldly takes us into the second major section of the Old Testament, the histories (although some of the characters incorrectly guess that this next section is housewares).  As always, there are two half hour episodes, although I just use the watch all feature on the DVD and watch them both back to back.

The first section covers Joshua.  It talks about the conquest of Israel and whether or not God was justified in taking the land from those who live there and giving it to the Israelites.  The second half hour covers Judges and Ruth.  While we get a brief retelling of Ruth, we don't get any of the stories from Judges.  The emphasis in this section is on the cycle of the Israelites turning from God and worshipping idols, God judging them, the Israelites repenting, and God raising up someone to rescue them.

So far with this series, I've been blown away by how Phil is able to give us so much great information while keeping the jokes flowing.  This time, I felt the information was a little lacking.  Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of great stuff in here, but I didn't feel I learned anything new.  I'm not ashamed to admit I've learned from the previous entries, so that was a bit disappointing to me.  And the recaps they do at the beginning of each episode are getting a little too familiar, especially if you watch both episodes back to back like I do.

The songs in these videos have been hit or miss, so I'm disappointed to say that this video features lots more songs.  See Pirate Pete wants a bigger part in this episode, so he floats over everyone in a hot air balloon breaking into songs about what we're learning.  And, some of them are good and some aren't.  Furthermore, for the second half hour, Pete decides he needs to use the bathroom, but no one knows how to get him down from the hot air balloon.  Never having been a fan of bathroom humor, I didn't care for this section at all.

But I do have to mention the song from the Bentley Brothers.  These two real people come out and sing about the book of Judges.  This is the only time we get anything close to the stories from the book as we see pictures of the men and woman as their names are sung.  If you know the book well, there's enough to remind you about most of them.  It's a catchy song and a good way to jog memories of Deborah, Gideon, and Samson without taking time to tell the stories.

Battle for the Promised Land! is still a good video.  It will entertain kids and show them how Joshua, Judges, and Ruth fit into the larger story of God's plan of salvation.  I think my expectations were too high going into it.

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