Tuesday, April 30, 2013

VeggieTales Review: Abe and the Amazing Promise

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Presents two good benefits to patience with good humor
Cons: Doesn't come with cookies
The Bottom Line:
Learn benefits of
The virtue of patience with
The VeggieTales gang




Was This VeggieTale Worth Waiting For?

For the better part of two decades, the VeggieTales video series has helped Christian parents teach their kids Biblical morals using computer animated vegetables.  Each episode includes a couple stories, one usually a Bible story and another story, that illustrate the theme of the DVD.  Abe and the Amazing Promise is the latest entry, and the theme is patience.

Normal co-host Larry the Cucumber is on special assignment, so Bob the Tomato's co-host this time around is Jr. Asparagus.  Jr. is quite ready for the episode to be over, however, since his mother has promised him fresh baked cookies when the show is over.  Bob thinks this is a perfect example for the show and invited Jr. along on the first story.

The first segment is the title story.  But instead of just telling us the story, Bob has gone back in time to interview Abraham (Pa Grape) and his wife Sarah (Ma Grape, with her third voice now).  Assisting him are Jr. as the cameraman and the French Peas as the rest of the crew.  And I can't leave out the Nurse (as played by Miss Achmetha).  As Bob tries to conduct his interviews, the rest of the crew wants things wrapped up because of the heat of the desert or those promised cookies.  Will any of them learn that waiting is worth it when you know you can trust the person who has made the promise?

This segment had some great laughs.  The nurse constantly mistakes "patience" for "patients," for example.  And the notes written on the production slate are rather funny.  What bothered me the most here was the things they got wrong.  I can understand them leaving out the Ishmael part of the story since this is a kids' video although it would show how impatience can cause complications.  However, I find them stating that Abraham had to wait 15 years for God to give him Isaac instead of the real 25 inexcusable.

Up next is "Sneeze if You Need to," the newest silly song.  This song falls flat.  It finds Larry playing a doctor of sneezology who is trying to help his newest patient, Bob, sneeze.  The best bits were the interjections of sneeze trivia.  Even those weren't that funny.

The third and longest segment is "Blunders in Boo-Boo-Ville."  The hero of this story is Jacque (Larry) who is a member of an inventor's club.  The problem is, no one in this club has the patience to properly complete their invention.  When the mayor of the town puts out a call for an invention to bring back the Boo-Boo Bird for which the village is named, will anyone have the patience to get it right?

This segment really shows the dangers of impatience in a very funny way.  It also includes the majority of the songs on this disc.  I had the entire story figured out very early on, but I'm sure the target audience, the kids, won't.

Considering that series creators Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki do the majority of the voices, they do a great job.  You can easily tell each character apart.  Yes, these are cartoon voices, but it does fit the format.  They make a big deal on the outside of the disc about radio's Delilah doing the voice of Sarah.  First of all, who?  Secondly, this is now at least the third person to provide the voice of poor Ma Grape.  And each one sounds enough different to bother me.  I hope they find someone permanent to do her voice soon.

The animation may not be in the same league as the major animation studios, but that's because this is a low budget direct to home video release.  As such, the animation is certainly strong.  And they continue to make fun of the fact that their characters have no hands.  Those are some of my favorite gags.

In the end, Abe and the Amazing Promise will appeal more to kids than the adult fans of the franchise.  While having a strong lesson in patience, it's funny but not quite up to their normal standards.

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