Tuesday, May 28, 2013

VeggieTales Review: Sweetpea Beauty

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun take on familiar fairytales with a great message
Cons: Won't appeal to boys (who also need to hear the message)
The Bottom Line:
Fractured fairytales
That teach the importance of
A heart true to God

Can Fairy Tales Teach About True Beauty?  They Can When VeggieTales Retells Them

The instant I heard the title of the latest VeggieTales video, I knew what the theme would be.  Heck, I even guessed the verse we'd hear at the end of the show.  I mean, when you've got a video entitled Sweetpea Beauty done by a Christian company known for retelling stories to teach Christian lessons, what else would you expect?

This video is aimed more at girls than boys.  It used two princess fairy tales to teach about what God's considers beautiful.  That's not to say that boys can't learn from it or don't need the lessons here.  And I'm also not criticizing the video in any way because of it.  Many of the videos in the straight to video VeggieTales series are aimed more at young boys.  That's probably a combination of the dominance of male characters in the Bible and the fact that when VeggieTales first started using computer animated vegetables to teach morals, it was being run by a couple of guys who did pretty much everything themselves.  But I'm digressing.

Besides, this video is quite entertaining.

As always, the video opens on the countertop as Larry the Cucumber is attempting to figure out what kind of hat completes his look.  Not surprisingly, his insecurity ties in with this episode's letter (now submitted via video e-mail on QWERTY the computer, who we learn can talk).  In it a young girl is concerned about her braces and glasses and how she looks.  Fortunately, we've got two stories ready to go that talk to this very thing.

Up first is a return to the land of the Snoodles for "Snoodlerella."  These fanciful creatures look like a cross between a vegetable and a Dr. Seuss character.  And once again, our story is told in Dr. Seuss rhythm and rhyme.  Snoodlerella is the ugly step-sister who doesn't fit in with the fashion and beauty world of her town.  She gets an extreme makeover for the upcoming ball, but it will only last until midnight.  She is the hit of the ball, but will an encounter with the King change her opinion on her looks?

Our main story, however, is Sweetpea Beauty.  Surprisingly, this story actually borrows more from Snow White, although it does throw in a few references to other fairytales.  Queen Blueberry is obsessed with her looks because if she isn't the fairest in the land, she will lose her throne.  Meanwhile, her son Prince Larry (Larry the Cucumber) has made friends with Sweetpea Beauty (Petunia).  Sweetpea is a wonderful person who is kind to all the creatures.  She also happens to be fairest in the land.  When the Queen falls under the spell of a magic mirror, she targets Sweetpea.  What will happen then?

The first story was entertaining, and I am always in awe of anyone who can tell a great story in rhyme.  However, the second story was very entertaining.  They increased the number of jokes and managed to make some very funny spoof references to fairytales.  Some of the best laughs came from the two minstrels who narrate the story for us.  Because of the minstrels, we get several songs during the second story, although only one of them would be fun to listen to outside of this DVD.

And yet with all the entertainment, they still manage to remind us that God is more concerned about our heart than our outward appearance.  The first story focuses on the fact that we are God's creation exactly as we are.  And the second focuses on beauty fading but fearing God bringing us praise.

And, yes, there is a new silly song.  "Pants" features Larry as a salesperson on a TV shopping channel.  It's not the best silly song they've done (in fact, the best ones seem to be the older ones), but it is entertaining.

And speaking of songs, there is a new single by Nichole Nordeman that plays during the closing credits.  I was just wondering what she was up to.  Granted, this doesn't answer my question, but I'm hopeful this means we might get more music from her soon.

Because it retells princess fairytales, boys might turn up their nose at Sweetpea Beauty.  That's too bad.  It is an entertaining reminder of what God truly considers beautiful that everyone needs to see.

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