Thursday, July 11, 2013

VeggieTales Review: The League of Incredible Vegetables

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun story with some laughs and action
Cons: Already taught this lesson, but it's worth repeating
The Bottom Line
Combining powers
While learning to face down fear
Make this entry fun

"There are No Phone Booths Any More.  Here, Change Behind My Cell Phone."

After the last couple of years, I was expecting the October VeggieTales release to be another Christmas video.  But they must not have had any ideas because instead they released The League of Incredible Vegetables.  Yes, it does feel a bit like a bid to cash in on the success of The Avengers, but it is fun all the same.

In answer to a letter from a child who is very fearful, we return to Bumblyburg to reunite with LarryBoy (Larry the Cucumber).  Actually, the show starts with Larry, Junior Asparagus, and Laura Carrot touring the Science Museum.  Junior is too afraid to try any of the exhibits.  And then we see the Fear Dar.  It uses a ray to detect what you are afraid of, produces it, and then uses the power of your fear to freeze you.

The problem is, the mad scientist who invented it wants to use it to take over the world, so he sends in his penguin minions to steal it.  The situation is so dire that not only does LarryBoy answer, but the rest of the League of Incredible Veggietales.  Will their combined powers be enough to stop the menace?  And will Junior make a good addition to the team?

While LarryBoy has always reminded me a bit of Batman, the rest of the league doesn’t feel like any superhero in particular.  There’s S-Cape (Mr. Lunt) who can escape from anything.  Vogue (Petunia Rhubarb) can turn her suit into anything useful, as long as it is in style.  And Thingamabob (Bob the Tomato) has a belt he can pull any useful tool or device from.

I’ve got to admit, from the title I was expecting a lesson about teamwork or getting along with others or something like that.  And they could have easily gone that route.  I actually like the fact that they didn’t.  The League is nothing but supportive and cooperative with each other.  And considering this is the first time we’ve seen everyone but LarryBoy, it’s nice they didn’t go the easy route.

Of course, you could complain that they’ve already done a lesson on fear – way back in their first video.  But since that was 20 years ago, I have no problem with them tackling the subject again.  It helps that they work the lesson into the story naturally.  After all, Junior must learn to put his faith in God to overcome his fears and save the day.

Plus the video is fun.  Boys who haven’t connected with the last couple entries that were aimed at girls will certainly get a kick out of all the action here.  There are some great laughs at the superhero genre as well.  And the story moves forward quickly, not wasting any of the 50 minute running time.  (Be sure to check out Bob for the ending counter wrap around for another couple good laughs.)

The computer animation in this video looks good.  You'll never confuse it with the big budget stuff that Pixar or Dreamworks puts out, but it definitely gets the job done well.  The voices, mostly done by series founders Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki, are great as well.

And we get a Silly Song with LarryBoy.  As the League is sitting down to eat, LarryBoy isn’t excited about eating his Brussels sprouts and sauerkraut.  Fortunately, that’s when “Supper Hero” shows up.  They use Jerry Gourd in the part, who is always hungry, so you can imagine how things get out of hand.

All told, this is a great addition to not only the VeggieTales series but also LarryBoy in particular.  Fans of both will want to get The League of Incredible Vegetables.

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