Monday, March 9, 2015

VeggieTales Review: Noah's Ark



Stars: 1 out of 5
Pros: I can’t think of any
Cons: Too much singing, too few jokes, attempt at plot fails
The Bottom Line:
Retells Noah’s tale
But moral overshadows
All entertainment




The Latest VeggieTales is Flooded with Problems

It’s hard for me to write this review.  I’ve long been a fan of VeggieTales, and I love the story of Noahs Ark, so a combination of the two should be a home run, right?  Sadly, that’s not the case with this DVD release.

In answer to a letter to a boy who was hoping for a baby brother but got a baby sister instead, Larry the Cucumber has decided that they should tell the story of Noah’s Ark.  After all, it shows the importance of trusting God over our own plans.

This retelling of the story focuses on Noah’s son Shem (voiced by special guest Wayne Brady).  He’s just returned from his honeymoon and is making all kinds of plans for the house he intends to build for his new wife.  However, when he arrives home, he finds the rest of his family building a giant boat in the exact spot where he wanted to build his house.  Even crazier, animals start to show up two by two.  Will his plans for his new life ever happen?

So what went wrong?  Where to even start.  Shem spends the entire video trying to get out of the ark, be it before the rain starts or after the rain has finally stopped.  I get that it was designed to build some kind of plot, however that really bothered me.  Okay, so I’m not the most flexible person in the world, and maybe it was hitting too close to home, but the lack of faith that Shem showed for most of the video really bothered me – especially since no one else was questioning what God told them at all.  We’re talking to the point of trying to rappel out of the ark right before the rain starts.  It just seems out of character for anyone in the story.

Maybe my problem with this change is that they use Shem to preach the moral, so instead of feeling natural or entertaining, they have no purpose with it but to drive their point home.  If it’s forced on us and the story, it won’t work as entertainment.

Couple that will a complete lack of humor.  It used to be that these shows had jokes adults and kids would like – sometimes they would even both laugh at the same joke.  Jokes for either age are nowhere to be found here.  I laughed once or twice, but that was it in the 50 minute video.

Then there’s the music.  As in there is too much of it.  With seven new songs, there’s too much time spent singing, slowing down the story.  (Wait, maybe that’s a good thing since how they told the story failed so miserably.)  The songs were just okay at best – none are memorable enough to make me wish I had them and a couple get repetitive very quickly.

Sadly, that applies to the new Silly Song.  “My Golden Egg” follows Larry as he searches for a special golden egg during an Easter Egg hunt.  There’s really nothing silly or fun about it.

The animation continues to be fine for the series.  This isn’t big budget animation, but it works.  The voices are fun like always as well.  Many people are commenting on the new look of the characters, to the point that this new look is scaring their kids.  Honestly, I thought Pa Grape and Madame Blueberry (Mr. and Mrs. Noah) seemed a little off, but I really didn’t nothing anything major.

And I do get the point they were trying to make about God’s plans always being the best.  It’s an important lesson and one I often need to be reminded of myself.  However, this story doesn’t serve that purpose at all.

I am actually okay with some of the changes they made to the Noah story.  The ark looks like a giant orange, they really, really (really) compress the time it took to rebuild the ark.  And we don’t see anyone mocking Noah for it.  That last one would introduce death into VeggieTales, and I think given the audience they were right to leave it out. They do mention why God is bringing the flood after all.  Even the sea serpent wasn’t a bad thing (although it felt forced just to add humor when it wasn’t as funny as they wanted it to be).  They have never stuck faithfully to the Biblical story, so all of these changes alone wouldn’t have bothered me.  However, the humor and fun they intend to have with these changes just doesn’t work.  At all.  And, again, the way they present Shem to force home the moral just doesn’t work for the story they are trying to tell at all.

Even when I don’t love a VeggieTales episode, I can usually find something worthwhile in it.  In this case, there is no reason to watch Noahs Ark.  Skip it and rewatch some of the older, better Bible stories they’ve done instead.

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