Saturday, June 29, 2013

VeggieTales Review: Robin Good and His Not So Merry Men

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Some humor and a good lesson
Cons: Not enough humor, lesson feels forced
The Bottom Line
Not the best Veggie
Still, stories have some good laughs
And a good lesson

"It You're Not Vegetable Enough to Fight the Man, Then We Will."

I'll be the first to admit that VeggieTales is not what it once was.  The shows featuring computer animated vegetables used to be pretty funny and have morals that were organic to the classic stories they were ripping off.  Now, the lessons often seem a bit forced and the jokes aren't quite as good.  But that doesn't keep me from enjoying the latest, Robin Good and His Not-So-Merry Men.

As the show opens, our co-host Larry the Cucumber is sad because his hamster Squeaky has run away.  Then we get a video chat from a kid who is sad because he's moved and doesn't have any friends.  Bob the Tomato, our other host, has two stories that will be perfect for both of them.

Up first is "Lenny and the Lost Birthday."  Lenny (Junior Asparagus) wakes up thinking it is his birthday, but no one says anything to him about it.  Did they forget or is he wrong?  The solution to this one is very timely and quite good, but before we get there, we are reminded that God loves us no matter what else is happening in our lives.

We take a short break for a new silly song - "Bubble Rap."  I should have seen it coming, but they bring back their boy band Boyz in the Sink (or B.I.T.S. as they are called here).  While they start out singing about how safe their dishes are for a move, they soon start talking about how much fun it is to pop.  I've got a love/hate relationship with the Boyz, mainly because I'm not a fan of the hip hop style they are always closest to with these songs.  The lyrics and visuals are pretty funny, however, so I'm sure most people will like it.

Finally, we are ready for the title feature.  But we can't have a hero who robs (which has always been my biggest problem with the Robin Hood stories), so here Robin (Larry the Cucumber) and his friends fund raise from the rich to give to the poor.  But when that doesn't work well enough for his friends, they leave him to rob Prince John (Mr. Nezzer, of course).  Can Robin figure out a way to overcome his hurt as his friends leaving him in order to help the people of Bethlingham survive under Prince John?

As I said before, the humor isn't quite what it once was, but that doesn’t mean it's not here.  I laughed a few times, usually at throw away lines that were blink and you miss them type of things.  Even so, there is one potential gag they could have done much more with.  You'll know it when you see it.

The songs were better than they've been for a while; they were actually worth thinking about getting outside of a DVD is they are still even doing that.

And the moral is good.  When the world seems against you, it is important to remember that God does still love you.  However, I wish it didn't feel like they were forcing that into the stories.  At least in the Robin Good portion of the story, Robin has to hear that several times before he starts to reach out to others, acting on what he's been told.

So in the end, Robin Good and His Not-So-Merry Men is an enjoyable entry in the VeggieTales series.  I just wish it recaptured the old magic.

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