"Help Comes from Above"
THE PIRATES WHO DON’T DO ANYTHING, a full length VeggieTales animated feature, is great family entertainment that stands up very well with anything else Hollywood has to offer. Most children will love it, but, like the best SHREK and Pixar movies, it also offers plenty of clever and clean jokes and fun for teenagers and adults. There are even a couple of jolly, witty songs that the whole family will enjoy.
Released by a major Hollywood studio, the movie tells the tale of Elliott (a timid cucumber), George (a grape who lacks confidence) and Sedgewick (a lazy gourd), three hapless bus boys at a Pirate-themed dinner theater, the Pieces of Ate. Unable to land a role in the restaurant’s pirate show, Elliott and Sedgwick are embarrassed before their girlfriends, and George has trouble earning the respect of his wife, son and daughter.
When they wreck the stage props trying to audition, the three veggies are fired and thrown out the door. A mysterious mechanical ball with flashing lights in the alley suddenly drops a rowboat into the alley and transports them out to sea in the 17th Century. Soon, they spy a large ship. On the ship is Princess Eloise, who asks them to help her find her missing brother Alexander. Alexander has been kidnapped by the evil Uncle Robert, a pirate who wants to become king and take over their absent father’s throne. The Princess sent out her father’s mechanical ball, the “helpseeker,” to find heroes who can help her and Prince Alexander and stop Uncle Robert.
Still dressed in their restaurant costumes, Elliott, George and Sedgewick know that they are phony pirates who don’t do anything, but they decide to play along, in hopes of getting back home. Their decision leads to a series of crazy adventures that tests their courage, stamina and moral conscience.
As with most VeggieTales videos and movies, the animation in THE PIRATES WHO DON’T DO ANYTHING is clever and colorful. The bigger budget definitely shows, however, especially in the elaborate action scenes and two production numbers. It is exciting to wonder what the team at Big Idea Productions and its new partners at Universal Studios could do with an even bigger budget.
Most of all, it is clear that some time has been spent on developing the movie’s witty, funny, adventurous, exciting, and winsome script. Like the best Pixar movies, this script is based on the classic narrative structure of the hero myth, where ordinary characters are thrust into an unexpected situation that tests their personal, moral and spiritual mettle.
Best of all, THE PIRATES WHO DON’T DO ANYTHING has a very strong worldview with very strong moral, biblical, redemptive, and Christian values and metaphors. It teaches many valuable lessons for everyone, but without being overly preachy or getting in the way of the plot. A hero can be anyone, even a busboy, who does the right thing, especially in a difficult situation full of unexpected obstacles. When you need it most, however, help comes from above.
(CC, BBB, V, M) Strong redemptive, biblical, Christian worldview, metaphors and premise, with very strong moral elements; no foul language; plenty of light action and slapstick violence, such as sword fighting, people knocked overboard, hundreds of small yellow creatures chase character, threats of death, objects fall on characters, cannons fired at ships, walls broken through; no sex; no nudity; no alcohol (characters drink root beer); no smoking or drugs; and, whining and laziness rebuked, plus one line could be misinterpreted in a radical way to create a social gospel that, if taken to extremes, perhaps would distort the message of Jesus Christ and the Bible.
THE PIRATES WHO DON’T DO ANYTHING is the most delightful feature length VeggieTales movie yet. Elliott, George and Sedgewick are three hapless bus boys at a Pirate-themed dinner theater. A flashing mechanical ball from the past sends them to the 17th Century. Princess Eloise asks them to help her find her missing brother, Alexander. Alexander has been kidnapped by their evil Uncle Robert, a pirate who wants to become king and take over their absent father’s throne. Elliott, George and Sedgewick know they are phony pirates who don’t do anything, but they play along, in hopes of getting back home. They get more than they expected.
As with most VeggieTales videos and movies, the animation in THE PIRATES WHO DON’T DO ANYTHING is clever and colorful. Helping move things along is the movie’s witty, funny, exciting, and winsome script. Best of all, the movie has a very strong worldview with moral, biblical and redemptive Christian values and metaphors. A hero can be anyone, even a busboy, who does the right thing, especially in a difficult situation full of unexpected obstacles. When you need it most, however, help comes from above.