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    VeggieTales: Esther, the Girl Who Became Queen [16]

    Movie Reviews
    The Big Idea folks have put together an interesting concept. Take Computer animated vegetables, assign them personalities, and then act out morality plays. The computer graphics are quite sophisticated for their time. Interestingly, the fact that the vegetable characters have no hands or feet does not seem to be a problem. Tools, pens, and accessories seem to float in the air next to them. If we can accept the Charlie Brown gang with their giant heads, or Miss Peach’s cartoon students with their even more gigantic heads, we can live with vegetable blobs as personalities. (I believe that in Japanese the descriptive term for big heads and eyes translates to “Super-Deformed”, much like THEDOG.)

    The VeggieTales characters are a friendly lot. There is Bob the tomato, Larry the cucumber, the French peas, and several other vegetables. Larry plays the scribe in the court of King Xerxes (Mr. Nezzer) in a children’s rendition of the Biblical story of Esther. Xerxes is appears to be a zucchini. As with all movie stories for children, the brutal parts are toned down (see Disneyfication in the FAQ)

    Here is a short summary of the Bible story:
    The Book of Esther is named after its Jewish heroine. It tells the story of the plot of Haman the Agagite, jealous and powerful vizier of King Xerxes (Ahasuerus) of Persia (485-464 B.C.), to destroy in a single day all the Jews living in the Persian Empire. Haman is motivated by hatred for the Jewish servant Mordecai, who for religious motives refuses to render him homage. The day of the proposed massacre is determined by lot. Meanwhile Esther, niece and adopted daughter of Mordecai, is chosen queen to replace the previous Queen Vashti by King Xerxes. She averts the pogrom planned against her people and has the royal decree of extermination reversed against Haman and the enemies of the Jews. Mordecai replaces Haman, and together with Esther, works for the welfare of their people. The event is celebrated with feasting and great joy, and the memory of it is to be perpetuated by the annual observance of the feast of Purim (lots), when the lot of destruction for the Jews was reversed for one of deliverance and triumph by Queen Esther and her uncle Mordecai.

    Differences in the VeggieTales story:
    • Queen Vashti refuses to make a sandwich for Xerxes (instead of parading in her crown)
    • French Peas attempt to smash king with piano (instead of two eunuchs laying hands upon him)
    • Grapes to be sent to IPT (Island of Perpetual Tickling) instead of Jews to be killed by lot.
    • French Peas sent to IPT instead of eunuchs hanged on gibbets.
    • Haman sent to IPT instead of hanged on his own gibbet.
    Some of the story is played for laughs. One particular song sticks in my head all the time whenever the subject of puppies comes up. The new queen is being auditioned in a manner that prefigured American Idol. One particular candidate plays the accordion and sings a song about lost puppies:

    Puppies are cuddly, puppies are cute,
    They're never nasty or MEAN,
    I'd give a home to all the lost puppies,
    If ever one day I were Queen!

    Puppies, puppies, bouncy, happy puppies
    Puppies, puppies of LOVE
    Puppies, puppies, tender, fuzzy puppies
    lost puppies I love you, love, love!

    Puppies are cuddly, puppies are cute,
    They're never nasty or MEAN,
    I'd give a home to all the lost puppies,
    If...Ev - er ... One ... Dayyy ... I ... WERE ... QUEEEENN!"

    Of course she gets the thumbs down signs.

    Kids will think of the IPT as the most horrible thing that could ever happen. That is probably good enough for a young age. And maybe when they get older they might show an interest in the real books. I feel the same way about the Disney treatments of the Brothers Grimm stories. The real story is much better.

    This has a good story for kids, some good songs and great character voices. I especially like the French peas. The vegetable characters are a little off-putting at first, but they grow on you. Since these videos are marketed at a Christian audience and sold and Christian bookstores, they may not reach kids who might not otherwise care about the religious significance of Esther. The story stands on its own, much as any good stories, and has a moral of doing the right thing no matter how hard it is. This is not necessarily just a religious message. All children need to understand right and wrong to survive in society. Rent this for the long drive to the Grandparent’s house. {BB}

    Added: April 14th 2005
    Reviewer: BB
    29 Point Scale Score: 16    [16]

    Related Link (IMDB): IMDB
    Hits: 2912
    Language: english


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