Big Idea // 2008 // 53 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 9th, 2009
A lesson in patience.
Everyone's favorite troupe of anthropomorphic, Godly roughage returns for their bi-annual DVD release; 50 minutes of Bible-based morals, assorted vegetable-powered tomfoolery, bright colors, solid CGI work, and a handful of songs. Plus, there's a whole lot of extra stuff, making for the complete kids-friendly package.
Okay, this upcoming wordplay is low-hanging fruit (hey, that wordplay is low-hanging fruit!), but Big Idea's latest is a bit of a mixed vegetables bag. The production values continue to be top notch (remember, these guys were pioneers in the method of CGI animation), the morals are sound but not overly preachy, and the characters remain as fun as ever -- unfortunately the program itself is uneven.
Of the two stories, "Abe and the Amazing Promise" and "Blunders in Boo-Boo-Ville," the latter is superior to the former. Thankfully "Blunders" is significantly longer, giving it majority status in the runtime. It's not that "Abe" is abysmal; it's just sort of flat, well short of the wit and energy fans of VeggieTales have grown accustomed to. Ironically, I was able to apply some of that ballyhooed patience to the test waiting for the story to wrap.
Following a typically goof Silly Song with Larry, the DVD wraps up on a high note, with "Blunders." It's a fun story, starring Larry in peak form, supported by a handful of entertaining musical numbers. The writing is a lot sharper, the gags are funnier, and the lesson of patience is more potent. So, winner!
Overall, Abe and the Amazing Promise is a good release. Alhough the titular story can't quite deliver, the remainder of the program is vintage VeggieTales, and should appeal to the target demographic, which is little kids, big kids, parents looking for a Bible-based morally-centric cartoon, and...vegetable fetishists, I guess. Discount that last one. I'm ashamed to have written it.
A dependably robust DVD: The full frame video quality is clean, transmitting the vibrancy of the lively CGI animation with panache, and the 5.1 surround mix is crisp and active. Extras: a well-done behind-the-scenes featurette, commentary with the filmmakers, an art gallery, a sing-along, a storybook, discussion guide, a how-to draw segment, and an interactive game.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Big Idea
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 53 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Art Gallery
* Discussion Guide