Big Idea // 2010 // 45 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 19th, 2010
A girl after God's own heart.
The VeggieTales guys regroup for another of their bi-annual, Bible-based animated features. This go-round, it's for the young ladies with self-esteem issues. Though I guess the principles can apply to boys, too. And radishes.
Two stories on this disc, separated by the requisite "Silly Song":
I'm pretty sure there's no such vegetable as a snoodle (a Web search merely comes up with something really disgusting from the Urban Dictionary). But they sort of look like eggplants with wings, so we'll let it slide. Snoodlerella is battling self-esteem problems, but scores big when she's given a makeover and gets an invite to the King's ball to flaunt her stuff.
The titular princess understands where true beauty lies, but the self-conscious Queen Blueberry, heeding some poor advice from the dastardly magic mirror, is committed to exiling Sweetpea unto the woods, where she meets seven peas. Of course.
I like the VeggieTales stuff. The studio was a pioneer in the area of CGI animation and has been a force in the God-centric kids entertainment market for years. They've had a steady schedule of releasing two 45-minute programs each year, supplementing this work with the occasional big-screen film and television series. While some of the releases have been uneven -- to be expected when you're talking about a studio with such a voluminous body of work -- overall, the features have consistently been morally uplifting, a joy to watch and packed with a deft sense of humor.
This largely holds true for Sweetpea Beauty. Both stories are obvious riffs on popular fairy tales, given the Veggie twist. "Snoodlerella" was odd, though, with these weird Snoodle things flying all around, but the "inner beauty" messaging is sound and Snoodlerella wearing glasses and braces should resonate with young girls enduring the same kind of awkwardness.
"Sweetpea Beauty" is the longer of the two stories and features a better story and a noticeable bump in wit. Having the Queen as an insecure pawn of the evil Magic Mirror is a nice twist and the Seven Peas offer a solid does of humor. Again, like "Snoodlerella," the moral of the story is that inner beauty is what is important and that's just how God made it. Getting this info from Sweetpea, the sexiest piece of roughage you've ever seen dulls the impact of the message a bit, though.
A final shout-out to the silly song "Pants," one of my all-time favorites.
Like its predecessors, this DVD is technically solid (5.1 surround and your choice between two clean transfers, 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and full frame) and sports a nice array of extra features: audio commentary from the filmmakers, sing-alongs, an art gallery, an interview with musician Nichole Nordeman and interviews with girls about what it means to have true beauty.
Fun, Bible-centric eye candy for the kids; Sweetpea delivers the goods.
Not Guilty. (I ran out of vegetable puns for this part a long time ago.)
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Big Idea
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 45 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Art Gallery
* Official Website