A Veggie Tale of Heroism
By Belinda Elliott
CBN.com Daily Life Producer
- They’re back! The beloved VeggieTales crew will soon return to theaters in their second full-length feature film to date, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.
The film tells the story of three misfits, Elliot, Sedgewick, and George (aka Larry the Cucumber, Mr. Lunt, and Pa Grape) who work as busboys in a dinner theater. Having established a reputation as characters that never do anything, the three pals are surprised when they mysteriously find themselves back in the seventeenth century facing danger on the high seas. When they are sent to rescue a royal family from an evil ruler, they must face their fears if they are to succeed in their mission.
Phil Vischer, writer/producer of the film and creator of VeggieTales, penned the script for the new movie in 2002 as filmmakers were wrapping up the production of Jonah, their first full-length feature film. But it wasn’t until after Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ sparked Hollywood’s interest in the Christian market that studios began to seriously consider movies like Pirates. That’s when Universal Studios picked up the script.
Some moviegoers that have attended early screenings of the film have questioned the fact that the movie is not a retelling of a Bible story, as some of the VeggieTales stories in the past. However, Vischer points out, the VeggieTales series has never been solely comprised of Bible stories. They have also included parodies of famous works as well as original stories that promote Christian values.
He views this most recent film as a parable, much like the ones Jesus told about a judge, the owner of a vineyard, or a rare coin to illustrate the lessons He wanted to teach.
“What we’re really trying to do here is tell a story that teaches a Christian principle, but in the same way, is primarily viewed by the world as a really fun movie that they want to see,” Vischer says.
He calls the film “the parable of the heroes.” He says that he wrote it after reflecting on how humans seem to be wired with the longing to be heroes.
“As soon as we can walk we’re strapping on capes. We’re picking up swords. We want to swing to the rescue and save somebody from something,” Vischer says.
“But then as we grow up, it’s hard to find how to be a hero in the real world when what you really have to worry about is how you’re going to pay your mortgage, pay off your student loan, and that sort of thing,” he says. “So we tend to set those heroic longings aside, and we end up following up other heroes.”
He points to our culture’s fascination with athletes, celebrities, and business icons like Donald Trump as evidence of how we set others up as heroes.
“I think we’re settling as Christians for too little when we just sit back on the couch and watch other heroes,” Vischer says. “So the message of the film is that God has called us all into adventure. God has an adventure for each one of us.”
The three characters in the movie, he says, aren’t very likely heroes. They don’t feel that they are brave enough or strong enough to accomplish what they have been called to, but along the way they learn what makes a true hero. They find that to succeed in their mission, they must be willing to trust God to guide them.
“Quite often an American film would say the hero is inside you. You just need to unlock it; you just need to let it out,” Vischer says. “That’s not what this film says at all. You can be the hero when you respond to God’s call and let him fill you with the strength that you need. So it is uniquely Christian even though it’s not actually a Bible story per se.”
The film opens in theaters January 11. Group tickets are available, along with more information about the film, at the movie’s Web site, www.veggiepirates.com.
Check out our special page about the film for more details.
For more stories like this one, sign up to receive Entertainment News from CBN.com in your email every week.
Comments? Email me
More articles by Belinda Elliott on CBN.com
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.