The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie
Universal // G // January 11, 2008
Review by Brian Orndorf | posted January 12, 2008
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I could criticize the middling animation and the fluffy writing all day, but I have to admit that this animated "VeggieTales" endeavor is far more entertaining and artistically competent than anything offered in the last two "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.

Tossed from their jobs at a pirate-themed dinner theater, Sedgewick, Elliot, and George stumble upon a glowing golden orb that magically whisks them away to the age of real life pirates. Offered a chance to rescue the kidnapped loved ones of damsel Eloise, the new, considerably frightened heroes embark on a voyage that will change their lives as bruised produce forever, as they clash with evil pirates, fight off mechanical sea monsters, and learn needed lessons on life.

Being a newcomer to the extensive and beloved "VeggieTales" world, I can remain safe in the assumption that "Pirates" should appeal greatly to those faithful to the brand name. It's a buoyant concoction, powered by atypical friendliness to family audiences and a slightly askew sense of humor that will satisfy parents stuck driving their kids to this feature film.

With a well-known and debated history as Christian entertainment, the "VeggieTales" producers keep the heavenly messages fairly discreet for this new film, preferring to charge ahead with more action-orientated material and sticking to the comedic interaction of the anthropomorphized vegetables. Director Mike Nawrocki plays it very safe, issuing standard-issue slapstick and puzzles for the characters, trying urgently to make the stiff CG animation seem superior than it actually is. "Pirates" isn't an ugly film, but the limited budget shows in the depth of the frame. This is where the lively voicework from the cast takes over, breathing some life into the film with highly-rehearsed patter and some effective one-liners.

Truthfully, nothing as slight as the "VeggieTales" should run over a half-hour, so staring down 80 minutes of vegetables trying to assume pirate posture can be a tedious experience when the script runs out of ideas at mid-movie. Again, "Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" is an agreeable diversion for the kiddies, but to ask the audience to cough up insulting multiplex ticket prices is a bit presumptuous for a production this threadbare. Even for die-hard fans of the franchise, this is an ideal DVD rental, not a night at the cinema.



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