The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie (2008)

Genres - Children's/Family  |   Sub-Genres - Children's Fantasy, Fantasy Adventure  |   Release Date - Jan 11, 2008 (USA)  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Derek Armstrong

On their second trip to the big screen, the VeggieTales have dropped the overt religious references, as The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie can barely be interpreted as Christian allegory, even when squinting. This might have made it safe for secular audiences, but those audiences simply didn't show up, resulting in less than 13 million dollars at the box office -- which may indicate the Christians weren't too pleased with it, either. The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything is about as baby-oriented as theatrically released movies get, but it does occasionally try to appeal to adults. One character even asks another to say hello to his little friend -- finally bringing Brian De Palma's bloody Scarface to kiddie movies, as it were. This movie is certainly cute enough for children of a certain age, but it doesn't offer much help to those unfamiliar with the VeggieTales world. For starters, the fact that the characters are vegetables is not even mentioned, let alone used as a plot point. A viewer longs for at least one groan-inducing pun about the characters being "in a pickle" or "green with envy," but none are forthcoming. Secondly, the title is not actually an awkward riff on The Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but rather, a popular song from the TV show's "Silly Songs" segment. Omitting these audience-friendly explanations suggests that Big Idea Productions made this film specifically for the devoted. Only regular viewers will even know that the three main characters -- Elliot, Sedgewick, and George -- are being "played" by VeggieTales regulars Larry the Cucumber, Mr. Lunt, and Pa Grape. The film is colorful, the messages are positive, and the animation is slightly above straight-to-video level. But unless Big Idea tries reaching out beyond its base, no one new is ever going to find that out.