family  movie review


Movie Review: Jonah - A Veggie Tales Movie
by Donna Schwartz Mills

Distributor: Artisan Entertainment
MPAA Rating: G
Mom Rating: 4 out of 5
Kid Rating: 5 out of 5
Cast: Voices of Phil Vischer, Mike Nawrocki, Tim Hodge, Lisa Vischer, Dan Anderson, Kristin Blegen 
Writers: Mike Nawrocki, Phil Vischer
Directors: Mike Nawrocki, Phil Vischer

As the mother of a 6-year-old, I somehow managed to miss the Veggie Tales series of inspirational kid videos, and I must admit that viewing the coming attractions for this film left me rather underwhelmed. After all, the only thing I dread more than a movie based on a TV series is one that is based on a direct-to-video project.

Plus, I'd heard that this series has a religious slant, which made me think it would be overly preachy. Not my idea of entertainment, even for my child!

What a snob. I guess some of it comes from living in Southern California, where you are what you budget. 

Thank goodness my daughter wanted to see the Veggie Tales... and that Artisan Entertainment wisely chose to release it in October, when we typically experience a drought in good family entertainment.

This film proved to be a surprisingly hip -- and funny -- retelling of the tale of Jonah, the Biblical prophet who thought he could ignore a request from God just because it made him uncomfortable.

Yes, with songs like "Message From the Lord," (Sample lyric: "Do not fight, do not cheat, wash your hands before your feet") it *is* a little bit preachy... but how can you argue when the message is about forgiveness and giving others a chance? Especially when it is delivered with such good humor.

The littlest kids will not be scared of anything in this film,
even the sequence where Jonah is swallowed by the whale, who looks more like a big flying fish than a menacing monster. Their parents will chuckle at the way it's presented, with echoes of another sea epic called "Jaws."

Even the dreaded Ninevans are depicted as comical meanies whose biggest sin is hitting each other over the head with rotting fish.

And in the tradition of classic movie animation for the whole family, the humor works on different levels - sight gags for the kids and jokes only their parents will get. 

In the end, both my daughter and I enjoyed thoroughly enjoyed the one hour and 23 minutes we spent in the world of the Veggies.

So glad we gave it a chance!

Donna Schwartz Mills took film classes in college and spent 13  years working in the entertainment industry before "retiring" to  marry a "non-pro" (Variety's term for anyone in any other business)  and become a mom. Today, she's lucky if she can attend two "R" rated  films per year -- but she feeds her movie habit by dragging her  little girl to every family film that comes out, often on opening day. 
She says she can't wait for her daughter to turn 17. 

Donna is Webmaster Mommy of, a new resource for moms in Southern California. She is also the work-at-home expert behind the and editor/owner of

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