At the risk of sounding completely callous and crotchety I'm just going to come right out and say it…I can't stand 'The Veggietales.'
Okay, there I got it out of my system. I know. I'm a heartless human being. I'm sorry about that. I just can't get over the fact that watching a 'Veggietales' movie to me is a solid 90 minutes of ear and eye torture. With that said, I understand that the 'Veggietales' aren't meant for me at all. They know who their demographic is and they nail it perfectly.
'Jonah: A Veggietales Movie' joins the crew of tasty-looking vegetables as they're driving to a concert, just before an accident befalls them. Looking back on it, driving a van full of singing produce without visible hands(!) would be pretty difficult, so an accident seemed inevitable.
The veggies soon find themselves at a tavern, where they're looking to get help. The pirates who do nothing run the tavern and soon begin regaling the younger veggies about their encounter with the asparagus prophet Jonah and his travels to the wicked Nineveh.
The movie plays out just like you would have expected. The veggies sing, dance, and mysteriously hold things up without hands. Jonah doesn't want to travel to Nineveh because the people there are the wickedest people in the entire world, and to make matters worse they slap each other with fish! Oh the humanity! Jonah is taught a lesson by what I assume is a veggie version of god (a giant bearded squash perhaps?). The movie more or less follows the story of Jonah found in the Bible.
Truthfully there's nothing much more to describe here. 'Jonah: A Veggietales Movie" is one of those movies that pretty much defies the star rating system. Is there really a reason to give this one a star rating? It's a movie about CG animated vegetables retelling the story of Jonah. It isn't necessarily funny or clever, but it does have bright colors that will surely entrance your kids for an hour and a half.
If you're looking for a veggie themed biblical tale about Jonah to show your kids I'm guessing this one is your best bet.
'Jonah: A Veggietales Movie' has a very distinct low-budget Saturday morning CG look to it. That doesn't make the video presentation is bad, just know that you aren't getting a Pixar/Dreamworks look here. The animation resembles that of Pixar's early short of the snowman trapped in the snow globe.
Still the movie is presented in 1080p, using an AVC encode. All signs point to a clear and concise video presentation. Hard angles and straight lines are perfectly defined. There's really no textual detail to speak of since most of the surfaces are flat and shiny. There are a few textures that look like they were applied haphazardly using Photoshop, but again that's just the low-budget production values talking. With what this movie has to work with it's Blu-ray release features a very strong, brightly colored presentation that will surely keep your kids entertained.
The 1080p video is accompanied by a lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Surprisingly this is a pretty immersive track all around. From the raucous car crash at the beginning, to the many musical numbers, the movie's soundtrack is alive with engrossing ambient sound. The rear speakers are constantly humming with ambiance that adds to the overall enjoyment of listening to the movie. The dialogue is placed perfectly in the front with directionality working smoothly as characters move around and out of frame. I wasn't expecting it at all, but the LFE is actually quite earth-shattering. It rumbles to life during the opening scene and hardly lets up for the entire movie. It never feels like it takes over and drowns out the other sonic delights either. Altogether this is a very surprising audio presentation that I wasn't expecting at all.
I did, however, sample each of the commentaries. The first one is given by the creators of the show Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki. The second one features producer Ameake Owen and animation director Marc Vulcano. The last commentary provided gives you another helping of Vischer and Nawrocki, but this time they're completely in character the entire time. Nawrocki as Larry the Cucumber and Vischer as Pirate Lunt. I actually listened to a lot of the third commentary as it is pretty funny. Vischer and Nawrocki do well with improvisation here and work it out to be almost RiffTrax-y in nature.
It's tough to give a final star rating to a movie like 'Jonah: A Veggietales Movie'. I can't stand to sit through it, but the movie wasn't made for a grumpy curmudgeon like me. It's made for rambunctious toddlers and parents who want their kids to leave them alone and for a while. In that case, I'm sure the movie succeeds at being a welcome distraction for the young ones. The video is pleasant and the audio is surprisingly well done. Parents may like the in-character commentary, but the rest of the special features aren't all that special. Give it a rent and see if it's something you want your kids to have access to 24/7. With any kids movie you have to gauge whether or not you're going to be able to sit through viewing after viewing without going insane.