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A few words and pictures about

Big Idea's

Jonah

Not Just A Movie:
It's A Salad!

At last! A motion picture which combines
the epic grandeur of Moby Dick with
the familiarity of the produce aisle!


Whale Crossing

What you'll find here


 

Of Pirates, Produce, and a Prophet

Big Idea has taken vegetables where no talking produce has gone before: that ancient cauldron of fish-slapping, Nineveh!

While some purists might claim that certain liberties were taken1 with the original account, I think few would dispute that this is a unique, original, and very animated re-telling of Jonah's experiment with self-determination.

That's Jonah, by the way, on the right: the one wearing a monocle.


1 For example, I have found no textual evidence that Jonah was an asparagus, or that his camel was named Reginald.

Reginald wouldn't fit

Pirates, produce and a prophet: Big Idea's Jonah.


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Reginald (left) and Jonah (green)

Jonah and his unflappable
companion, Reginald

Who Is This Guy?

Before going much further with this fan page, I'd better explain something.

I'm just a little older that most VeggieTales TM fans.

Let's put it this way, I can remember when Edsels were new cars, and I've voted in eight presidential elections.

So, why should someone with more hair on his chin than on the top of his head spend time creating this fan page for a movie about talking vegetables?

Because it's fun!

The movie, I mean. I'll let you decide whether this page is fun or not.


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Khalil, whose name means "friend"

83 Minutes of Talking Vegetables!

They sing, too

The first thing that struck me when I saw Big Idea on the Big Screen was not a kernel of popcorn. It was the much-improved graphics. The textures were smooth (or rough, if that's what the surface was supposed to be), and there wasn't a polygon edge in sight. Excellent! When I started watching the half-hour television VeggieTales TM shows, I must admit that seeing a talking tomato with corners on his circumference took some getting used to.

Good technical work is just one of the attractions of this movie. When the youngest three of my children and I watched the show, we found the tight plot and sharp characterizations that we've gotten used to in Big Idea productions. Okay, my six year old son probably wouldn't use those words, but these dramatic elements are part of why we like VeggieTales TM so much.

Another big part of Big Idea shows is the humor. In this movie, we got everything from physical humor and goofy anachronisms to an unexpected excursion into the funny side of language.

This side-trip started when we met Khalil. That's him, to the right. That "Kh" in his name is a sound that's fairly common in Arabic, but doesn't exist in English. It's sort of like what you hear when you ask a Scotsman to say "Loch Ness." Archibald Asparagus, playing Jonah, not only couldn't handle the new sound, he seldom came within a mile of the rest of the name.

Khalil finally resigned himself to his buddy's linguistic shortcomings, and I had fun listening to Archibald hashing the caterpillar's name on the way. (Caterpillar? Well, like so many of us, he's not quite 'pure.. We learn that his mother is a caterpillar, his father a worm, and that he's "okay with that now.")

I had wondered what Big Idea would do with almost an hour and a half: three times the length of what they've done before. This movie is not three VeggieTales TM strung together. It's a fun, feature-length movie. I think it has the kind of multi-layering that put the "family" in the old Disney films: fast action, a clear plot, and catchy songs for everyone, plus offbeat humor, cultural allusions and even visual quotes from other movies that should keep the older folks engaged. Those visual quotes from other movies include Jaws, of course, and others which I recognized, but am not enough of a movie expert to name.

(If you must have a detailed discussion of who made the film and what the literati are saying about it, movie.com has an entry.)


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this is a bottle with a message

And the Moral of This Story Is:

Let's not forget: this movie has a message. And it isn't that caterpillars shouldn't hide in bowling balls.

It isn't even about a whale swallowing an asparagus. Well, it is, but that's not the point of the movie.

It's about second chances: something Jonah didn't want to give Nineveh. I can't do better in wrapping up the idea than to quote Junior Asparagus when he said, "we need to give others a second chance, even if they don't deserve them."


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Art and Produce

fish to the left of us, fish to the right us, into the valley of fish... Let's take a look at what happened as the artists. concepts became the movie scene.

Here's an artist's impression of how the seafoo restaurant should look. (That's not a typo: the "D" on the sign wasn't working when we first saw it.) There's a definite look to this place: someone called it "futuristic." I'd say pleasantly spooky, or maybe dream-like. Either way, it sets the mood for the telling of a tale of a soul's journey. I'm afraid that, looking at these pictures in terms of mood, I'm reminded of the first part of Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

what? no "bright-eyed Mariner?" Here, the eatery as it actually appeared in the movie. The fish tank got straightened a bit, and the cannon is gone (or moved, at any rate), but there's still that dream-like light-and-shadow effect.

 

Seafoo and mixed vegetablesTurn around, and you'll see Bob the Tomato, Laura Carrot and Junior Asparagus as they walk through the scene.

 

 


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Just a Crazy Thought

The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, in the days of Nineveh

For those who know a little about twentieth century literature, I offer this thought.

Didn't the Jonah incident happen over two thousand years ago? Captain Pa, Pirate Larry and Pirate Lunt, when they appear in the seafoo restaurant, seem very well preserved. Does this produce truly have a shelf life measured in millennia?

If so, "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" could well serve as inspiration for another epic: Quo Grapis, a tale of the wandering vegetables: doomed to travel produce aisles and vegetable markets as centuries pass.

Of course, that would mean departing from Big Idea's custom of using Bible stories as the basis for their VeggieTales TM. On consideration, I don't think that would be a good idea.


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The Credits Song

Pirate Larry, as portrayed by Larry the CucumberI usually stay to see the credits and listen to the music, after a movie. This time the habit paid off. One of my daughters even said that she was glad we stayed.

The reason for this good cheer was the penultimate piece of music purveyed by the produce: The Credits Song. It has nothing to do with the movie. That's not my opinion. The Veggies say so in the song.

The lyrics, and especially the not-quite-off-mike conversation, are fun. At about the same time as this song plays, we see on the screen that no vegetables were harmed in the making of this movie, and that the whole thing was filmed on location in Lombard, Illinois.

And, on that elevated note, I bid you goodbye.


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The graphics on this page came from the Jonah movie site: www.jonahmovie.com/ and are
owned by Big Idea Productions Inc. They own the trademarks, logos and character names, too.
(As of July, 2004, jonahmovie.com seems to be gone from the Web.)

I found lyrics for The Credits Song and the other songs packaged with the Jonah Movie CD I bought last year.

And, last but not least, VeggieTales TM links, at VeggieTales Market,
a site maintained by another slightly-older-than-average fan.

copyright Brian H. Gill 2004

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Brian's Attic: The Reading Shelf

 
Americana Observations Fiction
9/11/2002, 2005 Arthur's Home
by Naomi Gill
The Dream
An American Family Day of the
Living Driver
 
Ich Bin Ein Amerikaner Jonah Fan Page The Village, the Fence and the Sign
Mustard
and Ketchup
   
Ronald Wilson Reagan Once it Was Believed /
Now We Know
Wilbert and Grunt

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Brian's Attic | Attack of the Amateur Photo Album
Brendan: A Monk, A Boat And a Legend
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This page last updated: December 19, 2010