Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, The (2008)

Rated: G
Length: 85 minutes
Grade: CABC=B
Budget: $15 million, est.
Box Office: $13 million (All US)

Written by: Phil Vischer, one of the two primary creators of all the Veggie Tales stuff.
Directed by: Mike Nawrocki, the other primary creator of the Veggie Tales universe.
Starring: Um, the voices of Phil and Mike, and a handful of others.

Three distressed employees at a pirate dinner theater yearn for adventure and heroic accomplishments. They get their chance when a princess in a distant land sends for them with a magic ball and recruits them to help her rescue her brother from their evil uncle who intends to usurp the throne while their father is away.

Entertainment Value: C
I used to love Veggie Tales in the beginning. But the last few movies have left me pretty flat. I thought for the most part that this was silly and didn’t make much sense, but my boys seemed to love it. But what 4 year old wouldn’t love 85 minutes of vegetable cartoonery, especially when it involves cannibalistic screaming cheetos?

Superficial Content: A
Drugs/Alcohol A, Sex/Nudity A, Violence B+, Language A, Illegality A
It’s G rated, right? Do you know how clean a movie has to be to get a G rating? Well, actually, not super clean, it just needs to be a cartoon. Well, this was definitely a G rated movie. There’s some very mild pirate violence and ship-based warfare okay? Even the bar scenes explicitly involve ginger ale and root beer.
Significant Content: B
The key theme of this film is that God, though distant, has given us everything we need in order to accomplish His purposes for us if we’ll just follow the course He’s laid out for us, no matter how much it might not look that’s the case. Heroes aren’t necessarily the ones who itch for a fight, but simply those who do what is right and necessary when it’s called for. One thing I didn’t like was that it made it seem like having a lowly job could never be enough to inspire your kids to admire you.

Artistic/Thought Value: C
My main annoyance here is that this movie’s basic premise felt so overused. Then again, it’s the basic story of the Bible of a returning king, although without the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. One other minor gripe: the pirates who don’t do anything were hilarious before and it seemed to me like this movie borrowed on their entertainment quality but didn’t continue it.

Discussion Questions:
~Veggie Tales prides itself on being a Christian company, but is this message a Christian one? Since the characters basically find strength within themselves rather than needing to be redeemed by a savior, would you consider this evangelical? Is this the lesson the Bible really teaches: go do right and try hard?
~What makes Robert so evil is his desire to use the money his family owns on himself. In what ways are we like Robert in America? In what ways not?
~Have you ever wanted to seem like a hero without actually putting yourself at risk? How did it turn out?
~What makes a hero? Is it exotic adventures in faraway places or ordinary decency towards other humans in regular everyday life? Why might it be dangerous to give people the idea that heroism can only be had in adventure?
~Would you like to have a ball that told you when your tasks are done? How is that ball like a conscience or not?
~Have you ever made a list of all the things you’re afraid of? If you have, how did you approach overcoming those fears?
~How do the pirates deal with their own weaknesses? How do their weaknesses affect into their overall ability to do what the king wanted? Why do you think God allows us to have weaknesses?
Overall Grade: B
It’s Veggie Tales, which is a lot like saying it’s Walden Media. Good, not excellent. But certainly better than a lot of junk that’s out there.

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