Phil Vischer is back to writing and the target is Lord of the Rings. Can hilarity be far behind?
On the occasion of his 122 birthday, Billboy Baggypants (Archibald Asparagus) prepares to leave his flobbit house in search of happiness. He leaves all his possessions, including a bean, to his nephew Toto (Jr. Asparagus). The bean has incredible power to grant wishes, but Toto wants to know why he was given the gift. Resolved not to use it for himself, he sets out on an epic quest to find the answer.
Aiding him in the quest is the fellowship of the bean. It's lead by Randolf (Mr. Nezzer in a surprisingly noble role) and includes Ear-O-Corn (Larry), Leg-O-Lamb (Jimmy Gourd) and his brother elf, and Grumpy (Pa Grape). Together, this group sets off to cross the mountains of Much-Snowia and reach the Razzberry Forest to find the answers. Meanwhile, the evil Lord Scaryman (the leek who's been around since episode one but still doesn't have a name) and his army of Sporks are searching for the group to take the bean from Toto. Will they succeed? And will Toto discover why he was given this great power?
The episode includes a great counter top wrap around with Larry on his new "ukulele" (the kind with one wheel). And Bob has a confession about the "What We Have Learned" song as well. Unlike most entries in the series, the entire video is devoted to the bean story, with the exception of the silly song. This time around, we get a Silly Song with Elves in which Ear-O-Corn comes out and sings a silly song. Is it a real elf, or an elfish impersonator? Either way, it's a wonderfully fun moment.
Ok, I'll confess. I'm one of the few people who doesn't like Lord of the Rings. But since this is VeggieTales, I had to give them a chance. This episode is hilarious with some of the best jokes of recent episodes. While it obviously spoofs Tolkein, it doesn't require a complete knowledge of his works to enjoy the video or the humor because this is first and foremost a VeggieTales episode. As usual, the message is brought home in a powerful way without being preachy. Using our gifts for others is very counter culture and is something that really should be heard by more adults and kids alike.
Clocking in at 50 minutes, this is one of the longest Veggies to date. The time spent at the Shire seemed a bit long to me, but that was the only part. Once they started the journey, the action moved quickly and then it felt like it was over too soon. The background settings are beautiful, some of their best work yet. And the musical score is beautiful, borrowing on the ideas from the recent Lord of the Rings films. Unfortunately, the songs in this episode are mostly forgettable.
This DVD will feature no surprises for the Veggie fans, and that's a good thing. The full frame picture is sharp and the full surround is impressive. Extras include the usual commentary, making of featurette, and a featurette on the process of computer animation. Wynonna recorded the song that plays over the end credits, and there's a music video and interview with her. Kids will enjoy the usual trivia games, family activities, how to draw, sing along, and recipe.
This set of kid videos can really be enjoyed by kids of all ages. I'm not ashamed of being counted as a Veggie fan, and this DVD is another great example of why.