Monday, January 4, 2016

Movie Review - VeggieTales - It's a Meaningful Life

Leave it to VeggieTales to take a classic movie and put a home-grown, natural spin to it.

In VeggieTales: It's a Meaningful Life, Bob and Larry plow into some difficult material in an attempt to bring It's a Wonderful Life down to a level kids can appreciate. And at the end of the day, that is the message of the 50-minute movie: Appreciation. Or to put a finer point on it, contentment.

Stewart (playing off of Jimmy Stewart's role in It's a Wonderful Life, misses a catch during his last football game in high school. This, in itself, is a reference to the scene when George and Mary throw rocks at the Granville House. In that scene, George is wearing a football jersey.

Instead, Stewart's friend Mortie (a combination of Marty Hatch, Harry Bailey and Sam Wainwright) catches the football, becomes famous and leaves town.

Jealousy sets in for Stewart, and he obsesses over that missed catch for the rest of his life. Every time something doesn't go quite right, he complains, "if only I had caught that football...."

During one of these sessions in self-loathing while out on the football field, Stewart finds a ticket for The What-If Express. A train then mysteriously appears on the football field. It is a bit of surrealism on par with The Polar Express and Amazing Stories episode titled "Ghost Train."

Like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Stewart is escorted on three stops to see what would have happened if he really had caught the football. He is shown:
  1. Where he would be and what he would be doing
  2. Where the rest of his family and friends would be
  3. A choice to make: to stay in the World of What If or return to Rockwell and trust God's plan for him.
We all know what Stewart chooses.

The moral of the story for children is to be content with where you are, not where you wish you were. The moral for adults is, don't beat yourself up over past mistakes. Life is as good as you make it today. 

Sometimes, that lesson is easier to say than to do.

Even Zuzu's famous line, "every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings" gets a corny VeggieTales pun.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

VeggieTales: It's a Meaningful Life is available to watch right now (March, 2015) on Netflix and Amazon Prime. 

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