A Chameleon Misses the Mark for Family Entertainment but Singing Veggies Save the Day!

My family and I are big Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean fans, so when the previews of RANGO, the Gore Verbinski / Nickelodeon film started last fall, we were anxiously awaiting its release!  This past Friday night we went to the movies expecting to see a smartly written, masterfully directed, fun, CGI animated film that the whole family would enjoy.
We were disappointed on most accounts.

The animation was great!  In fact, if you are an animation aficionado, you will appreciate the level of expertise displayed in the film’s many action-packed scenes. There’s a great cameo by Clint Eastwood, who was momentarily reprising his The Man with No Name character.  This scene was so well animated, I had to remind myself it was a toon I was seeing, and not the actor himself!

If, however, you’re more like me, and story just happens to be king, then you may walk away from Rango a little disappointed.

The first thing I need to address is that this is by no means a kid’s movie.  There are curse words that alone make it inappropriate.  But even if you were to dub out the “h” and “d” words (to include one scene where a character actually says, “Go to h…”) the violence and adult situational humor was a bit over the top for the youngsters under 10.

To sum up the plot is one sentence, I would say that it’s a story about a lizard who goes on an adventure to find his true self.  The story doesn’t arc until way late in the process, so I found myself checking my watch at least three times, thinking he would never find a resolution.  Of course, he does find his true self–his destiny– and saves the day.  Think the Odyssey-meets a spaghetti western-meets The Big Lebowski, cast entirely with desert creatures.  It’s funny, but not meant for the WHOLE family.

The music in Rango was my favorite part! The mariachi owls were pretty awesome–in fact they almost stole the show!  They followed Rango’s story as Mexican minstrels, and would inject just the right dose of humor or emotion in perfect intervals.  A decent soundtrack possibility if you are so inclined.

I would not recommend RANGO for young kids.

Don’t despair!  Just because I may have squashed (ha…get it? squashed?) your plans for a night out at the movies, there’s a fun, new VeggieTales episode that is being released TODAY!  VeggieTales Twas the Night Before Easter

It’s Easter time in Crisper County and cable news reporter Marlee Meade (Petunia Rhubarb) is hunting for a way to help others. On a tip that the old town theater will be shut down, Marlee cooks up a plan to save the stage and make a difference through the power of musical theater. With a cast of costume-clad townies, massive props and a 20-foot robot rabbit – “Up With Bunnies” is hatched! There’s only one thing missing – the star of the show!

When news spreads that singing sensation Cassie Cassava is arriving to perform in her hometown church’s Easter service, Marlee gets worried. Concerned about the competition, she schemes to steal the starlet for her own pageant! But when things go haywire, will it be curtains for Marlee’s dreams – or will she discover the true meaning of Easter.

In true Veggie fashion, there is always a message in their story.  The verse used to teach the lesson in this episode is, Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

In the end we learn that the best way to help someone is to just simply… help them.  Find out what their needs are and then serve them.  Bob and Larry learn that while candy and plastic eggs are fun, Jesus and what He did for us is the MOST important aspect of Easter! Because (like one of the songs in the show says…) when we think about Easter, we think about God’s love!

Written and directed by Mike Nawrocki, and starring the usual cast of Veggies (many who are voiced by Phil Vischer), including some older veggie friends we haven’t seen in awhile.  This episode also introduces us to a new Veggie friend, Cassie Cassava, voiced by American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle.

Great story and music which will be enjoyed by the whole family! Recommended for all ages!

VeggieTales has teamed up with Christian charity World Vision as part of this particuar campaign. The partnership will focus on building a greater awareness of how families can help care for those in need with opportunities to sign up for child sponsorships through World Vision at WorldVision.org, as well as in person at numerous Christian retail stores across the country.

Twas the Night Before Easter releases today, March 8, at all major retailers and Christian bookstores.

You can follow Lisa on twitter @lisastrnad and she blogs regularly at talkinglikeagirl.

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