Monday, January 09, 2006

DVD Review: Lord of the Beans

I love Veggie Tales, anyone who knows me knows this is true. Quite frankly I think I enjoy them more than my kids at times. But my love for VT does not mean that I adore everything created by the people at Big Idea. 3,2,1 Penguins, for instance, I hate it. Really I do. Anyway, for Christmas my brother decided to get my son Lord of the Beans (this isn't even addressing the fact that my mom went overboard with the Veggies as well, odds are those will get reviewed in time). It was sweet of him, and if you want the truth he likes Veggie Tales too so he benefits from the purchase.

So, Lord of the Beans. Obviously a rip off of Lord of the Rings, they don't try to hide that fact but you know what? If Scary Movie can rip off a million movies at once I have no issues with a good parody done by my favorite vegetables.

The Premise:

Lord of the Beans follows the fantastic journey of a Flobbit named Toto Baggypants (Junior Asparagus) who inherits a most unusual and powerful bean. With the help of his mentor Randall and a spirited group of friends, Toto embarks on a mission to discover how he should use his gift. On their quest, the group encounters many challenges, including crossing the mountains of Much-Snowia, and facing the dreaded Lord Scaryman who seeks the bean for misguided, selfish reasons. Will Toto discover the purpose of his giver, or will the scary dude and his Spark army capture the bean and wield its awesome powers?

Visually the video is remarkable, they certainly have come a long way from the days of Where's God When I'm Scared. The silly song by Larry is an amusing rip off of Elvis. But if you want the truth I was quite disappointed in this video. It wasn't as funny as they usually are, and (perhaps this is because I didn't like Lord of the Rings) I wasn't thrilled with the parody. The script was solid, the music was top shelf (country singer Wynonna Judd does a song), yet something was truly lacking with this one. I wasn't thrilled with the magical solution at the end of the film. Junior's gift, it seems, was a quick and easy fix rather than something he needed to craft and work at in order to benefit others. Just drop the magic bean in the dry well and **POOF** the land is transformed into a grassy paradise. It was kind of anti-climatic.

This huge journey just to drop a bean into a well? Nothing after that? What's that say about Junior's gift? Is he no longer useful since the bean has been used? Is he doomed to a life of mediocrity, of cold coffee and stale cookies? What does he do with the rest of his life?

God gives us each gifts, but I don't think He wants us to do one good act immediately after finding out what the gift is for just to lay down and stop to exist. Following God is a journey, and it doesn't end with a single use of your gifts. If anything that first use should and often does springboard us into deeper and more meaningful and more selfless uses of the blessings God has given us. What if we all just stopped the moment we did something good for someone? The world would be even worse than it is today! Yet this movie implies that all one has to do is find out what their gift is for and use it once, and the world will be transformed.

I can't help but wonder if a child would become disillusioned when they do something good with their gift and the grass doesn't pop up, the well begins to overflow and magically corn is growing everywhere, what happens when these results aren't produced in real life? Our gifts, generally, aren't quick fixes. Life isn't about taking a pill and making everything better - though sometimes we seem to wish it was. Life is about submission to Christ and an unending, unrelenting walk to bring glory to God. We move in the direction He leads, when He leads, and we don't lay down until He tells us to. But this movie doesn't convey that idea. Do good once, and relax. I'm really disappointed.

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