A Good Question About the Pirate Movie…

Last night, our church secretary gave us a big poster for the Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything Movie that’s coming out in January.  The kids are excited to see it, but it led to a discussion like the one Phil Vischer had on his site a while back:

Aren’t all VeggieTales stories based on Bible stories?  Well, actually, only about half the stories we’ve told in VeggieTales films have been based on Bible stories.  The other half have been either parodies of other works (like Star Trek, Gilligan’s Island or the Lord of the Rings), or entirely original stories not based on anything, like Snoodle’s Tale or the Star of Christmas. [A Good Question About the Pirate Movie…]

And he’s right.  If you look back, there was a Bible story in the very first VeggieTales episode (Where’s God When I’m Scared?), and that was Daniel– although I have to quibble with them about the way it ended up.

In reality, VeggieTales has always been more Christian-lite than Christian in that it’s goal was to be popular and appeal to kids and parents.  Hence the whole “Sunday Morning Values– Saturday Morning Fun” slogan that I’m not sure they are still using.

And I agree with Penny (my lovely wife the peach) that it seems that Big Idea is now more about getting the most audience that it can possibly get than it is about teaching Bible stories well.  I’m not saying they aren’t worth watching, that they aren’t following a moral principle, or that they aren’t good entertainment.  What I am saying is that they’re following the trend of divorcing morality for authority in some cases (like it says in this post on the Authority of Christ).

What do you think?  Are they “doing what they’ve always done” or have they gone more mainstream and compromised to reach a bigger audience?

Category: Big Idea
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2 Responses
  1. Hi,
    I’m kind of new to the VT scene, and very new to this website, but I thought I would throw my two cents in. I’m also grateful to have found this forum; thanks for providing it! I’d have to say I don’t agree with some of your perspectives on the (so-called) new VeggieTales direction.

    I think with some of their more recent stories (e.g. “Gideon”, “Wizard of Ha’s” and “Minnesota Cuke”), they are continuing to produce high-quality material with high-minded, Christ-centered content. I’m not sure what grounds there are for accusing Big Idea of “divorcing morality for [from?] authority”, especially with explicit, Christ-honoring episodes like the story of George Mueller; not to mention their using a verse to drive home the lesson of every episode after the story.

    Is it because they don’t make an explicit, orthodox Gospel presentation in every show? I’m sure they would plead guilty to a charge of not satisfying an artificial “Jesus count”. Is it because they are attempting to make their message relevant and palatable to an unbelieving world? If so, I would say that they do indeed try to “become all things to all men”. Is it because they don’t insist on stories that strictly adhere to Biblical literalism? Since I believe that in doing so they are following in Jesus’ tradition of using parables to teach, I’m not sure it’s a bad thing.

    While I agree that divorcing Christ’s authority from moral discussions is a real problem in our society, and that Christ’s supremacy should inform all of our actions, I think it’s more a testament to what VT does right than what they do wrong.

  2. Peter Plum says:

    Thanks for commenting, Jason. I appreciate your thoughts.

    I think my comment on direction is more trend based than any specific movie. Their presence on NBC is a big factor. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that they’ve gone off the deep end, and I’m not bashing. They are in a hard pickle (pun intended) where they are having to make a choice all the time about what to do in regards to their stories.

    What I’m saying is that they seem to be running low on Bible stories and are now doing more parody (Phil said so himself on his site as the last three that he has written were Lord of the Beans, Wizard of Has and the upcoming Huckleberry Larry).

    And there are inherent problems with Bible stories– they aren’t often kid friendly. They had to change the story of David and Bathsheba to King George and the Ducky, for instance…

    I don’t know how to describe what I think I’m seeing– it’s just a bit of a change to reach the new audience. That’s more of what I’m seeing. Perhaps it’s an attempt to reach the new audience and new people, I’m not sure.

    I don’t want a Gospel presentation in every show– but out of 29 shows there have only been 2. If the new audience is unchurched, it would be nice to build some sort of arc that would show them their need for a savior instead of always focusing on how they need to share. 🙂

    I’m not trying to bring VT down. I am trying to say that they’re in a tough situation and that they have to be careful because they have two audiences now.