Eric's review…

Recently my wife and me had the chance to sit down and watch the newest Veggie Tale movie Sumo of the Opera. I would have to say I was disappointed. For the most part it lacked the quality most of the veggie videos offer.

The first video with the piano was the most horrid rendition of the 3 stooges/classic silent movie genre made to date. Granted the original cut that was unedited was actually tasteful. The second movie based on St. Patrick was probably the worst overall effort from Big Idea I've ever seen.

Sumo on the other hand was cute and somewhat inspiring, but the lack of your presence is so obvious, and begs the question when will Phil return to the spotlight.

My question for you Phil: will you come back to Big Idea to inspire this weakened company, because honestly it’s not the same without you.

Phil's response…

That's a tricky question, Eric.  Shortly after the company moved to Tennessee I offered to return as Chief Creative Officer.  At that point, Big Idea declined my offer.  They had set up a new process for developing VeggieTales videos, and while they didn't mind getting feedback from me now and then, the new leaders in the studio wanted to have final say on the scripts.

Having guided every VeggieTales video since 1993, I was kinda hurt by the rejection.  But as time has gone by and as I have started developing some new ideas, I think God really wants me to focus on new work and be at peace with VeggieTales going wherever the new Big Idea wants to take it.  It's really hard to let go of something you birthed and nurtured for 10+ years.  But it seems clear that that season of my ministry is over and I am to pour my energy into following God into new opportunities.  I'll tell you more about those as they develop.


Jon's review…

Click here.

Stephanie's review…

Oh man.  Sumo of the Opera was actually superbly hilarious!  I love it! 

Countertop: Everyone's gotta love Lutfi.  He totally deserves a cameo.  As for Larry… I think, personally, way too much attention is payed to him.  Granted, he IS the favorite of, like, half of the American population, but what about the others, like Archibald?!  Everyone loves a John Cleese tribute. 

Three Veggie Stooges: Now THIS was funny.  I normally am one to scream and hiss as soon as a silent film starts playing, but this one cracked me up.  Jean Claude and Phillipe add a very hilarious flavor to it.  ^_^

St. Patrick: OH MAN.  Never again will I see the history of the Church in the same light.  I really enjoyed the 2D touch.  It was a nice change.  As for the humor added in… I was reduced to the floor in a laughing fit halfway through.  The part where they're cooking the pig was probably my favorite!… though I did question the appropriate-ness of it… oh well.  We'll pretend it doesn't scare children.  xD

Schoolhouse Polka: Not my favorite Silly Song, but it was rather funny.  Seeing Larry pull that roll-around-on-floor stunt was absolutely random and hilarious.  Indeed.

Sumo: Now, I wasn't quite sure what to expect for this segment; character on character violence is a VeggieTales no-no, correct?  Either way, it was pulled off perfectly.  I enjoyed the Archibald cameo!  The whoopie-cushion joke was just slightly questionable, though.  I didn't mind it, but I know that other people were a bit unsure of that one.

Overall rating: Hm… my initial grade, just out of the lack of Archibald, was 6/10.  But overlooking that, I'll give this an 8.5/10

Lydia's review…

I officially give this video 9 out of 10 of Larry's fingers. You've known them longer than I have so you'll be able to see them. ^_^
Migoto! Subarashii! Okashii! (Impressive! Splendid! Hilarious!)
It was great! I wasnt sure what to expect except vegetables… and Sumo wrestling. I wasnt sure how you all were going to pull it off. But anything is possible when you put Phil and Mike's minds at work.
I was laughing so hard my side was hurting.
Counter top scene:
I'm guessing all those routes larry was spilling out were subway routes of chicago or something? Do you really have to take that many stops just to get to one place? Makes me glad to live in a city without subways. I'd get waay too confused.
The Piano Must go Up!
I loved that silent film! I found myself saying: "Come on Larry! You can do it! Work those abs!" LOL It did occure to me during the end how larry was going to understand that story if it was silent. It was better left unsaid, LOL! I will say, Madame Blueberry changed looks again. I'm not sure if I like it. It should go back to the way it was.
St. Patrick's Day!
No wait! I changed my mind! This is my favorite short…or was it the other one? Nope! Nope! this one! This one! It reminds me of a familiar cartoon, but so far I havent been able to remember it at all. The animation was simple, but I liked it simple. Was it done in Flash Animation, or After Effects? I can't imagine any other program it could have been in at the moment. But its been on my mind since Saturday. It was a great story! Never really wndered about St. Patrick's day till I heard yall were gonna tell a story about it in this video/dvd.
Eye on the Tiger!
As soon as I read that on, I knew…I knew that was a parody of the song right there. And then the tiger ended up being a bike that Larry had his "eye" on (hence: eye of the tiger)…I cracked up! Thats as clever as on the Jonah movie bloopers when yall were talking about the "you're so vain" song.
And I cant believe you did. You had to do it, and couldnt stop yourselves could you? Mr. T and Po-ta-toe. I think at that moment, you would either laugh, or cringe. You can't so both. That…is impossible! Why did you have to do it? That image is never going to leave my head now. Oh my gosh! Why Mr. T? Why? Now, I'm going to laugh, and ask why, everytime I see it. Everytime.
And Larry is a pretty cool sumo wrestler. and a jokster. I loved his songs, his acts…his costume. Hehehehe. And Bob and Larry look really funny with black hair. I could barely contain myself.
What was written on all the hanging scrolls? They were in japanese.
It was great lesson. And came with perfect timing. All of them seem too. There weer some things I was gonna give up on cause they were too hard, or at least I felt that way. I'm sure I would have gotten it if I tried harder, instead of whined about how I might give up cause I'm not very good. So now I guess I will…keep on keepin on. That a cute phrase: Keep on keepin' on.
School House Polka
Wooooow! Oooh maaan! That was too funny. Never before have I seen anyone mix and accordian with punk rock music. That was awesome! Do it again! Do it again! Interjections and adverbs (I think it was): Uuuuh No! LOL! But that was some tongue twister of a song. I'll take me awhile to get that one, hehehe.
I hope Qwerty gets fixed soon! And that Lutfi will guest appear again! And thanks for the great show! Can't wait for the next one! Saiyonara! Hai ya! 

Glenn's review…

The parent side of me says that as long as my daughter enjoys the video then it is good. The VeggieTales fan part of me says that this was weak.

To start out with, the animation is screwy. Bob's mouth doesn't really seem to form words but rather makes a kind of "muhmuhmuhmuh" movement. Same with the french peas in Going Up. Jerry Gourd's mouth is way too big in Going Up. Madame Blueberry has lost the rare beauty she had in her debut.

The Going Up segment was actually quite good except for the animation problems I mentioned. The silent film "feel" to it was good.

St. Patrick was amusing at times, but it is soured by the fact that the animation style is way too similar to South Park for my taste. I would think that a Christian video would want to stay as far away as possible from such a raunchy show. The message was good, although the segment seems to drag on at times.

Schoolhouse Polka was a good silly song, although the whole quasi-guitar solo think with Larry on his back bothered me a bit. I didn't like seeing my child-like friend Larry acting the way a rock star would. Need I expound on the stereotypical rocker lifestyle?

Now, for the main course: Sumo of the Opera. The biggest problem that I have is that this segment is based on Rocky, which is, at its root, a movie about boxing, which is a sport about violence. I don't think that Rocky is good material for a children's video, even in parody. Second biggest problem is the rehashing of songs from The Mikado. When Phil wrote songs for Lyle in the style of Gilbert & Sullivan, they at least were easy to understand. This time around, some of the meanings of the lyrics are a bit muddy even now to me, and I can only guess what problems a child would have trying to glean the meaning, or even understand what they are saying.

The lesson is not always clear in Sumo. It would seem that the main goal of this video would be to parody Rocky and Mikado, and the lesson is thrown in at the last minute. Not enough focus on God in this one.

Another thing that bothered me was that Larry didn't seem to be working as a lead character in this film. The appeal of Larry is his innocence and child-like demeanor which at times makes him seem goofy. When his humor is forced, it just doesn't work well. Plus, his character in this film seems too grown-up, and that child-like quality is lost. Plus, Mike's voice seems the worse for wear. 10+ years of doing VeggieTales seems to be taking its toll on his voices.

Finally, and this is more of a commentary on newer VeggieTales videos in general, while the sets are getting more and more detailed, the creativity seems to be going down the toilet. It's my opinion that the older videos that were limited by hardware and software restraints showed way more creativity than those videos that can make everything happen. When you're limited in some way, a workaround can be very creative and original. What Phil and Chris Olsen and the others created in the early days had a kind of magic to it because of that. I would love to see a new VeggieTales video come out using the old software.

I don't mean to be negative, and perhaps I'm just really upset about the whole turn of events, even though it was all God's will, but I think this was one of the worst VeggieTales videos. Hopefully, this can all be looked back upon as just part of the rough patch after the bankruptcy.

Phil, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the wonderful stories you have produced over the years. I eagerly await the next story written by you and, honestly, I may not buy another VeggieTales video that was not penned or at least influenced by you.

Rachel's review…

Hi ya!! This IS one of my most favorite VeggieTales stories ever! I laughed so hard the whole house heard me!

Counter Top-
I lay my eyes on Lutfi, and I immediately began laughing! Lutfi is one of the cutest characters I have seen on this show! Even my sister (who's not really keen with religion), was laughing because he was just sounded so funny. I wonder if she knew that it was Khalil? I kinda guessed from the beginning that those bus routes were real Chicago routes… I think I'm really starting to catch onto the Big Idea style of writing. Actually, I was also bewildered when Larry came back from the Toy Drive in about 5 seconds… that was EXTREMELY fast!

Going Up!-
This was a very happy segment! My dad and I are really
familiar with Laurel and Hardy shorts and films (I kinda grew up watching them), and this parody of them and the Three Stooges was great! One thing I was amazed at watching was the sweat on Larry and Mr. Lunt (cause I remember that was a toughy back in Jonah). Since it was a silent film I caught on a long time ago that Larry wasn't going to hear the story or get it (my friends laughed at that as well). It felt a lot like a classic silent film, so I give it thumbs up!

School House Polka-
A while back I had heard that Silly Songs were going to be cut on budgets from now on, so I wasn't going to expect much… but I was surprised! I found myself laughing like crazy at the rhymes and word usage in this song. Plus, I absolutely loved it when Larry went crazy with the accordion like an electric guitar, truly unexpected!! I still think the sign announcing the Silly Song should be used again…

St. Patrick's Day-
I guess this is one of the first segments used with humans. I loved the animation, which I guess was Flash. I never knew what St. Patrick's Day was about (even though it happens to be 2 days after my bday), but hearing this kinda told like church history was really interesting and fun. But, they kinda left out the part where he got rid of the snakes… all well. I think my favorite part of this one was the pigs! I also liked all of the Big Idea employees at the end in the crowd scene. Okashii desu!! (That was hilarious!!)

Sumo of the Opera-
Sugoi desu!! (It was amazing!!) Since I am a big Japan-fanatic, I knew that I would find this segment extremely amusing, and I did! I loved everything from the characters, sets, paintings on the walls, everything! You actually pulled it off! I especially loved the mall- the Anime, toy, panda, and the other references made me squeal and laugh, and same to all my friends who have seen it. The veggies make really good wrestlers (another big surprise!), and everyone looked hysterical with their Japanese hairdos… but Junior with his triangular hat was the most adorable thing there! I still don't get why NOBODY had any Japanese names, but I can let that slide…

This show really taught a great lesson and something that everyone (even me) really needs to be reminded of everyday. Whether it be work, school, or playing, perseverance is a achievement and this taught it well! I think this one came out at just the right time especially since I'm preparing for school which starting up really soon.

I had waited a little over a year to actually see what they meant when Qwerty had a little 'accident', only to find out it was all Lutfi's fault! I hope he's the one that pays for the repairs, or buys the new model. Does this mean they're finally upgrading him'? Another good touch is the What Have We Learned song sung in the theme of Japanese Opera!

The only big complaint I have about this show is that in the St. Patricks Day story they seemed to bring Paganism down a little. Paganism really is a nice religion! I've met a lot of nice people who are Pagans!

Other than that I'll let it slide as well. This show was excellent and a lot more than I expected! I give it a 9 out of 10. I can still expect a lot out of Big Idea, so I'm definitely looking forward to the next one! Domo Arigatou! (Thanks so much!) ^-^


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