A television show
Tomato Sawyer and Huckleberry Larry dream of building a home and starting their respective dream businesses--Tom's Tax Service and Huck's Jerkey Land. In the meantime, though, they're surviving each day living on a raft, drifting along through the Mississippi … see full wiki
In the latest VeggieTales Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, and Jimmy the Gourd star in a veggie style parody of the classic story of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The episode begins with the normal countertop sequence. This time Larry, Archibald, and the Gourds are having a book club meeting and it is soon revealed they all just read Norm’s Notes (play on Cliff Notes) instead of actually reading Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. It then leads into them watching the story based on the book.
This story is narrated by Clark Wayne and he starts with telling about the Mississippi River. The story really begins though showing Dully and Sons Lumber business and his slave of Big Jim, who supposedly stole jerky. It then leads into introducing Tomato Sawyer and Huckleberry Larry on their homestead (the narrator nicely defines this for kids that might not know about the Homestead Act). On the land Huckleberry Larry is working on making Jerkyland and Tomato Sawyer is setting up a tax preparation agency. Big Jim escapes and ends up meeting Huckleberry Larry and Tomato Sawyer, who at first want to turn him over to Dully for the reward, but soon learn he is really Little Jimmy and he did not steal the jerky. Thus this leads them into helping Little Jimmy get back to his mom in St. Louie.
The movie has a kind of fast moving plot as the three of them adventure their way down the Mississippi to St. Louis, where the 1904 World’s Fair is going on. Huckleberry Larry is committed to helping Little Jimmy back to his mom all the way. Tomato Sawyer on the other hand wants to get back to their Homestead because if they are not back when their 5 years are up they will lose the land. In the end though he figures out that it is better to help out his friend and Little Jimmy even if it means he may lose his land. This is kind of unique in that it has Bob the Tomato playing the character that learns the main lesson and changes the most in the story, as most of the time it is Larry learning the lessons.
The lesson learned in this VeggieTales is the lesson of helping others even when it is hard for you to do. This is very effectively taught by firstly making it something kids can understand as it being hard, such as Larry leaving behind his dream of his Jerkyland theme park to help Little Jimmy. Also, at the end when the narrator gets involved because he just cannot help but get involved when he knows he can do something to help someone else really drives the point home about not being an innocent bystander when you can help out.
This episodes Silly Song is called “The Biscuit of Zazzamarandabo” and is at least a different concept about going on a road trip to see a random road side attraction of a biscuit. Not among the best silly songs, but at least it is definitely silly.
The Behind the Scenes section of Bonus Features has some of my favorite things. The first one is Making of Big River Rescue, which is a filmed Q & A with kids asking the makers questions. It is actually really well done and more interesting than the ones where they just tape the makers talking about the making. There is also an interesting feature about Writing a Biscuit Silly Song with some insight into the trouble the two had to agreeing on parts, such as using Archibo or Archibro (this was what was used in the end). There is also my favorite part of VeggieTales DVDs, the Studio Commentary version of the movie. This is one of my favorite commentaries, as they do a great job of telling about the making and pointing out this you might not have noticed before in the movie, which has kind of been lacking in some of the more recent commentaries. I am glad to see a good VeggieTales commentary again. Lastly this section has an Art Gallery of pieces done as part of making the animation for the movie.
The Fun and Game section of bonus features has some fun things for the kids to enjoy. This includes Video Trivia, which has a bonus clip if you get all the Hard questions right. This is one of the more interesting trivia versions I have seen in VeggieTales DVDs, as it shows a clip and then asks a question in the context of that clip and the answer is revealed by finishing the clip. The Huckleberry’s Word Puzzle Game is an interesting concept, but poorly done puzzles such as TAX being a picture of an ax plus T when it should be T plus picture of an ax. Just ends up plain confusing the way it is done and not the traditional way I am used to seeing these type of word puzzles. The Fun and Games section also has a Silly Song Sing Along, Interactive Storybook called The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything Helpers Are Heroes, and How to Draw Huckleberry Larry, Tomato Sawyer, and Little Jimmy.
The Parents section of bonus features has a clip about why they made the movie and the lesson chosen. This is also where you find the DVD’s Family Activity, which tells about different ideas of things kids can do to help others. It shows a clip about a girl that sells handdrawn greeting cards to raise money for wells to be built in Africa. It then challenges you as a family to sit down and think of ways to help others. Kind of one of the least interesting Family Activities, but it could turn to fun depending on your ideas and certainly help the kids to think of new ways to be helpful. There is also a helpful Discussion Guide of questions to talk about related to what you see in the movie.
Like many other VeggieTales DVDs this one also has some DVD-ROM extras and they work on a Mac. The extras include some coloring pages and connect-the-dot activities you can print out. Also, it has some computer wallpapers.
Overall I did not find the plot one of the better VeggieTales plots, but the kids still love it as a VeggieTales movie. As for the special features I must say this is one of the best of the VeggieTales DVDs in regard to special features. I love that this series tends to have a lot on the DVD beyond just the movie and it really makes it a worthwhile thing to own beyond the fact that the movie has replay value with the kids and teaches them important lessons in a fun (and funny!) way. The only thing I did not like was the Word Puzzle Game was kind of confusing to get used to, but not too hard once you figure out you have to often add the letters at the beginning even though it is at the end of the word puzzle equation.
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children up Ages 8
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