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Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie
Producer(s)

Ameake Owens

Writer(s)

Phil Vischer

Music by

Kurt Heinecke

Released

August 14, 2002
(film premiere)
October 4, 2002
(regular release)
March 4, 2003
(home video release)

Runtime

83 minutes

Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie is the first VeggieTales feature film.

Plot

Bob and Dad Asparagus are driving Junior Asparagus, Laura, Annie, and Percy Pea to a concert hosted by kids' singer, Twippo. Laura, who has won a contest to see Twippo backstage, keeps taunting her friends about it, particularly annoying Junior. Meanwhile, Bob is frustrated with Dad Asparagus due to him singing songs and playing his guitar instead of helping him with the map. Despite Dad Asparagus telling her not to tease her friends about her ticket, Laura continues to taunt Junior, waving her ticket around in his face. Bob hits a bump and Laura loses her ticket, after which the group runs into a family of porcupines in which they pop out the tires. They crash at the bottom of a hill and become lost. Luckily, as everyone gets out of the van, they see a seafood restaurant.

They head to the restaurant to call a tow truck and grab a bite to eat. Upon entering, arguments break out: Bob blames Dad Asparagus for making the van lose control in the forest, and Junior blames Laura for losing her ticket. As he sits down, he is greeted by The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, who tell him that what he said was merciless. They emphasize on their stance by telling him the story of Jonah.

Jonah (Archibald Asparagus) is a Prophet from Israel who goes from town to town delivering God's messages. But when God asks him to deliver a message to Nineveh, he resents Him and runs away to Tarshish with the Pirates, who reluctantly agree to take him on their ship when he pays them. Below deck, he meets Khalil the Caterpillar, a traveling Persian rug salesman, who rants about how great Jonah is and decides to travel with him.

After waking up from a nightmare, Jonah finds the ship beset by a great storm. After a losing game of Go Fish, he admits to fleeing from God and is forced to walk the plank when Khalil sends their outboard motor overboard. With Jonah off the ship, the skies clear immediately. The Pirates attempt to reel him back in, but a whale swallows him (with the lifebelt attached to him). The Pirates fire their cannon at the whale but are forced to use a bowling ball (with Khalil inside it) as ammo. The whale merely swallows the ball, disgorges the lifebelt, and swims away.

Inside the whale, Khalil finds Jonah saddened that he is going to die for disobeying God, but they are visited by a host of God's messengers. They explain that if Jonah repents, then God will grant him a second chance too. He and Khalil are spit up onto the shore and are met by Jonah's camel Reginald. Together, they ride to Nineveh.

After Jonah is denied entrance to the city, the Pirates appear. They explain that they spent all the money Jonah gave them on Mr. Twisty's Twisted Cheese Curls and won a sweepstakes, giving them free access to Nineveh where the Cheese Curls are produced. They sneak Jonah into the city disguised as winners of the sweepstakes, thought they are all promptly arrested for Larry's theft of the King's personal Cheese Twists. After being sentenced to death by "the Fish Slap of No Return", they are granted an audience with King Twistomer (Apollo Guard). When King Twistomer hears that Jonah has survived inside a whale, he reluctantly agrees to listen to his message. Jonah delivers the message given to him by God. He tells them they should repent and amend their ways, or Nineveh will be destroyed. King Twistomer and the Ninevites quickly repent.

Still expecting the Ninevites to be destroyed, Jonah watches and waits from a distance. Khalil is disappointed in Jonah, and tries to explain to him that God is compassionate and merciful. But Jonah, feeling pathetic and self-important, can't accept that. The story ends with Khalil and Reginald leaving Jonah alone on a cliff overlooking the city.

Back in the present day, the Veggies are disappointed in the anticlimactic ending but come to understand the point of the story - that God wants everybody to show compassion and mercy, even to those that don't seem to deserve it. Twippo (also Archibald Asparagus) appears in the restaurant unexpectedly and offers to give everybody a lift to the concert, while Bob forgives Dad Asparagus and Junior gives his Twippo ticket to Laura. The film ends with Twippo and the Pirates performing a musical number as well as the arrival of the tow truck driver (Khalil), whom Twippo seems to remember meeting during the Jonah story.

Characters

Songs

History and Production

Phil and Mike originally planned to do a 45 minute VeggieTales episode about Noah's Ark. But because animating animal fur is difficult, the story was switched over to Jonah due to water being easier to animate. After a long script writing, the team decided that the "episode" should be a feature-length film. All the characters for the movie were made in 1999, but production didn't begin until a year later due to the lack of people at Big Idea. They would eventually do an adaptation on Noah later.

After the film's release, Big Idea faced bankruptcy and got bought out by Classic Media (which then later got bought out by DreamWorks and was renamed to DreamWorks Classics). After the bankruptcy, Phil Vischer left his position as President of Big Idea but he still writes scripts for the episodes and still does the voices.

Home media

It was released on DVD and VHS by Artisan Entertainment and Chordant Distribution Group (for the mass market and Christian bookstore market respectively) on March 4th, 2003. The original English release had both fullscreen and widescreen versions, but the widescreen was removed in a later DVD release. The Mexican Spanish dub was released on VHS in the United States by Chordant Distribution Group on the same date. A second English release distributed by Big Idea came out in 2008, and contained the film and bonus features on one disc. However, the widescreen video option was removed. Jonah was was released on Blu-ray by Lionsgate on March 8th, 2011, along with yet another DVD release from the same company. This DVD is identical to the 2003 release, save for the packaging and DVD label.

Other Languages

  • Povrtnići: Jonine Avanture (Croatian)
  • Dobrodružství pirátů v zeleninové zemi (Czech)
  • Joonase Lood (Estonian)
  • Ο Μικρός Ιωνάς: Οι ΚηποΦατσούλες σε Νέες Περιπέτειες (Greek)
  • Jónás és a Zöldségmesék (Hungarian)
  • Jónas: Saga um Grænmeti (Icelandic)
  • Jona: Piedzīvojumi Dārzeņu Valstībā (Latvian) (voiceover)
  • Jonos Istorijos: Daržovių Šalyje (Lithuanian) (voiceover)
  • 約拿 (Mandarin)
  • Wieloryb i piraci (Polish)
  • Jonah e Os Vegetais (Portuguese) (Brazil)
  • Histórias de Vegetais: O Filme (Portuguese) (Portugal)
  • Приключения Пиратов в Стране Овощей/Иона: Овощные Истории/Иона: Сказка Овощей (Russian) (voiceover)
  • Jona in velika riba (Slovenian)
  • Jonás: Una Película de los VeggieTales (Spanish) (Latin America)

Fun Facts

Moral

  • Everybody deserves a second chance.

Trivia

  • According to some concept art in the behind the scenes feature on the DVD, the whale was going to have a scary look. It was then changed to what it looks like now to prevent scaring children.
  • There were a few differences between the trailers and final version:
    • The lines from the teaser are retained, but done in a different manner.
    • Jonah screaming after being blown from the whale was absent.
    • Khalil screaming, and his line "What a trip!" was absent.
  • In the early draft of the script, Pa Grape was going to be the king of Ninevah. Because he would have duel roles as the Captain Pa and king of Ninevah, the writers went back in the script to change the role of the king.
  • Moby Blasters, the arcade game featured in the beginning of the restaurant scene, would actually be made into an online game for Big Idea's now defunct official website.
  • This is the last VeggieTales production for Gail Freeman to be part of the voice cast.
  • This is the first VeggieTales production to be in 16:9 widescreen. (However, this is possibly false since Larry's High Silk Hat was produced in widescreen; this may mean a widescreen Lyle may exist somewhere.)
  • Before Archibald, Bob, Larry, and Junior were considered for the lead role. 
  • The Cheese Curls were originally going to be called Leafies. Mike Nawrocki stated this in the commentary of The Ballad of Little Joe
  • International versions of Jonah Was A Prophet leave "YEAH!" undubbed, regardless of whether the word in the language the movie is being dubbed/voiceovered in is spelled completely different or not.
  • Amusingly enough, "Drive Into The River, Bob" is one of the songs credited at the end and is even given a copyright of "©2002 Bob and Larry Publishing."
  • In the Slovenian and European Portuguese dubs, the Credits Song uses an instrumental version.

Remarks

  • On the 2-disc DVD release, the preview option has a preview for the movie itself.
  • The whale was apparently able to swallow entire ships as some can be seen in its stomach.

Goofs

  • In one shot where the Veggies except Bob were singing about Billy, Percy's hat was seen floating.
  • Dad Asparagus's head clips through the ceiling as he walks in.
  • Mr. Lunt is missing his beard and clothes in some scenes.
  • In the Czech and Latin Spanish dubs, the carrot girl is not heard laughing, but still moves as if she is.
  • In the European Portuguese dub, one of Jonah's lines is not dubbed; his mouth still moves, but he is not heard saying anything.
    • Most of the Pirates' conversation in the seafood restaurant (when they are not visible) is not dubbed either.

Inside References

  • The van that Bob drives was first used as a background extra in Larry-Boy! and the Fib from Outer Space! It was also modeled after a real van that Ron Smith drove during his early years at Big Idea.
  • Mr. Twisty's voice is actually Goliath's voice.
  • Archibald's line "It's my fault! All my fault! I'm the one to blame!" had previously been uttered in The End of Silliness?.

Real World References

  • Alf was an American sitcom about a furry alien who stays with a middle class family after his ship crash-lands at their garage.
  • In the teasers, the narrator mentions "Jaws", "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and "Free Willy".

Gallery

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