Wednesday, February 11, 2015

News On Noah + Jaci Velasquez Interview!

Hey Veggie fans! There's been quite a flurry of news coming out regarding the first DVD release of the new VT era, Noah's Ark! So I've hopefully gotten all the newest dish on board along with some of my own thoughts on this exciting next chapter!

When I first heard that our next episode would be a new retelling of the Noah story, I was a little surprised. I was all "wait... didn't we already do this on Minnesota Cuke And The Search For Noah's Umbrella?". On the commentary for that one, they did state that the Minnesota Cuke stories worked well for retelling darker Bible stories (such as Samson, and yeah Noah's not all rainbows and fuzzy animals, y'know). So I wasn't expecting them to do so. But the more I've heard about it, the more excited I am for it. Plus, the original VeggieTales movie concept before Jonah was Noah, so I'm curious if the new Noah has any similarities to concepted movie. And really, this is where VeggieTales began -- retelling Bible stories in a fun, fresh way! So I can say with great certainty that Noah's got me excited for more reasons than one.

The first thing that I'm definitely looking forward to is that they're clearly doing this up as a musical. Playing with that musical-on-a-boat vibe just works for so many reasons. Of course, VT has always rocked at doing musicals, as no episode to date has been without a song, but I think that's a nice way to flip the story of Noah around a bit; a little less "doomsday" and a bit more "Anchors Aweigh"!

Another thing I'm extremely excited for is that this episode's got a couple amazing voices on board: Wayne Brady and Jaci Velasquez! They will be playing Noah's son, Shem, and his wife Sadie, and I am seriously too excited. Wayne Brady is both hilarious and an epic singer and Jaci Velasquez, of course, is a master of amazing singing and radio show-hosting! I love their character designs, and I think they'll fit in perfectly into the VT world. I really love how many great actors and singers have been showing up in VT lately, from Rob Paulsen and Tress MacNellie's roles in In The House to Terry Crews' stellar performance as Bruce Onion in Celery Night Fever! Phil and Mike can do perfectly on their own, but it's always great seeing their world expanded :)

And yeah I'd be completely wrong if I didn't mention how adorable these animals are. I'm uberimpressed since the massive amount of fur was the reason why the Noah film didn't fly in the first place. I don't yet know what company's doing their animation, whether it will still be Huhu or if Bardel (animation company of In The House) will take over. Bardel's work with furry creatures in DW's Puss In Boots and King Julien series has proved to be awesome, so they'll look great if they go that route. Either way, I'm really glad that VT is in a place now where they can continue to push the envelope and actually do something they couldn't ten years ago!

One of the most interesting things that we'll be seeing with this new chapter will be the format in general. I've already heard they're reanimating the original intro to fit the new style, so that's definitely going to be exciting to see come to life. Will they ever give Larry a break on that tuba so he doesn't nearly pass out?? Probably not XD In addition, we'll likely get to see the countertop for reals, and hopefully Qwerty too (though I'm not entirely sure on this, considering there isn't a Qwerty in ITH's kitchen, but we'll have to wait and see). It'll overall be quite an experience seeing how these new versions of the crew we've gotten to know in ITH will translate to a regular VT episode format. Either way, I'm excited for this one for sure!

Finally, I'm very much looking forward to seeing their spin on the lesson. Noah's Umbrella chose to talk about having the confidence to do what God wants us to do, while the new Noah's a lesson in trusting God. I really like the twist they've come up with... I could easily see Noah and his folks having some questions about God's plan in all of it. So that really works well as this episode's moral, finding something unique to set it apart from the already awesome Minnesota Cuke.

And if nothing I've said has you pumped up yet, this interview with Sadie herself, Miss Velasquez, ought to!

Why did you want to make a VeggieTales movie?
VeggieTales is like the Mecca of our house – I’ve got two little boys, and they cannot get enough VeggieTales.  So, to be a part of this is just a wonderful thing for me.  My husband and I like to sing to our kids, but they could care less – it’s to the point where we’ll sing and practice a song with them while we’re giving them baths and they’ll plug their ears and say, “Mommy, Daddy! Stop!”  To be part of VeggieTales and do something for the first time that my kids might actually enjoy is wonderful.

The story of Noah and his ark has been told many times.  What makes the VeggieTales version different?
Well, I’m pretty sure it will be the only version with singing vegetables and a giant squid!  I think it was pretty brave of VeggieTales to take on the story of Noah because it is so familiar – but they make it feel completely new.  The animals are absolutely adorable, and there’s so much comedy; I’ve always thought VeggieTales movies were funny, but this one is really funny. They’ve also really discovered something important about the story, because Noah’s Ark is about patience, trusting and believing. Kids need to understand those things. Whatever we pour into our children is what will pour out of them – what they learn as children is what they will be as adults.  We are planting seeds in their hearts and souls, and it’s important for them to understand that God has a purpose and a plan.  We don’t always understand it, and we have to trust in it. That’s a big lesson, and Noah’s Ark helps parents start to teach it.

Who is your favorite VeggieTales character?
Sorry to be so typically “normal,” but it’s always Larry!  I love Madame Blueberry, as well, but really… Larry. He just makes you happy. He makes you laugh. It’s like he’s every kid you’ve ever known, but he’s not – because he’s a vegetable!

Why do you think VeggieTales has been so popular for so long?
I think parents want good entertainment for their kids, especially in the world we live in. You know, human beings are born knowing how to do the wrong thing, but we need to be taught how to do the right thing, and what better way to do that than through entertainment?  As a mom, I know that it can get really overwhelming to try to teach kids everything they need to know.  You say prayers with them at night, you read books with them, you take them to Sunday school – but that’s only one day a week.  So it helps to have entertainment that teaches them the truth and that teaches them fundamental things about life.  As a parent, VeggieTales gives me such gratitude!

Yeah now I'm even more excited. Definitely looking forward to seeing this one and talking about it in my review! Until then...

- Chandler

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