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Monday, March 2, 2015

Noah's Ark Review

Hey to my fellow Veggie-Heads! A new chapter of VeggieTales has begun and I'm incredibly excited to be bringing you my review on the fantastic new episode Noah's Ark! So get on board and let's dive in! And I'm sorry about the puns but they couldn't not happen :)

So the first thing you might notice is indeed the new reincarnation of the intro. Its overall very akin to the 2010-2014 one, but now Bob and Larry are going it solo. I'll admit, I'd just gotten used to Jimmy and Jerry coming in on the second verse, but it's doesn't make it any less enjoyable. Seeing Bob and Larry with their new looks is really cool, and the fact they're doing this on their own reminds me a lot of the original intro. But perhaps the coolest thing about the new intro on this is that, instead of a clip show, they show off a variety of "photos" of each episode's cover art throughout the years, which is really cool and makes me all the more nostalgic. Just a reminder of how far they've come, and how many wonderful episodes they've made! I'm guessing once they get some more episodes under their belt in the new style, they'll go back to the clip show, but this is definitely a preferred method over just using clips from the episode itself. So yeah gets you all excitedy for the new chapter, doesn't it?
We also get to see the new countertop! I just adore how Bob and Larry subtlely comment on each other's new looks. Larry did mention on an interview with NewReleaseTuesday.com that working out did bring out the color in his eyes :) Oh, and if anyone asks, Qwerty hasn't changed a bit. But yeah the elephant in the room isn't all of the new looks, it actually is an elephant. Because the first episode of this new era is Noah's Ark! And it's the only Noah's Ark retelling thus far to have a giant squid... and several flying machines... and told from Shem's point of view. I do like how they get it off the bat real fast that these things are all Larry's additions. Smart plan when you want to avoid confusing younger viewers. Anyhow, off the countertop and onto the story itself...
As I mentioned earlier, while Bob and Larry being on the cover seems to make this episode appear to be about them, it's actually Shem who's at center stage in this episode. Shem, played awesomely by the awesome Wayne Brady, has big plans. Having just come off his honeymoon with his new wife, Sadie, Shem is full of ideas for their new home. But he doesn't expect to come back and find his dad built an ark while he was gone. This new perspective is absolutely a breath of fresh air and is one of the most original concepts I've ever seen. Shem reacts a lot like us would in this situation. Noah and the rest of the family just go with what God says, but Shem can't help but wonder if maybe his plan would be better. Throughout the story, Shem finds himself having doubts one way or another, and it's only until he allows himself to trust God that he's able to understand why His plan is perfect. Aside from the excellent storytelling method he helps execute, Shem is absolutely hilarious. He's witty and real and appropriately sarcastic at times. Honestly I would not mind if Shem became a permanent character on the show :)
And of course, I can't not mention Shem's better half, Sadie, played awesomely by the awesome Jaci Velasquez. Sadie is a constant source of support and encouragement for Shem. She's sweet-natured, bubbly, and trusting (though as you will see, she can be tough when she needs to). I love that VT decided to give the unnamed wives of Noah's sons some real personality and make them more than just a few supporting characters.
And thinking about characters, I was very interested in seeing how VT would fill the roles. After watching In The House for a while, you get used to each character's individual personality, and it can make it sorta hard to imagine what it would look like for them to don new personalities and costumes. Ultimately, it's not that different than it was before. Each character stays pretty true to their actor's persona, but also sprinkles in some new personality traits to keep them unique. It will definitely be interesting to see over time how some characters might play other characters (like the next time Larry plays a hero-type character, after being his playful silly self a lot lately), but really, the differences are minute and don't take away for a second the joy, creativity, and excellent storytelling VT has always brought to the table.
Then there's the music! There's literally a boatload-- er... ark-load of songs in this one, and each one of them is fantastic. And then you throw in Mr. Brady and Miss Velasquez's singing voices and you've got something majorly special. The songs, written by Drew Fornarola and Marshall Pailet, are amazingly well done and really give a unique sound to this one. With 9 unique tunes throughout the episode, it's impossible to pick a favorite. The whole musical stylings of this one really throw back to the classic VT Bible stories. I can't help but love that VT hasn't let go of their roots! :D
Speaking of songs, we also are getting the new era's first Silly Song, My Golden Egg! Only Larry would be a serious participant in an Easter Egg Hunt... and only Larry would take it as seriously as he does! Going all Indiana Jones on it as he searches for that prized golden egg with every possible piece of adventuring gear. The song's upbeat and super clever with a great rhythm, and of course, a few well-placed Indy nods (the French Peas as background-singer jungle natives couldn't be more perfect!). But Larry mayyyy let it slip from under his nose amidst his catchy song... or will he? Well either way I really want a chocolate egg right now, and Easter's not for another month! Ah well, it's definitely a fun one!
Fact is, there's a lot I could go on and on about... the adorable animals, the fantastic character animation, all of the effects, the incredibly funny gags and one-liners... basically everything. But I don't want to forget to talk about the beautiful truth of this episode.


Between being stuck in the rain for 40 days and being stuck on the ark a year afterward, Shem finds himself desperate to chart his own course. But when he actually listens to God and allows himself to trust His promises, he finds himself playing an unexpected role in God's plan. In the end, Shem finally understands what it means to embrace what God wants for his future. I think it's safe to say we all have times in our lives when we'd rather be in control, and when we don't understand the hardships and frustrations around us. But isn't it amazing being reminded just how much God loves us and how perfect the course He charts for us is! Noah's Ark is a beautiful reminder of such and is a absolutely no-questions five-star episode! Well done, Big Idea! Well done! You'll never see the story the same way again... and that's a good thing!

GMUS & <3sUVM,
- Chandler