For the third VeggieTales Christmas tale outing, the Veggies tell a unique version of the origin of Santa Claus -
AKA "Saint Nicholas." Pulling from one of the many legendary stories, Big Idea uses the most common one, of how Nicholas
helped out a poor man who didn't have enough money to help his three daughters. Bob and Larry spin the story in a fun
and accessible way for kids to embrace. Saint Nicholas starts out in the small vegetable town on Christmas Eve where Bob tries to
explain the real meaning of Christmas through the telling of how Santa Claus got his start. It's a cute story and Big
Idea's execution is fun and ultimately inspiring.
Admittedly, I wasn't sold on the story idea at first, but Big Idea knows when kids (or even adults) might start to lose interest and
that's where the charm of the VeggieTales characters comes in. For example, throughout Bob's telling of Nicholas' story,
Larry the Cucumber interjects hilarious imagery of what we know Christmas to be, only for Bob the Tomato to correct
him with a stern objection. However, due to Larry's persistence, items like wreaths, candy canes, toys, and even
a full-blown snow fall make their way into Nicholas' origin story for the viewer's benefit. The whole delivery is candid but it doesn't cheapen the
message in any way. And when we flash back out of the story to present-day Christmas Eve, it's all tied in really nicely
into how we can help give out of our own hearts and personal means. And to make it even more perfect, the Veggies drive home
the meaning of Christmas being about Jesus' birth and God's gift of His son's life for us more than once. While VeggieTales
used to skirt around Jesus' name a bit in the early days of the video series, it's wonderful to find them delivering
such an unashamedly bold message now - and in a time when it's even less popular to do so.
To add to the fun, instead of the usual "Silly Songs With Larry" segment (which was kind of missed), we're introduced to
a new "Helpful Humanitarian Songs with Mr. Lunt," called "Donuts For Benny." It starts out a bit slow and strange,
but by the song's finale, the Big Idea folks have delivered another hilarious and original silly song concept.
Lunt sings about giving donuts to a mangy mutt named Benny - but don't worry, parents! The moral of the story is
"Don't give donuts to dogs." It's a fun and funny little interlude nonetheless.
In the end, Saint Nicholas is up there with The Star Of Christmas for classic, heartwarming
and inspiring Veggie Christmas specials. Saint Nicholas doesn't entirely pull the rug out from under little ones
excited for Christmas morning gifts, but it will certainly inspire them to give - and give from the heart. And the
fact that it frequently reminds viewers of Jesus' birth being the reason for the season, it really can't get
much better than that.
- John DiBiase
** Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most
reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not on content. However, if the content
really affects the reviewer's opinion of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's rating.