Every great cartoon series of our days needs a full length feature film. While a lot don't deserve features (like Pokemon, and almost any current Nikelodeon show), it's series like DuckTales, Transformers, and G.I. Joe from my childhood that earned worthy theatrical treatments. In 2002, the Christian computer animated vegetables for kids, VeggieTales hits the big screen with Jonah, the series' take on the classic Biblical story. The soundtrack for the film releases a little over a month before the film's release, and features a mix of original Veggie songs, artists' inspirations, and selections from the film's score.
The album opens with the infectiously fun and humorous "Billy Joe McGuffrey," a song for the kids that will definitely soon become a favorite. "Bald Bunny" and "Steak and Shrimp" appear to be short song snippets from the film as well as a short rendition of "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything," from a previous VeggieTales video. "Message from the Lord" and "It Cannot Be" are solos from the lead character Jonah, and sound a lot like something you might here on a stage play's soundtrack. Anointed offers a fun bluesy Gospel lament in "Second Chances," followed by the peppy and jazzy Veggies tune "Jonah Was a Prophet." The album highlight is actually The Newsboys original song, "In the Belly of the Whale," which is smartly written by Steve Taylor and Peter Furler. The song is traditional Newsboys, even featuring accompanied "raps" by Taylor at the close of the track. Two more album highlights follow, Chris Rice's excellent extended version of "Billy Joe McGuffrey" and Relient K's rousing pop/punk rendition of "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything." The remaining seven songs are excerpts from the film's instrumental score by Kurt Heinecke. Each track begins with a quote from the movie with the remainder of the track being instrumental. It's exciting to hear such a big theatrical score for something as deserving of it as VeggieTales. Following these tracks, the album ends with the nonsense film closer, "Credits Song."
The soundtrack is a great sampler for what we should expect from VeggieTales' debut theatrical release. The only disappointment was after hearing The Newsboys, Rice, and Relient's offerings, I wanted more. It would have been cool to either have more songs by CCM artists on here with the entire score being on a separate album, or for the Veggie tunes to be with the score on this album and a full album of artists' offerings on another. Well, maybe somewhere down the line CCM will put together a VeggieTales tribute project, but until then, there's the Jonah movie soundtrack. Check it out and go see the movie on October 4th! (and once this piece of advice is outdated, buy the movie on video!)- Review date: 8/25/02, written by John DiBiase
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