Jan 28, 2015

Review: VeggieTales: Dave and the Giant Pickle (1996)

There's not much more I can say when it comes to VeggieTales. It's always the same story, every single time I start one of these family friendly vegetable extravaganzas. I encounter the same problems every time and there's no end in sight. There are so many more videos I have to get through and the only good VT has done for me is strengthen my mental fortitude. Without any doubt, I know now that I can sit through pretty much anything. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, I'm not sure yet.


Genre: animation, short, family
Directed by: Phil Vischer
Produced by: Phil Vischer
Written by: Phil Vischer
Music by: Kurt Heinecke, Phil Vischer, Mike Nawrocki
Running time: 27 minutes
Production company: Big Idea Productions
Distributed by: Lyrick Studios
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Phil Vischer, Mike Nawrocki, Lisa Vischer, Chris Olsen, Natalia Lozano



A long time ago in the land of Israel, young Dave (voice: Lisa Vischer) was a modest shepherd along with his three older brothers (voice: Phil Vischer, Mike Nawrocki). He gets picked on quite a bit since he's the youngest and there's nothing he can do about it. Their father Jesse (voice: Phil Vischer) announces that their enemies the Philistines are attacking which leads to Dave's three brothers joining the fight. Dave is of course left behind since he's too small to be involved in big person things.


You got love that quiet Phil Vischer creativity in renaming David of the biblical story David and Goliath as Dave right? Just wow. That's a masterstroke in making the entire story more understandable and relatable for young viewers. There's just no conceivable way that VeggieTales could survive without his genius (I hope my sarcasm is coming through here).

VeggieTales: Dave and the Giant Pickle was the first video to introduce the character of Larry-Boy, the superhero alter ego of Larry (voice: Mike Nawrocki) and is shown in the counter top opener before the main story begins. The reason why Larry feels the need to create such a character is because he thinks that regular Larry is boring. He wants to be special, hence which he wears two plungers on the sides of his head.

Sort of funny that he feels that way despite being there with Bob (voice: Phil Vischer) at the end of all the previous VT entries that have come before. Without fail, Bob always closes with "God made you special, and He loves you very much." Weren't you listening Larry?

Similar problems that have plagued VeggieTales from the beginning are of course everywhere to be found. Poor animation, bad voice acting, bad songwriting and a general irritating nature. The voice acting is particularly bad here because while there are few voice actors contributing voices to all the characters, they always disguise their voices with varying degrees of failure.

However, one of Dave's brothers is voiced by Mike Nawrocki and he makes zero effort in disguising his voice. Instead, he literally uses his Larry the Cucumber voice. This might not seem like a big deal, but I can't  forgive laziness like that. Obviously the best solution would be to hire additional voice actors, even if one of them is your annoying neighbour from next door. At least that way you maybe wouldn't need to pay him.

The one good thing I'll say about Dave and the Giant Pickle is that it seems a little less song heavy than some of the other VT videos. That in itself is a huge relief and made getting through this particular entry a little less difficult. Not by a lot, but every little bit helps. Silly Songs with Larry is still the bane of my existence though.

VeggieTales: Dave and the Giant Pickle has good intentions and an appropriate message for younger viewers just like all VeggieTales videos do. I'm sure that children who have never seen a Disney or Pixar movie will have a blast with VeggieTales but once they inevitably become less ignorant of what's out there as entertainment, only the thirty minute run time will perhaps get them through to the end.



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