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Serving up 'Veggies' and other family fare

May 09, 2003|Lynne Heffley

The "VeggieTales" gang -- Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, Archibald the Asparagus and a raft of other comical edibles -- imparts Bible-inspired messages of forgiveness, mercy and compassion in the home video release of Big Idea Productions' first big-screen feature, "Jonah -- A VeggieTales Movie."

It's an imaginative, rib-tickling delight with lush, 3-D computer animation and witty, never cloying writing. (The fish-slapping meanies of Nineveh were inspired by Monty Python.)

Loads of entertaining DVD bonus features with adult appeal include audio commentaries by VeggieTales creators Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki, a.k.a. Larry the Cucumber and Mr. Lunt; the characters' "outtakes"; "making of" segments; family games; and a don't-miss tour of the Big Idea studio.

-- Lynne Heffley

"Jonah -- A VeggieTales Movie." Big Idea Productions/Artisan Home Entertainment. DVD: $25; VHS: $20. For the family.

*

Can you say 'abracadabra?'

In a deliberately Harry Potterish setting, with a few low-budget special effects, "How to Be a Wizard" presents young students at a fictional Wizard's School learning a wide array of nifty magic tricks from Mr. Woo (Terry Herbert), a jovial, gray-haired British schoolmaster type in wizardly robes.

Card tricks, coin tricks, mind-reading, tricks with paper clips, rope, rubber bands and handkerchiefs are easy for viewers to follow and fun to do. But, remember, as Mr. Woo says solemnly, "You must never tell anyone how it's done."

-- L.H.

"How to Be a Wizard." Sony Wonder. DVD: $13; VHS: $10. Ages 6 to 12.

*

Dive into scenes, songs of the deep

"Dolphin Quest" is an attempt at edutainment combining real-life undersea film footage shot by cinematographer Ken Corben with hokey puppetry and songs. It's a good concept that falls far short in the execution, as unappealing puppets, superimposed over film of dolphins in the wild, pilot their "Sea Fun Submarine."

-- L.H.

"Dolphin Quest." Sea Fun for Kids. DVD: $20; VHS: $15. Ages 3 to 12. (888) 417-7475. www.seafunforkids.com

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