Featuring the voices of Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki. Rated G. Opens Friday, January 18, at the Cinemark Tinseltown
A good portion of the audience for The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything—the second animated feature in the Christian-influenced VeggieTales series—required the use of booster seats. Like 2002’s biblically influenced Jonah, the cast consists of cartoon characters inspired by your local produce section. This latest effort lightens up on the religious message in favour of cutlass-wielding buccaneers who, presumably, go to their final reward as finely chopped side dishes. It’s all perfect for the kind of little girl who longs to bring her pink plastic purse to the movies. Just don’t expect a V8 version of Pirates of the Caribbean. In fact, I’d say that if your kids are old enough to sit up in a regular theatre seat, they may be a little too sophisticated for this not-quite-rollicking tale of three timid buddies who long to become swashbuckling heroes.
Director Mike Nawrocki compensates for a low budget and no big-name voices with some deliberately simple choices. The mild-mannered characters here—all uniformly armless and legless—make Gumby look high-tech. Magically transported back to the 17th century on a rescue mission involving a broccoli-shaped princess, our three pirate wannabees consist of a bucktoothed cucumber named Elliot, a stout gourd named Sedgewick, and an overripe grape called George. Like the rest of the benignly bug-eyed cast, they hop up and down stairs as if life were an endless sack race. Let’s just say that the fight scenes here—involving the bizarre notion of swordplay by vegetables with invisible arms—are less than rousing. Not that there aren’t a few lines and a couple of songs that your preschooler will enjoy. But at a tepid 85 minutes, Pirates may leave your kid longing for a juice break and the pause button on your DVD player.