VeggieTales: Sumo of the Opera

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
VeggieTales: Sumo of the Opera Movie Poster Image
Vegetables learn perseverance in funny, faith-based tale.
  • NR
  • 2012
  • 48 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

If you stick to it, you can do it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Like the title character in the boxing movie Rocky, the Italian Scallion is thrown by chance into the wrestling ring and demonstrates perseverance, patience, and gumption.

Violence & Scariness

About wrestling, but no violence.

Sexy Stuff

Part of the VeggieTales franchise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this VeggieTales movie encourages positive behavior, empathy, and self-esteem by way of musical parody and sending up popular culture. In Sumo's collection of three short animated stories, religious content is higher than usual, as one segment spotlights the biography of the Catholic saint, pious Patrick.

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What's the story?

In "Sumo of the Opera," the trio’s longest story, a skinny joker of a wrestling sparring partner is thrown into the sumo championship by a twist of a banana peel. He has only two weeks to get into shape, and he trains to exhaustion, with nods to Rocky, The Karate Kidand Gilbert and Sullivan. Losing confidence, he quits, but he's inspired to push on so as not to disappoint those who believe in him.

Is it any good?

VeggieTales always have something to delight both kids and parents. The script by Mike Nawrocki owes much to the cleverness of Mad magazine and the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon series of the 1960s, with cultural references that may be too arcane and retro for some young parents to get. Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado is clearly an inspiration here, as is Rocky, the ultimate movie about dignity and self-respect. Silent movies are parodied in a segment about a diligent piano mover, which recalls the myth of Sisyphus at the same time as the antics of the Three Stooges. The St. Patrick segment feels like a Bullwinkle Fractured Fairy Tale, with side reference to the 1960s TV comedy Gilligan's Island. All of this is accomplished with humor, intelligence, musical exuberance, and fun. Parents who are nonbelievers may wish to skip the St. Patrick story and can switch the movie off before the customary final Bible quote.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how it sometimes feels like a relief to give up on a difficult goal or project but that it might feel even better to push through to the end.

  • What are some reasons people stop trying? Are they afraid some people may think what they did isn’t good enough?

  • Sometimes you try your best but don't succeed. Do you think it would be better to just give up or try again?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love preschool tales

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