A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this Christian-themed movie considers some weighty human emotions, such as loss, anger, greed, forgiveness, and love, accompanied by lots of humor and music. In one scene, Roman soldiers burn down the main character's house, and his parents disappear. The boy is angry and inconsolable but ultimately finds new faith and learns about forgiveness, love, and redemption. Expect some threat to the life of a dear pet, as well as a stereotypically African-American dialect from a negative character.
What's the story?
Junior Asparagus (voiced by Lisa Vischer) is angry at his friends. He mistakenly believes that they've ditched him after they'd all agreed to go Christmas caroling together. To calm him, Junior's grandfather reads him the story of Aaron, The Little Drummer Boy. Long, long ago not far from Jerusalem, Aaron (also Vischer) gives up on humanity after his home is burned down by Roman soldiers and his parents disappear. He vows never to be with people again. Accompanied by his drum and his only friends -- a lamb, a donkey, and a camel -- he journeys through the desert. But his plans for solitude are interrupted. It's the first Christmas Eve, and the desert is filled with travelers: a troupe of entertainers, shepherds, and three wise men. After a series of misadventures, Aaron joins the others to follow the Star of Bethlehem to the manger. There, with only the gift of his music to give the Baby Jesus, Aaron witnesses a miracle and learns about love and forgiveness. In the present, his grandpa's message is not lost on Junior, and the boy's Christmas spirit is renewed.
Is it any good?
This holiday entry from VeggieTales is an engaging, vibrant, and often humorous musical tale. Careful to note that the drummer boy's story is not biblical, the Veggie team delivers its own take on the child with the gift of music and integrates him into the story of The Nativity with warmth and sensitivity.
The music is wonderful, particularly the very funny song delivered as an interlude midway: "The Eight Days of Polish Christmas Dishes." Given that the story is religious by its very nature and contains some heavy thematic material (loss, forgiveness), the team has managed to make an entertaining and accessible film for families looking for original Christmas entertainment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the importance of forgiveness. How do you feel when you're angry and unforgiving? How do your feelings change after you've accepted someone's apology? How do you feel after you say you're sorry?
Can you tell that this movie is produced by a Christian organization? How? Are the messages in this movie only for religious viewers?
The VeggieTales' "Eight Days of Polish Christmas Dishes" is a parody or spoof of a familiar holiday song. What's the point of parody?
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