League of Incredible Vegetables Defines Heroes as Those Who Trust God
- Shawn McEvoy Managing Editor, Crosswalk.com
- 2012 10 Oct
DVD Release Date: October 16, 2012
Genre: Kids, Family, Animation, Super Heroes
Run Time: 45 mins.
Series: VeggieTales / LarryBoy
LarryBoy, he of the super-suction ears, is no longer a solo super hero. Technically, he never was, as he always relied on the assistance of the honorable Alfred while battling Fibs from Outer Space, Rumor Weeds, and Bad Apples.
But now, a threat too big for LarryBoy looms in Bumblyburg, and a league of heroes from other cities unites without hesitation to stop it. The League of Incredible Vegetables includes not just LarryBoy and Alfred, but also Vogue (a.k.a. Petunia Rhubarb), whose super suit allows her to transform into any shape necessary; S-Cape (alias Mr. Lunt), who can fly, and get out of any situation; and Thingamabob (the Tomato), who wears a utility belt with enough doohickeys to make Inspector Gadget blush.
Witnessing the League's first battle is Junior Asparagus, who marvels at the courage of the heroic crew and the tremendous things their costumes allow them to do. What Junior doesn't realize is the importance of his own talents and willingness to act when he instinctively assists a couple of league members who are in hot pursuit of purloining penguins. Soon, Junior is being invited to League headquarters by an impressed, appreciative Alfred, fitted for a super suit, and asked to become a junior member (grown-ups: pay attention here to the way the league matter-of-factly shares how the young must be groomed to replace their forebears!), something he's not sure he's ready for. He is, after all, afraid of "pretty much everything."
And that's how we arrive at the 'Big Idea' of The League of Incredible Vegetables -- handling fear. Word is that this lesson has been at the top of the most-requested list by VeggieTales parents and fans. It's been a long, long time since Where's God When I'm S-scared? first released, and it was high time to tackle the subject again... especially after a trio of (rather excellent) girl-centric VeggieTales releases in recent years (Sweetpea Beauty, The Princess and the Pop Star, The Penniless Princess). And if S-scared was more passive, this treatment is much more proactive.
Incredible Vegetables isn't necessarily aimed at boys-only, though. Vogue adds a needed feminine touch to the team (right down to her personal fear), and every child wonders how to navigate the scary parts of his or her world with bravery, courage, and faith.
The story chooses an interesting way to demonstrate what walking in that kind of steadfast faith looks like, and what it does for us. At first, Junior puts his trust in others who act heroically, or in his super suit. But he soon comes to realize that fear will find us and make us "freeze" if our trust is in anything smaller than God. He also catches on that mature, experienced believers (like the heroes in the League) have learned to manage their fears, even fears so abominable as monkeys, popping balloons, and bad hair.
Only once Junior sees that super suits can malfunction, talents can fail, and baddies like Dr. Flurry and his Fear-Dar can make cowards of us all, but that God can never fail, and in fact tells us "when I am afraid, I will trust in You," is he equipped to save the day. He begins to understand how LarryBoy could throw himself in front of a freeze-ray intended for Junior, and how the heroes remain confident of victory even when things look bad.
Parents should watch The League of Incredible Vegetables with their kids, not because of objectionable content (there of course is none), but because of the tremendous talking points about fear, faith, and courage, both from an adult and juvenile perspective. They can help young heroes understand that placing trust in God neither guarantees super powers nor will make every situation turn out perfectly, but that there is no outcome or scenario the person who truly trusts God need fear.
Just like every super hero has a weakness, this disc's kryptonite is a rather unmelodious Silly Song about a "Supper Hero" who finishes everyone's dinner, whether they want him to or not. Even if you ignore the odd twisting together of gluttony, taking what belongs to others, and 'heroism,' the song's just not very funny, or up to usual Silly Song creative standards.
But the message, delivery and subject matter of the main story are long overdue and told in a way that extols values such as teamwork, sacrifice, and courage, all while allowing for musing about what makes a hero, what real-life heroes look like, and how we use the gifts God gave us to be heroes for others.
The League of Incredible Vegetables is not the most incredible VeggieTales disc ever assembled, but it is honest and earnest with its treatment of a very important, practical topic, making it one of the most meaningful.
Publication date: October 16, 2012