If you have kids, you probably know that VeggieTales and Living Scriptures are two of the most reliable brands out there for family entertainment. The former is tends to be sillier and funnier in tone, while the latter is more traditionally reverent, but both companies provide quality scripture-based animation that teaches eternal truths with clarity.
VeggieTales: The House That Stood offers new twists on two classic fairy tales. The first finds the three little pigs hiring Larry the Cucumber, Bob the Tomato, and Mr. Lunt to build their houses; only Bob worries about building on a firm foundation, in a story the ties explicitly into the principle of making God and His commandments the foundation of our lives. The second finds Humpty Dumpty as Mayor of (Mother) Gooseville, falling off the wall because he put himself first instead of helping his neighbors, in a fast, funny, and heartwarming mash-up of Mother Goose nursery rhymes. This collection displays the wit, catchy music, and faith-promoting values viewers have come to expect. My kids and I had a ball with it. Special Features include sing-alongs, Bible discussion guides, a making of feature, and the history of Mother Goose. The DVD can be purchased here.
The Prodigal Son, offered through The Living Scriptures (also known as NEST Entertainment) is an imaginative re-telling of the New Testament story, beginning with the Pharisees confronting the Savior over his teaching in parables and consorting with “sinners.” The Lord uses the opportunity to teach them, and his disciples, about the Father’s joy in forgiving His penitent children by means of the tale of the prodigal son. What I like about these Living Scriptures films is their way of making the stories, and their meaning, clear to children without insulting their intelligence. Providing context and relatable characters, not watering down the message or the details, is a particular strength of these 30 minute films. Though some embellishments are made to flesh out the story and increase the entertainment value, nothing is taken away or altered. Some of the humor is a bit too broad for adults (though kids will probably love it), but when it counts, the power and emotion of the story remain intact. For great deals on Living Scriptures, contact my friends Holly Austin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sunshine Mae (email@example.com).
For more of my reviews, as well as my 2013 Summer movie preview, please visit www.mormonmovieguy.com. My book, 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families, is now available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It will be released September 10, 2013 through Cedar Fort Publishing.