Western Animation / Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie

"Get in, deliver the message, get out."
Jonah to himself as he enters Nineveh.

The first full-length VeggieTales film, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie was released in 2002 by Big Idea and FHE Pictures.

The film opens with Bob, Junior, Dad Asparagus, Annie, Laura and Percy all trying to find their way to a Twippo concert. However, they take a wrong turn, lose two tires on their van, and end up at a strange seafood restaurant, where they meet a trio of pirates who call themselves "The pirates who don't do anything!" The trio of pirates, noticing the tensions among the group, decide to tell them a little story about a man named Jonah.

As in the story in The Bible, the story of Jonah goes thusly: Jonah was a prophet of God, sent to spread His messages. However, when God tells Jonah to go to the Ninevites to warn them to repent of their evil ways, Jonah doesn't want anything to do with them...so he decides to go as far in the other direction as possible.

Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Jonah constantly calls Khalil a wrong name, like "Carlyle". He finally pronounces it correctly when Khalil abandons him.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: The final design for the whale is based off of a dog.
  • An Aesop: Compassion and mercy are preferable to selfishness and revenge.
  • Anachronism Stew: Parodied on the DVD. One of bloopers has an airplane pass by.
  • And You Were There:
    Twippo: (to Khalil the tow truck driver) Ah... have we met?
  • Animated Outtakes: Includes animated bloopers, such as characters walking off cliffs, a fired porcupine needle missing and hitting the cameraman, and an airplane flying by during seventh-century Israel.
  • Animation Bump: Due to the animators having a movie-sized budget, the animation in Jonah is probably the best in the series. Notably, Big Idea was able to get lighting animators who had just finished work on films like Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and Ice Age. The end result is gorgeous.
  • Arc Words: Jonah being called "pathetic". First by the angels, then by Khalil.
  • Artistic License Biology: Porcupines can't shoot their quills, as shown in the prologue. This is acknowledged in the In-Character Commentary by Larry and Mr. Lunt, where they claim to have used special effects to fire the quills.
  • Ascended Extra
    • The caterpillar/worm that eats the shade plant near the end of the Jonah story becomes Jonah's traveling buddy and a recurring character. His mother was a caterpillar; his father was a worm. But he's okay with that now.
      • "The Reason You Suck" Speech that he gives Jonah was, in the original, delivered by God Himself. The bug get to deliver God's lines. How's that for an ascended extra?
    • The reason for Ninevah's fish obsession was because in real life, they did indeed worship a fish god.
    • As far as VeggieTales casting goes, Archibald usually plays a side character, but in this movie he's the protagonist.
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: Twippo. Just Twippo.
  • Bland-Name Product: "Joppa Java", complete with faux Starbucks logo.
  • Brick Joke: The tow truck driver finally arrives at the end of the film. Pa Grape even interrupts the story to ask if Bob really wants to listen to the story because he might miss the tow truck.
  • Butt-Monkey: The mailman in the song "A Message From the Lord", since no one cares about his deliveries thanks to being too excited about Jonah's messages.
  • Central Theme: As one might expect, fish and sea life are a running theme throughout the film.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • When Mr. Nezzer is considering hiring the pirates and asks them "what can you do?", they list off their talents at ping-pong and croquet. They don't get hired.
      Pirate Pa Grape: When do we start?
      Pirate Pa Grape: (unfazed) Monday's good for me!
    • Angus the sailor mishears Jonah's protests that he's not going to Nineveh, and instead lectures him about how it's impossible to sail there because Nineveh is landlocked.
    • After the pirates fail to rescue Jonah from the whale, Larry expresses joy because he got his duck floaty back from it. The other pirates are not amused.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Reginald, Jonah's camel, is conveniently there at the shore where Jonah gets spewed back on land. Divine intervention, perhaps?
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jonah has shades of it.
  • Demoted to Extra: Series regulars Mr. Nezzer, Jimmy and Jerry Gourd only have non-speaking parts during the "Message From the Lord" song. Other regulars like Madame Blueberry and Junior's mom don't appear at all.
  • Downer Ending: In-Universe with the Jonah tale told by the Pirates. When the listeners are stunned, they explain the story had to end that way because it was the best way to make the morals of compassion, mercy, and second chances clear.
    Mr. Lunt: The question is not "What did Jonah learn?" The question is - "What did you learn?"
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Jonah was a prophet, but he never really got it.
    • Possible averted later, where Twippo turns out to be Jonah, who sings a song about how the prophet failed to learn his lesson.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Mr. Twisty, the king of Nineveh.
  • Expy: Twippo is essentially Raffi.
  • Foreshadowing: In Jonah, the last pair that Khalil has during the game of Go Fish is a whale.
  • Framing Story: The story of Jonah is told by the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything to kids and their parents at a seafood restaurant waiting for a tow truck.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In Jonah, the menu items in the seafood restaraunt Bob and the gang stop at goes as follows:
    Steak Shrimp
    Scampi on a Skewer
    Scampi on a Clean Skewer
    Compassion (Market Price)
    • Followed by Mercy (Market Price) later in the film.
  • GASP!: Jonah, Khalil, and the Pirates all take turns at dramatic gasping when they see just what "The Slap of No Return" is, before all doing a simultaneous gasp.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Parodied: In-universe, as the commentary for Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (from Larry and Mr. Lunt, self-proclaimed actual producers of the film) points out, the first VeggieTales movie (not Jonah), "Socks with Stripes," according to Mr. Lunt, proved a flop in the US, but highly regarded in France.
  • Gospel Choirs Are Just Better: A highlight of Jonah is the the gospel number "Second Chances."
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Jonah when God refuses to destroy Ninevah, with a healthy dollop of Wangst.
  • Ignoring by Singing: After stowing away with the pirates, Jonah has a dream where God asks him where he's running to. Jonah tries his hardest to ignore God by the excuse that he can't hear him, including singing loudly.
  • Invisible Anatomy: It's VeggieTales, but it really becomes Narmy in the opening when singing "Billy Joe McGuffrey", a song which everyone is clapping to.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Jonah keeps mispronouncing Khalil's name — until the end when Khalil abandons him.
  • Left the Background Music On: Inside the whale, Jonah and the angels are holding a massive celebration. Cut to the surface as two fisherman hear the music and wonder what on earth is going on.
  • Literal-Minded: At the beginning of the movie, while Bob is driving the van and hopelessly lost on the way to the Twippo concert, Mr. Asparagus and all the kids are singing Twippo songs. When they finish the first one we hear them sing, they consult Bob for what song they should sing next, which he sarcastically suggests one about him driving into the river. They cut him off before he finishes his sentence and actually do just that. He then cuts them off in return with "...or you can help me with the MAP!"
  • Medium Blending: The animation briefly changes from computer models to hand drawn when the (imaginary) destruction of Nineveh is shown.
  • The Merch: Khalil has all of Jonah's merch, including a plush toy with microchip voice. invoked
    Jonah Toy: A message from the Lord!
  • Metaphorgotten:
    Khalil: You see the whale as half-empty. I see the whale as half-full!
    Jonah: I have no idea what that means.
    Khalil: Neither do I.
  • Medium-Shift Gag: The Pirates description of Ninevah causes the film to shift briefly to traditional cel animation.
  • Mic Drop: Pirate Pa Grape ends his story with the door slamming equivalent.
    Pirate Pa Grape: THE END! (SLAM!)
  • Money, Dear Boy: In-Universe; all the Pirates' objections to ferrying Jonah are completely canceled once Jonah tells he's willing to pay as much as they want.
  • Mood Whiplash: As soon as Jonah is thrown overboard, the storm dissipates in seconds.
  • Musical World Hypothesis: Played with, as Jonah's musical number inside the whale apparently is supposed to actually be happening, as there is a cut to confused fishermen up on the surface who can vaguely hear the noise coming from underwater.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted. While the execution method itself is referred to as "The Slap of No Return", Mr. Lunt directly yells out, "We are going to die!"
  • Nice Hat: The Pirates are all wearing "fashionable headgear" after their tour of the Cheese Curl Factory: giant cheese curl hats.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: "Is this... Heaven?" "Smells like... Wisconsin!" The alternate takes in the DVD's fake blooper reel are even more random.
  • Our Gods Are Different: Naturally, the Ninevites worship a fish god (Dagon in Real Life.) Vischer notes that Jonah telling them he was spit up by a whale (in the Bible story, a "big fish") was basically telling them "my God is more powerful than your God."
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The Trope Namers themselves star, and the trope itself is deconstructed, as the opening of Jonah has their slacking result in them being completely broke, only to later actually "do something" and get in fantastic adventures.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Khalil lays a big one on Jonah, calling him out on how he still selfishly wants the Ninevites to be destroyed even though he ought to realize that God loves everybody, not just Jonah. Then Khalil leaves Jonah to wallow in his misery.
  • Running Gag: "[Quality] runs very deep in my family!" Patience doesn't run THAT deep, though.
  • Schizo Tech: The Pirates play ping pong, baby wipes, plush toys with sound chips, tape recorders with motivational tapes and have their own outboard power motor, even though this supposedly takes place in Bible times (not to mention using an 18th century sailing vessel as their main mode of transportation).
    Larry: And ALF is on in half-an-hour.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Patience runs deep in Khalil's family, but not that deep.
    • As an additional Gut Punch to Jonah, Reginald abandons him, too.
  • Serious Business: Don't steal Twisted Cheese Curl snacks in Nineveh, or you will be sentenced to death! Somewhat justified when it turns out Mr. Twisty is the king of Nineveh.
    Larry: He looks happier on the bag.
  • Shamu Fu: The Ninevites are notorious for this.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    • One of the extras is a tour of Big Idea Studios, where at one point the viewer sees a staff member working at his computer on the unreleased DVD... which you watch on your DVD. Phil Vischer directly Lampshades this.
    • The Credits Song. "This is the song that runs under the credits. These are the credits, so this is where it goes. Has nothing to do with the movie so we'll say 'Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!...'"
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: The producers tell the entire story, going beyond what most retellings of Jonah do. Several events left out of most adaptations that are re-included are the sailors initially attempting to row back to land rather throw Jonah aboard, and Jonah not understanding that God intends to forgive the Ninevites.
  • Sudden Musical Ending: Dad Asparagus is disappointed the Pirates don't end their Jonah tale with one. He's pleased when Twippo suggests it.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "There is no word, and I'm definitely not going to Ninevah!"
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Bob chuckling nervously, "Well, I'm glad that's over" was basically a hint it wasn't.
    • Once everyone gets out of their crashed bus with two flats after a porcupine encounter, Bob comments "At least nobody got hurt!" Cue one of the baby porcupines shooting a quill at him.
    • When Jonah announces his intent to sail to Tarshish instead, Angus answers, "Even if you had the money, nobody has the time to sail all the way to Tarshish!" Immediately, they both overhear some pirates singing about how they don't do anything...
  • This Cannot Be!: Invoked verbatim by Jonah on learning God wanted him to offer mercy to Ninevah.
  • Universal-Adaptor Cast: The Veggietales prove they can mold themselves into new roles quite well, using the same characters in new and different ways.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Jonah has this attitude most of the picture towards everyone, especially Khalil.
  • Walk the Plank:
    Jonah: I'm afraid the only thing left is to be thrown into the sea.
    Larry: Oh, you don't have to do that! We've got a plank! You can just walk off!
  • What the Heck, Hero?: When Jonah doesn't show compassion to the Ninevites and wants God to just zap them all already, but becomes upset over Khalil eating a weed, Khalil calls him out on it.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: In Real Life, no one is quite sure where Tarshish was. The film goes with the theory that Tarshish was the city of Tartessos in Southern Spain.