Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie

Go To
"Go in, give 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 note .

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 he decides to go as far in the other direction as possible.

The movie's success led to a second VeggieTales movie in 2008 called The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie.

Jonah was a prophet! (Ooh-ooh) But he never really troped it.

  • Accidental Misnaming: Jonah constantly calls Khalil a wrong name, like "Carlisle". He finally pronounces it correctly when Khalil and Reginald abandon him.
    Khalil: Kha-leel. You've got to get your gut into it!
  • 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.
    • Specifically, believing in God and urging people to be good aren't about looking down on them and waiting for them to receive punishment from The Lord, the goal is to help them understand that what they're doing is wrong and avoid punishment altogether, because everyone deserves a second chance. Khalil states the whole aesop plainly at the end of the story when he points out how petty and selfish Jonah is for waiting for the ninevites to be smited even after he delivered the message from God.
    • Khalil learns that fame isn't important, and that the world needs less famous people and more people who are compassionate and merciful.
  • Anachronism Stew: Parodied during the blooper reel, as one such scene 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 in 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 (with Larry noting that it took four tries for this to work, as shown in the Animated Outtakes).
    • Khalil claims that his mother was a caterpillar, and his father was a worm, which is pretty confusing considering how caterpillars are famously known as the larva stage of a butterfly, and therefore cannot have any offspring at that stage, unless his mother was a butterfly when she had him. That and the fact that worms of all kinds (earthworms, leeches, ribbon worms, etc.) aren't even in the same biological phylum as caterpillars/butterflies. Of course it is all really just Rule of Funny.
  • 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.) In fact, "The Reason You Suck" Speech that he gives Jonah was, in the original, delivered by God Himself - so the bug gets to deliver God's lines!
    • The reason for Nineveh's fish obsession was because in real life, they did indeed worship a fish god, Dagon, though this isn't mentioned in the Bible proper.
    • As far as VeggieTales casting goes, Archibald usually plays a side character, but in this movie he's the guy who plays the eponymous protagonist.
    • Also Laura Carrot and Annie Onion rarely get any focus in the original series, but in this movie they were lucky enough to be brought along as two of Junior's friends on the road trip. Laura even has a major impact on the plot, as her bragging to Junior about being the only one to win a ticket to a Twippo concert creates a conflict between them.
  • Award-Bait Song: "The Credits Song" is considered the greatest Lampshade Hanging seen for this trope, going up to eleven by also lampshading how many movies should (in the opinion of The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything) stop putting them in.
    There should be a rule that the song under the credits
    Remotely pertains to the movie's basic plot.
    That rule has not been made, so, for now, we'll have to say
    Hey! Hey! Hey, hey! Hey, hey, hey, hey!
  • Big Bad: King Twistomer of Nineveh.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • "Joppa Java", complete with faux Starbucks logo.
    • "Mr. Twisty's Cheese Curls" are an obvious spoof of Cheetos.
  • Bowdlerize: "Fish slapping" is intended to stand in for the non-family friendly sins of the Ninevites, according to Word of God. invoked
  • 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.
    • Before Jonah walks the plank, Pa mentions that they would usually offer a refund, but notes that it wouldn't do much good in this case. When the pirates meet Jonah again in Ninevah, he asks if he still wants that refund, before admitting that they spent it all on cheese curls.
    • While the Pirates are praying to God begging not be held responsible for Jonah's misdeeds, Larry adds "...and keep my ducky safe!" After the whale appears and swallows Jonah whole, the Pirates look on and then, miraculously, the rubber ducky life preserver Jonah had been wearing pops up out of the water, to Larry's delight.
  • Broken Pedestal: Khalil is Jonah's biggest fan, even selling his In-Universe merch. By the end of the film, Khalil is sadder but wiser.
  • Butt-Monkey: The mailman (played by Jimmy Gourd) in the song "A Message From the Lord", since no one cares about his deliveries thanks to being too excited about Jonah's messages. He also nearly gets trampled by the citizens doing a dance number and drops most of his mail.
  • Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: Annie announces during the group's argument at the seafood restaurant that she has to go to the bathroom. This trope is merely downplayed in that she doesn't ask it rudely, but rather randomly during the drama.
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: During the scene with the motor, Jonah interrupts Khalil's "[thing] runs very deep in my family" catchphrase:
Khalil: Perhaps I can help. You know, technical competency runs-
Jonah: I know, very deep in your family.
Khalil: Oh! Our reputation precedes us!
  • Central Theme: Treating others with compassion and mercy are repeated constantly as the core virtues to take away from the film, with Khalil’s final speech and the finale song “Jonah Was a Prophet” centering around it.
  • Claustrophobia: In the bloopers, Khalil panics when he fails to get out of the bag of Mister Twisty's Twisted Cheese Curls, claiming that he has claustrophobia.
  • 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 lawn darts, 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 being the last one out in a game of go fish, Jonah admits that he's the reason for the storm the crew are stuck in, and the only option left is to throw him into the sea. Larry helpfully chimes in that he doesn't need to do that, as they have a plank that he can just walk off instead.
    • 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?
  • Delayed Safety Feature: The bus filled with produce heading to a concert, after a scene of downhill driving, finally stops when the airbags go off, much to Bob's dismay. The commentary "starring" Larry and Mr. Lunt even points out this trope and mentions how the children didn't have the then-new side airbags.
  • 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.
    • Bob himself, usually a lead, is just a supporting character in the Framing Device.
  • Designated Heroinvoked: Jonah is framed as a deliberate and deconstructed version of this idea in the story. While he does bring enlightening messages to the people of Israel, he never actually does anything particularly heroic. When he is ordered by God to deliver a message to the infamously sinful Nineveh, Jonah disobeys his orders by sailing the other way, though he does show shades of guilt at doing this. When the pirates and their ship are endangered by a massive storm, Jonah realizes his mistake and abandons ship to suffer the consequences for his actions. After being eaten then vomited by a whale, Jonah decides to get the message delivered to Nineveh and be done with it. After he sends the message, the citizens of Nineveh change their ways, but Jonah still expects God to annihilate the city. However, after God had a large plant grow to shade Jonah from the sun as he waits, Jonah has the gall to be upset when Khalil eats the stem of the plant. Even after Khalil gets it through Jonah's head that God has given Nineveh a second chance at redemption, which was exactly what He had given Jonah, Jonah still complains at how unfair all of it is. Of course, Khalil and Reginald decide to leave Jonah to wallow in his selfish misery, which is done to get the message of the story across. When the veggies listening to the story realize this, the Pirates explain that Jonah's heroism is besides the point.
    Lunt: The question, my friends, 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. Possibly averted later, where Twippo turns out to be Jonah, who sings a song about how the prophet failed to learn his lesson.
  • Even the Dog Is Ashamed: Or camel in this case. At the end of the story, Reginald joins Khalil after he walks out on Jonah to let him wallow in his misery.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Many things run deep in Khalil's family, but when Jonah cries about the people in Ninevah not being destroyed, Khalil gives up on him because patience doesn't run that deep.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Mr. Twisty, the king of Nineveh.
  • Expy: Twippo is essentially Raffi.
  • Foreshadowing: The last pair of cards 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: The menu items in the seafood restaurant 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 gospel number "Second Chances."
  • Gratuitous English: The Hindi dub is FILLED with these. These include Bob's dialogue as he frantically searches for the controls being left untranslated, Annie saying "I love Twippo!", and Dad Asparagus saying "I'm sorry."
  • Heroic BSoD: Jonah when God refuses to destroy Ninevah, with a healthy dollop of whining.
  • 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 stands out in the opening when singing "Billy Joe McGuffrey", a song which everyone is clapping to.
  • The Klutz: The opening song "Billy Joe McGuffrey" is about a kid who fits a downplayed version of this trope; the lyrics describe how he got one bizarre injury each school year from 1st grade to 12th grade.
  • Left the Background Music On: Inside the whale, Jonah and the angels are holding a massive celebration. Cut to the surface as two fisherman (one of them being Angus) 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!"
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Khalil's mother was a caterpillar, his father was a worm. But he's okay with that now.
  • 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.
  • "Meet the Celebrity" Contest: The Frame Story for the retelling of the book of Jonah involves Bob and Mr. Asparagus driving a bunch of kids to a Twippo concert. However, Laura has won the Twippo Sweepstakes and has a special ticket that will allow her to go backstage and meet him. She keeps rubbing it in the others' faces. When she loses the ticket, Junior isn't particularly sorry, which leads into An Aesop about compassion, forgiveness, and mercy.
  • 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.
  • Murder, Arson, and Jaywalking: Pa Grape mentions the Ninevites lied, stole and worst of all, they slapped everyone with fishes.
  • 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.
  • No 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, my friends, is not "What did Jonah learn?" The question is - "What did you learn?"
  • Non-Dubbed Grunts:
    • The applause at the end of "Message from the Lord" is left undubbed in the Japanese, French, and Hindi dubs. Subverted in the Turkish dub, which dubs the applause on top of the original recording.
    • Averted in all pre-Universal dubs currently known, however, as the applause is dubbed. One example is the Hungarian dub.
  • 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.
  • Repeated Rehearsal Failure: In the Hilarious Outtakes, Larry tries (and fails) to remember the sequence he's supposed to complete alongside Mr. Lunt in the seafood restaurant. It's supposed to be "Nothing. Zilch. Nada." For the outtakes, instead of "Nada," he gets "Uhh... nothing!", "Zilch!", and "Noodle!" by accident when the camera rolls.
  • Running Gag:
  • Same Content, Different Rating: The film was released with a G rating upon it's inital release. Amazon's print of the film is rated for ages 7 and up, likely due to the plot point of Jonah wanting God to kill the Ninevites, as well as the scene with The Slap of No Return.
  • Schizo Tech: The Pirates play ping-pong, have 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.
    • Near the end of their song during the end credits, this conversation is heard:
      Larry: I'm gonna go home and take a nap!
      Pa Grape: Come on, we have contractual obligations to finish the song.
      Mr. Lunt: They paid for a full 79 minutes of entertainment, pal! Get back in the booth! [Larry doesn't.]
      Larry: Wake me up for the prequel! [door slam]
  • Self-Demonstrating Song: The song under the end credits is titled "The Credits Song" and its opening lines are "This is the song that runs under the credits. These are the credits, so this is where it goes."
  • 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, with "fish-slappers" being the derogatory term against them. This is the only sin the movie refers to in reference to the Ninevites, besides lying and stealing.
  • 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.
    • Although it was not mentioned in the original scriptures, the people of Nineveh did in fact worship a great fish god, under the name Dagan.
  • The Song Remains the Same:
    • All of the songs are left undubbed in the Taiwanese Mandarin dub. And for an odd reason, even the spoken lines in "The Credits Song" aren't dubbed either.
    • The latter also goes for the Greek dub, where every song before it is dubbed.
    • A variation occurs in the Korean dub, where the songs vary between being dubbed in Korean and being left in English.
  • Speak of the Devil: When Dad Asparagus wishes the Pirates' story had a big musical number:
    Pa Grape: Who does he think I am, Twippo?
    Twippo: (dramatically in the doorway) Yes?
  • Sudden Musical Ending: Dad Asparagus is disappointed the Pirates don't end their Jonah tale with one. He's pleased when Twippo suggests it.
  • Suddenly Shouting:
    Bob: (to Dad Asparagus) Or maybe you could help me with the MAP!!!
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "There is no word. I have no new messages, and above all, I'm 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 "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...
  • Theme Tuneless Episode: The film lacks the traditional VeggieTales theme tune, instead opening with an original instrumental composition.
  • This Cannot Be!: Invoked verbatim by Jonah on learning God wanted him to offer mercy to Nineveh.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • Many trailers spoiled the scene towards the end of the main story where Jonah cries over Khalil eating the plant he was using for shade.
    • This trailer spoils Khalil's Wham Line.
  • Trial by Combat: The Pirates use the same principle logic that drove this practice to weed out the sinner on their ship. Clearly God's pissed off at one of them, so they figure the only way to figure out whom God's mad at is to see whom God makes lose a game of Go Fish. So they have an absolutely intense game in the pouring apocalyptic rain while their ship threatens to sink around them. And it actually works (this is the film's version of the sailors drawing lots to see who gets tossed off the ship in the original story).
  • Universal-Adaptor Cast: The VeggieTales regulars prove they can mold themselves into new roles quite well, using the same characters in new and different ways. It doesn't hurt that Larry, Mr. Lunt and Pa Grape had already been the Pirates in one of the Silly Songs.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Jonah has this attitude towards everyone (especially Khalil) for most of the movie.
  • 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!
  • Wham Line: Towards the end of the film, Jonah wants Ninevah to be destroyed. After Khalil explains that God gave the city a second chance, Jonah wishes he were back inside the belly of the whale, resulting in this:
    Khalil: You are pathetic. You know, patience runs very deep in my family. But not that deep. I'm out of here!
  • What the Hell, 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.


Video Example(s):


That's How it Ends?

The oft-forgotten "ending" of the Book of Jonah is adapted in the VeggieTales version, with Khalil (in place of God) telling Jonah the importance of forgiveness, and we never find out if Jonah learned anything.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / NoEnding

Media sources: