Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie is a 2002 American Christian computer-animated fantasy family film, based on the video series, which is all about compassion and mercy. It was produced by Big Idea Productions and FHE Pictures. It is the first feature-length film in the VeggieTales series, but the only film to be animated by Big Idea Productions, itself, before it declares bankruptcy in 2003.
The film weaves two stories together to illustrate these themes. The first takes place in the current day and concerns a mishap, that occurs on the way to a Twippo concert. The second, set in ancient times, in Israel, is based directly on the Biblical story of "Jonah." Through both stories, viewers learn that they must be compassionate and merciful, and that all people deserve a second chance from God.
This film features the famous the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything in both segments. They were first seen in the Silly Song of the same name in Very Silly Songs! and later hosted in The Ultimate Silly Song Countdown.
Bob the Tomato is driving Dad Asparagus and some of the Veggie children to see the popular singer "Twippo" in concert. Meanwhile, Laura Carrot is taunting Junior Asparagus because she won a backstage pass. Her taunting makes Dad Asparagus accidentally hit Bob and makes him lose control of the vehicle. During the chaos, Laura loses her backstage pass as the vehicle's front tires are shot out flat by a porcupine, and it goes careening down a hill and before hitting a stump just short of a river.
They take refuge in a nearby seafood restaurant. Bob blames Dad Asparagus for crashing the car, and Junior blames Laura. Junior, sitting at a table alone is met by The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. The Pirates say he was tough on his friend and encourage him to show some compassion. To illustrate, they begin to tell all the Veggies a story.
Jonah (Archibald Asparagus) is a Prophet from Israel who goes from town to town delivering God's messages. One day, God asks him to leave Israel and deliver a message to Nineveh, a rough and dangerous city in Assyria. Jonah panics and tries to flee from the Lord. He goes to his travel agent, Angus (Scooter), who tells him that the farthest he can get from Nineveh is Tarshish. When he spies the Pirates in the harbor, he asks them to take him to Tarshish. They resist, but Jonah convinces them by paying them. On the way to Tarshish, a guilt-stricken Jonah goes below deck to rest. There, he meets Khalil the Caterpillar, a traveling Persian rug salesman, who rants about how great Jonah is and decides to travel with him.
After having a bad dream about running from God, Jonah finds the ship beset by a great storm. Captain Pa Grape concludes that the storm has been sent because God is angry at someone on the ship. They all play Go Fish to determine who it is. Jonah loses the game and admits that he is running from God. Luckily, First Mate Lunt has an outboard motor, which they can use to return to Joppa, but Khalil accidentally sends it overboard and Jonah is forced to walk the plank. With Jonah off the ship, the skies clear immediately. The Pirates attempt to reel him back in, but a whale swallows Jonah (with the lifebelt attached to him). The Pirates fire their cannon at the whale but are forced to use a bowling ball (with Khalil inside it) as ammo. The whale merely swallows the ball, disgorges the lifebelt, and swims away.
Inside the belly of the whale, Khalil finds Jonah saddened that he is going to die for disobeying God, but they are visited by a host of God's messengers. They explain through a rousing number that if Jonah repents, then God will grant him a second chance too. He and Khalil are spit up onto the shore and are met by Jonah's camel Reginald. Together, they ride to Nineveh.
After Jonah is denied entrance to the city, the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything appear. They explain that they spent all the money Jonah gave them on Mr. Twisty's Twisted Cheese Curls and won a sweepstakes, giving them free access to Ninevah where the Cheese Curls are produced. They sneak Jonah into the city disguised as winners of the sweepstakes, thought they are all promptly arrested for Larry's theft of the King's personal Cheese Twists. After sentenced to death by "the Fish Slap of No Return", they are granted an audience with King Twistomer (Apollo Gourd). When King Twistomer hears that Jonah has survived in the belly of a whale, he listens to his message. Jonah delivers the message given to him by God. He tells them they should repent and amend their ways, or Nineveh will be destroyed. King Twistomer and the Ninevites quickly repent.
Still expecting the Ninevites to be destroyed, Jonah watches and waits from a distance. Khalil is disappointed in Jonah, and tries to explain to him that God is compassionate and merciful. But Jonah, feeling pathetic and self-important, can't accept that. The story ends with Khalil and Reginald leaving Jonah alone on a cliff overlooking the city.
Back in the present day, the Veggies are disappointed in the anticlimactic ending but come to understand the point of the story: that God wants everybody to show compassion and mercy, even to those that don't seem to deserve it. Twippo (also Archibald Asparagus) appears in the restaurant unexpectedly and offers to give everybody a lift to the concert, while Bob forgives Dad Asparagus and Junior gives his Twippo ticket to Laura. The film ends with a grand musical number and the arrival of the tow truck driver (Khalil), whom Twippo seems to recognize.
- Archibald Asparagus as Jonah
- Khalil the Caterpillar as Himself
- Pa Grape as Captain
- Mr. Lunt as Pirate
- Larry the Cucumber as Pirate Larry
- Reginald the Camel as Himself
- Scooter Carrot as Angus
- Apollo Gourd as King Twistomer
- Bob the Tomato as Himself
- Dad Asparagus as Himself
- Junior Asparagus as Himself
- Laura Carrot as Herself
- Percy Pea as Himself
- Annie Onion as Herself
- The French Peas as The Restauranteers
- The Fishermen George
- Jimmy Gourd as Israel Mailman
- Jerry Gourd as Israel Milkman
- Mr. Nezzer as Israel Merchant
- Penelope and Mabel Asparagus as Jopponian
- Miss Achmetha as Jopponian
- Billy Joe McGuffrey, sung by the Veggie children and Dad Asparagus
- Drive into the River, Bob!, sung by the Veggie children
- Steak and Shrimp, sung by the Restauranteers
- A Message from the Lord, sung by Jonah and the Israelites
- It Cannot Be, sung by Jonah
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, sung by the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything
- Ding-Dong, sung by Pirate Larry and Pirate Lunt
- Second Chances, sung by the Angels and Angel Vocalists
- Jonah Was a Prophet, sung by Twippo and the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything
- In the Belly of the Whale, sung by the Newsboys
- The Credits Song, sung by the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything
Based on 54 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie currently has a 65% approval rating from critics, with an average score of 5.8 out of 10. Among Rotten Tomatoes' Top Critics, which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television and radio programs, the film holds an overall approval rating of 76%. By comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 58, based on 20 reviews.