Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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'VeggieTales' is fun for the family

Veggie Tales
[Photo: Artisan Entertainment]
Jonah, played by Archibald the Asparagus, riding his faithful camel, Reginald, spreads the word of God in Jonah, A VeggieTales Movie.

© St. Petersburg Times
published October 14, 2002

Movie: Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie

Rating: G

Summary: In this full-length animated feature film based on the popular children's video series VeggieTales, the story of Jonah and the whale is retold in an understandable and entertaining way.

My view: This is a perfect film for children and adults, and the plot is laced with examples of compassion and mercy.

I really liked this light-hearted interpretation of a well-known Bible tale. The characters, for those unfamiliar with the series, are all vegetables. That's right -- computer-generated carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, asparagus and peppers. And they're funny, very funny!

I witnessed kids sitting almost still for the length of the film (83 minutes), fascinated by the onscreen shenanigans. Well, that's not entirely true. Sometimes they were dancing and singing along to the catchy gospel tunes and other lively songs. There is a fair amount of emphasis on religion and God, so if you're not a spiritual person, you may not care for it. But this is great, clean fun for the whole family.

Favorite part: It was nice to see a G-rated film with humor that wasn't offensive and a plot that wasn't pointless. I was laughing at the majority of the jokes, and so were a lot of the parents and older siblings who were there.

Recommendation: Great family movie.

Grade: A.

-- Bill Norris, 14, is in the ninth grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the Times' X-Team.

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