Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 7+
Weak Macaulay Culkin fantasy with some cartoon violence.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's lots of cartoon action in this film but no one gets seriously hurt. Characters fall from great heights and immediately come back to fall again just moments later. The hero and others are captured, then escape and immediately come back to get captured again. With a mix of animation and live-action, there are swashbuckling pirates, threatening sharks, scary hounds, unhinged authority figures, and a fire-breathing dragon with ghostly accomplices. Ominous music and spooky colors and sound effects heighten the suspense, but except for the youngest or most sensitive kids there's no real sense of jeopardy.
- Families can talk about the difference between real fear and imagined fear. What are you afraid of? Which fears do you have that you think might be exaggerated or not based on reality?
- Richard meets an array of fictional characters in the library. What are some of your favorite fictional characters? Do you ever imagine that you're a part of their stories or even that you are that character?
- What are some of the best things about having a good imagination? Can you identify the line that separates "pretending" and "lying"?
The good stuff
Educational value: References and briefly introduces some classic literature.
Positive messages: Sometimes you have to fight to make a wish come true. Reach deep inside and seize the courage to confront fears. Books open the door to great adventure and knowledge.
Positive role models: Parents are portrayed as loving, concerned, and responsible. Very cautious boy is able to overcome his fearful nature and begin to enjoy the world around him. A librarian is depicted as bizarre and less than helpful.
What to watch for
Violence and scariness: Lots of pratfalls and cartoon action; no one is seriously hurt. In the live-action sections, Dad falls from a tree house; 10-year-old Richard first crashes his bike and then slips on a hard floor, losing consciousness momentarily. Animated sequences contain scene after scene of cartoon peril: more characters falling repeatedly, a scary hound, Dr. Jekyl's transformation into Mr. Hyde, ghosts, a dragon, a threatening electrical storm, and more. Spooky music and effects accompany some of the above, heightening the suspense.
Sex: Not an issue
Language: Not an issue
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue