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Posts Tagged ‘Disney movie review’

UPDATE: Here’s my 6-year-old daughter’s Beauty and the Beast review! Details on if she thought it was scary and how she liked it compared to the animated version.

I’m about to give a Beauty and the Beast review for people obsessed with the animated version and/or planning to take their kids to see it and looking for more information. Buckle up!

The live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast must be the must anticipated movie since I don’t know what. All of my friends have countdowns set. And 30-something around the world are acting like they’re 7 again.

I’ll admit I was one of them. Though it took me awhile to join the fray and really get excited for it (I really wish we could get more new animated classics versus re-hashing the old ones) once I sat down in the screening room at Walt Disney Studios and the music started, I was 7 again, bouncing up and down in my seat ready for some Disney magic.

Beauty and The Beast Overall thoughts (no spoilers)

Beauty and the Beast was a beautifully updated version of the classic we know and love so well. My favorite lines and parts from the animated version made the cut, but my favorite parts of the movie were the parts where the creators diverted from it.

In more way than one I feel like this movie was made with adults in mind—Specifically my generation. Never before have I watched a brand new movie that I could (and did) quote along with about 70% of it.

That said, I think people new, or less familiar with the animated version will still love it.

It was a musical from the get-go, and with new songs sprinkled through the movie it

It was the first movie I’ve seen in 3D in a long time that had really cool 3D effects.

Compared to the other live-action Disney updates, Maleficent is still my favorite, but I definitely liked Beauty and the Beast WAY more than Cinderella. This movie was beautifully done, and it’s worth seeing it in 3D.

An all-encompassing Beauty and the Beast review. What's up with the gay scene everyone keeps bringing up? Is it scary? Will you like it?

What I LOVED (no spoilers)

1. Progressive: The creators managed to keep the beautiful storyline but make Belle even stronger. There were at least three interracial couples I noticed, and way more diversity.

2. Backstories: All those questions we had about Belle’s mom and The Beasts’ parents get addressed in this movie.

3. A more realistic romance: The Beast likes books too, and their relationship seemingly takes longer to build and has more important moments that bring them together.

4. More character depth: Obviously with Belle, but also with The Beast, and most surprisingly to me… Gaston. He’s even more ruthless.

5. Nostalgia: The score was similar to the animated version through several parts of the movie. The dance gave me chills. (spoiler if you didn’t see the original): As did when he transformed back into himself. I’d love to see the side-by-side because it really felt surreal watching it play back with a different look. It was like they transformed the characters into real life.

6. (Spoiler if you haven’t seen the animated version): The scene when the townspeople attack the castle was my favorite in the 1991 version and it was my favorite part in this movie too.

Ok, now that we got all that out of the way let’s talk about what you need to know when it comes to taking your kids to see Beauty and the Beast.

I’ll be taking Lil’ J to screen it hopefully early next week so I’ll updated this post (or add another) with her full review. But here are my initial thoughts.

Beauty and the Beast: Will kids like it?

I think so. And from what I’ve heard so far from other kids, it’s a resounding “YES”.

My daughter has seen the animated movie a handful of times, so she will likely have a different perspective than me, who has it memorized. There will be more surprises, and there’s a likelihood of young kids falling in love with it, really falling in love with the story for the first time.

When I showed her the trailer of them movie she said “So it’s like Beauty and the Beast but it looks, like, more realer?” Yes, baby girl, it looks more realer.

An all-encompassing Beauty and the Beast review. What's up with the gay scene everyone keeps bringing up? Is it scary? Will you like it?

“Is there a ‘gay scene’”

I’m not quite sure what started this hoopla but after I screened the movie my husband texted me asking for a co-worker if there was a gay scene in Beauty and the Beast. Now I’m not sure exactly what a gay scene is classified as. Like a sex scene? Heavens no! Kissing? Nope. Hugging? I don’t remember that, definitely nothing in a sexual way.

What is there? I watched the two-hour movie expecting something juicy. LeFou, Gaston’s right-hand man and not-so-secret admirer, admiring Gaston as he does in the animated movie. Could people read between the lines and wonder if he’s gay? Sure. Would kids? No. Is it ever stated outright that he is gay? No.

What else is there? (This includes spoilers) Well, you know that scene in the animated version where the Plumette, the
opera-singing armoire jumps/falls on one of the townspeople attacking the castle? In the animated version, the man jumps up, realizes he’s in a dress and runs and screams. In this live-action version, she attacks three men and they come out wearing dresses. Two scream and run away, one more admires his new look, smiles, and struts away. It got a lot of laughter and applause in our little theater.

What else is there? At the end LeFou and the gentleman who liked his new dress (though no longer in his dress) pair up for a waltz in the ballroom with Belle and The Beast. LeFou is dancing with a woman at first but later in the scene swaps and dances with that gentleman. They dance. That is it. Definitely not worth the fuss.

(Side Note)

I love diversity and diversity being represented in movies, books, and on TV. Representation matters. Personally, I think it’s important for my kids to know not all families look the same. My daughter knows blacks and whites didn’t used to be able to get married like her daddy and mommy are and I’m raising them to be accepting. That said, even if I wasn’t I don’t think I’d have a problem with that or letting my kids watch because it’s not blatant.

“Is it scary?

Another thing parents worry about with these updated children’s movies is if they’re too scary. Is Beauty and the Beast scary? Well, not really. Scenes with the wolves chasing Maurice and later Belle were a bit intense. The Beast is mean and loud at first. But again, if you know how the story goes it’s nothing any scarier.

You know your kids best. To a child seeing this movie for the first time, an extra loud and dark theater (plus 3D) makes any movie more intense. I’m bringing my 6-year-old to see it. My 3-year-old loves scary beasts, fight scenes and music so I might bring him too, knowing neither of them will get scared or cry. He’s never sat through a live-action movie though and he’d likely find some scenes (all of the non-violent, non-musical parts) boring.

 

Violence

One last issue I want to touch on for parents is violence. Though subtle for kids used to Marvel movies and Star Wars, if your little ones haven’t seen much other than animated movies there are a few things to take note of.

(Spoilers) There’s a scene where Gaston punches Maurice in the face and I literally gasped. It’s not in the animated version so I know a part of it was my surprise because it was new. But another part because you rarely see that kind of thing in Disney movies.

Also, at the end instead of stabbing the Beast in the side with a knife, Gaston shoots him, several times. I was like “holy crap!”. Again, it could have been the diversion from the animated version that gave that more of a shock factor to me, but I didn’t like the change. Maybe ratings wise shooting is more normalized than stabbing but gun violence is a trigger for me so this was something that bothered me a little. I knew it had a happy ending (though I worried for a second cause dang!) so I was ok.

Hopefully giving you a little warning helps you prepare, or prepare your kids if need be.

An all-encompassing Beauty and the Beast review. What's up with the gay scene everyone keeps bringing up? Is it scary? Will you like it?

Final thoughts

Overall I think kids will be mesmerized by the beauty, the music, and wonderful enchantments that made us 30-somethings fall in love with the movie 26 years ago.

I hope you’ll go see it and let me know what you think!

Ok, so that’s a lot of information. I’ll probably just post Lil’ J’s review in a separate post after she’s watched it since I’ve blabbed here enough.

Are you going to see Beauty and the Beast? Will you take your kids?

UPDATE: Here’s my 6-year-old daughter’s review! Details on if she thought it was scary and how she liked it compared to the animated version. Check out other Disney posts! 

I first saw a trailer for Queen of Katwe months ago on Facebook and knew I’d be going to see it. I didn’t know what it was going to be about but it had me at hello. The beautiful African scenes and the emotion and love between a mother and daughter… Oh, and the fact that it was by Disney.

6-year-old Queen of Katwe review

When I traveled to LA a couple of months ago I got to screen the movie way early, and sadly I’ve had to hold my Queen of Katwe review in until now. But the good news is, I got to bring my daughter to see it this week, so she chimed in with her review too!

First a few things…

You don’t need to enjoy chess to enjoy the movie

Growing up I was obsessed with Searching for Bobby Fischer. Don’t ask me why, I wasn’t a chess player (not a good one at least). But I was captivated by the story of a chess prodigy. I haven’t seen that movie in years so I can’t fairly compare the two, but what I loved about Queen of Katwe was the ability to witness the great leaps and bounds not only Phiona made, but her family and her team. There’s something extra special about the story of someone discovering what they were born to do.

6-year-old Queen of Katwe review

What makes this movie special

There are a lot of feel-good movies about someone who comes from the slums and beats the odds to overcome their situation. However, Disney did a beautiful job with the cast, cinematography and screenwriting. Not only did the characters have a beautiful and true story, but the actors do too. This is Madina Nalwanga’s (who plays Phiona, the main character) first movie. A casting director found her in a community dance class.

Throughout the movie you can’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for what you have. Then the inspiring messages woven throughout the movie make you leave feeling so uplifted.

Before seeing the movie with your kids

Watch the previews. Help give your children an idea of what the movie is about before you see it, and ask them to take note of important lessons they learn from the movie.

We also had a lot of fun preparing for it (which I recommend if your kids are young). We’re currently reading two books based in African countries (Morocco and Ghana), this movie was based in a third–Uganda. We found each place on a map, talked about the size, and distance from each other. We also talked about the climates and types of people you might see in each country.

Of course after the movie you will have even more to talk about (here some ideas for conversations you can have) as there’s a beautiful repeating message of perseverance to share.

About going to see it with you kids

I absolutely think you should go and see this movie with your kids. Open their eyes to a different culture and world than their own. You may think that because this movie isn’t a kid’s movie that they wouldn’t enjoy it, but I’d beg to differ.

mommy-and-me-queen-of-katwe

My daughter and her 5-year-old friend sat next to each other, and though they were a little chatty at times, both of them followed the movie very well. But even if they don’t understand it all, that’s ok. They’ll get enough of it and you can discuss it together.

There are a couple of startling scenes, one involving a motorcycle accident, and another briefly startling scene with a flood. But it’s nothing that should be too frightening for kids.

Ok I’ve rambled enough.

Here’s what my 6-year-old says about Queen of Katwe

What was the movie about?
It was about this person who loved Chess.

What did you think about the movie?
It was awesome. I think I want to learn how to play chess too.

What was your favorite part?
When the little girl cried loud and said ‘she took my queen!’

Was it easy for you to understand or hard for you to understand?
It was easy for me to understand.

Did you think it was boring?
Not at all because that was a real story.

What that the United States where they were living?
No. Uganda. Far away from Texas. In Africa.

What are some of the things you noticed about Katwe, Uganda?
That they do stuff differently than us, they had to go get some water and bring the jugs back home. And they didn’t have a refrigerator. It makes my mommy grateful that we can turn on the water in the sink.

Do you think your friends should see it? Why or why not?
Yes. Hmm. Good question. Because it’s really good and I think they might learn a lesson.

What lesson did you learn from the movie?
Never give up. She [Phiona] felt like she had a dirty house and dirty clothes and like she couldn’t have nice things. But then she learned she could. So I learned to never give up.

There you have it, from the mouth of babes!

I’ll leave you with two more awesome aspects of this movie review.

Best inspirational quotes from Queen of Katwe

6-year-old Queen of Katwe review

I made sure to bring a pencil and paper this time to catch these:

“Use your minds. Make a plan. And there you’ll find safety.”

“Do not be quick to tip your king. You must never surrender.”

“Losing doesn’t make you a failure.”

“Loses happen to everyone. But then you reset the pieces and play again.”

“Sometimes the place you’re used to is not the place you belong. You belong where you believe you belong.”

“Losing teaches me how to play better.”

Stay for the ending credits

Not just the beginning credits though those are AMAZING with the actors paired up with their real-life characters. But stay even after that. I don’t want to give away the surprise but trust me, it’ll make you smile.

Let me know if you and your family go to see it and what you think! My husband and I are going to see it together on our next date night. I know this movie will be right up his alley.

I feel like I need to shamefully preface this review by saying I had never seen Disney’s original Pete’s Dragon movie. Not until after we screened this new version hitting theaters this Friday that is.

I bought the DVD to add to our Disney movie collection but didn’t watch it until last week. I meant to watch it before seeing this new version but since it wouldn’t have the same nostalgic feel for me either way I didn’t push it.

If you’re going into this new film expecting to see a remake of the original you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment. Aside from their names this remake is quite different. No singing, and the storyline is new. But that was what Texas-based screenwriter and director had in mind the whole time. David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks said they decided not to go back and re-watch the original Disney movie when they were working on this one. Instead they said they wanted to remember the feelings they had when they watched the movie (over and over and over) as children, and make sure to give us all that timeless magical feeling in this new film. And let me tell you, they succeeded.

Lowery said he knew he wanted to be a director since he was 7 years old. Know for his success with Indie films, this is his biggest movie to date. He’s also contracted to work with Disney on a Peter Pan remake, but no word on when that one will fly into theaters just yet.

Kid interview with Pete's Dragon Director David Lowery plus what you should know before you head to see Petes Dragon this weekend with the kids. 3-year-old movie review and 6-year-old movie review.

Lil’ J loved the movie and was so impressed while listening to the director and screenwriter at the Paramount Theater, she drew a picture of Elliot to share with them.

We were lucky enough to meet one-on-one (or two-on-two) with Lowery and Halbrooks to talk with them more about this movie and what they hope families get out of the film.

To think, I interviewed my first movie director (ok Steven Spielberg isn’t too shabby) about a month ago and here she is 6, already crossing this off her list. Check it out!

At first we agreed she could wait and ask her questions at the end of our interview but as you can tell, she couldn’t hold them in. Luckily they seemed to find her endearing. Next time we may have to rehearse being patient while the interviewee finishes their answer.

The awesome thing is they inspired her in more ways than one. She’s now added “director” to her long list of things she wants to be when she grows up thanks to David Lowery and his new film Pete’s Dragon.

Now on to our review!

Compared to Disney’s 1977 Pete’s Dragon

Just don’t. It’s completely different movie with the same name. My kids and I watched Disney’s original last week and I didn’t tell them the name of the movie. They were captivated by the singing, the charismatic Pete and the cartoon dragon, but my daughter never saw it as the same movie.

A review of the old Pete's Dragon vs Disney's new and re-imagined version by director David Lowery.

“Mom! I’ve made a connection! His name is Pete like the movie we saw, and he has a dragon named Elliot like in Pete’s Dragon!”

Fans of the original forgive us.

I think if I saw and watched that ‘77 version as a kid I would have absolutely adored it. I love musicals and know I would have memorized and belted every catchy song. There is a lot of drinking and some off-color humor I found surprising but funny. I’m late to the game so it’ll never have those emotional ties that years and generations of watching it can bring. But I’m happy to say this new movie will definitely do the same. I didn’t know what to expect with either but I love them both in different ways.

This 2016 version is about a boy who is orphaned after a car accident and moves to the woods and finds a friend who happens to be a dragon. There they live together for years. When Pete is discovered he and Elliot go on an adventurous journey to find and protect each other.

Is Pete’s Dragon Scary? A Parent’s Take

If you see the previews and the furry yet realistic-looking dragon you may be wondering if it’s too intense for little ones. My kids found it exciting and adventurous but not scary. There are a couple scenes: One with a tranquilizer gun that the director said ultimately moved the movie from a G rating to a PG rating that could be a little startling for kids, and may lead them to think he died. It could be sad for extra sensitive children so use your discretion.

Kid interview with Pete's Dragon Director David Lowery plus what you should know before you head to see Petes Dragon this weekend with the kids. 3-year-old movie review and 6-year-old movie review.

About two thirds of the way through the movie I wondered if Elliot had fire-breathing power and I got that answer real quick. And it was awesome. But a little intense. Lil’ J wasn’t scared but did cover her eyes the first time we saw it because she was worried what would happen to the characters. I’ve never seen her do that during a movie before but she insists she wasn’t afraid. My son thought it was cool and kept waiting for him to eat someone (he doesn’t).

Our Overall Thoughts Pete’s Dragon

While this movie didn’t have an overt message like Zootopia’s “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” or Finding Dory’s “never give up on your family and friends” Pete’s Dragon was a simple yet wonderful movie made for kids to enjoy. Less violent and intense than The Jungle Book, this is a movie you can take the whole family to see and leave feeling uplifted and inspired by the beauty and hidden magic in the world.

Kid interview with Pete's Dragon Director David Lowery plus what you should know before you head to see Petes Dragon this weekend with the kids. 3-year-old movie review and 6-year-old movie review.

Like director David Lowery told us in our interview with him, he hopes kids leave wanting to go out outside or into the woods and explore, and draw enchanted pictures as Lil’ J did.

This was the second live-action Disney movie that I’ve seen in theaters and left knowing I’d for sure be buying it for our timeless collection. I laughed with my daughter, sat in awe with my son, and got chills at the beauty of it all. It was truly a majestic movie that will leave you wanting to explore the mountains and discover magical dragons on your own (I’m not kidding, my daughter is already plotting a trip to Utah to look for some in the mountains).

Ok now on to the kid reviews. Including Big T’s first Disney movie review!

Lil’ J’s 6-year-old Review of Pete’s Dragon

Q: What did you think of Pete’s Dragon?
A: It was really great. It’s my favorite movie.

Q: What was your favorite part?
A: When the people riding in the police car said “you can’t say dragon over the radio!”

Q: Were there lots of funny parts?
A: Yea, I laughed when the guy fell out of the stroller thing [stretcher] because he saw a dragon.

Q: Do you think other little kids would like it? Why or why not?
A: Yea, but only between 5 and 6 and 7 and stuff. Ok and 4 too. Not 3 because they’re too little and they’re probably gonna be scared. But now that I think about it I think that they’d actually like it too.

Q: Did you think it was scary?
A: No. Because the dragon isn’t really scary it’s like a friendly dragon.

Q: Were there some scary parts?
A: Yea, like when he breathed fire.

Q: What’s something you learned from this movie?
A: Even though you

Q: What does this movie make you want to do?
A: It makes me want to go outside and play and stuff. Have fun and do nature stuff because the movie is about dragons and dragons are outside and they’re fun.

Q: Anything else you want to say about the movie?
A: Yes, what I liked about the movie. I like that it was about dragons and dragons are outdoors and I like outdoors stuff. I liked everything, lots of stuff.

Q: Do you want to buy it when it’s on video?
A: Yes, cause I really liked it and I’d like to watch it sometimes.

Kid interview with Pete's Dragon Director David Lowery plus what you should know before you head to see Petes Dragon this weekend with the kids. 3-year-old movie review and 6-year-old movie review.

Big T’s 3-year-old Review

Q: Did you like the Dragon movie?
Yes.
Why?
Because I liked it.

Q: Was the movie sad?
A: Yea. No! It’s not. Dragon flied and jumped. He jumped and he cried cause he fell.

Q: What part did you like?
A: I liked the cars chasing the dragon.

Q: Was it scary?
A: No. He threw fire.

Q: Do you want to see it again?
Yes.

Obviously he didn’t understand the entire movie but he loved the action and adventure, and luckily for him, Elliot was seen in most of the film.


Pete’s Dragon flies into theaters everywhere this Friday August 12th. Let us know what you think of it! 

Here’s a fun educational adventure packet and coloring sheets to get your kids excited!

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 11.51.17 AM Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 11.49.22 AM

When I’d first seen the previews for The BFG I thought I’d pass for a while assuming it would be too scary for my little ones, but after reading the book I realized it was more of a story about friendship, bravery and silly giants than actual frightening monsters.

Meeting the director and stars of the film definitely makes my opinion of this movie more biased than usual, but I’m going to try my best to still give you my objective opinion.

Compared to the book

I think we can honestly say The BFG has been the most exciting book Lil’ J and I have read together.

The BFG Book vs movie review. Should you take your kids to see it? Is The BFG scary? Here's a 5-year-old review.

Last year we read the first illustrated Harry Potter book, the Princess in Black series, and so many more. The BFG was a great length to read day after yet, yet Dahl’s words were written in a way she could understand and laugh at.

I wanted to be sure we made it all the way through before my premiere trip so I could fairly compare it to the book.–Which is a good or bad idea depending how you look at it.

Visually the movie is gorgeous. Spielberg made Dream Country more magical and beautiful than we had imagined. And the giants were given a more dynamic roll.

The first time I screened the movie I couldn’t help but notice all of the differences from the book. I thought my daughter would be disappointed by that, but it proved to be a great opportunity for us to talk about some of the differences in books and movies and how authors and directors are both creators and can have different visions for the same story.

My Movie Review

As I had hoped, the film was magical and captured an essence I didn’t fully imagine reading the book. I thought the premiere screening was amazing but honestly, going to screen it with my daughter in a theater full of little kids was the best experience. The laughter was so contagious and the kids in our theater LOVED it. There were little funny scenes that adults didn’t laugh at in our first two screenings that the kids cracked up over this week.

The BFG Book vs movie review. Should you take your kids to see it? Is The BFG scary? Here's a 5-year-old review.

You can definitely tell, like the book, the movie was made for young children and had their entertainment in mind, including and especially the whizzpopping references. So if you haven’t read the book you’re in for a hilarious surprise, but even if you have, somehow, the movie makes it even better.

There were a few parts of the movie I thought were really slow and like children may loose interest, but overall it was a cute movie with a sweet message that anything is possible, and children can do BIG things.

As I walked out I spoke with a parent who said she were so pleased and saw some spiritual references in the movie. So it’s really interesting to hear what everyone gets out of it.

Is The BFG Scary?

You never know how film adaptations are going to go. So is The BFG scary for little ones? If you have a little one who is already afraid of big, dark, loud theaters parts of this movie may be pretty intense. The movie does have a scary scene that’s not in the book. Part of it is in the trailer.

Skip this little paragraph if you don’t want a spoiler: When Sophie falls asleep in The BFG’s house he runs away to make her a nightmare that may startle your little ones. A giant jumps out of the ground and swallows her, but she quickly wakes up and you realize it was just a dream.

The BFG Book vs movie review. Should you take your kids to see it? Is The BFG scary? Here's a 5-year-old review.

Other than that, the nine frightening giants are more silly than scary, and of course very ugly looking. My 5-year-old didn’t get scared and I didn’t notice any kids around us scream, cry or leave.

I’d recommend the movie for kids 5+ especially if they have some background about the story or if you have read the book together. When my daughter saw the trailer she was so excited for the movie and even made sure to wear a dress she has that looks a lot like the one Sophie wears at the castle.

The BFG Book vs movie review. Should you take your kids to see it? Is The BFG scary? Here's a 5-year-old review.

My 5-year-old’s review

Do you want to see it again?

If my family wants to.

Do you think your friends should go see the movie? Do you think they’d like it?
Yes, because my aunt liked it.

Which did you like more?
I liked the book more because you get to read it to me.

Should they read the book first?
Yea, because I think the book is better.

Heading to see The BFG in theaters this weekend. Read this first. Is The BFG scary for little kids? We jump into and give you the facts.

Did you notice the differences between the book and the movie?[Her answer has a spoiler]
Yes, Sophie said she didn’t have dreams and The BFG gave her a nightmare and she tried to run away and the Bloodbottler giant ate her and the BFG didn’t save her. [It’s actually the Fleshlumpeater but in the book the Bloodbottler is the bigger villain].

What do you think of Sophie?
That she is brave.

What did you learn from the movie?
Never get out of bed, never go to the window, never look behind the curtains. (A quote from the book and movie).

What did the movie teach you about anything being possible?
Sophie believed in herself, and she took charge and told The Big Friendly Giant that ‘we can’t just let them eat the kids, we need to go stop them!’

What was your favorite part of the movie?
When The BFG was cutting up the snoozcumber and when he said “rawww”.

(She got sick and fell asleep before the end which the breakfast scene I thought was without a doubt, was the best part of the movie. Guess we’ll hafta so see it again, though it’ll probably be my husband’s turn since I’ve seen it thrice now).

My 11-year-old sister’s review

What did you think of the movie?
I really enjoyed the movie overall. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.

What was your favorite part?
The ‘fart’ scene with the queen was my favorite part of the movie.

Do you think your friends would like it?
Yes, my friends would enjoy this movie.

What do you think the message/moral of the story was?
No matter what size you are you can do anything to help anyone.

What age range would you recommend the movie for?
Anyone 5+ they should be able to understand it.

So there you have it. The BFG review from many different perspectives. Hopefully it won’t be something you think is too scary for you little ones and you’ll enjoy it as much as we did! It’s not in theaters everywhere so be sure to come back and let us know what you think!

For more of our kids movie reviews click here.

*UPDATE*: My 5-year-old saw it!! Here’s her review: 5-year-old Alice Through The Looking Glass Review

I’ve been dying to share my review for this Disney movie because my opinion on it is quite different from any of the others I’ve reviewed in a while.

To be honest I wasn’t even planning to see this movie. I didn’t see the first one, and I’m just not a big Tim Burton fan. Actually, I take that back. I love Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and some of his Batman movies. But Tim Burton’s “kids’” movies just haven’t been my thing.

That said, I got to screen the movie a few weeks back when I was at Disney World for the Disney Social Media Moms Conference. I’d heard conference attendees got to screen movies and I was really crossing my fingers we’d be seeing Finding Dory or (I knew it was a long shot) Moana. We did see the first 33 minutes of Finding Dory (OMG it was great!) but were told we’d get to see Alice Through the Looking Glass in its entirety.

Is Alice Through the Looking Glass too scary for kids? Especially young ones? Here's a review to read before you take you head to the theater.

At first I was sort of groaning inside, but then I got to hear from one of the creators of the film and see all that went into the making of the movie and it gave me a new appreciate for it. I took this as a challenge to break out of my Disney Animation and Disney Pixar movie reviews and analyze something else.

I had my 10-year-old sister with me on this trip and she’d seen the first live action Alice in Wonderland movie and said it was okay. So I decided I’d go into this film with an open mind and decide if I’d be willing to take Lil’ J to see it, and then write an honest review about whether or not I think it’s too scary for young kids.

I’m going to leave out spoilers but talk a little about the plot a bit to give you an idea if you’d like to take your little ones. The movie is rated PG which means parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be appropriate for children. So is Alice Through the Looking Glass scary for kids? Especially younger ones?

First off, I mean, when you look at the movie poster it’s a little freaky. I mean, really let’s just be honest. The Queen of Hearts has a giant head and if your kid is afraid of clowns it’s just hard not to mistake the Mad Hatter as one. Again, Tim Burton’s adaptations of these movies twist them in a way that isn’t the most little kid-friendly in my opinion. Once you get past that? Well…

The movie opens up with Alice leading her ship crew through a storm. It’s obvious off the bat that this film is going to hold a tone of female empowerment, which I love.

Is Alice Through the Looking Glass too scary for kids? Especially young ones? Here's a review to read before you take you head to the theater.

Alice makes her way back to Wonderland and goes on an adventure to help her sick friend. There’s a lot of action, a frightening dragon, a scary witch (the Queen) whose head grows when she gets angry and in a flashback, when she’s injured. All of these scenes I think are frightening for young kids and would probably scare my daughter, not to mention the frightening appearance of some of the characters loud scenes and startling imagery.

There were other kids in the theater watching the movie, my friend’s 6-year-old daughter did get scared at a few parts but I didn’t see anyone leave or hear any kids crying. Personally I’d recommend this movie to kids 9+, but you know your kids best.

The English accents are a bit thick–similar to those in the live action adaptation of Cinderella. So if your children had a hard time understanding characters in that film, they may face a similar challenge with this one.

There are a ton of funny puns and humor that adults and older children will enjoy, but most of which I think would go over my daughter’s head. UPDATE: It didn’t, here’s what she thought: My daughter’s review.

I told Lil’ J about the movie and she’s said she wants to see it, despite me telling her it’s a little scary. I basically told her the whole movie because I think it’ll help her to be prepared. We’re going to see it tomorrow night together so I’ll come back and update this post with her official reaction to continue in our mother/daughter review tradition.

Is Alice Through the Looking Glass too scary for kids? Especially young ones? Here's a review to read before you take you head to the theater.

Now that all the harsh stuff is out of the way, I must say that I LOVED it. So did my 10-year-old sister. I’m a sucker for a good time-travel plot and this movie did it well. The visual effects are absolutely stunning, and the message of friendship, family and girl power is undeniable. I think I’ll even buy it, which is saying a lot because I don’t buy most of the live action Disney movies (but I own every animated one).

If you haven’t seen the first movie I don’t think that will be a problem as I didn’t and I didn’t feel like I was missing any part of the story. My little sister (and everyone I’ve spoken to who has seen both) said they enjoyed it more than the first movie. So if you hated the first one, maybe it’s worth giving this one a shot. And if you liked the first one, well maybe you’ll love Alice Through the Looking Glass.

It opens in theaters everywhere this Friday May 27th.

Come back Wednesday for Lil’ J’s review! UPDATE: Here’s her review (spoiler alert: she loved it!)

Our other recent Disney Movie Reviews:

The Jungle Book
Zootopia

My 5-year-old and I carried on our tradition in screening the new Disney flick earlier this week, this time watching The Jungle Book. We got dressed in our best animal print and went in ready for anything.

Is jungle book too scary for kids? 5-year-old review

I’m just going to come out and say it: This movie was the most kid-friendly movie we’ve seen from Disney in a while. Here’s why: It was very easy for children to understand and the action scenes were pretty predictable. The animated classic was the last movie Walt Disney oversaw and I think the directors of this movie really wanted to stay true to that, and keep this fun for kids.

You know I’m a huge Disney Animation fan, and I loved Zootopia and it’s message. But the underlying tone about racism, and inspiring message about acceptance seemed more for older kids and adults. I loved The Good Dinosaur (it’s my son’s favorite) but it was pretty intense. Inside Out was deserving of all of those awards, but it was DEEP. The language, humor, even the songs (YES, SONGS, FINALLY!) in The Jungle Book was all for the kids and we loved it!

Is jungle book too scary for kids? 5-year-old review

A lot of people have been asking me the same question: “Is The Jungle Book too scary for kids?” The live action adaptation seems intense from the previews and I even had to prep my daughter to let me know if she thought it was too scary. But I think the fact that the movie loosely follows the Animated original helps.

Sher Khan is a mean tiger, no surprise there. King Louie is a giant orangutan that wants fire from Mowgli and he gets pretty upset when he doesn’t give it to him. We knew that. Without giving too much away, there are some fight scenes between the animals, and a startling moment where where the tiger jumps from the tall grass, but if you’ve seen the previews you’ve seen that moment and to be honest it didn’t surprise me nearly as much as a startling scene in Zootopia. The 3D aspect of the movie does make him seem like he’s jumping AT you, so you may opt for the 2D version if you think that would scare your child.

The fight scene at the end is a similar to the animated movie so you know what happens to Baloo and that could scare your kids.

jungle book poster

When we arrived and sat down the movie poster on the screen showed the main characters from the film, and Lil’ J was a little nervous before it started, but once the movie got going she was fine.

Right from the get go we’re laughing at a silly talking animal in the opening scene and throughout the movie both my daughter and I chuckled at numerous parts, mostly from the silly Baloo. All of the talking animals reminded me so much of my favorite movie, The Lion King, and I couldn’t stop smiling about it.

Maybe we didn’t find it as scary because we were expecting it to be scary. And maybe the animated movies seem extra scary because we’re expecting them to be something off Disney Junior. Either way, I thought it was much more kid-friendly than I expected, but still enjoyable for adults.

That said, you put ANY Disney movie, animated or not, on a huge screen in a dark room, with surround sound and some kids are going to be scared. It’s a completely different ballgame when Scar, or Ursula or Sher Kahn is being seen from a movie theater. So know your kids and how they may react. I didn’t notice any kids in our showing upset or walking out.

jungle book panther

Bill Murray was PERFECT for the role of Baloo. While we’re talking about actors, oh man, I could go on and on. I loved the cast! I fell in love with Bagheera, Sir Ben Kingsley was great as this warm character (I literally told my daughter I wanted a panther on our way home) and over and over I was so impressed by Neel Sethi’s portrayal of Mowgli.

This is the kid’s FIRST movie and he’s out there acting with some green screens and puppets. Not to mention all of the action scenes, running and jumping all over the place. He’s adorable, and though to me he came across a bit over-the-top with some of the lines, I think it made it that much better for my daughter, who acts the exact same way.–Dramatic!

I also loved Lupita Nyong as the motherly Raksha. AH! I could go on and on but here’s a clip highlighting all the awesomeness in the cast:

This live action version of The Jungle Book is similar enough to the original so fans of the classic will appreciate it (THANK YOU DISNEY FOR THE MUSIC!) but different enough for it to be a totally new experience. The movie added a little more depth, and a cute message about being yourself and owning your talents. I also have to add that I think the ending was better!

But enough about my thoughts, here’s my 5-year-old’s Jungle Book review in interview form.

Q: What did you think of The Jungle Book?
A: It was too good… I liked the funny parts. The funny parts were really funny. And I liked it when there was a character who sang. I liked the songs very much.

Q: Do you feel like you understood the movie?
A: Yes, very much. I understood like every word.

Q: Who was your favorite character?
A: Baloo, because he was kind of funny and he makes up a lot of funny parts.

Q: Did you think it was going to be scary?
A: A little.

Q: Would it be too scary for your little brother? (He just turned 3)
A: A little. Because there’s a tiger in it and my brother is scared of tigers. It’s a very mean tiger.

Is jungle book too scary for kids? 5-year-old review

Q: Do you think 5 year olds would be scared of the movie?
A: No not at all, why would they say that? Because I saw it and I wasn’t even scared. 6 year olds will not even think it’s scary a bit!

Q: What about 4-year-olds?
A: A little. But 4 and a half no way Jose!

Q: Which did you think was scarier, The Jungle Book or Zootopia?
A: Zootopia.

Q: Was there any good lesson you learned from the movie?
A: Yes, I learned to be yourself and be creative. And never bring a red fire to a jungle when a tiger is around.

Q: Which Jungle Book did you like more?
A: The new one.
Q: Why?
A: Because there were lots of different parts and I liked it a lot when the funny parts were so funny that they get stuck in my brain.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say about the movie?
A: Yes, the snake told a story and I liked it.

Q: Would you recommend your friends go and see The Jungle Book?
A: Yes, because it’s a really good movie. Families will have fun together.

So there you have it! An honest take from a 5-year-old and her mama. You know your kids better than I do, so take it as you will. As for her little brother, I think he would enjoy it because all of the animals (he especially loves elephants which make a couple appearances in this film) and the music. I don’t think it would be too scary for him (this is a kid who I caught watching the top 10 death scenes from Jurassic Park on Youtube). But I’ll bring him to see it in 2D just in case. I’ll come back and update this post after we do!

Have you seen the movie yet or are you planning to? What did you think?

If you saw it and loved it, or want yo help your kids get more excited about it, here are a couple of fun activity sheets to help: Jungle book spot the difference game, Jungle book maze.

Like our Jungle Book movie review? Check out our Mommy and Me Zootopia Review, and come back for more Disney movie reviews each month!

zootopia-reviews

Walt Disney Animation Studio’s 55th feature, Zootopia hits theaters everywhere tonight! I’ve been so excited for this since they didn’t release a movie all last year! Now we get Zootopia and Moana both in one year! (Excuse my momentary Disney film geek-out).

My mini Disney movie critic, Lil’ J and I screened it last Thursday and as we walked out she told me she wanted to see it again, and that it is her new FAVORITE movie (I’m noticing a trend every time we see a new Disney movie). I feel like I have so many things to say about Zootopia, but don’t worry, I’m leaving out the spoilers.

Mother-daughter Zootopia review

What’s it about in a paragraph? Well, the walking, talking, career-driven and clothed animals replace humans in this story of Zootopia. Rookie officer Judy Hopps is the first bunny to join the police force and she jumps at the chance to crack a case and needs help from a sly fox. The movie gives adults a heavy dose of action and humor, and the kids are laughing right along at some jokes even they understand.

The animals basically act as humans in this movie, a lot like they do in Robin Hood (and Nick Wilde–the fox in this film actually resembles him, right?!).

Zootopia is a compelling movie that both adults and children will love. A lot of the humor (some of it a little off-color) went over my 5-year-old’s head, but there were enough little funny scenes that she still enjoyed and laughed at.

There are a few things I think are important to consider before seeing this movie.

Skip the trailers

I’m noticing Disney is giving away all of the goods in the previews lately. What’s up with that? Remember the trailer for Princess and the Frog? I thought Tiana was going to be a Princess in blue not be a frog for half the movie! Talk about keeping the suspense hidden. They don’t do too much of that anymore.

I was grasping at every new trailer before Inside Out and when I saw that movie I felt like I’d seen all of the funny parts. I purposely skipped the trailers this time so I could go in blind. I did see one with the sloths because it aired before The Good Dinosaur in theaters. It’s still funny (and a little different), I just knew it was coming.

I’ve watched the Zootopia trailers a few times since seeing the movie and the handful of jokes I thought were funniest were all in the trailers. So skip those if you haven’t seen them yet so you can enjoy it and be surprised. If you want another way to build up your excitement with your kids try printing these fun coloring sheets or this activity page.

zootopia review picture

It’s a little scary!

I don’t really know how else to put it. For a little kid’s movie it was pretty darn scary. Or perhaps a better word is startling. I’m trying to think of another animated Disney movie with I can deem in the same category for action, suspense and surprises. Maybe similar to parts of Big Hero 6 or The Good Dinosaur if looking at recent films, or Lady and the Tramp (remember that rat scene?). This is the first Disney Movie where I remember actually being startled, as in jumping in my seat. Lil’ J was too, but she laughed about it. She’s afraid of A LOT but this movie didn’t make her cry or cover her eyes, so I guess that says something; however, that night she did want to sleep in our room because she was afraid of animals jumping out at her.

You’re the best judge for your kids, if they startle easily you may want to prep them, see it first, hold off until DVD, or just email me and I’ll tell you when you can cover their ears/eyes.

Lil’ J wanted me to tell you what she thinks about that: “My brother is 2, and it would be too scary for him. But for me, and other kids that are 5-and-a-half, or 6 it’s not too scary.” So there’s you have it from my proud 5-and-a-half year old.

There’s a strong captivating message

I noticed two strong awesome messages in the movie. One being to not give up on your dreams, and another to not judge a book by it’s cover. Both important takeaways that are great conversation-starters with our kids. I can’t help but feel like Disney animators are trying to change the world with this movie. We’ll MUST discuss this more after you’ve had a chance to see this! Just thinking about it makes me love this movie even more.

Zootopia movie poster

Where does it rank for Disney?

Overall we both loved the movie. We’re going to see it again as a family (well, minus Big T unless he convinces me he can sit still) because I actually think even my husband would get a kick out of it (I mean come on! There’s a bunny cop!).

So where does it rank on my Disney movie list? I’m partial to the movies from Disney Renaissance era and musical features (counting down to Moana!) but Zootopia has a great story. I’d say it could be in my top 15, but once I get over the shock of it not being the cutesy kiddie movie I expected and I’ve seen it a few more times I’ll be able to more accurately place it for what it is.

Regardless, I can’t wait to add it to our collection later this year!

zootopia picture

My 5-year-old’s Zootopia review

What did you think of Zootopia?: “It was SUPERSTAR Awesome!”

What did you like about the movie?: “The fox and the bunny weren’t friends, and then they learned how to be friends.”

What was the message of the movie?: “The bunny dreamed big! Because she always wanted to be a police officer and then she became a police officer, and that was good.”

Anything else you’d like to say about the movie?: “Yea! [SPOILERS]”

Is it too scary for kids?: “No, it’s awesome! So at the beginning [of the post], say it’s superstar and at the end say it’s awesome! I want to see it again and again!”

Recommended ages

I’d recommend it for families with kids ages 7+, but Lil’ J says all of her 5 and 6 year old friends should see it. So take it as you will!

Let me know when you see it! I can’t wait to hear what you think!

If you’re thinking of taking your family to see The Good Dinosaur over Thanksgiving weekend there are a few things you should be aware of first.

Lil’ J and I had the chance to screen it Monday night before it’s officially in theaters everywhere on the 25th. Here’s more info on advanced movie screenings in case you ever want to try to make one of these!

First of all I feel like I need to introduce you to this movie because it hasn’t been nearly as publicized as Pixar’s Inside Out was earlier this year. I’m telling you that merchandise, the previews, the promotions. It was SO hyped up. And I totally bought into it.

The Good Dinosaur 5-year-old review

This movie, on the other hand, I feel like many have hardly heard a peep. I keep my eye on all of the Disney Animation and Pixar films but I worried since Disney seemingly wasn’t spending as much effort promoting this film, that it was going to be a big letdown.

Even the local screening was set for RIGHT before the movie release, versus a week or two before, and I only saw one listed when normally there are at least two, sometimes more. All of these signals to me screamed potential flop.

I didn’t watch the extended trailer. I felt like that was a mistake I made before Inside Out. I’d seen most of the good parts before hitting the theater. What little I did watch before this movie made me think there would be more dinosaurs and more people than we saw.

Lil’ J and I went into this mostly unaware of what to expect. But it was still great!

The Good Dinosaur 5-year-old review

Coming out, I have some questions you should ask yourself in case you’re debating whether or not to take your family.

1. Do you like dinosaurs? If yes, then it’s a no brainer, you must see this movie. It’s lightyears better than the 2000 Disney animated movie ‘Dinosaur’ (which would most definitely be in my top 5 LEAST favorite Disney animated movies). Although the animals looked more realistic in Dinosaur, The Good Dinosaur is much more cuddly, and it should still be appealing to young dinosaur enthusiasts, and definitely not frightening to those who typically have dinosaur aversions. So if your answer is no, there’s a really good chance you’ll still like this movie.

2. Do you like cowboys? Cowboys? I thought this movie was about dinosaurs! Yes, well, if your answer is yes, I have a feeling you will LOVE this movie. Or at least Pixar’s attempt to give some of the characters a wild west flavor.

3. Have you gone to the bathroom recently? You’ll definitely want to make sure you have before sitting down to watch this movie. For one, you don’t want to have to get up and miss any part of this movie! It held my 5-year-old daughter’s attention longer than any movie on the first-run through. I didn’t see her get bored at all (this is rare). And secondly, you are going to laugh so hard you may pee your pants. Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I laughed that much in a movie. The best part was my daughter was laughing too! In true Pixar fashion there was plenty of humor for the adults as well as the kids.

4. Do you or your kids startle easily? This movie is pretty intense. There were SEVERAL times I kept saying “ouch!” Maybe it was the fact that we saw it in 3D, and that the images felt so real, but I was literally gasping and clutching at parts. You know your kids best, if they’re extremely sensitive, or startle easily, you may want to watch it first. The scariest part of the whole movie experience for Lil’ J was the short film that aired before The Good Dinosaur. Edited to add (SPOILER skip to #5 if you want to be surprised): There is death involved (not a huge surprise) but some kids could find this really sad, or scary).

5. Does it take much to make you cry? Happy tears, sad tears, you may want a tissue for both. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise when it comes to Disney/ Pixar.

Lil’ J and I just did our top 5 Pixar Picks a few weeks ago. She now claims The Good Dinosaur takes the top spot from Monsters Inc and pushes UP out of her top 5.

It’s always hard for me to try to rank a film after seeing it just once. I have to try it on over and over a few times to see if it still feels good. But as of now I’d say it’s definitely up there, probably knocking Finding Nemo out of my #4 spot.

Speaking of which… Like Finding Nemo, the animation quality of The Good Dinosaur was amazing. Something that–looking back now–I feel like Inside Out was missing a bit of.

All this to say, I feel like this movie was greatly underrated in it’s pre-release stage, and I hope it does well over Thanksgiving weekend. We enjoyed it so much we’re going to see it again tonight with grandma for opening night.

Alright, enough of my opinion. Here’s what Lil’ J has to say.

The Good Dinosaur 5-year-old review

The Good Dinosaur: A 5-year-old’s review:

Q: What did you think of The Good Dinosaur?
A: It’s one of my new favorite Pixar movies because it’s funny, and a rock star movie.
Q: What does a rock star movie mean?
A: That it’s so cool.
Q: Should kids who are afraid of dinosaurs see this movie?
A: Yes, because it’s a nice dinosaur and he won’t scare them.
Q: Advice for people going to see it?
A: When you try a movie you get to decide if you like it or not, and I like this movie.

One word to describe the movie:
Lil’ J: Family
Mom: Adventure

Rating:
Lil’ J: Two thumbs up.
Mom: A+

Will you be going to see The Good Dinosaur this weekend? Or what did you think?

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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