Posts Tagged ‘movie reviews’

Last night my 5-year-old daughter and I screened Finding Dory. This girl was READY. I’m talking countdowns, was dressed in blue when I came home, with her “talk like a whale” pinned to her top. The only movie we’ve been waiting this long for is Moana, and we still have a lot of waiting to go.

She’s watched Finding Nemo on the last week of school with her kindergarten class, so her memory was refreshed of the original. I’d seen it enough times (and watched the musical at Disney World last month) so I felt ready to go as well, though watching Finding Nemo beforehand isn’t needed to understand the second movie, I’d suggest it if it’s been a while, just to understand more of the humor. Now, on to our thoughts.


“Two thumbs up!”

“The best movie ever!”

“So so funny!”

I’ll let you guess who said what. When it comes to Pixar sequels, you can expect a much much higher quality than Disney Animated sequels that are mostly direct to DVD. However, with the exception of Toy Story 3, I haven’t been a huge fan of the Pixar sequels. Finding Dory is definitely one of the better ones, if not the best in my opinion. Why?

Without giving anything away (this movie was too good to give spoilers away, you can read those elsewhere, but I’d love you to experience it as I did.):

The search for a family

The strong family storyline, like the first keeps you cheering for Dory and her friends throughout the movie.

Friendship and new clever characters

Should you take your 3 or 4-year-old to see Finding Dory? Here's a 5-year-old's review on Finding Dory.

Dory meets some interesting friends along the way, but everyone is so willing (or slightly unwilling but motivated–I’m looking at you Hank) to help. Such a beautiful message of teamwork. In Finding Nemo the sharks and other characters helping Marlin and Nemo reunite were cute and make us chuckle. In Finding Dory, the whales, birds, and seals had me roaring. Oh but thankfully our favorite sea turtle still makes an appearance.

No “bad guy”

I’m racking my brain to think of the last time we’ve seen a Disney animated movie without an obvious villain… Ok well I guess Inside Out didn’t. But it was so heavy and the depression aspect was over my daughter’s head I’m not really putting it in the same category. Finding Dory was a good funny film and the story was all about a journey with Dory and her band of friends.

Ok now let’s talk about this movie and little kids.

My 5-year-old isn’t a huge laugh out loud kind of girl but there were a few times I caught her giggling during this flick. I laughed a lot more than she did and a lot of the jokes were over her head, though not in an off-color way. Like with most movies, I think the more we see it, the more of the humor she’ll get. I want to bring my 3-year-old to see it but I’m going to wait until a slower matinee morning in case he loses interest. The movie is a little long (1hr 45min runtime). My daughter and I didn’t mind, but I did hear some fussy younger ones by the end of the film.

As far as scary parts, there’s one scary scene near the beginning with a giant glow in the dark squid that almost captures Nemo, but once you move past that, it’s all adventure and laughs.

The ending dragged on a little longer than I felt it needed to, but it kinda wrapped around and tied it back to the beginning.

Should you take your 3 or 4-year-old to see Finding Dory? Here's a 5-year-old's review on Finding Dory.

But enough of my opinion, keeping with the tradition…

Here’s a 5-year-old review of Finding Dory:

Q: What did you think of the movie?
A: It was great! Better than Alice Through the Looking Glass

Because there were funny parts and silly parts. I thought seals were funny, and the cute distracting otters.

Q: Did you think the movie was scary?
A: Not at all.

Q: Should your friends go see it?
A: Yes, because I think they’ll love it.

Q: What was the moral of the story?
A: To always remember your family. And always be kind to your heart (trust yourself). And always be kind to your friends and always help one another and that anything is possible.

Q: Tell be about one of the characters
A: Hank had to learn a lesson. He had to learn to always be kind. Mommy, write this down… My mom’s favorite character was Hank!

Should you take your 3 or 4-year-old to see Finding Dory? Here's a 5-year-old's review on Finding Dory.

Q: What aged kids do you think would like this movie?
A: 5 and 6. Little kids would like the short film (Piper–Which was SO adorable).

Q: Who was your favorite character?
A: Destiny, because she was funny cool and brave.

Q: Anything else you’d like to say about the movie?
A: Yes! I want to see it again. I liked it more than number 1 (Finding Nemo).

And there you have it! A 5-year-old’s take. Hopefully it helps you decide whether or not to take your kiddos!

Are you planning to see Finding Dory this weekend?

Here are some free Finding Dory coloring sheets you can download for free to get your little ones excited about the movie, or to keep talking about it after! Just click the image to download and print!

Free Finding Dory coloring sheets pages

Like our review? More Mommy/daughter Disney movie reviews:

Alice Through the Looking Glass


Jungle Book

and The Good Dinosaur

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!


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!

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


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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