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KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
COBRA KAI: SEASON 6       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
NETFLIX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - With Cobra Kai eliminated from the Valley, our senseis and students must decide if and how they will compete in the Sekai Taikai -- the world championships of karate.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH REVIEWS
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Cobra Kai: Season 6 is the suspenseful conclusion of this well-made action-packed series. I really like the pacing and energy of the characters, along with their incredible acting. The direction, especially in the fighting scenes, left me on the edge of my seat. Be ready for jaw-dropping plot twists.

This last season of Cobra Kai brings a new obstacle to the group--the prestigious world karate championship, known as the Sekai Taikai. All the previous preparation and fights lead up to this moment.

The main characters are Miguel (Xolo Maridue�a), Robby (Tanner Buchanan), Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), Sam (Mary Mouser), Eli (Jacob Bertrand) and Tory (Peyton List). The chemistry between all of the characters is unmatchable. They get along so well, and even when they don't, the actors are incredible at illustrating their salty attitude. There are new relationships between characters, including some merciful friendships. Who would have ever thought? Some generational rivalries are broken, as well. I applaud the director, Sherwin Shilati, for capturing many different points of views due to his unique directing style. It separates the series from others because of this, and gives an overall unique feel. Every detail in this season is executed meticulously. For example, the sound effects of fighting seem realistic. The background music always determines the tone and mood of the scenes. The shaky camerawork of the fights matches their energy. Also, in the middle combat, Miguel punches in slow motion and it adds a fun effect. Next, I am shocked by the plot twists this season. They did not disappoint for the finale of the show! My favorite parts are the fighting scenes. They are made exceptionally well and provide an adrenaline rush. For instance, when Kenny and his brother fight Miguel and his friend group, it's so thrilling and captivating. I love the anticipation, as well.

The message of this season is all about teamwork and friendship. As this series comes to an end, the group learns to work together because they are stronger as a team. Another huge theme is forgiving. A special moment occurs when Hawk says, "It's been a long road, but we're finally all on the same side." Without giving away too much, some old rivalries don't take the opportunity for revenge. There is cursing in the series, so be aware.

Cobra Kai: Season 6 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Cobra Kai: Season 6 part 1 releases on Netflix July 18, 2024.

By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


TWISTERS

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
TWISTERS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Daisy Edgar-Jones stars as Kate Cooper, a former storm chaser haunted by a devastating encounter with a tornado during her college years who now studies storm patterns on screens safely in New York City. She is lured back to the open plains by her friend, Javi to test a groundbreaking new tracking system. There, she crosses paths with Tyler Owens, the charming and reckless social-media superstar who thrives on posting his storm-chasing adventures with his raucous crew, the more dangerous the better. As storm season intensifies, terrifying phenomena never seen before are unleashed, and Kate, Tyler and their competing teams find themselves squarely in the paths of multiple storm systems converging over central Oklahoma in the fight of their lives.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I was on the edge of my seat during the entire film. Twisters combines anxiety-producing suspense, heartbreak, and thrill--a perfect summer movie that left me crippled with anxiety in the best way possible.

The story begins with Kate Cooper (Daisy Edgar-Jones). She's a remarkably smart girl who is a storm chaser. After a horrific accident when chasing a storm, in which she loses her best friends and boyfriend, Kate decides she will never chase again. Years later, she reunites with Javi (Anthony Ramos), the only other one who survived the accident. He tells Kate that she is what his team needs to test a new, top-of-the-line storm tracking system. With much hesitation, she embarks on this journey where she meets Tyler Owens (Glen Powell), an internet sensation who's known for chasing storms. Together they experience the storm of their lives.

The original, called Twister, came out in 1996, and I don't know if this film will meet the expectations of those who have seen the 1996 film. However I can say that this film exceeded my expectations tremendously. From the visuals to the story line, my attention was always drawn to the screen. I love the thrill that comes along with watching the intense storm action sequences. Screenwriter Mark L. Smith captures and brings to life this compelling story, and the visuals are intense and very well done. Each storm that is chased brings so much suspense, and no boredom - and I could never predict what would happen next. Director Lee Isaac Chung perfectly combines good storytelling with immersive visuals that captivate the entire theater. I love Daisy Edgar-Jones' portrayal of Kate. Kate is very smart but also selfless and wants to use her gift to help people. This creates a great dynamic with Tyler, played by Glen Powell, one of my favorite actors, who delivers a great performance.

I especially love the message of this film: even if it's hard, always do what's right for the greater good.

I'd give Twisters 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can catch Twisters in theaters July 19, 2024.

By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

Twisters is a big adventure film that brings you on a wild tornado adventure. I really like how informative and descriptive this movie is when it comes to meteorology, while still being so exciting and entertaining.

Twisters takes its audience to Oklahoma and follows meteorologist Kate (Daisy Edgar Jones). After a devastating accident while working on a college science project, Kate thought she would give up her love for chasing tornadoes forever. However, years later, memories from her past resurface, and Kate soon realizes that her true calling lies in the thrill of tornadoes, and figuring out how to save her people in the place she calls home.

A huge standout in this film is the CGI and visual effects. The tornadoes, and their formations, are extremely realistic. I really enjoyed when the inside of the tornado was shown. There are multiple moments when the characters are sitting in a car as the tornado is directly above them and the CGI is outstanding in these moments - I almost felt as if I was in the tornado myself! Additionally, the characters are really connected which really helps build the plot. From the start of the movie, watching Kate and her friends working together, I could see the clear bond that they have. This signifies friendship and foreshadows just how important that will be throughout the film as it develops. Plus, the chemistry between Kate and Tyler (Glen Powell) is strong. These two actors have a camera presence that they each use to build off one another. The tension, yet curiosity, between the two characters during their earlier interactions really helps build their strong connection. The night scene at the motel when the two are going back and forth and the other characters are reacting exemplifies this and enhances their connection. Last, I really enjoyed the storyline which is extremely interesting. Learning about meteorology and how tornadoes work by watching an action-packed film is rare. It raises awareness about tornadoes and the effects that it can have on people.

The message of the Twisters is to always do what you know in your heart is right. Be aware there are scenes that contain harsh injury.

I give Twisters 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Twisters in theaters beginning July 19, 2024.

Mikella G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14 Twisters is an action-packed movie with realistic special effects that make the tornados feel authentic and dangerous. However, the plot is mediocre and not very memorable. The characters don't have much emotional range and don't have great chemistry together, either.

The film follows Kate Cooper (Daisy Edgar-Jones), who has a history of tornado chasing. She has avoided the matter until her friend wants to collect new tornado data and asks her to come along, and they find themselves competing with others to catch a tornado. Suddenly, the group is faced with the extreme tornadoes, leaving all their lives threatened.

The main characters are Kate, Tyler Owen (Glen Powell), Javi (Anthony Ramos) and Ben (Harry Hadden-Paton). The characters don't seem to really resonate with one another. I presumed that Kate and Tyler would eventually become each other's love interest, but nothing actually happens between them. None of the characters really show much emotion at all and their attitude is pretty uninspired. For instance, Kate stares emotionless into the distance, and I guessed that is because she's afraid due to her past experiences, but nothing is mentioned. Also, we know very little about Tyler besides his live-streaming. Does he have experiences that define why he is here? Again, we are left with a guessing game. In terms of camera work, at the beginning of the film, the cinematography is so shaky that it was hard to concentrate. However, the cinematography improves later on. The makeup, especially when there's blood involved, is great. Kate's scar on her leg looks realistic. The CGI is also convincing. The tornadoes look natural and the green screens don't have any faults. For example, when there are twin tornadoes shown and they come apart from each other, it looks genuine! My favorite part of the movie is the exciting action, which got my heart racing. For instance, when the ceiling of a building is about to cave in, the suspense is thrilling. It's disappointing that once the action happens, the plot plods along, which means there is a lack of balance.

The message of Twisters is hidden, but it calls the audience to action. Tornadoes happen in many places, and the film brings awareness to how fatal tornadoes can be. Climate change is not mentioned, since director Lee Isaac Chung believes the audience should not be "preached" to, but it hangs in the distance. You should be aware there is mild cursing.

I give Twisters 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Twisters releases in theaters July 19, 2024.

By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


DANCE RIVALS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DANCE RIVALS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - A dancer is recruited by the top squad in L.A., but tensions rise with the reigning dance queen, and they settle their differences on the dance floor.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The film Dance Rivals has a very competitive edge. It's amazing! The actors in this film really work together as a team. The soundtrack makes the film really energetic and very interesting.

The storyline follows a girl named Lex (Savannah Lee May). She joins the best dance team in the city, but the dance captain, Skyla (Laura Kristine) is rude to Lex. Then she leaves the team and Lex takes over as captain. Lex and her friends find out there is a big competition they can enter, but they can only enter if they have five people. So they go out and find two more people to complete their team. They go back to the studio and practice their dance and the next day they go to the competition, hoping to win.

The costumes are very true to what someone would wear to dance on stage. I love how this film has a ton of different emotions like sad, happy, love, and jealousy. I also love how the film includes many different genres of dance such as lyrical and hip hop. The music in this film makes me want to get up and dance. I love the relationship between Lex and her sister Carrie. They are so sweet together and, if one of them is sad, then the other tries to make them feel better. Lex always helps Carrie out when she needs it -- you can tell how much they love each other. My favorite part is when Lex takes the team that she is now coaching to the competition they entered, and they end up winning. It is super exciting!

The film's message is about teamwork and not being envious of others. Lex's team works together and ends up winning the competition. When Skyla becomes super jealous and leaves the team she misses out on winning the competition.

I give Dance Rivals 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This film releases on streaming and VOD platforms on July 16, 2024.

The film Dance Rivals has a very competitive edge. It's amazing! The actors in this film really work together as a team. The soundtrack makes the film really energetic and very interesting.

The storyline follows a girl named Lex (Savannah Lee May). She joins the best dance team in the city, but the dance captain, Skyla (Laura Kristine) is rude to Lex. Then she leaves the team and Lex takes over as captain. Lex and her friends find out there is a big competition they can enter, but they can only enter if they have five people. So they go out and find two more people to complete their team. They go back to the studio and practice their dance and the next day they go to the competition, hoping to win.

The costumes are very true to what someone would wear to dance on stage. I love how this film has a ton of different emotions like sad, happy, love, and jealousy. I also love how the film includes many different genres of dance such as lyrical and hip hop. The music in this film makes me want to get up and dance. I love the relationship between Lex and her sister Carrie. They are so sweet together and, if one of them is sad, then the other tries to make them feel better. Lex always helps Carrie out when she needs it -- you can tell how much they love each other. My favorite part is when Lex takes the team that she is now coaching to the competition they entered, and they end up winning. It is super exciting!

The film's message is about teamwork and not being envious of others. Lex's team works together and ends up winning the competition. When Skyla becomes super jealous and leaves the team she misses out on winning the competition.

I give Dance Rivals 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This film releases on streaming and VOD platforms on July 16, 2024.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dance Rivals, which is an exhilarating new film that left me inspired and moved. What truly stands out to me are the incredible performances and the breathtaking dance sequences that bring the story to life.

Dance Rivals follows the journey of two ambitious dancers, each determined to outshine the other in a high-stakes dance competition. As they navigate personal and professional challenges, their rivalry intensifies, leading to a series of dramatic and emotional moments.

The storyline is engaging and well-crafted, drawing me closer to the film and always keeping me anticipating what's next. The standout feature of Dance Rivals is undoubtedly its choreography and the performances, particularly Savannah Lee May's, who plays Lex. Her portrayal of a passionate and determined dancer is both powerful and nuanced, capturing the essence of her character's struggle and growth. The choreography is beautifully executed and perfectly integrated into the narrative, enhancing the emotional impact of the story. The film's visual and auditory elements work in harmony to create an immersive experience that highlights the beauty and intensity of competitive dance.

At its core, Dance Rivals teaches valuable life lessons about perseverance, self-discovery, and the importance of staying true to oneself.

I give Dance Rivals 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 through 18. This film releases in theaters and streaming on July 16, 2024. Don't miss the chance to experience this dynamic and inspiring film!

By Ari S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I have mixed feelings about the film Dance Rivals, but overall, I enjoyed it! The acting is on point, and helped me feel a strong connection to the protagonists. And although the plot kept me engaged with fun dance choreography and relatable teen characters, it is quite predictable, which at times made me lose interest.

The main character, Lex (Savannah Lee May), has a great passion for dance and has also taught her little sister. Lex and her sister live with their mom, who is struggling to keep up with rent and expenses. The only option left for her is to stop the girls' dance lessons. However, when she is offered a new job in Los Angeles, and the family must move, things take a turn. Lex meets a new guy, who also dances, and discovers a dance studio.

Savannah Lee May is excellent as Lex --her dancing skills blew me away throughout the entire film; I couldn't take my eyes off her. It is also important to highlight our antagonist, whose jealousy, possessiveness, and flaming anger drive much of the conflict in the story. The storyline is basic, and, at times, I was making an effort to keep watching. Despite the downsides of this film, I was still entertained. For example, my favorite part is when Lex starts coaching her sister's friends. They all look so happy, and it brought a smile to my face. This film includes boy drama, which is very repetitive and, once again, predictable. One of my favorite parts is the final dance competition. All the dancers are so in sync that I felt like I was watching a famous dance show.

There are multiple positive messages in the film. One key lesson in Dance Rivals is not to be jealous of someone with greater skills but to learn from them instead. It also explores the themes of friendship, overcoming childhood traumas, and the pursuit of dreams with determination. This film has some bad language, but is suitable for tweens and teens.

I give Dance Rivals 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to18. Dance Rivals releases on streaming and VOD platforms on July 16, 2024.

By Neo M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


IMAGINATION TIME WITH PATRICK:

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
IMAGINATION TIME WITH PATRICK:       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PATRICK ADAMS
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - My new album of fun, silly, imaginative and empowering songs for kids, tackling topics such as hairless werewolves, fluffy dinosaurs, zombie ballerinas and much more!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The appealing variation on limitless imagination here is fun, but the over synth heavy production is distracting and vocals drenched in reverb is also a weak point. I found the music overpowering the lyrical messages presented in the songs, unfortunately.

Certainly, imagination can be fun and there are some clever titles and lyrics here. The artist seems a bit more interested in the groove than the message. The structure, continuity and style of this collection come from a specific genre that the artist is familiar with, which is fine, but it lacks variety in terms of different influences musically.

I had a hard time getting drawn into the content of this album. Though the album is named Imagination Time and includes songs named for werewolves, zombies, dinosaurs and pizza, I wonder how well it connects with the target audience, but let's let the youth reviewers decide. I am curious to see what our younger reviewers have to say to this point.

Many of the lyrics feel somewhat shoe-horned into the verses. The vocalist does not have a lot of range which is not a bad thing but you have to adjust accordingly. There are certainly musical chops evident here, but knowing when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em is critical.

I give Imagination Time With Patrick 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, just because I think younger ones might find things like werewolves scary.

By John Wood, KIDS FIRST! Music Pro
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Imagination Time with Patrick is an up-beat and peppy musical album, combining topics such as zombies and ballerinas to create an adventure that keeps kids guessing, "What's next?"

Made by children's musician and author Patrick Adams, this goofy collection of songs is designed to spark imagination in kids, and keep them active. It wonderfully showcases what you can do with a bit of creativity, and loads of fun. It takes kids on a journey from the Milky Way, to an underwater airplane, and wherever they can think of.

These songs are definitely a fun experience! I would not have thought songs like "Puppy Cat," "Football Bat" or "Fluffy Dinosaur" could exist. Despite the unusual titles they are actually very catchy songs, with most of them having a pop or techno beat to them. My favorite song is "Fluffy Dinosaur" -- the lyrics go into great detail explaining what it would be like to be a "Fluffasaurus Rex." They actually don't seem too scary. You can tell that Patrick had a very fun time making this album. He definitely has the heart of a child. The songs definitely seem whimsical and quirky, with most having a Dr. Seuss feel to them. They cover a wide range of topics that kids are interested in, from unicorns, to werewolves, and nearly everything in between. The sound quality is very good, and not muffled or blurred. It comes across quite clear and understandable despite the out of the box lyrics. The whole album is unusual from start to finish, and entertaining at the same time. Patrick talks, or sings, about being yourself. Through song, he lets his audience know that there is no one like you, and encourages you to go out and show the world what you can do.

The album's message is that things aren't always as they seem. Though a hairless werewolf or a zombie ballerina might seem scary at first, there is no doubt that these silly creatures' main goal is to have fun, and enjoy life. There is no bad language in this album, and nothing to be worried about (unless you are weary of an alien dance party!).

I give Imagination Time with Patrick 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Imagination Time with Patrick is available now with online retailers or streaming.

By Braedyn M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Imagination Time with Patrick is an album full of imagination. My five-year old self would have really enjoyed these songs. It is perfect for younger audiences who want to be silly and have fun. The lyrics discuss everything from hairless werewolves to fluffy dinosaurs.

Patrick Adams is a singer and creator of children's music. His latest album, Imagination Time with Patrick, empowers kids through creative oddities such as a puppy cat, a peanut butterfly, and zombie ballerinas. The songs are designed to make kids laugh and explore all areas of their imagination.

Imagination Time with Patrick has youthful songs that are full of unexpected lyrics. All of the music involves silly topics like the song "Purple Pepperoni Pizza." This is my favorite song, and it reminds me a lot of Sheb Wooley's "Purple People Eater." The words are catchy and easy to remember. I can totally see little kids being inspired to try to order purple food! There are also opportunities for the creation of cute dance moves to the tune of "Alien Dance Party" and "Zombie Ballerina." Some of this music would even be great for brain breaks in elementary classrooms as well as surprise performances in listeners' living rooms. There is some educational value in a few of the songs. For example, kids can learn about the eight planets in "Space Train" as well as the dwarf planet, Pluto. Songs like "Fluffy Dinosaur" and "Puppy Cat" are full of describing words that can help develop creative writing skills. The music does have some unappealing characteristics. The songs can be monotone and repetitive. It is more speaking than singing. The rhythms are very electronic and do not seem to have the same quality of mainstream music. They also are long, so it can be easy to tire of hearing the same lyrics. However, these things make the tunes catchy and easy for young minds to remember.

The album's message is to use your imagination. There are no creatures or ideas too small that can't be activated in young minds. It also encourages children to get off of technology and to unleash their fun power that is already inside of them .The music is kid-friendly and parents do not have to worry about any bad language or content.

I give Imagination Time with Patrick 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 5. The album is available now on Streaming and Online Retailers.

By Kinsley H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Runtime: 52 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: AUDIO


SPACE CADET

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPACE CADET       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
AMAZON STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Tiffany "Rex" Simpson has always dreamed of going to space, but life isn't going quite as planned. Determined to turn things around, she aims high and with the embellishing touch of her supportive best friend Nadine, her "doctored" application lands her in NASA's ultra-competitive astronaut training program. In over her head, Rex relies on her quick wits, moxie and determination to get to the top of her class. NASA program directors Pam and Logan certainly take notice, but can this Florida girl get through training and into the cosmos before she blows her cover? Written and directed by Liz W. Garcia, Space Cadet is a comedy about the power of being yourself, following your dreams and shooting for the stars.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Space Cadet is a really good movie filled with humor and adventure. It takes you on a remarkable trip to the stars, and beyond.

The plot follows Rex Simson (Emma Roberts) who grew up as a Florida Everglades girl obsessed with going to space. Now a young adult, she decides to apply for NASA's astronaut training program even though she doesn't have the required education or credentials. Trying to help, her best friend Nadine Cai (Poppy Liu) changes Rex's resume to give her a better shot at literal "stardom." When she gets into the program based on a faulty understanding, Rex is left trying to learn everything needed to be on the team before the countdown begins.

If I had to choose a favorite thing about this film, it is how the characters interact with each other. I like how, during each scene, they find a way to form a community, whether at a frantic Mars simulation, or just chilling at a park picnic table. Emma Roberts loans her talents to bring Rex's unique character to life. She brings a good and balanced mix of quirky and calm to the table when it is needed most. In the beginning, the plot is a bit tricky to follow, and doesn't give us the best understanding of the characters until later in the film. However, it makes up for that with good set design and props. The CGI work is particularly impressive! The characters really look like they are floating around in space. The music isn't all that noticeable, though I don't think it would impact this feature that much if it was. The plot is well paced, and not rushed or too slow. My favorite character is Captain Jack (Andrew Call). His get-to-the-point attitude and overall stance is very entertaining.

The film's message is to NEVER stop reaching for the stars. Though Rex doesn't have everything needed to be a typical astronaut, she definitely doesn't give up. She attempts, persists, and even ends up encouraging others along the way. Be aware that there are a number of instances of bad language throughout this film.

I give Space Cadet 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Space Cadet will launch in theaters on July 4, 2024.

By Braedyn M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


FLY ME TO THE MOON

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FLY ME TO THE MOON       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Starring Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum, Fly Me To The Moon is a sharp, stylish comedy-drama set against the high-stakes backdrop of NASA's historic Apollo 11 moon landing. Brought in to fix NASA's public image, sparks fly in all directions as marketing maven Kelly Jones (Johansson) wreaks havoc on launch director Cole Davis's (Tatum) already difficult task. When the White House deems the mission too important to fail, Jones is directed to stage a fake moon landing as back-up and the countdown truly begins.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Fly Me to the Moon is unlike any movie I've seen before. This film is well directed, with moments of slow burn and action, and has a strong backstory. It pays homage to a very memorable historical event whilst being heart-warming and suspenseful.

The story emerges from a different perspective of the Apollo 11 moon landing. It shows a backstory to the incredible NASA minds behind the operation.

The main characters are Kelly Jones (Scarlett Johansson), Cole Davis (Channing Tatum), Moe Berkus (Woody Harrelson) and Henry Smalls (Ray Romano). Cole's backstory really stands out to me because of how sensitive he is about his job after the Apollo 1 mission tragedy. Cole blames himself, as the mission control manager, that the crew died. It's interesting to see how that affects his relationship with others and himself. I also like the character Kelly because she's a strong female leader. It's nice to see her being the reason NASA accomplishes so much in the movie. The people around her are in awe of what she is capable of doing and I appreciate the screenwriters making an empowering female the main character. Next, the sets are incredible because they interpret the buildings and the technology at the time so well. I also like the cinematography, especially when Kelly and Cole fly in his private jet. The view is breathtaking and convincing to the viewer. I especially like how real footage from the mission is included. It makes the scenes--like during the rocket launch and first walk on the moon--more genuine. While loosely based on a true story, this film is mostly fictional and deviates from real history. Additionally, the costumes are fantastic; my favorites are the astronaut suits. One thing that is lacking is there isn't much comedy, which is disappointing. Some moments of the plot are slow, as well. My favorite part is the take-off of the rocket, which is visually breathtaking. A cloud of bright fire surrounds the rocket until it's left with orange hues as it takes off into the atmosphere. Real footage is balanced with CGI in alternating shots, which has a great and clever effect. That is just a very special moment.

The film's message is to be yourself and not run from what scares you. Kelly repeats she's used to running from her past and she doesn't want to anymore. Another key theme is to always be truthful, even if other people don't believe it. There is mild cursing in this film, so watch out for that.

I give Fly Me to the Moon 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Fly Me to the Moon releases in theaters July 12, 2024 and on Apple TV+ at a later date.

By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Fly Me to The Moon is a sharp, well written, blast of a film that exceeded all my expectations. It's witty comedy, stylization, and its surprisingly heartfelt love story at the heart of it all, cements Fly Me to The Moon as one of the best movies of the year.

Set during the late 1960s, Fly Me to The Moon follows NASA's Apollo 11 mission to send the first humans to the moon, but it takes a different approach in telling the well-known story. Originally hired by NASA to boost its reputation and gain public traction for the Apollo 11 mission, Kelly Jones (Scarlett Johansson) is tasked with organizing a backup landing, in case the real landing is unsuccessful. She meets launch director Cole (Channing Tatum), and the two must grapple with the ethicality of inauthenticity and the perilous stakes of failing the mission.

Fly Me to The Moon leans heavily into the comedy genre, providing a humorous retelling of the consequential 1960s space race. Every single cast member impressively nails their comedic timing. The excellent writing delivers a mix of physical and verbal comedy, all of which lands. Beyond the two leads' lighthearted and hilarious dynamic, Jim Rash's witty director Lance steals the show. Lance is recruited by Kelly to handle NASA's backup landing and he is just a blast to watch. One of the film's greatest strengths is also a weakness though, as sometimes the more comedic tones and the dramatic tones don't clash well. Often, a scene filled with hilarious jokes will be followed by a contrastingly touching scene and vice-versa, which results in much of the emotional impact being stripped away. Fly Me to The Moon is a fantastic period piece, embracing a retro aesthetic in its sets, costumes, music, and overall feel. The entire movie produces a sense of nostalgia for this time, even for those not there to see it. The sets are shockingly large in scale, and feel authentic in emulating the 1960s era. Dariusz Wolski's cinematography is a standout, and there are countless bold and incredible shots in the film. The cinematography paired with incredible editing results in Fly Me to The Moon's largely distinct style. Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum are perfectly cast in this film, not just for their individual portrayals of their characters, but their undeniable chemistry with each other. Thanks to the writing, and the two actors, Kelly and Cole feel like real human beings. We get glimpses at their motivations and flaws, which makes us root for them all the more. The dynamic between the two is perfect, and they fit together very well on screen.

Fly Me to The Moon has what so many films are missing today; optimism. Not only is it entertaining, but it's truly uplifting. It is a hilarious, stylish, and pleasing movie that is the perfect summer treat for the whole family.

I give Fly Me to The Moon 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Fly Me to The Moon releases in theaters July 12, 2024.

By Daniel S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

This is the best movie I've watched all year! Fly Me to the Moon is a wonderful and compelling motion picture that takes you on a whirlwind adventure showing you exactly what it means to get everything ready for launch day.

Brought in to help NASA get back on the good side of the American public, Kelly Jones (Scarlett Johansson) a marketing know-it-all, revs up NASA's marketing program much to the dismay and annoyance of launch director Cole Davis (Channing Tatum). When problems ensue getting the rocket ready for launch day, Kelly is told to stage a back up version of the moon landing in case things go awry. Now, she has to figure out a way to do the impossible. Land a man on the moon, and yet never leave Earth.

Everything in this movie is spot on. From the details put into making sure the food stays in line with the timeframe, to showing how one of the smallest creatures plays one of the biggest roles in this story. I really love the music -- it's upbeat at times, and mysterious at others. It definitely impacts the emotions every scene -- kudos to the director, Greg Berlanti and music director, Daniel Pemberton. The screenplay by Rose Gilroy has some of the best writing that I have seen. I love the dialogue between the characters, which is peppered with humor and a bit of romance. Cole and Kelly's chemistry softens out this production, and sweetens the overall impact. It's hard to choose a favorite thing in this film, but I'm going to go with the cat who reminds me a lot of my own. He is very curious about everything the team is working on. This is a very dramatic movie from start to finish. I'm glad that there isn't much of a low point. Neither Kelly nor Cole's past is dwelled upon; we just learn enough to give us depth and insight into their personalities. This is definitely a movie that I already want to see again.

The film's message is that you don't have to fake it to make it. Though the government wanted a staged moon landing to secure a win in the space race, Kelly finds out that sometimes you can be authentic and get the same results. Be aware that there is some profanity in this film and lots of smoking -- it was 1969, after all.

I give Fly Me to the Moon 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Fly Me to the Moon will rocket into theaters on July 12, 2024.

By Braedyn M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
THERE ONCE WAS - THERE IS NO MORE - THERE IS
LUKAS KLASCHINSKI
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - The film deals with the topic of experiencing difficult emotions related to the loss of loved ones and coping with it. Together with the 12-year old heroine Krysia, we go on a journey through places and times that were, which are not, and which we want to remember. The film, based on a story by Katarzyna Jackowska-Enemuo, supports young viewers in meeting their own emotional "black holes" and brings relief. The film is intended for children aged 10-12, but its profound meaning and contexts allow people over 12 years old to experience a journey within themselves and history. From Poland, Dialogue in Polish; English subtitles
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Beautifully animated short film offering insight into those that have left us.

The storyline addresses dealing with the loss of loved ones - human or not - and how to cope with our loss. A young girl loses her dog and it leads her on a journey of discovery and a reminder of how we remember our beloveds. It takes us on a journey as she explores her family members from the past.

I love the animation of this film. It's brightly colored and a bit shaky, which gives us the impression that it is hand drawn. The storyline is easily relatable for kids anywhere. Even though this film is from Poland with dialogue in Polish, there are English subtitles, which make it easy to follow.

The film's message is about how those that we love and have lost are still part of our lives.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Beautifully animated short film offering insight into those that have left us.

The storyline addresses dealing with the loss of loved ones - human or not - and how to cope with our loss. A young girl loses her dog and it leads her on a journey of discovery and a reminder of how we remember our beloveds. It takes us on a journey as she explores her family members from the past.

I love the animation of this film. It's brightly colored and a bit shaky, which gives us the impression that it is hand drawn. The storyline is easily relatable for kids anywhere. Even though this film is from Poland with dialogue in Polish, there are English subtitles, which make it easy to follow.

The film's message is about how those that we love and have lost are still part of our lives.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 17 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


QUIET PLACE, A: DAY ONE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
QUIET PLACE, A: DAY ONE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - A woman named Sam finds herself trapped in New York City during the early stages of an invasion by alien creatures with ultra-sensitive hearing. After the events and revelations of 'A Quiet Place' and 'A Quiet Place: Part 2' it is time to go back to 'Day One'. Following Sam (Lupita Nyong'o) as she's on a group trip in New York City, everything is going fine, until the invasion that sends the world into silence begins. Can the city stay quiet and can Sam and Eric (Joseph Quin), a new unlikely friend, make it somewhere safe? But no matter what happens, don't make a sound and you might just find out what happens in 'A Quiet Place: Day One.'
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Quiet Place: Day One captivated me with its intense atmosphere, brilliant acting, and compelling storyline. The fear of making even the slightest noise keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the movie.

It takes us back to the origins of the alien invasion that devastated New York City. We follow Samira, a terminally ill cancer patient (Lupita Nyong'o) and Eric (Joseph Quinn), an English law student, as they navigate through the chaos trying to find safety. Alongside them is the returning character, Henri (Djimon Hounsou). The survivors quickly learn that the mysterious creatures are drawn to sound, making silence their only way to survive.

The film is the third installment in the A Quiet Place film series based on the book by Michael Sarnoski and conceived with John Krasinski. The cast delivers outstanding performances, with Lupita Nyong'o and Joseph Quinn bringing depth and emotion to their roles. Nyong'o's portrayal of Sam showcases a blend of strength and vulnerability that is truly captivating. The return of Djimon Hounsou as Henri adds continuity and familiarity for fans of the original series. The special effects, particularly the depiction of the creatures and the desolate New York City, are top-notch and enhance the film's eerie ambiance. One of my favorite parts of the film is the scene where Sam and Eric must silently navigate through a subway station filled with creatures. The tension and suspense in this scene is amazing, making it a standout moment. The direction by Michael Sarnoski, along with the use of lighting and sound, creates an immersive experience that pulls you into the characters' terrifying predicament.

The message of A Quiet Place: Day One is clear: by sticking together and supporting each other, we can overcome even the most daunting challenges. This theme is portrayed through the characters' relationships and their determination to survive despite the odds. This movie is intense and contains scenes of violence and horror. The jump scares and frightening moments may be too intense for younger viewers. There is also bad language.

I give A Quiet Place: Day One 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, as well as adults who enjoy thrilling and suspenseful films. You can catch this film in theaters beginning June 28, 2024.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 20

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


DESPICABLE ME 4

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DESPICABLE ME 4       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - In the first Despicable Me movie in seven years, Gru, the world's favorite supervillain-turned-Anti-Villain League-agent, returns for an exciting, bold new era of Minions mayhem in Illumination's Despicable Me 4. Gru, Lucy, Margo, Edith, and Agnes welcome a new member to the family, Gru Jr., who is intent on tormenting his dad. Gru faces a new nemesis in Maxime Le Mal and his femme fatale girlfriend Valentina and the family is forced to go on the run.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Get ready to raise your glasses and say, "Kanpai" (cheers) in celebration as the Gru family returns in Despicable Me 4! The familiar and lovable characters are back, bringing with them a hilarious and entertaining storyline that definitely had me laughing out loud.

The storyline follows Gru (Steve Carell) when he fails to capture his old nemesis, Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell) and his family is forced into the witness protection program. But, portraying the role of the average next-door neighbor is no easy task for Gru, his wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig), and their adopted daughters Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Madison Polan). The introduction of the want-to-be villain, Poppy (Joey King), sparks Gru's desire for mischievous adventures, setting the stage for comical chaos with the assistance of his minions.

This is a fun animated film filled with compassion and comedy. Created by Illumination Entertainment, the frantic visual disorder seized my attention and took me on a wild ride filled with glee. The fantastic voice acting makes all the characters likable. Joey King, with her lisp and evil laugh, makes Poppy so menacing and likable. The screenplay by Ken Daurio and Mike White feels familiar and fresh at the same time. Gru's loving relationship with his wife Lucy, baby boy, and adopted daughters Margo, Edith and Agnes remains heart-warming. The introduction of villains Maxime Le Ma, Valentina (Sofia Vergara), and Poppy keep Gru from living a dull life as an anti-villain. One of my favorite scenes is the attempted theft of the honey badger.

The film's message reminds us to stay true to ourselves and to remember that family is essential to our happiness. By embracing his true nature, Gru is able to release the pressures of being an anti-villain and pursue his dreams.

Despicable Me 4 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18 and adults. It opens in theaters on July 3, 2024.

By Calee N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The hilarious super-dad is back! Gru and his family return in the hilarious Despicable Me 4. This movie is action-packed, funny, and shows how important family truly is. It stars many well-known actors, including Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Will Ferrell, and Sof�a Vergara.

This comedic film starts with Gru (Steve Carell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) doing their best to raise Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), Agnes (Madison Polan), and the newest member of the family, Gru Jr. (Tara Strong) The family thinks their life has finally gone back to normal, until they find out that Gru's arch-nemeses Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell) and Valentina (Sof�a Vergara) escaped prison and are out for revenge against Gru, which means he and his family must go into hiding. While staying undercover, each family member encounters different people and different struggles. The Minions are as crazy and shenanigan-filled as ever, but also as caring and protective of the family, no matter the cost.

My favorite characters in this film are the Minions and Poppy Prescott (Joey King). The Minions have always been energetic and filled with slapstick comedy, and they have never failed to make me laugh. I love how the director, Chris Renaud, makes sure the Minions are still the same funny, chaotic characters as they have been since the beginning of the Despicable Me series. I love Poppy because of how passionate she is about becoming a super-villainess. She is also so clever and lovable, which adds to her character. Another part of this film I enjoyed was the creativity of the new villains, Maxime Le Mal and Valentina. The writers, Ken Daurio and Mike White, created two incredible characters with loads of personality, imagination, and evil. The music is especially enjoyable in the movie. For example, there is a song in the beginning of the film called "Double Life" by Pharrell Williams, which is so fun and upbeat. The energy from this song matches the energy of the movie.

The film's message is to never give up and persevere through every situation. Gru always has and always will care about his family. Whenever his family is in trouble, he will always be there to save them.

Despicable Me 4 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. It releases in theaters on July 3, 2024.

By Ari P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

What a fun film Despicable Me 4 is. I love this film! It was great entertainment from start to finish and made me laugh the entire time.

Gru and the minions return in this fourth installment, providing humor and entertainment at every turn. Gru is challenged by high school rival, Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell) and his female sidekick Valentina (Sofia Vergara) and they're forced to flee to a safe house. As the family takes on new identities, Gru takes the opportunity to bond with his son. More plots emerge as the family struggles with new identities and a neighbor, Poppy (Joey King), knows Gru's identity.

Very entertaining. I will go see it again with friends. The animation and the writing are paired perfectly. Every character has their own story line and each of their own individual journeys contributes to the plot. They are all connected, which makes the film that much more entertaining. One thing I love about Despicable Me 4 is ... the Minions. They're consistent as the main protagonists in the Gru family. They offer constant on-screen antics, and their silly behavior kept me laughing. Whether on a bus, in a vending machine, or in training as the Mega Minions, their attempt to help always creates drama and messes things up. I enjoyed the character of Poppy, who wears braces and has a lisp, which is hysterical. Maybe we will see her in future films. The background music and sound effects enhance the entire film. The sounds in the grocery store scene are great - with screams and pounding footsteps running through the aisles. At other times we hear the roaring of engines, lazar sounds from the Mega Minion, and tires screeching behind the opening music as they drive up into the California hills. This film is great in so many ways.

The film's messages are about bonding with your family, finding a happy place, being true to oneself and protecting your loved ones. Be aware that there are some naughty Minions. Some humor is a bit inappropriate for kids, yet this humor may keep parents engaged. My mom laughed at some of the "adult jokes" and had to explain them to me.

Despicable Me 4 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages to 5 to 18, plus adults. The film releases in theaters July 3, 2024. Go check it out.

Emma O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I enjoyed Despicable Me 4! It's full of slapstick comedy plus new and old characters. The animation is so high quality it's despicable.

In the sixth installment of the Despicable Me franchise, Gru (Steve Carell), Lucy (Kristen Wiig), and the girls welcome a new member to their family, Gru Jr. (Tara Strong), who is set on tormenting his dad. And now, because of a new villain named Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell) and his girlfriend (Sof�a Vergara), Gru's family is forced to go into hiding and adopt new identities. Will they take Maxime down or will their cover be blown? Watch to find out!

This movie is really cute, but there is just a lot going on at once. There are several different subplots and a lot of new characters that are crammed into this 94-minute movie, so some scenes feel a bit random and out of place. Nonetheless, this is a great family movie. Its humor is geared more towards younger audiences, but that being said, I and a lot of adults laughed throughout the entire movie. I adore all of the characters in the franchise dearly, but my favorite is Agnes, voiced by Madison Polan. She is so sweet and lovable and always wants to do the right thing. I also really love the performances from Steve Carell as Gru, Kristen Wiig as Lucy, Miranda Cosgrove as Margo, and Dana Gaier as Edith. Pierre Coffin, as always, is so impressive when voicing the minions (yes, all of them). Will Ferrell as Maxime and Sof�a Vergara as Valentina, Maxime's girlfriend, are hilarious and really fit their roles.

The film's messages, similar to the previous installments, focus on the importance of family and doing the right thing. Be forewarned that there are some risky behaviors portrayed in this movie that young children shouldn't try to replicate.

Despicable Me 4 gets 4 of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. People who enjoyed the previous Despicable Me movies will definitely want to see this one. It comes out in theaters on July 3, 2024.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Bringing back my favorite yellow-friends, Despicable Me 4 is hilarious, original, and chaotic in the best way. It hits the screen with all the energy expected from the first scene to the last.

Following the prison escape of his arch nemesis Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell), ex-villain Gru (Steve Carell) is forced to move into hiding with his wife, Lucy (Kristen Wiig), his three daughters, and his new baby son, Gru Jr. (Tara Strong) After assuming new identities the craziness never fails to follow Gru's family as they meet new neighbors, explore their new lives, and hide from Maxime and his fashionable girlfriend Valentina (Sof�a Vergara). And of course, the minions have their own adventures as well.

Despicable Me 4 flows so smoothly despite all the plot lines going throughout the film. Many subplots are developed and, by the end, they all tie together quite nicely. It's a perfect way to give viewers lots to enjoy without leaving them hanging. The only thing that doesn't have enough attention is the character of Maxime Le Mal -- part of his character is his obsession with cockroaches and he has a whole army of them, but apart from talking to them a bit as his evil army, they don't help execute his master plans. This made me wonder what they were intended for exactly. Besides this, every character is wonderful to watch and I particularly enjoyed Poppy. Voiced by Joey King, Poppy has been born into an uptight family in the town of Mayflower and dreams of becoming an evil villain. I love how she is introduced as kind of a mystery until her intentions are revealed. I enjoyed seeing how dedicated she is to achieve her dreams. The side plot of the minions is not paid a lot of attention to but that never stops the minions from stealing the spotlight. We find five minions with superpowers and the writers have some hilarious situations these minions get into which, of course, all tie back to saving their beloved master, Gru. My favorite part of this film is the last scene where Gru and Maxime have a karaoke competition and perform it at the local jail. In this scene there are nods to all the past movies including the Despicable Me and Minions films. I won't spoil it, but it's a great Easter egg that plays tribute to the previous films.

The film's theme is that nothing is more important than family. Gru struggles to bond with his son and he never stops trying because Gru Jr. is so important to him. Throughout the film Gru is always putting his family first and he never stops fighting for them.

Despicable Me 4 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters July 3, 2024.

By Kendall B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


WONDLA

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WONDLA       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
APPLE TV
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Eva is a typical teen: curious, enthusiastic, and spirited. The only difference ... she's being raised alone by a robot caretaker, Muthr, in a state-of-the-art underground bunker. On her 16th birthday, an attack on her sanctuary forces her onto the Earth's surface, and it's not what she expected. The planet is inhabited by aliens, covered with otherworldly fauna, and there are no other humans to be found. In fact, it's no longer called Earth -- it's called Orbona. Otto, a lovable giant waterbear with whom Eva shares telepathic powers, Rovender, a cantankerous alien with a troubled past, and Muthr join Eva as she embarks on a quest to find humans, her home and her true destiny.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really had fun watching this show! WondLa is a sci-fi fantasy filled with thrills and adventure. It has eye-popping animation that is very entertaining. The characters are diverse and unexpected.

This television series is based on the book, "The Search for WondLa," by Tony DiTerlizzi. It tells the story of Eva (Jeanine Mason), a courageous and lively teenager, who has spent her life in a bunker training for her first moment above ground. The only family that she has known is Muther (Teri Hatcher), a very cautious robot, that teaches her about Earth and how to protect herself. Eva soon gets the surprise of her life when she learns that everything she has been taught is no longer true.

WondLa had me on the edge of my seat. The animation made me feel like I had walked into a whole new world. The setting has everything, from flying whales to enormous man-eating butterflies. It depicts an Earth that has been transformed into Orbona, a world filled with the unexpected. The backgrounds are detailed and colorful. It is impossible to see everything in just one viewing. My favorite character is Eva's Omnipod (D.C. Douglas). Omni is the most humorous character. I love that, even though his tone does not change, he can still make you laugh with his short and witty statements. The characters are either adorable or terrifying. Otto (Brad Garrett) is a gigantic, water bear-like creature. He is a kind and loyal friend that is constantly helping Eva get out of tough situations. On the other hand, there is Besteel (Chike Okonkwo), a scary and towering villain with sharp teeth and a hunched back. I screamed when this character was first introduced. I could not wait to see what new character Eva would meet next.

The film's message is about friendship. Eva spent the first years of her life wishing to meet humans just like her, so that she could finally have a family. Each episode proves that friends can take any shape or form. WondLa celebrates differences! Parents should be aware that the show does have some violence and dangerous activities.

I give WondLa 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. The first seven episodes of WondLa premieres globally on June 28, 2024 on Apple TV+.

By Kinsley H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


THELMA

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
THELMA       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - The feature directorial debut of Josh Margolin, Thelma is a poignant action-comedy that gives veteran Oscar� nominee June Squibb her first leading role on-screen and features the final performance of trailblazing actor Richard Roundtree. Squibb plays Thelma Post, a feisty 93-year-old grandmother who gets conned by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson and sets out on a treacherous quest across Los Angeles, accompanied by an aging friend and his motorized scooter, to reclaim what was taken from her. Inspired by a real-life experience of Margolin's own grandmother, Thelma puts a clever spin on movies like Mission: Impossible, shining the spotlight on an elderly grandmother as an unlikely action hero. With infectious humor, Margolin employs the familiar tropes of the action genre in hilarious, age-appropriate ways to tackle aging with agency. In the first leading film role of her 70-year career, Squibb portrays the strong-willed Thelma with grit and determination, demonstrating that she is more than capable of taking care of business - despite what her daughter Gail, son-in-law or grandson might believe.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love the movie Thelma! It has the perfect combination of action, jokes and emotion that makes it balanced and complete. Thelma taught me many valuable lessons and gives my generation a new perspective on technology and the world we live in.

Thelma (June Squibb) is a 93-year-old, widowed woman who is easily scammed due to her hilarious lack of computer knowledge. Michael (Aidan Fiske) and Harvey (Malcom McDowell) call Thelma and impersonate her grandson, Danny (Fred Hechinger), pretending he has gotten into a car accident, Thelma wires $10,000 to an unknown source with no hesitation. When Danny returns home safe and Thelma realizes she has been tricked, she and her friend Ben (Richard Roundtree) steal a scooter from a nursing home and take off on a journey to get their revenge.

I am impressed with the execution of the character development in Thelma, particularly that of Danny. The film begins by depicting him as a caring but irresponsible individual who has good intentions but struggles with organization. However, Thelma's sudden disappearance serves as a wake-up call, motivating Danny to take initiative, starting by renewing his driver's license, which his parents (Parker Posey, Clark Gregg) have been reminding him to do. Thelma indirectly influences Danny's growth by making him step up in a time of crisis. Thelma also undergoes an improvement when she finally tracks down her scammers. She originally set out to seek revenge but, once she sees that Harvey and Michael are alone and struggling for money, she finds herself sympathizing with them. She gains a sense of perspective when listening to their story and, though she still takes back her money, she leaves them $500, displaying the shift in her focus from revenge to justice. I love that even though Thelma is based on heavier themes such as aging, death, and the flaws of technology, there is plenty of room for humor! My favorite moments in the film are when Thelma and Ben run away with their bright red scooter, angering the staff of the nursing home; and again when Thelma steals a gun without knowing how to use it. Considering that Thelma does not actually hurt anyone, the look on Harvey's face when she accidentally shoots the wall is priceless. Watching Thelma attempt to learn about computers and pop-up advertisements is equally entertaining.

Thelma taught me many things. I learned to always consider multiple sides of a story before making decisions, and I learned that perspective can change everything. It also reminded me that sometimes people that seem the most fragile actually turn out to be the most capable -- so don't underestimate anyone. That grandma who makes amazing snickerdoodles might turn out to be quite a skilled motorcyclist. Be aware that Thelma contains smoking and mild gun violence although there are no injuries, casualties or bloody scenes.

I give Thelma 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Thelma releases to theaters on June 21, 2024.

By Ella S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


DISNEY JR.'S ARIEL

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DISNEY JR.'S ARIEL       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY JUNIOR
Series: SERIES, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Set in the fantastical Caribbean-inspired underwater kingdom of Atlantica, the series follows Ariel as she embarks on fun-filled, action-packed mermaid adventures with her friends. Driven by a deep and unending curiosity about the world around her, Ariel discovers land treasures, like a big floppy hat, squeaky rubber ducky and whisk, that she collects and keeps safe in her crystal cavern. Sometimes, Ariel uses the treasures to help solve problems. With each discovery, Ariel is filled with joy, and her mermaid tail, which changes colors depending on her emotions, lights up and shimmers. Full of charm, big ideas and a powerful voice, "Disney Jr.'s Ariel" is coming into her own, learning how to discover and appreciate the world around her and use her voice to inspire others.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Jumping Jellyfish! Ariel is back for another under-the-sea adventure in Disney Jr.'s Ariel. It's full of friendship, aquatic fun, and music! It's perfect for kids to watch and enjoy with their family. Young fans of any version of The Little Mermaid will certainly love watching this series!

Disney Jr.'s Ariel is based on the classic story and film, The Little Mermaid, and takes you on a musical journey following a young Ariel (Mykal-Michelle Harris) and her friends Flounder (Gracen Newton), Lucia (Elizabeth Phoenix Caro) and Fernie (Cruz Flateau) as they experience various adventures in Atlantica. They use the power of friendship, music, and magic to help each other and their friends throughout the show.

The cast of this series is perfect. The actors really connect to the characters, including the way they look. Mykal-Michelle Harris, who voices Ariel, fits this character perfectly in both her personality and her singing voice. The character designs are amazing culturally as well from the hair, to the skin tones, to their dialect speech. I like that they kept the cultural status of Ariel, even making King Triton and Ursula Black characters. I found it interesting how they gave Ursula more human traits and added a special plot twist to her character, which I love. The music in this series is so fun, catchy, and upbeat! I believe that young people will love it; I honestly feel that it adds more to Ariel, considering her love of music and singing. The design of this show is so colorful and vibrant - it really captures the beauty and uniqueness of the ocean. Each episode is 23 minutes long, with two titles included, so audiences can be entertained for quite some time.

There's a new message in every episode of this series, addressing issues such as friendship, understanding each other, and patience. This series is educational plus it's an entertaining experience that gives parents a break.

I give Disney Jr.'s Ariel 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. Disney Jr.'s Ariel premieres on Disney Junior on June 27, 2024.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

After the hit 2023 remake of The Little Mermaid, audiences have been waiting to see more of Ariel and her unique adventures. Disney's newest animated series, Disney Jr.'s Ariel, gives us a fresh perspective of Ariel in her childhood. Even though this show is geared toward younger audiences, I definitely enjoyed the show's upbeat and entertaining style.

This series follows eight-year-old Ariel (Mykal-Michelle Harris) growing up in the underwater world of Atlantica. With her best friends Flounder (Gracen Newton), Lucia (Elizabeth Pheonics Caro) and Fernie (Cruz Flateau) she goes on fun and action-packed quests. Ariel's curiosity drives her adventures, inspiring her to collect pieces of treasure and solve problems in remarkable ways.

Disney Jr.'s Ariel is the perfect new show for families, especially those with younger children. The first thing that grabbed my attention when watching Ariel was its use of vibrant colors. The bright pinks, blues, and yellows are perfect for younger audiences, giving the characters energy, and keeping kids engaged in the show even if they can't quite understand the plot yet. A key moment of each episode is when Ariel's tail shimmers and changes colors when she gets an idea, or her emotions change. Not only do those colors provide energy to the show, but I predict the upbeat and catchy songs will help Ariel become a fan favorite. Mykal-Michelle Harris carries the lead role, Ariel, extremely well, showcasing her well-rounded talents as both an actress and singer. Ariel has a star-studded cast, with seasoned actors like Taye Diggs and Amber Riley joining this series as King Triton and Ursula. Each character, old and new, brings a new point of view to the story of the Little Mermaid, making this a thrilling family-friendly show.

There are many positive messages from Ariel, but a prominent one is: don't be afraid of adventure. Ariel is a very curious young girl, and sometimes she faces problems she doesn't know the answer to. However, she stays persistent and makes the best out of every situation, learning something new along the way.

I give Disney Jr.'s Ariel 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. You can find Ariel on Disney Junior on June 27, 2024 and on Disney+ on June 28, 2024. Make sure you check it out!

Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Age 16

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


ULTRAMAN RISING

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ULTRAMAN RISING       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - With Tokyo under siege from rising monster attacks, baseball star Ken Sato reluctantly returns home to take on the mantle of Ultraman. But the titanic superhero meets his match when he reluctantly adopts a 35-foot-tall, fire-breathing baby kaiju. Sato must rise above his ego to balance work and parenthood while protecting the baby from forces bent on exploiting her for their own dark plans. In partnership with Netflix, Tsuburaya Productions, and Industrial Light & Magic, Ultraman: Rising is written by Shannon Tindle and Marc Haimes, directed by Shannon Tindle, and co-directed by John Aoshima.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - As an Ultraman fan and someone who likes science fiction animation movies, I loved Ultraman Rising.

The storyline follows a baseball player named Ken Sato (Christopher Sean) who left Japan for the United States with his mother when he was young and became a famous baseball player. Now he needs to return to Tokyo to take over the role of Ultraman because his dad (Gedde Watanabe) asks him to come and take a bigger role in his life. He lives with a robot named Mina (Tamlyn Tomita) who helps him in his tasks. One day, while fighting Ken finds a Kaiju egg and knows that he needs to learn to care for the baby Kaiju and learn the importance of family. A man named Dr. Onda (Keone Young) wants to destroy all the kaijus, he wants to take revenge because his family died in a kaiju attack.

The animation by the Sunrise team is really great - sometimes I forgot I was watching an animation. The actors' voices match the characters quite well. Director and writer, Shannon Tindle and co-director, John Aoshima, even including something from the original series - at the beginning it shows the kaiju from the first episode of Ultraman. They also incorporated some very funny scenes and lines, like the baby kaiju going wild! I really love the baby's incidents - they are so funny. Don't leave your seat too soon at the end or you will miss an important part of the story. I want to mention that I noticed that there are some flashing lights in some scenes, so people sensitive to stroboscopic flashes may be affected.

The film's message is that family is the most important thing in your life. Also, you can't deny anything you don't like. Ken tried to find solutions, but they all weren't good enough.

I give Ultraman Rising 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults and Ultraman fans. This film begins streaming on Netflix June 14, 2024.

By Ryan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Ultraman: Rising is a phenomenal animated action movie. I love the amazing animation, great special effects and awesome storyline.

The storyline is a take on the Japanese Ultraman story; it follows Ken Sato (Christopher Sean) and his challenges of becoming Ultraman. He has to find the balance between his passion for baseball and being the superhero protecting Japan from Kaiju -- Godzilla-like creatures that torment the city. One day as he is fighting a Gigantron, he secures an egg, which hatches into a baby Kaiju. Ken, with his computer assistant, Mina (Tamlyn Tomita) and his dad (Gedde Watanabe) takes care of her and names her Emi. Soon, a strong familial bond forms and Ken now has to be a parent, professional baseball player and Ultraman.

Ultraman: Rising has a heartwarming storyline about the importance of family with amazing animation and special effects. What makes the animation extraordinary are all the intricate details of the characters which make them look so real. The settings are beautiful and the special effects are out of this world. The explosions when Ken falls into water are so wonderful. The voice-acting is truly incredible. Christopher Sean, who voices Ken Sato, is outstanding - his voice clearly projects Ken's struggles as he juggles being a superhero and a baseball player. Ultraman also has to balance his duties of protecting the city from the Kaiju while protecting them from the Kaiju Defense Force, set to eliminate all the Kaiju. Gedde Watanabe is a perfect fit for the role of Professor Sato, Ken's dad. He shows his sadness when Ken dismisses him and is eager to restore his relationship with his son. Tamlyn Tomita, who voices Mina, is very funny as the knowledgeable computer, always ready to diagnose what might be wrong with Emi. Emi is also very adorable and funny as the baby Kaiju. The villain in the movie, Dr. Onda (Keone Young) shows his anguish as he tries to kill all the Kaiju in revenge for killing his family.

The film's message reminds us that family will always be there for you, no matter what. It's also a reminder to find the balance between what our passions are and what our duties are. Ken's conflict is between his passion of being a full time baseball player and his duty of being Ultraman. At first, it is hard to do both and he wants to stop being Ultraman, but he regains his confidence and begins saving lives again.

I give Ultraman: Rising 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 plus adults. It is available on Netflix on June 14, 2024.

By Avani M., KIDSFIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


INSIDE OUT 2

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
INSIDE OUT 2       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - The little voices inside Riley's head know her inside and out--but everything changes when Disney and Pixar's "Inside Out 2" introduces a new Emotion: Anxiety. Inside Out 2 returns to the mind of newly minted teenager Riley just as headquarters is undergoing a sudden demolition to make room for something entirely unexpected: new Emotions! Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust, who have long been running a successful operation by all accounts, aren't sure how to feel when Anxiety shows up. And it looks like she's not alone. Maya Hawke lends her voice to Anxiety, alongside Amy Poehler as Joy, Phyllis Smith as Sadness, Lewis Black as Anger, Tony Hale as Fear, and Liza Lapira as Disgust.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The teenage mind has a lot of emotion, which we explore in Inside Out 2! From taking rides down your river of consciousness to discovering your deep dark secrets, Inside Out 2 makes you think and discover a bit of yourself.

Inside Out 2 is a time skip to the first establishment. It continues to follow Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Tony Hale), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Liza Lapria), who are Riley's (Kensington Tallman) original emotions. As Riley enters her "teenage years" new emotions are introduced such as Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Ennui (Ad�le Exarchopoulos), Envy (Ayo Edebiri) and Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser). When Riley gets accepted to Hockey Camp, Anxiety and new emotions try to take over her core beliefs. It's up to Joy and her group to find a way to get Riley back to the way she was.

This film is much deeper compared to the first film. This explores the concept of growing up and the more complex emotions that can "take over" other feelings. Anxiety, as the villain, is genius in the sense that most people see it that way. Anxiety tends to overpower joy as metaphorically shown in this film. My favorite aspect of Inside Out 2 is the little hints of the mind they added. I love that they now have beliefs that create the "self," the river of consciousness which changes floating items based on your thoughts and, even the vault of secrets. This film runs 1 hour and 36 minutes and is worth the watch for new and prior fans!

The film's message is to be true to yourself and, while you should prepare for the future, don't let that stop you from experiencing the present. In the film, Anxiety works on always preparing Riley for the future which means her destroying who Riley is and should be. Riley begins to "suffer the consequences" of that action which takes a toll on her. While there is nothing to look out for in Inside Out 2, it is a much deeper-minded film so it can get viewers thinking deeper or experiencing certain emotions.

Inside Out 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch it in theaters June 14, 2024.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

I absolutely love the film Inside Out 2 with its vibrant, imaginative worlds, hilarious and unique characters, and engaging storyline. I felt a deep connection to each character. Every scene captivated me with its colorful animation and the hilarious chaos carries throughout the film.

The main character, Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), is now officially a teenager and the film begins with a brief recap of Riley's life over the past couple of years. We are introduced to four new emotions: Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Embarrassment (Paul Walter), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), and Ennui (Adele E). It seems like an ordinary day at headquarters until everyone realizes that demolition is happening - quite symbolic - and a new emotion, Anxiety, has arrived with the intention to dominate and conquer. Anxiety introduces the other new emotions and takes over with the ultimate goal to eliminate Riley's sense of self and create a new one. Then chaos erupts!

One of my favorite parts in the film is when Joy and Sadness go down to the belief system. The visuals are so clear and beautiful. I really like the visual imagery throughout the film, with characters navigating worlds like the back of the mind, or the stream of consciousness. I also love the idea of the good memories being "planted" when released into the water, creating a stem to Riley's sense of self. This film also had me uncontrollably laughing. For example, the moment when a button labeled "PUBERTY" starts beeping, waking up the emotions in the middle of the night. It is hilarious to see how the emotions react to Riley's changes. This film is very relatable, especially for my age group, because it makes tons of jokes about going through the teenage years. My absolute favorite moments are related to the character development that emotions like Joy and her counterpart, Sadness, go through. Seeing all the emotions come together and realize that they each play a part in Riley's sense of self also strikes home.

The film's message is that all emotions shape us into who we are. For example, we need to experience sadness in our lives in order to feel joy. The film expresses the positive message that all emotions are necessary and are part of connecting to who we are.

Inside Out 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Inside Out 2 in theaters, June 14, 2024.

I really enjoyed Inside Out 2. It is a thrilling film about a young girl becoming a teenager and I could relate to the many new emotions she is experiencing. This movie is perfect to watch with someone the age of the protagonist.

The story follows a girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) who is just entering puberty and needs to make room for new emotions as she becomes an adolescent. Riley's headquarters (which is where all her emotions stay) gets demolished so that it can make room for her new "sophisticated" emotions, including: Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), Boredom (Adele Exarchopoulos), Envy (Ayo Edebiri) and Nostalgia (June Squibb). In one of the scenes Anxiety tells Joy that Riley needs more sophisticated emotions and pushes aside our classic five being: Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Tony Hale) and my personal favorite Disgust (Liza Lapira).

The animation in this film is fantastic and the characters look stupendous. In one scene when Joy's emotion changes and she gets frustrated, by the help of animation, she looks as if she is about to explode and cry at the same time. There are no special effects, but there are many visual effects that match the storyline perfectly. When Joy, Fear, Anger and Disgust get trapped inside of a safe a small character named Pouchie (James Austin Johnson) appears and that animation looks different than the other characters, he sort of looks like a cartoon from the 80s. My favorite scene is when the five emotions first meet - Anxiety, Boredom, Envy, Nostalgia and Embarrassment. The interaction between Anxiety and Joy is a bit strange since Joy thinks these are intruders to headquarters and Anxiety is crazy when it comes to meeting new people. I mean, "Emotions!" Another one of my favorite scenes in this hilarious film is when Riley meets the popular girls. This is one of my favorite scenes because of how funny and awkward it is when Riley goes to meet these girls. To see what happens next, you must watch the movie! I know that you will love it just as much as I did!

The film's message is that it is okay to experience a variety of emotions and not just feel happy or sad. Another message is about how starting to become adolescents brings about different feelings than we had in our childhood, so, we need to understand why we feel this way and accept these feelings.

Inside Out 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters June 14, 2024.

By Keila V., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

I love Inside Out 2! This masterfully made movie is a sequel to the 2015 film Inside Out that dives deeper into the emotional and mental changes children have as they become teenagers. It has amazing storytelling, numerous powerful messages and so much emotional depth.

This movie follows Riley (Kensington Tallman) as she enters her teenage years in the summer before she starts high school. As she hits puberty, her mind headquarters undergoes an unexpected change to make room for new emotions, like Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), Boredom (Adele Exarchopoulos), Envy (Ayo Edebiri) and Anxiety (Maya Hawke). These new emotions challenge not only Riley's emotions but also her friendships and sense of self.

I believe people of all ages will enjoy Inside Out 2. This film was made nearly a decade after the original movie, and with a purpose, it seems. I feel that the creators of this movie waited this long to make this sequel so that all of the original viewers would be older. I was only six or seven when I saw the original Inside Out. And now, I'm sixteen and my mind is so much more complex than the five core emotions featured in the original movie, which Inside Out 2 addresses and is why the timing of this release is so perfect. This movie really masters the more complex emotions that come as we age. Anyone in their teenage years or adulthood will be able to relate to this movie because of these new emotions. Younger children will definitely like this movie, but they may not understand it as deeply as an older person will. I love the new characters. As in the original movie, these performances blew my mind. The strongest performances come from Amy Poehler as Joy, Maya Hawke as Anxiety, and Kensington Tallman as Riley. Kensington, Grace Lu (as Grace) and Sumayyah Nuriddin-Green (as Bree) have so much chemistry and truly seem like they are best friends. My favorite performance is from Adele Exarchopoulos, who plays Ennui (boredom) and, even though she doesn't have that many lines, she's hilarious.

Inside Out 2 has many deep messages, like embracing every part of yourself and remembering that it's okay to feel all sorts of different emotions. Its goal is to de-stigmatize anxiety and other emotions because they are normal and really common.

Inside Out 2 gets 5 of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. People who enjoyed the original Inside Out movie will definitely enjoy this one. It comes out in theaters on June 14, 2024.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


SCHOOL OF MAGICAL ANIMALS 2

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SCHOOL OF MAGICAL ANIMALS 2       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
BLUE FOX ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATUREFILM, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - The students of the school of magical animals want to perform a musical for the school's anniversary. Will the rehearsals end in chaos or will the class pull together? And what's up with the strange holes on the school grounds? With the help of their magical animals, the children learn what really matters: teamwork. From Germany, base on bestselling children's book series by Margit Auert. Dubbed in English.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I absolutely love the movie School of Magical Animals 2! The sets are very detailed and are beautifully designed to fit the lighthearted style of the movie. The animals' hilarious antics kept me laughing throughout the film! Best of all, you don't need to have seen the first film, School of Magical Animals. You can enjoy and completely understand the film for what it is!

School of Magical Animals 2 follows a group of students and their talking pets preparing to celebrate their school's anniversary with a musical performance. They want to honor their school by recreating the story of its foundation. The only problem is, they cannot agree on how to do it! Ida (Emilia Maier) is appointed director, but when the school's most popular girl, Helene (Emilia Pieske), attempts to take control, the class is torn. Additionally, the school director, Mr. Siegmann (Justus von Dohn�nyi) has his own vision for the musical and insists that it is followed. With the advice and assistance of the magical animals, the students eventually realize they must join forces, each learning a valuable lesson along the way.

The sets immediately stood out to me, especially the individual characters' bedrooms. The room decorations reflect each of their personalities. My favorite room belongs to Anna-Lena (Lilith Johna). She is a shy but happy, welcoming girl with a wonderful singing voice and a talent for textiles. Her room is covered with beautiful fairy lights, warm pastel-colored cushions, and sewing equipment, because she is sewing the main character's dress for the musical. There is a wooden bunk bed with a ladder and there are plants and vines around the room, in adorable white or neutral pots. Her room looks like it belongs to a garden fairy, which describes Anna-Lena perfectly! Aside from the characters' rooms, the rest of the sets are also beautifully designed, such as the stage for the performance and the set for Ida's rooftop birthday party. Both maintain a light, happy color scheme to support the movie's cheerful tone. They are very detailed as well, with star-shaped cutouts and strobe lights for the stage and a whole snack booth with cafe-style tables set up by the trampolines for Ida's birthday party. The animals are essential to the plot and the character development. Each main character's animal represents either their internal thoughts or a lesson they need to learn. For example, Anna-Lena receives a chameleon named Caspar (Rick Kavanian), who pushes her to overcome her shyness and step out of her comfort zone, even encouraging her to take on the lead role in the musical. And Juri (Axel Stein), Jo's penguin, represents his conscience when he makes a mistake and guides him to the right decision by sharing advice, as well as his own hilarious stories from when he was in Antarctica.

The message of School of Magical Animals 2 is that teamwork makes the dream work! At the end of the film, the students realize that they are more powerful together than apart, and to make their musical the best it can be, they need to work together, share their ideas and listen to others' opinions. Be aware that this film was originally recorded in German and is dubbed in English, with subtitles provided.

School of Magical Animals 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. School of Magical Animals 2 releases in theaters on June 7, 2024.

By Ella S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

I like the film School of Magical Animals 2. It is entertaining with all the magical animals talking and having fun personalities. I also really like how the animals match their owners' personalities. The movie has a castle in a village for the school which makes the setting very interesting. The only drawback is that, at times, it is a little repetitive.

The storyline follows Ida and Benni who attend the Winterstein School where the students are practicing a musical to show their parents and they sometimes disagree and make each feel upset or left out - but they work it out. At the end when they put on the play something strange happens and they are shocked to find out.

Based on the successful German children's book series by Margit Auer, this film is a blend of CGI animation and live action. What makes it particularly fun is the talking animals, which include a talking fox, tortoise and magpie. Director Sven Unterwaldt beautifully brings this story to life. Ida, a kind and nice girl, is played by Emilia Maier, who portrays her perfectly. Her pet, Rabbat, is wonderfully voiced by Max Von der Groeben. I love watching the magical animals sing, rap, talk, and dance, and at times they advise their human friends. The animals help teach lessons in friendship, perseverance, and the importance of sharing feelings. Another fun fact about the animals is that they can transform into stuffed animals when needed, so they can hide from strangers. Throughout the movie, you see beautiful landscapes and European villages and castles.

The film's message is about teamwork. In the beginning, the children struggle to come together as a team, but when they start to work together they start to accomplish more.

I give School Of Magical Animals 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. It is available in theaters June 7, 2024.

By Clara T., KIDS FIRST! Film critic, age 11

School of Magical Animals 2 is an enchanting sequel that absolutely captivated me! This film continues the magical journey with even more excitement, heart, and humor. The combination of great acting, a fantastic soundtrack, and impressive CGI makes it a must-watch for fans of the first movie and newcomers alike.

In this sequel, the students of the School of Magical Animals are preparing a musical for the school's anniversary. However, things don't go as smoothly as planned. With strange holes appearing on the school grounds and the pressure of rehearsals mounting, the students must rely on their magical animal friends to navigate the chaos. Together, they discover the importance of teamwork and friendship in overcoming obstacles.

The lead characters in this film are brought to life by a talented cast. The dynamic between the students and their magical animal companions is both heartwarming and entertaining. The CGI used to create the animals is top-notch, making each magical creature feel real and full of personality. The sets and scenery are vibrant and perfectly complement the magical atmosphere of the story. The costumes are wonderfully designed, adding to the visual appeal of the film. One of my favorite parts of the movie is the cute and enjoyable love story between the two main characters. It's a delightful extension from the first movie and adds an extra layer of charm to the story. The musical numbers are catchy and well-executed, thanks to the great soundtrack. Every element of this film, from the direction to the special effects, contributes to its overall magical feel.

The message of School of Magical Animals 2 is that teamwork and friendship are essential in overcoming challenges. The film successfully conveys this message through its engaging storyline and relatable characters.

School of Magical Animals 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, and adults will enjoy it as well. You can catch this magical film in theaters on June 7, 2024.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 20

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


TOMORROW'S GAME

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TOMORROW'S GAME       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
STREETS AHEAD PRODUCTION
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Daniel de la Rosa travels back in time to 1957. To get home, he must find a way to restore his family's legacy and rewrite baseball history. A fun adventure for the whole family ensues, full of baseball and time travel, featuring Paul Rodriguez.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The appeal of Tomorrow's Game lies in its blend of time travel and baseball nostalgia, combined with a heartwarming story about family and self-discovery. The dynamic between Daniel and Sally provides engaging, relatable moments, while the historical setting adds charm. The plot twist of Daniel becoming the unexpected commentator is particularly satisfying.

In the time-traveling family adventure, Tomorrow's Game, young Daniel De La Rosa, uninterested in baseball despite his legendary uncle, is transported back to 1957 after a mishap with a mysterious recorder. With the help of a spirited girl named Sally and a young commentator named Jorge, Daniel embarks on a mission to return home, discovering a newfound passion for baseball and forging a surprising connection to his family's past.

This family-friendly film masterfully blends time travel and baseball nostalgia, creating a heartwarming and adventurous tale about self-discovery and family legacy. The story kicks off with young Daniel De La Rosa, initially disinterested in baseball despite his legendary uncle, being transported back to 1957. With the help of spirited Sally and young commentator Jorge, Daniel embarks on a mission to return to his own time, discovering a newfound passion for baseball along the way.

Children might enjoy this film for its adventurous time-travel plot and the relatable, likable characters. Daniel's journey from indifference to passion for baseball mirrors many kids' experiences of discovering new interests. The humorous and exciting moments, like Daniel's chaotic first encounter with Sally, keep the story engaging. Additionally, the nostalgic setting and the idea of influencing history provide a fun and imaginative escape for young viewers. The show's well-crafted writing and seamless structure create an engaging flow between past and present. Key moments, like Daniel's first encounter with Sally and his unexpected commentator role, are well-paced, driving his character development. The screenplay balances humor, drama, and adventure, with relatable characters that build empathy. The rich historical setting enhances the narrative, making the story immersive and emotionally resonant, drawing viewers into Daniel's journey. The material is accurate and suitable for its intended age group, using vocabulary and concepts appropriate for children. The dialogue is simple and relatable, avoiding complex jargon. For example, Daniel's explanation of his time travel and the playful banter with Sally, are clear and engaging. The historical references, like the 1957 setting, are presented in an accessible, educational manner.

The film boasts vibrant visuals, with clear, easily identifiable images. The live-action scenes are complemented by well-designed sets and authentic 1957 costumes, enhancing the historical feel. The acting is engaging, especially the dynamic performances by Daniel and Sally. The music is nostalgic, fitting the film's adventurous and heartwarming tone. The promotional image is appealing, capturing the film's family-friendly essence. The only shortcoming may be that the story's premise might feel overly familiar to those who prefer more original narratives. The film encourages critical thinking and problem-solving as Daniel navigates time travel and devises plans to return home. The film supports inquiry into history and sports, making it educational and appropriate for its intended age group, sparking interest in cultural and temporal exploration. The program conveys that discovering one's passion often requires stepping out of one's comfort zone. It highlights the importance of family, legacy, and perseverance.

The film's message is about how one might need to step outside of their comfort zone to discover their passion. It highlights the importance of family, legacy and perseverance. Through Daniel's journey, the film shows that understanding and appreciating history can lead to personal growth and unexpected connections. It teaches valuable lessons about perseverance, family, and embracing new experiences, making it both educational and suitable for its intended age group. It also emphasizes the value of teamwork and friendship in overcoming challenges, encouraging viewers to embrace new experiences and learn from the past.

I give Tomorrow's Game 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It is available now in theaters, VOD, AVOD, streaming and through online retailers.

By Gloria J., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Tomorrow's Game is not only a baseball movie but a time traveling adventure. I really enjoyed this film, and its inspiring message about equality. Everyone can learn something important from this story.

This movie is about Daniel De La Rosa (Alejandro De Anda) who takes an unexpected trip back to 1957 to see his uncle, Santiago De La Rosa (Carlo Mendez), become part of baseball history. The story begins in 2002 as Santiago De La Rosa (David Arturo Sanchez) is being inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame for his baseball career with the JetHawks. Daniel is unsure of himself during this time which leads to a heart-to-heart with Jorge Robles (Paul Rodriguez). This encounter quickly leads to a time traveling adventure that leads Daniel to help make big changes in the past.

Tomorrow's Game kept me engaged with its story line. The actors make the characters come alive and are true to the time period. The 2002 Jorge Robles made me chuckle. He has amazing comedic timing. I especially like when he makes sure Daniel knows about the number 207. The viewer has no doubt that this number is important. Another character that sticks out, but in a different way, is Sally McDavies (Miranda Meadows). Her acting is more theatrical than the other characters, and it seems to interrupt the flow of the dialogue. Despite this, she is still entertaining to watch, and she adds variety to the film. The props and set are amazing. It really feels like you have time-traveled into the fifties. The broadcast station, which is the time travel machine, made my jaw drop. It is so intriguing how it spins with flashing lights and clicking date changes. The special effects make Daniel's transition to 1957 seem realistic. The setting change is flawless.

The film's message is about fairness. In 1957 not all baseball players were treated equally, especially Puerto Rican players. These individuals did not get the same air time as their white teammates. Daniel, Sally, and young Jorge Robles (Jerry Hernandez) worked together to change this while restoring the De La Rosa family legacy in the process.

I give Tomorrow's Game 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. It is available in theaters, VOD, AVOD, streaming and through online retailers now.

By Kinsley H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Tomorrow's Game is a wild journey through time that combines the thrill of baseball with a heartwarming family adventure. The story's creativity and the strong performances by the cast make it an unforgettable movie experience.

In Tomorrow's Game, Daniel de la Rosa (Alejandro de Anda), travels back in time to 1957. To return to his present day, Daniel must find a way to restore his family's legacy and rewrite baseball history. This film is packed with excitement as Daniel navigates the challenges of a different era while discovering the importance of family and perseverance.

The film features a stellar cast with standout performances. The supporting cast enhances the film's charm -- including notable appearances by talented actors such as Miranda Meadows who plays Sally McDavies, Paul Rodriguez, who plays Jorge Robles and Carlo Menddez, who plays young Santiago de la Rosa. The period sets and costumes transport viewers back to the 1950s, adding an authentic feel to the time-travel adventure. The special effects used for the time travel scenes are impressive and add a magical touch to the story. The soundtrack perfectly complements the film, enhancing key moments and adding to the overall enjoyment. My favorite part of the movie is when Daniel finally understands the true value of his family's legacy. This pivotal moment is both touching and inspirational, showcasing the film's core message about believing in yourself and the importance of family.

Tomorrow's Game promotes positive social behavior and highlights the importance of treating others with respect. The film's message is clear: believe in yourself and cherish your family.

I give Tomorrow's Game 4 out of 5 stars and recommend this film for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. You can catch this delightful family adventure now in select theaters plus on VOD, streaming and at online retailers.

By Ashleigh Clyde, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 20

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: FeatureFilm


KEEPERS OF THE FIVE KINGDOMS, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
KEEPERS OF THE FIVE KINGDOMS, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Join Chuck, Patsy, Squirrel, & Hopper on an epic quest to defeat the evil sorceress Kuang as you dive into a world of myth, magic, & 80's nostalgia in this thrilling, action-packed adventure! Directed by former child actor Zack Ward - Scut Farkus from A Christmas Story
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I found The Keepers Of The 5 Kingdoms appealing due to its rich incorporation of Chinese culture, which brings authenticity and educational value as seen with the traditional elements like the Chinese leopard water, traditional attire, and the artifacts in the grandfather's store. The fantasy and adventure aspects, such as the magical land with a Chinese dragon and creative escapes like the car transformation, create an engaging, imaginative world. The film also delves into complex family dynamics, particularly the reconciliation between Patsy and her grandfather. The moral lessons, like the queen's redemption through Patsy's love spell, provide meaningful themes about forgiveness and transformation. However, the complex plot, numerous characters and rapid scene changes can be overwhelming, and the fast-paced narrative leads to a lack of depth at times. While the reliance on familiar fantasy tropes can feel predictable, the cultural richness and emotional arcs make it a compelling watch. Children will enjoy its exciting fantasy elements, like the magical portals, the Chinese dragon, mythical creatures and spells, and young characters like Patsy, which offer a sense of thrill and connection.

The film begins with a slave informing his master of finding a key to her freedom. Two men from the mythical world are sent to hunt for a treasure box with the key; they evade police using magic and communicate with the master through Chinese characters on a scroll. Patsy accidentally picks up a mystical box, which leads to a series of events where her friend, Harper, is taken hostage and will only be released on the condition that she gives the box back, thus leading them to travel to a magical land. There they encounter mythical creatures, solve ancient puzzles, and ultimately confront an evil queen, who is redeemed by Patsy's love spell, helping them return home.

The Keepers of the 5 Kingdoms offers a captivating blend of fantasy escapades and cultural exploration that are delightful. From mesmerizing magical portals to mythical creatures, the visuals are breathtaking. What sets this film apart is its rich cultural tapestry, with traditional Chinese music, clothing, artifacts, and beliefs seamlessly woven into the narrative. Viewers are not only entertained but also enlightened as they embark on a journey of cultural appreciation and understanding. The themes of family, friendship, and forgiveness resonate deeply, as characters like Patsy and her friends, with her grandfather's guidance, navigate challenges and ultimately find redemption through love and empathy. Through its intricate plot and dynamic characters, it encourages viewers to question, probe, and problem-solve, fostering critical thinking skills and igniting curiosity. The program strikes a perfect balance between educational value and entertainment, leaving audiences both enchanted and inspired.

The film bursts with cultural richness, although pacing issues, awkward scene transitions, and a complex plot affect its impact. It takes you on a wild ride and what really brings the story to life is the intelligent use of traditional Chinese music, artifacts and beliefs, magical portals and dragons. You feel as if you're stepping into another world! The film keeps things exciting with thrilling adventures and relatable young characters like Patsy. The reconciliation between Patsy and her grandfather adds emotional depth. The writer's mix of magic, adventure, and family drama is excellent. The storyline strikes a balance between fantasy, adventure and cultural education, providing an enriching experience for young people. Stunning visuals bring this film to life. The attention to details such as the majority of the cast being of Chinese descent, Joe's traditional clothing, and the grandfather's shop contribute to cultural authenticity. The mystical world set is well portrayed with its creatures, the queen's soldiers, the talking tortoise, invisible bridges, and the architecture of the castle. The skilled direction captures all of this - in both animated and live-action scenes there are clear, detailed visuals and high production values.

The film supports inquiry and investigation, and the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. For example, the incorporation of cultural elements encourages viewers to explore and learn about an unfamiliar culture, which fosters curiosity and understanding. Additionally, the fantastical elements, such as magical portals and mythical creatures, invite viewers to question and probe the boundaries of reality, stimulating their imaginations and creativity. The complex plot and character dynamics provide opportunities to analyze motivations and consequences, promoting critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The film offers a blend of educational value and entertainment that encourages viewers to engage with the content on multiple levels.

The film's message revolves around themes of family, friendship, cultural appreciation, and the power of love and forgiveness. The film emphasizes the importance of reconciliation and understanding within families, as seen in Patsy's reconciliation with her grandfather. The cultural elements of the film promote appreciation and respect for different cultures. The redemption of the evil queen highlights the transformative power of love and forgiveness, suggesting that understanding and empathy can lead to positive change.

I give The Keepers Of The 5 Kingdoms 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. This film releases on VOD and streaming June 18, 2024. By Gloria J., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The film The Keeper of the Five Kingdoms has a ton of magic and mythical characters such as sorcerers, talking lizards, and trolls. The film takes place in a forest and that setting definitely fits the characters and scenes. The costumes also stand out as they fit the story so well.

The storyline follows a girl named Patsy Lee (Michelle Mao), her friend squirrel (Anna Harr), her brother Hopper (Matthew Sato) and her grandfather Chuck Lee (James Hong). One day they all get sucked into a portal in a stone and are transported to a magical kingdom where they face a lot of obstacles - in order for them to go back home they have to defeat the evil sorcerer.

This film is very cultural. I love its focus on Chinese culture. The costumes are outstanding, especially Allura's outfit before she turns into a troll - it's very detailed and beautiful. I like this film although it isn't really my style. The acting seems too unnatural; sometimes it's very overly dramatic and, in some scenes, you can tell there is a green screen behind them. Other than that the production is great! My favorite part is when Patsy gives the lizard the box with the bad magic stone. Then, the lizard puts the entire family in a gigantic hole in the ground, and starts dancing wildly above them. The way he dances is really funny. I love the relationship between the grandfather, Patsy, and Hopper. They always have each other's back. You can tell that they love each other.

The film's message is about friendship and a reminder that our family always has our back, no matter what. Hopper always has Patsy's back like when the bad guys try to force Hopper to give them the box and threaten his sister. Hopper protects his sister first and foremost.

I give Keeper of the Five Kingdoms 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it ages 8 to 12. This film releases on VOD and streaming June 18, 2024.

By Avalynn G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

If you like a youth-aimed action movie coupled with some ancient Chinese magic and funny situations, you will definitely like The Keepers Of The 5 Kingdoms. It is light, has no violence and is funny.

The story follows a queen named Lord Kuang (Bai Ling) who wants a box that contains magic. She sends two servants, Mr. Rat (Dante Basco) and Mr. Chicken (Dave Sheridan), some kids Patsy (Michelle Mao), Squirrel (Anna Harr) and Hopper (Matt Sato), plus a Chinese uncle named Chuck (James Hong) to find the box which leads them to an amazing adventure.

I commend the director, Zack Ward, for his work here. There are a lot of comical situations, like when Pasty's mom is trying to make Grandpa Chuck say that something was leopard pee. However, the animatronic and green screen work sometimes lack synchronization with the puppets' mouths, and some hair fades onto the green screen, like when they get out of the deep hole. Some actors could have been a bit more convincing, like when they are falling, the only person that looks convincing is Hopper.

The film's message is that love is a very strong power.

I give The Keepers Of The 5 Kingdoms 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. This movie releases on VOD and streaming on June 18, 2024.

By Ryan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


STAR WARS: THE ACOLYTE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
STAR WARS: THE ACOLYTE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY+
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-15
Topic - Family
Description - Star Wars: The Acolyte is set at the end of the Star Wars franchise's High Republic era, approximately 100 years before Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999). It sees a respected Jedi Master investigating a series of crimes that bring him into contact with a former Padawan learner and reveal sinister forces. This Star Wars series takes viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really love the TV series Star Wars: The Acolyte because it is an action-packed series with unique and captivating plots that are very different from any of the other Star Wars films or series. Best of all, although it is helpful to have watched the prior Star Wars films, you don't have to have seen any of them in order to enjoy this series.

This series takes place 100 years before episode 1 of the Star Wars films. It is a story about a girl named Osha (Amandla Stenberg) who is accused of murdering a Jedi Master named Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss). However, Osha firmly states her innocence because she is apparently loyal to the Jedis.

The plot is pretty complex. Early in the series, Osha suffers a tragedy as a young girl when her hometown is burned down by her twin sister, Mae (also played by Amandla Stenberg) and everyone, including Mae, is presumed dead, except for Osha, which is suspicious. Afterwards, Osha trains to be a Jedi but ultimately drops out after a few years. Sol (Lee Jung-jae), a Jedi master and Osha's former teacher, believes that Osha is innocent and attempts to find her and confirm her innocence. Another Jedi master is murdered while Osha is with Sol so there may be another killer! The show follows Osha and Mae and the audience tries to discover who the killers of the Jedi masters are. What I really like about the series are the beautiful settings, the costumes, and the musical composition. The settings include areas with beautiful lush landscapes and other areas in a frozen ice land. The costumes are very unique as they are in most Star Wars films and series. For example, when the witch's ceremony is held in the third episode, the gold costumes of the women are stunning. The background music is both beautiful and eerie, and always fits the various scenes perfectly. One of my favorite parts of the show is when the group travels to a remote planet to find one of the Wookie Jedi masters and all of the surprising creatures they see along the way including a massive flying beetle. My favorite character in the series is Mae because we learn why she set her hometown on fire and begin to understand that not everything is as it initially seems.

The series' message is, "We are not defined by what we lose, we are defined by what we survive," which is a direct quote from one of the supporting characters. This highlights the point that Osha is not defined by having lost her family, but by having the strength and courage to survive it allows her to persevere in spite of it. Be forewarned that this series contains a lot of violent behavior.

I give Star Wars: The Acolyte 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The first two episodes of Star Wars: The Acolyte release on Disney + June 4, 2024. The remaining episodes of the eight-episode series release weekly after that.

By Arya B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


SUMMER CAMP

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SUMMER CAMP       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Summer Camp tells the story of Nora (Keaton), Ginny (Bates), and Mary (Woodard), who have been best friends since being inseparable at summer camp. As the years have passed, they've seen each other less and less, so when the chance to reunite for a summer camp reunion arises, they all take it, some begrudgingly and others excitedly. Each of their lives might not be where they'd imagined, but one thing is for sure -- Nora, Ginny, and Mary need each other, and summer camp reminds them why.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Summer Camp is an adventurous film targeted at an older audience. My favorite parts are the wardrobe, characters, and location - all of which make this super enjoyable.

Summer Camp is a comedic movie that follows a trio of best friends - Nora (Diane Keaton), Ginny (Kathy Bates) and Mary (Alfre Woodard) who met years ago while attending a summer camp together in their youth. Over the years, they've drifted apart due to lifestyle changes. So when the opportunity for a summer camp reunion arises, they all decide to go and relive the fond moments they used to share. Though a few bumps in their camp stay emerge, Nora, Ginny, and Mary all remember the importance of having strong friendships.

The wardrobe styling in this film is stellar. Costume designer, Maria Lorenzana, designed all of the characters' outfits so that they were not only tailored to each person but also represented specific characteristics of their personalities. For example, Nora's studious and reserved side is showcased by her wearing corporate colors, business suits, collared shirts and turtlenecks. Ginny's spunky and creative side is enhanced by her wearing vibrant colors, playful patterns, and big accessories. Mary's quiet and soft side is represented by her wearing simple outfits, solid color tops and soft fabrics.

I adore all of the characters in this film, however my personal favorite is Nora. I relate to her because she's very cautious before taking risks; she's the logical thinker in the group, and she has a passion for science. Diane Keaton plays this role so well and I love her performance throughout the film. Lastly this movie was primarily filmed at Camp Pinnacle located in North Carolina and the location is gorgeous. The sky-high shots of the vast mountains and rolling hills captured by cinematographer Karsten Gopinath are truly breathtaking.

This film's message is about the importance of having strong friendships and taking risks together. Be aware that the film does contain some cursing, inappropriate jokes, sexual themes, and some minor gore.

I give Summer Camp 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Look out for Summer Camp which releases in theaters May 31, 2024.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


SPROUT

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SPROUT
CAROLINA BERMUDEZ
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Sprout is a light-hearted 3D animated short created for children. The story follows Sprout, a tiny robot, who quickly becomes overwhelmed by his list of garden tasks that he's unable to complete. After chaos ensues, misfit animals turned friends offer support and Sprout learns that it's ok to accept help from others. Together, Sprout and his new friends accomplish all of their tasks in the garden through teamwork.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What an adorable little animated short. I want a Sprout in my life!

This college student made film follows a juvenile robot, named Sprout, who is left a note by his parent about the garden chores he is to accomplish while the parent is at work. Thing go from controlled to chaos fairly quickly and the critters in the garden become helpers as they work to put things back in order once again.

If you have ever gardened, you can relate to this story, where things go amuck without even trying - as critters chomp on the tomatoes and the whole basket of tomatoes falls on Sprout's head. The animation is well done, very smooth and colorful. The background music perfectly backs up the action in the film without being obtrusive. I would enjoy sharing this with young people whether or not they have an interest in gardening.

The film's message is about asking for help in order to get your tasks done.

I give Sprout 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What an adorable little animated short. I want a Sprout in my life!

This college student made film follows a juvenile robot, named Sprout, who is left a note by his parent about the garden chores he is to accomplish while the parent is at work. Thing go from controlled to chaos fairly quickly and the critters in the garden become helpers as they work to put things back in order once again.

If you have ever gardened, you can relate to this story, where things go amuck without even trying - as critters chomp on the tomatoes and the whole basket of tomatoes falls on Sprout's head. The animation is well done, very smooth and colorful. The background music perfectly backs up the action in the film without being obtrusive. I would enjoy sharing this with young people whether or not they have an interest in gardening.

The film's message is about asking for help in order to get your tasks done.

I give Sprout 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


BOY A-NEE-GU FIGHT WITH MAGICAL BUGS!

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BOY A-NEE-GU FIGHT WITH MAGICAL BUGS!
HSUAN WANG
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - A-Nee-Gu stumbled upon what seemed to be an ordinary puppy, Donnie, but little did he know, it was actually an extraterrestrial scientist. Together, they uncovered a conspiracy from the alien headquarters. A-Nee-Gu decided to form a defense alliance to protect the safety of Earth and his loved ones! As a war fueled by imagination approaches, can A-Nee-Gu and Donnie rely on their imagination to protect their beloved family?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This film tells the story of A-Nee-Gu and his League of Super Guardians who defend the earth with imagination. A-Nee-Gu stumbles upon a seemingly ordinary puppy named Donnie, who, unbeknownst to him, is actually an alien scientist. Together, they uncover a conspiracy at alien headquarters. Aneegu decides to form a defense alliance to keep Earth and his loved ones safe.

This film is perfect for kids - it is powerful, creative, and depicts people's unrestrained imagination to create an interesting story. The film is animated and suitable for children. I like the development of the story line, which is composed episode by episode, with each story having a corresponding storyline, just like a short film. It has great characteristics and creativity. In this animation, the backgrounds arrangement are critical for the storyline; for example, when A-Nee-Gu uses imagination to create a dinosaur, the image of a dinosaur appears in the background. The background music is very much in tune with the actual theme, such as A-Nee-Gu's rabbit battle, which features techno electronic sounds, as well as the attack effects of fighting. A-Nee-gu is a very mischievous child in the beginning and he has a rich imagination, like all children. He meets a stray puppy, Donnie, and takes him home. A-Nee-Gu is thrilled when he finds out that Donnie came to Earth specifically to catch imagination worms, and asks Donnie to use them to grant his wish. Although A-Nee-Gu does not believe that the earth will be in danger if he fails to catch the imaginary worm in time, when he really learns that the earth will be destroyed, he enters his father's dream and asks him to trust him this time, expressing his love for him and his own feelings. My favorite part is the scene at the end when A-Nee-Gu learns that the Earth is going to be destroyed by Donnie's team and A-Nee-Guy enters his father's dream and asks him to help them fight together using his imagination. A-nee-gu sincerely expresses his thoughts to his father, even though his father thinks A-Nee-Gu is playing a joke on him, A-Nee-Guy reveals his love and insists on his father joining the fight. At last, his father appears and tells A-Nee-Gu that he will always be proud of him. The image of his dad always supporting him is so moving.

This film's message is about the wonder of imagination. It can be said that many things on Earth come from people's imagination, because only imagination can develop creativity.

I give Boy A-Nee-Gu Fight With Magical Bugs! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. By Changyang L., KIDS FIRST!i
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film tells the story of A-Nee-Gu and his League of Super Guardians who defend the earth with imagination. A-Nee-Gu stumbles upon a seemingly ordinary puppy named Donnie, who, unbeknownst to him, is actually an alien scientist. Together, they uncover a conspiracy at alien headquarters. Aneegu decides to form a defense alliance to keep Earth and his loved ones safe.

This film is perfect for kids - it is powerful, creative, and depicts people's unrestrained imagination to create an interesting story. The film is animated and suitable for children. I like the development of the story line, which is composed episode by episode, with each story having a corresponding storyline, just like a short film. It has great characteristics and creativity. In this animation, the backgrounds arrangement are critical for the storyline; for example, when A-Nee-Gu uses imagination to create a dinosaur, the image of a dinosaur appears in the background. The background music is very much in tune with the actual theme, such as A-Nee-Gu's rabbit battle, which features techno electronic sounds, as well as the attack effects of fighting. A-Nee-gu is a very mischievous child in the beginning and he has a rich imagination, like all children. He meets a stray puppy, Donnie, and takes him home. A-Nee-Gu is thrilled when he finds out that Donnie came to Earth specifically to catch imagination worms, and asks Donnie to use them to grant his wish. Although A-Nee-Gu does not believe that the earth will be in danger if he fails to catch the imaginary worm in time, when he really learns that the earth will be destroyed, he enters his father's dream and asks him to trust him this time, expressing his love for him and his own feelings. My favorite part is the scene at the end when A-Nee-Gu learns that the Earth is going to be destroyed by Donnie's team and A-Nee-Guy enters his father's dream and asks him to help them fight together using his imagination. A-nee-gu sincerely expresses his thoughts to his father, even though his father thinks A-Nee-Gu is playing a joke on him, A-Nee-Guy reveals his love and insists on his father joining the fight. At last, his father appears and tells A-Nee-Gu that he will always be proud of him. The image of his dad always supporting him is so moving.

This film's message is about the wonder of imagination. It can be said that many things on Earth come from people's imagination, because only imagination can develop creativity.

I give Boy A-Nee-Gu Fight With Magical Bugs! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. By Changyang L., KIDS FIRST!i
Runtime: 27 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


BEE AND A SILKWORM, A

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BEE AND A SILKWORM, A
MEDIA FRUIT
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Dong-ho, a botanist, fell in love with the beauty of wildflowers he once saw on Mount Baekdu. And even after his retirement, he makes seed bombs and throw them from place to place to spread wildflowers. In addition, he built a greenhouse to restore endangered alpine wildflowers and has been taking care of them for 10 years
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I absolutely love A Bee And A Silkworm. The script is captivating, drawing me in from the very first scene. The characters are so well-developed; the actors all are exceptional in their roles. The plot twists kept me on the edge of my seat.

This is a heartwarming tale about Dong-ho (Song Kang-ho), a retired botanist, who dedicates his life to preserving and spreading the beauty of wildflowers. His encounter with Bom (Kim Tae-ri), a courageous girl who isn't afraid of bees and has some silkworms she's caring for, changes everything. When Bom's mother seeks refuge from her abusive father, Dong-ho steps in to help, eventually facing a moral dilemma that leads to a tragic turn of events. It's a touching story about friendship, courage, and the consequences of one's actions. From Korea with dialogue in Korean and English subtitles.

The storyline is incredibly touching and thought-provoking. Firstly, I was captivated by Dong-ho's passion for wildflowers, his concern that bees could go extinct if not protected and his mission to spread their beauty, which adds a unique and compelling element to the narrative. Secondly, the development of the relationship between Dong-ho and Bom is beautifully portrayed, showcasing how their friendship blossoms over their shared love for nature. However, the tragic turn of events towards the end, with Dong-ho facing a moral dilemma to help Bom and her mother and ultimately meeting a tragic fate, is heart-wrenching yet brilliantly executed, leaving a lasting impact on the story. The cinematography is stunning, with the opening aerial shot of Mount Baekdu covered in wildflowers setting the tone of the film; the close-ups of the doctor walking through the forest emphasizes the emotional aspect of the film. The lighting and framing enhance the mood, especially the warm lighting during moments of friendship. The sets and locations enhance the visual experience of the film - the lush greenery of Mount Baekdu provides a breathtaking backdrop for Dong-ho's botanical adventures, while his greenhouse is filled with vibrant colors of various wildflowers, emphasizing his passion for nature. One standout location is the secluded gym where Bom and her mother seek refuge, which effectively conveys a sense of safety amidst the chaos. Plus, the detailed backgrounds in the animation, such as the intricate mountain trails and the cozy interiors of Dong-ho's home, add depth to the storytelling. The background music and sounds are all-enriching. When Dong-ho contemplates his past or Bom confronts difficulties, the music soars with emotion, pulling us deeper into their hearts. Even the subtlest sounds, like buzzing bees and rustling leaves, add a layer of realism that transports us into the film's natural world making us feel truly immersed.

The character development is central to the story and is beautifully portrayed by the actors. Dong-ho is a retired botanist, deeply passionate about wildflowers, but withdrawn from society. As the film develops, he undergoes significant growth, opening up emotionally as he forms a bond with Bom. His journey from a solitary man to a caring friend is compelling and heartwarming. Bom begins as a curious and brave girl, unafraid of bees despite her difficult family situation. Her character grows as she learns to trust Dong-ho and finds solace in their friendship. Both Song Kang-ho and Kim Tae-ri deliver nuanced performances that capture the complexity of their characters' journeys. The director, Sunghwan Kim,'s vision and storytelling skills are evident throughout, weaving together themes of friendship, environmentalism, and social justice seamlessly. My favorite part of the film is when we are shown that, after 20 years, the flowers that the doctor had been trying to grow finally blooms. Bom sees that the doctor's dream is achieved eventually. I recommend it for a youth and family film festival. The film's themes of friendship, courage, and the importance of nature resonate strongly with both younger audiences and families. It offers valuable lessons about compassion, environmental conservation, and standing up against injustice, all presented in a way that is accessible and engaging. The storyline is heartwarming yet thought-provoking, sparking meaningful conversations about empathy and the impact of one's actions. Furthermore, the film's beautiful cinematography and immersive backgrounds add to its appeal, ensuring an enjoyable experience. Furthermore, it offers insights into Korean culture through its characters and settings, appealing to those interested in multicultural experiences.

The film's message is about the transformative power of empathy and friendship - through Dong-ho and Bom's bond, it shows the beauty of connecting with others and the impact of standing up for what is right. It also addresses the importance of environmental conservation and encourages viewers to protect the environment. Be aware that it does contain bloody, gory acts of violence. There is a bloody scene when Bom's father is holding a knife lying on the floor and Dong Ho is at the corner and has blood beside him.

I give A Bee And A Silkworm 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Gloria J., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I absolutely love A Bee And A Silkworm. The script is captivating, drawing me in from the very first scene. The characters are so well-developed; the actors all are exceptional in their roles. The plot twists kept me on the edge of my seat.

This is a heartwarming tale about Dong-ho (Song Kang-ho), a retired botanist, who dedicates his life to preserving and spreading the beauty of wildflowers. His encounter with Bom (Kim Tae-ri), a courageous girl who isn't afraid of bees and has some silkworms she's caring for, changes everything. When Bom's mother seeks refuge from her abusive father, Dong-ho steps in to help, eventually facing a moral dilemma that leads to a tragic turn of events. It's a touching story about friendship, courage, and the consequences of one's actions. From Korea with dialogue in Korean and English subtitles.

The storyline is incredibly touching and thought-provoking. Firstly, I was captivated by Dong-ho's passion for wildflowers, his concern that bees could go extinct if not protected and his mission to spread their beauty, which adds a unique and compelling element to the narrative. Secondly, the development of the relationship between Dong-ho and Bom is beautifully portrayed, showcasing how their friendship blossoms over their shared love for nature. However, the tragic turn of events towards the end, with Dong-ho facing a moral dilemma to help Bom and her mother and ultimately meeting a tragic fate, is heart-wrenching yet brilliantly executed, leaving a lasting impact on the story. The cinematography is stunning, with the opening aerial shot of Mount Baekdu covered in wildflowers setting the tone of the film; the close-ups of the doctor walking through the forest emphasizes the emotional aspect of the film. The lighting and framing enhance the mood, especially the warm lighting during moments of friendship. The sets and locations enhance the visual experience of the film - the lush greenery of Mount Baekdu provides a breathtaking backdrop for Dong-ho's botanical adventures, while his greenhouse is filled with vibrant colors of various wildflowers, emphasizing his passion for nature. One standout location is the secluded gym where Bom and her mother seek refuge, which effectively conveys a sense of safety amidst the chaos. Plus, the detailed backgrounds in the animation, such as the intricate mountain trails and the cozy interiors of Dong-ho's home, add depth to the storytelling. The background music and sounds are all-enriching. When Dong-ho contemplates his past or Bom confronts difficulties, the music soars with emotion, pulling us deeper into their hearts. Even the subtlest sounds, like buzzing bees and rustling leaves, add a layer of realism that transports us into the film's natural world making us feel truly immersed.

The character development is central to the story and is beautifully portrayed by the actors. Dong-ho is a retired botanist, deeply passionate about wildflowers, but withdrawn from society. As the film develops, he undergoes significant growth, opening up emotionally as he forms a bond with Bom. His journey from a solitary man to a caring friend is compelling and heartwarming. Bom begins as a curious and brave girl, unafraid of bees despite her difficult family situation. Her character grows as she learns to trust Dong-ho and finds solace in their friendship. Both Song Kang-ho and Kim Tae-ri deliver nuanced performances that capture the complexity of their characters' journeys. The director, Sunghwan Kim,'s vision and storytelling skills are evident throughout, weaving together themes of friendship, environmentalism, and social justice seamlessly. My favorite part of the film is when we are shown that, after 20 years, the flowers that the doctor had been trying to grow finally blooms. Bom sees that the doctor's dream is achieved eventually. I recommend it for a youth and family film festival. The film's themes of friendship, courage, and the importance of nature resonate strongly with both younger audiences and families. It offers valuable lessons about compassion, environmental conservation, and standing up against injustice, all presented in a way that is accessible and engaging. The storyline is heartwarming yet thought-provoking, sparking meaningful conversations about empathy and the impact of one's actions. Furthermore, the film's beautiful cinematography and immersive backgrounds add to its appeal, ensuring an enjoyable experience. Furthermore, it offers insights into Korean culture through its characters and settings, appealing to those interested in multicultural experiences.

The film's message is about the transformative power of empathy and friendship - through Dong-ho and Bom's bond, it shows the beauty of connecting with others and the impact of standing up for what is right. It also addresses the importance of environmental conservation and encourages viewers to protect the environment. Be aware that it does contain bloody, gory acts of violence. There is a bloody scene when Bom's father is holding a knife lying on the floor and Dong Ho is at the corner and has blood beside him.

I give A Bee And A Silkworm 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Gloria J., KIDS FIRST!

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


SMALL PARTS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SMALL PARTS
AIDAN O'MALLEY
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - A disheveled toy collector and a bratty little kid battle over a limited edition LEGO set at a garage sale.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I have to admit that this short film definitely made me chuckle. As a parent of kids who LOVED LEGOS I can totally relate to the obsession of these two young men.

The storyline follows two guys that run into each other at a garage sale, where they both want to own a limited edition LEGO set.

Well made by college students, Hank McNeil, Aidan O'Malley and JP Spoonmore. Good production - from the camera work to the audio to the editing - and well acted. There are definitely some scenes that depict unnecessary acts of violence, like when the older guy in the car runs over the guy on a bike, but we're going to overlook that as something that emphasizes the storyline. Great background music. And, the special effects, accompanied by opera music, when the set escapes their clutches and flies in the air, are priceless. The ending is a welcome relief, showing that even in the most extreme circumstances friendships can be made.

The film's message is about finding friends in the most unlikely places.

I give Small Parts 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I have to admit that this short film definitely made me chuckle. As a parent of kids who LOVED LEGOS I can totally relate to the obsession of these two young men.

The storyline follows two guys that run into each other at a garage sale, where they both want to own a limited edition LEGO set.

Well made by college students, Hank McNeil, Aidan O'Malley and JP Spoonmore. Good production - from the camera work to the audio to the editing - and well acted. There are definitely some scenes that depict unnecessary acts of violence, like when the older guy in the car runs over the guy on a bike, but we're going to overlook that as something that emphasizes the storyline. Great background music. And, the special effects, accompanied by opera music, when the set escapes their clutches and flies in the air, are priceless. The ending is a welcome relief, showing that even in the most extreme circumstances friendships can be made.

The film's message is about finding friends in the most unlikely places.

I give Small Parts 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 11 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 6-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GIRL CALLED ELVIS, A

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GIRL CALLED ELVIS, A
LINDSAY CHRISTOPHERSON
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - A Girl Called Elvis is a short drama about two sisters growing closer through a family quest. Ten year old Ellie likes to dress as her idol Elvis Presley, much to the annoyance of her half-sister Carol. When Ellie hears that her estranged father is back in town, she enlists Carol and her boyfriend Dion's help to find him.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Charming. It starts out slow and grows on you... in the end, it brought me to tears.

The story follows two half-sisters, Ellie and Carol. The younger one, Elie, is infatuated by Elvis and loves to play act her hero, much to her older sister's annoyance. Ellie hears that her estranged dad is back in town and gets Carol and her boyfriend to help find him. The ending has a big surprise.

Well produced - good camera work, good audio, good acting and editing. Wonderful storyline, very relatable. This really is a marvelous tale, well told and suitable for a KIDS FIRST! Film Festival.

The film's message is to never give up on your dreams, they may actually come true.

I give A Girl Called Elvis 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Charming. It starts out slow and grows on you... in the end, it brought me to tears.

The story follows two half-sisters, Ellie and Carol. The younger one, Elie, is infatuated by Elvis and loves to play act her hero, much to her older sister's annoyance. Ellie hears that her estranged dad is back in town and gets Carol and her boyfriend to help find him. The ending has a big surprise.

Well produced - good camera work, good audio, good acting and editing. Wonderful storyline, very relatable. This really is a marvelous tale, well told and suitable for a KIDS FIRST! Film Festival.

The film's message is to never give up on your dreams, they may actually come true.

I give A Girl Called Elvis 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 11 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GEESE FEAST

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GEESE FEAST
TAIRA OCHOA
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - A childhood memory about a 5 year old who tries to feed a group of geese.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This animated short by a college student touched me in a lot of ways. I could relate to how the little girl was terrorized by the geese that she innocently tried to feed.

The storyline is based on a true tory of a young girl who tried to feed a group of geese, only to be frightened by their aggressive behavior.

This story revolves around the young girl's experience when trying to feed the geese some bread from her family's picnic. What isn't addressed here is how aggressive geese can be, especially around food. We don't see that in the short film, but I know from experience what they can be like. It's handled with humor here, but it could have been more of a nightmare than what actually happened - and thankfully it wasn't. At the time, the child was traumatized and the adults laughed. Today, 20 years later, the girl can laugh also. I kind of have mixed feelings about the whole geese feeding thing, but that short film, as it is, is quite sweet and nostalgic.

The film's message is about the humor in life, from one perspective to another, and how it changes as we grow up.

I give Geese Feast 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for age 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This animated short by a college student touched me in a lot of ways. I could relate to how the little girl was terrorized by the geese that she innocently tried to feed.

The storyline is based on a true tory of a young girl who tried to feed a group of geese, only to be frightened by their aggressive behavior.

This story revolves around the young girl's experience when trying to feed the geese some bread from her family's picnic. What isn't addressed here is how aggressive geese can be, especially around food. We don't see that in the short film, but I know from experience what they can be like. It's handled with humor here, but it could have been more of a nightmare than what actually happened - and thankfully it wasn't. At the time, the child was traumatized and the adults laughed. Today, 20 years later, the girl can laugh also. I kind of have mixed feelings about the whole geese feeding thing, but that short film, as it is, is quite sweet and nostalgic.

The film's message is about the humor in life, from one perspective to another, and how it changes as we grow up.

I give Geese Feast 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for age 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


BIRDS (2024)

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BIRDS (2024)
JOAKIM HAUGE VOCKE
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 5 -12
Topic - Family
Description - The connection between six children and nature is explored through improvised dance and movement, showcasing the unique perspective of children as they interact with nature through play. Through the eyes of these young adventurers, we rediscover the world and how to cherish and comprehend our environment.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This film is truly unlike any other in its quiet exploration of the forest by a group of young children.

The connection between a group of children and nature is explored through dance, movement, and sound as the children interact with the forest around them. Join them as they join the chirps, rustles, and dances of the environment around them. This film followed a class of third graders who delved into a multidisciplinary art experiment to explore, understand, and articulate the essence of their local woodland. This non-narrative film invites you to explore a deeper relationship with the forest along with these children.

I found myself mesmerized watching this film in the quiet of my studio, studying the actions and reactions of these children as they respond to the bird sounds in the forest. The camera attempts to capture the essence of their experience and accomplishes that to some degree. My guess is that being there is an even more profound experience. I really enjoyed the pace of this film as it allows one to slowly absorb the children's interactions.

The film's message is about exploring the natural environment around us and to allow ourselves to let it penetrate our being.

I give Birds 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Samantha M., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film is truly unlike any other in its quiet exploration of the forest by a group of young children.

The connection between a group of children and nature is explored through dance, movement, and sound as the children interact with the forest around them. Join them as they join the chirps, rustles, and dances of the environment around them. This film followed a class of third graders who delved into a multidisciplinary art experiment to explore, understand, and articulate the essence of their local woodland. This non-narrative film invites you to explore a deeper relationship with the forest along with these children.

I found myself mesmerized watching this film in the quiet of my studio, studying the actions and reactions of these children as they respond to the bird sounds in the forest. The camera attempts to capture the essence of their experience and accomplishes that to some degree. My guess is that being there is an even more profound experience. I really enjoyed the pace of this film as it allows one to slowly absorb the children's interactions.

The film's message is about exploring the natural environment around us and to allow ourselves to let it penetrate our being.

I give Birds 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Samantha M., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 11 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MUTE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MUTE
CONRAD PAUR
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A mysterious new student arrives at a typical elementary school and is unable to speak. Why? because in this universe words spoken aloud can be very powerful. Watch as Mute and her new friends start an amazing adventure.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I love the concept of this film and the idea that ideas can be conveyed without words. Imagine a world that actually did that.

The storyline follows a group of elementary school students that have a new student appear on the scene that doesn't speak. But, she seems to have some amazing powers and her "voice" can be hears when she makes arm gestures, which sort of throws everyone off, but intrigues them at the same time. Where is she from? Is she an alien? Does she have special powers? You have to watch to find out.

From an awkward start, it seems that the other kids quickly become accustomed to the new girl who talks without words and they can all understand her. Love that idea. Well made, from concept to execution, this film has a fascinating idea behind the story, great camera work, good audio, good editing. It's definitely a green light for KIDS FIRST!

The film's message is that there are more ways than one to communicate with others.

I give Mute 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Samantha S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love the concept of this film and the idea that ideas can be conveyed without words. Imagine a world that actually did that.

The storyline follows a group of elementary school students that have a new student appear on the scene that doesn't speak. But, she seems to have some amazing powers and her "voice" can be hears when she makes arm gestures, which sort of throws everyone off, but intrigues them at the same time. Where is she from? Is she an alien? Does she have special powers? You have to watch to find out.

From an awkward start, it seems that the other kids quickly become accustomed to the new girl who talks without words and they can all understand her. Love that idea. Well made, from concept to execution, this film has a fascinating idea behind the story, great camera work, good audio, good editing. It's definitely a green light for KIDS FIRST!

The film's message is that there are more ways than one to communicate with others.

I give Mute 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Samantha S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GARFIELD MOVIE, THE (2024)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GARFIELD MOVIE, THE (2024)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Garfield (voiced by Chris Pratt), the world-famous, Monday-hating, lasagna-loving indoor cat, is about to have a wild outdoor adventure! After an unexpected reunion with his long-lost father - scruffy street cat Vic (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) - Garfield and his canine friend Odie are forced from their perfectly pampered life into joining Vic in a hilarious, high-stakes heist.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Garfield Movie is a heartwarming story with a great pace and humor. It's cleverly put together with beautiful animation which makes it an engaging film.

The story follows the cat, Garfield (Chris Pratt), who has the dream life - a dog best friend, a nice house, and most importantly, access to an endless amount of food. Everything's going perfectly until he reunites with his long-lost father. The animals have a perilous journey ahead of them, having to deal with the conflict between the father-son duo.

I really like this movie because it's super funny but also has deep messages about relationships with important people in your life. Its main characters are Garfield, Vic (Samuel L. Jackson), Jon (Nicholas Hoult), Otto (Ving Rhames) and Jinx (Hannah Waddingham). The characters are unique and represent different emotions - Garfield represents anger, Jon represents anxiety, Vic represents regret, and Otto represents sadness and longing. It illustrates a positive message for the younger generation at the end of the movie. I really like the animation; it's unique and a cool mix of 2D and 3-D awareness of space. There isn't a dull moment in this film. It's constantly engaging, like when they're running from a nasty security guard or dodging ridiculously big cutting knives. I like the pacing; it's not too fast nor too slow. Plus, there are flashbacks to when Garfield was a young kitten, which gives the film a strong backstory. The background music helps set the mood. When it's raining and young Garfield is abandoned, the music is slow and depressing. However, when Odie and Garfield are playing, the music lightens up. My favorite part of the movie is when Vic gets Garfield on the train by launching him off of a tree branch. Garfield bounces off trees, animals, rocks, and more, and it's hilarious to watch.

The film's message is about forgiveness and family. Garfield's dad has a reason he left Garfield, which was actually to help him, rather than hurt him. Vic goes out searching for food and when he comes back, Garfield seems to be happy under Jon's care. Garfield and Vic forgive each other, and become close again.

I give The Garfield Movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. The Garfield Movie releases in theaters May 24, 2024.

By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

I love The Garfield Movie. It is fun, heartwarming and has a great villain. The animation is stunning and it has some heartfelt moments with an exceptional cast. The film definitely kept me entertained from beginning to end and I was laughing out loud.

Garfield (Chris Pratt), the world-famous, Monday-hating, lasagna-loving indoor cat, is about to have a wild outdoor adventure! After an unexpected reunion with his long-lost father, scruffy street cat Vic (Samuel L. Jackson), Garfield and his canine friend Odie are forced from their perfectly pampered life into joining Vic in a hilarious, high-stakes heist. There is nothing not to love about Garfield. He hates Mondays, loves lasagna, and is loyal to his best pals Jon and Odie.

I really love the animation in this film. It is extremely well done -- the way the fur moves and how it looks on all the animals throughout the entire film is stunning. When the fur moves during action sequences and when the heist plans are being made, they even switched the animation style which I thought was particularly cool. I really do not think they could have picked a better cast for this film. Chris Pratt is perfect in the role of Garfield. I love hearing Harvey Guillen as Odie, especially his different barks with different emotions expressed throughout the movie. Hannah Waddingham voices Jinx, a cat who is the villain. She plays a fantastic villain -- she is a little intense, but never too scary even for younger audiences. I like that the plot is made simple so kids can easily understand it and the storyline is so funny. This movie is rated PG; it is 1 hour and 41 minutes and it never drags. I was completely entertained by the entire movie. I left the theater wanting Italian food and a pet.

The film's message is about teamwork, family, and friendship. It shows how family will always be there for you, no matter what. The film shares the importance of doing what is right and being loyal to the people around you.

I give The Garfield Movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. The Garfield Movie opens in theaters May 24, 2024. Be sure to check it out!

Carter P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The Garfield Movie is an entertaining animated film about a lovable tabby cat and his adventures. I like funny movies and this one definitely falls into that category. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt! This film isn't all jokes though; there are many heartwarming moments as well.

This film starts out by making sure the audience knows just how much Garfield (Chris Pratt) loves Italian food. While eating his morning snack, he begins to tell the story of how he met his owner Jon (Nicholas Hoult) after his own father Vic (Samuel L Jackson) seemingly abandons him. Jon takes Garfield in, and from there he has quite the luxurious life; he gets to sit around all day eating and watching cat videos on TV with his buddies. Unsuspectingly, Garfield is taken from his normal routine and forced to adjust to a world he is not prepared for. On this new journey, Garfield meets lots of new people and learns many new life lessons. With the help of his new friends and his dad, Garfield learns to be independent. Garfield eventually makes his way home to a new normal that he helps create.

The Garfield Movie is an animated film that personifies everything from ordinary house pets to farm animals. The animation is very well done and the colors used are an iconic part of what makes Garfield, Garfield. The music used throughout this film really helps set the vibe at crucial moments, such as when Italian music plays at the local Italian restaurant and familiar "danger" music plays during action scenes. My favorite character is Garfield because he is hilarious, loves Italian food, and hates Mondays! The selection of voice actors for each character is also spot on. When Roland the dog (Brett Goldstein) fakes a British accent to make Jinx (Hannah Waddingham) more comfortable, then switches back to his New York accent at the end, the talent of this voice actor really shines through.

The film's message is that you should never judge others without knowing their full story. You may think that you know how something happened, but it's important to get all the information. This message is successfully delivered through the development of Garfield's relationship with his father. Note that this film does contain some violence; although delivered in a funny way, some parents may be uncomfortable with their kids watching such aggressive behavior.

I give The Garfield Movie 5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It is available exclusively in movie theaters beginning May 24, 2024. Be sure to check it out.

By Audrey L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9

I have always loved all things Garfield, so I was expecting to love The Garfield Movie--and I do! The film remarkably captures the essence of Garfield, and I couldn't think of a better movie to bring Garfield back to the big screen where he belongs -- and with a talented star-studded cast.

The story follows Garfield (Chris Pratt) who has an unexpected reunion with his long-lost father Vic (Samuel L. Jackson) when Jinx (Hannah Waddingham) -- the movie's crazy vengeful antagonist -- kidnaps both Garfield and his fellow pet Odie (Harvey Guill�n). Jinx forces the two of them from their perfect (marred only by Mondays), pampered, luxurious lives into joining Vic in a high-stakes heist as revenge against Garfield's father. The plot is tied in with so much humor and so many plot twists overall making it a fun family comedy.

Chris Pratt's voice suits Garfield perfectly, and he brings the right attitude and edge to the character. Samuel L. Jackson wonderfully conveys emotion into his character, Vic (Garfield's father) so as a viewer, you really end up feeling for his character. And Hannah Waddingham is outstanding as Jinx, Garfield's antagonist. She voices Jinx as maniacal and flamboyant but she also brings heart and soul to Jinx, making viewers sympathize with Jinx's motivations. Hannah Waddingham also has two songs in this movie: An original called "I'm Back" which rolls over the end credits and a rendition of the French nursery rhyme "Alouette, Gentille Alouette", the latter of the two occurring in my favorite Jinx scene. The Garfield Movie is really funny. I especially like the parts with Jon (Nicholas Hoult) in them. I do feel like there is a huge effort to make Garfield more modern in this movie... there are lots of pop culture references. In some cases it's done very well, but the movie overdoes this. Garfield calls himself "G-money" and makes shark tank references. And The Garfield Movie has a huge fixation on mobile devices. The film loses out on a very important nostalgic aspect of the film by attempting to adjust Garfield to better match the present-day audience. Garfield is relatable to modern kids and loved by the modern audience not because he has a phone. As Garfield's creator, Jim Davis says, "Garfield is a human being in a cat suit". The film does flesh out his character and I really enjoy seeing it. Yes, his adventures are significantly wilder but that just makes them more fun to watch.

The message of The Garfield Movie revolves around the importance of family and connection. It explores themes of sacrifice, the unseen presence of love, how misunderstandings can change your whole worldview, and the deep (sometimes hidden) bonds that define family.

I give The Garfield Movie 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2-18, plus families as well as all fans of the lovable cat. Look out for The Garfield Movie, which opens in theaters May 24, 2024.

By Alma K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


FOR LOVE & LIFE: NO ORDINARY CAMPAIGN

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FOR LOVE & LIFE: NO ORDINARY CAMPAIGN       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
AMAZON PRIME
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign is an emotionally gripping documentary illustrating the power of love and determination in the face of adversity. The film follows the life of Brian Wallach and his wife Sandra in the aftermath of his ALS diagnosis at age 37. Exemplifying bravery, inspiration and hope, Brian and Sandra, continue to fight against a broken system for their own future, while seeking to build a brighter one for countless others.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I had a pleasant time viewing For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign. The mood, editing, and celebrity cameos make this an excellent film to watch.

This documentary follows Brian Wallach and Sandra Abrevaya, a couple from Chicago, who meet and fall in love while working during Obama's 2008 campaign. Shortly after starting their family; news of Brian's ALS diagnosis turned this family's world upside down. However, Brian and Sandra were not going to let ALS stand in their way. This film follows the mass ALS movement sparked by Brian and Sandra, and how this couple's journey gave a voice to the millions of people suffering with the disease and how they also brought attention to the US's broken healthcare system.

I love the uplifting mood this documentary takes - the music and editing perfectly captivate the success and struggles that both Brain and Sandra faced while fighting for ALS. One scene that really stuck with me is when Brian and Sandra were preparing a speech that they were going to give to the government urging them to make the drugs that could help the symptoms associated with ALS accessible for all. The music by Emily Rice really adds in creating a suspenseful, yet captivating moment. As for the editing, supervising editor Miranda Yousef makes us feel immersed in this film with its very smooth transitions, transitions between interviews, personal video recordings, and animated info graphics. Lastly, I was very pleased to see celebrities such as Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan, and countless others share their positive encounters with Brain and Sandra and the different ways in which they all support their campaign.

The film's message is that when you encounter a problem, no matter how hopeless you may feel, there is always a solution that can often end up helping others along the way. This message is explored throughout the film and, even when discussing their trials and tribulations, this messaging remains true. The only thing to note is that there are some cuss words that are used.

I give For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign 4 out of 5 starts and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The film releases on Prime Video on May 28, 2024. If you're looking for a new documentary to watch I definitely recommend you check this one out!

By Tia O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


LOCKER PROBLEMS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LOCKER PROBLEMS
CONRAD PAUR
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Lockers for kids can lead to a lot of stress. However, this Locker leads to an intense adventure. Made by elementary school students.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I have to admit, I love student made films and this one by elementary students is quite charming. We can all relate to locker problems form our time at school and this takes those problems to another level.

The storyline follows a kid having issues with his locker as others come to his rescue or not. And, at one point he discovers that his lock is a portal to another place.

Well made. Good camera work; good audio; good storyline. My favorite part is when the red-headed kid finally gets his locker open and it opens up a portal to another universe where he meets his double. Then, that double follows him back. It's cute, it's original. It's a great student film by elementary age students.

The film's message is about how our lockers might lead us to a life adventure we hadn't even imagined.

I give Locker Problems 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I have to admit, I love student made films and this one by elementary students is quite charming. We can all relate to locker problems form our time at school and this takes those problems to another level.

The storyline follows a kid having issues with his locker as others come to his rescue or not. And, at one point he discovers that his lock is a portal to another place.

Well made. Good camera work; good audio; good storyline. My favorite part is when the red-headed kid finally gets his locker open and it opens up a portal to another universe where he meets his double. Then, that double follows him back. It's cute, it's original. It's a great student film by elementary age students.

The film's message is about how our lockers might lead us to a life adventure we hadn't even imagined.

I give Locker Problems 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


THERE WAS - THERE IS NO -THERE IS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
THERE WAS - THERE IS NO -THERE IS
LUKASZ KAMINSKI
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - The film deals with the topic of experiencing difficult emotions related to the loss of loved ones and coping with it. Together with the 12-year old heroine Krysia, we go on a journey through places and times that were, which are not, and which we want to remember. The film, based on a story by Katarzyna Jackowska-Enemuo, supports young viewers in meeting their own emotional "black holes" and brings relief. The film is intended for children aged 10-12, but its profound meaning and contexts allow people over 12 years old to experience a journey within themselves and history.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Beautifully animated short film offering insight into those that have left us. The storyline addresses dealing with the loss of loved ones - human or not - and how to cope with our loss. A young girl loses her dog and it leads her on a journey of discovery and a reminder of how we remember our beloveds. It takes us on a journey as she explores her family members from the past.

I love the animation of this film. It's brightly colored and a bit shaky, which gives us the impression that it is hand drawn. The storyline is easily relatable for kids anywhere. Even though this film is from Poland with dialogue in Polish, there are English subtitles, which make it easy to follow. The film's message is about how those that we love and have lost are still part of our lives.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Beautifully animated short film offering insight into those that have left us. The storyline addresses dealing with the loss of loved ones - human or not - and how to cope with our loss. A young girl loses her dog and it leads her on a journey of discovery and a reminder of how we remember our beloveds. It takes us on a journey as she explores her family members from the past.

I love the animation of this film. It's brightly colored and a bit shaky, which gives us the impression that it is hand drawn. The storyline is easily relatable for kids anywhere. Even though this film is from Poland with dialogue in Polish, there are English subtitles, which make it easy to follow. The film's message is about how those that we love and have lost are still part of our lives.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 17 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SNAIL TALE, A

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SNAIL TALE, A
ASHLEY WONG
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - An ambitious snail makes an unlikely friendship with a 3-legged mastiff. A story of friendship, patience and moving at your own pace. Inspired by a real-life tripod Boerboel who moves at his own speed.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This short film showing how unlikely friendship is formed between a snail and a dog is heartfelt and charming.

The stories follows a snail moving at a snail's pace that runs into a three-legged dog, a Boerboel, that attracts its attention and the two of them form a relationship of sorts.

This short animated film is just adorable. I love everything about it especially the dog and the dog's face in particular - well, maybe its wagging tail as well. Seeing the snail climb up the dog's face and its reaction by a tail wag is just adorable. He takes the snail over to eat a little greenery and watches.

The film's message is that friendship can be formed by the most unlikely critters, even a dog and a snail.

I give A Snail Tale 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This short film showing how unlikely friendship is formed between a snail and a dog is heartfelt and charming.

The stories follows a snail moving at a snail's pace that runs into a three-legged dog, a Boerboel, that attracts its attention and the two of them form a relationship of sorts.

This short animated film is just adorable. I love everything about it especially the dog and the dog's face in particular - well, maybe its wagging tail as well. Seeing the snail climb up the dog's face and its reaction by a tail wag is just adorable. He takes the snail over to eat a little greenery and watches.

The film's message is that friendship can be formed by the most unlikely critters, even a dog and a snail.

I give A Snail Tale 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 2 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SWEET STRUGGLE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SWEET STRUGGLE
ADRIANA KOSTETSKA
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Get ready to embark on an emotional journey with 'Sweet Struggle,' a powerful and inspiring short film directed by Adriana Kostetska. Follow the story of Matthew, an 9-year-old boy living with Type 1 diabetes, A mother struggles to cope with her son's diabetes. With the help of a psychologist and her husband, she learns to let go and focus on what's important. As he navigates life's challenges with unwavering courage and the support of his loved ones. This heartwarming tale will touch your heart and remind you of the incredible strength found in the sweetest moments of life. Join us on this unforgettable cinematic adventure.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a very touching and informative short film about a disease that is all too common and many people know very little about -- type 1 diabetes.

Beautifully shot - great camera work, audio recording and editing. Excellent acting, particularly on behalf of the mother and young boy. I like how realistic this film is, almost like a documentary. KIDS FIRST! doesn't normally show films that are medical in nature, but this goes way beyond that - it really addresses the emotional impact of living with the disease - from both the mom and the boy's point of view. My favorite scene is the ending when mom and son are running together. It shows that you can lead a normal life when you are dealing with diabetes and that is such a positive message to share.

The film's message is about the impact of a disease such as type 1 diabetes and how, with love and support, a person can lead a normal life.

I give Sweet Struggle 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 through 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a very touching and informative short film about a disease that is all too common and many people know very little about -- type 1 diabetes.

Beautifully shot - great camera work, audio recording and editing. Excellent acting, particularly on behalf of the mother and young boy. I like how realistic this film is, almost like a documentary. KIDS FIRST! doesn't normally show films that are medical in nature, but this goes way beyond that - it really addresses the emotional impact of living with the disease - from both the mom and the boy's point of view. My favorite scene is the ending when mom and son are running together. It shows that you can lead a normal life when you are dealing with diabetes and that is such a positive message to share.

The film's message is about the impact of a disease such as type 1 diabetes and how, with love and support, a person can lead a normal life.

I give Sweet Struggle 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 through 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 18 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


HERO'S JOURNEY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
HERO'S JOURNEY
WES SMITH
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Hero's Journey is a 2D and 3D animation about the main character of a video game who cannot control his actions. The title directly alludes to the ancient monomyth, Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Hero's Journey reframes the mythic and cyclic story structure through the modern perspective of a role-playing video game. It also serves as an homage to some of favorite childhood games such as Legend of Zelda, Dragon Quest, and Super Mario Bros. Featuring rising star Christopher Sean Cooper Jr. (Sweet Tooth) as the voice of the Gamer and Wes Smith as the voice of the titular character, Hero's Journey combines laughter and heartbreak into one action-packed adventure.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed Hero's Journey for its nostalgic take on videogames and heroes.

The storyline follows the key character of a video game that cannot control his actions and is in search of his true identify. It plays homage to some classic video games and combines humor with heartbreak in one action-packed adventure.

I'm not a gamer so I can't speak about the film's references to classic childhood games, although my older brother definitely could. I can say that the images definitely remind me of older gamers with their rough edges and the background sounds remind me of the 80s. I can relate to Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces, which has influenced a wide variety of films and stories, include George Lucas' Star Wars films. The monomyth definitely fits here as the hero searches for its identity. The final battle scene is the perfect ending. Saving the princess in the cage is pretty anticlimactic.

The film's message is about seeking your identity.

I give Hero's Journey 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Samantha M., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I enjoyed Hero's Journey for its nostalgic take on videogames and heroes.

The storyline follows the key character of a video game that cannot control his actions and is in search of his true identify. It plays homage to some classic video games and combines humor with heartbreak in one action-packed adventure.

I'm not a gamer so I can't speak about the film's references to classic childhood games, although my older brother definitely could. I can say that the images definitely remind me of older gamers with their rough edges and the background sounds remind me of the 80s. I can relate to Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces, which has influenced a wide variety of films and stories, include George Lucas' Star Wars films. The monomyth definitely fits here as the hero searches for its identity. The final battle scene is the perfect ending. Saving the princess in the cage is pretty anticlimactic.

The film's message is about seeking your identity.

I give Hero's Journey 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Samantha M., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


LIGHTS, CAMERA, MAESTRO!

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LIGHTS, CAMERA, MAESTRO!
CONRAD PAUR
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A small film crew begins to film a story, but filming unlocks a passage that sends them to a hungry being. Made by elementary school students.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This student made thriller is intriguing in many ways.

The story follows a young film crew that is beginning to film a story, when they inadvertently unlock a passage that sends them to another dimension.

Well shot - good camera work, audio recording and editing. I'm slightly confused about exactly what happened but intrigued enough to feel that this definitely warrants discussion.

The film's message is about reality - from one dimension to another.

I give Lights Camera, Maestro 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Jackie M.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This student made thriller is intriguing in many ways.

The story follows a young film crew that is beginning to film a story, when they inadvertently unlock a passage that sends them to another dimension.

Well shot - good camera work, audio recording and editing. I'm slightly confused about exactly what happened but intrigued enough to feel that this definitely warrants discussion.

The film's message is about reality - from one dimension to another.

I give Lights Camera, Maestro 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Jackie M.
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ESCORT, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ESCORT, THE
RICK WILLIAMSON
Series: INDIE ANIMATED SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - The Escort is a story of a young boy traversing through all the moments of his romantic life while guided by a mysterious figure. Shown all the events that will transpire in his life, a young boy must find peace in knowing all the bliss and grief that comes with life. The Escort reconnoiters the relationship between human spirituality and the emotional spectrum of our lived experiences.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What a lovely film and yes, perhaps a sad ending, but it does represent the circle of life - with all its ups and downs.

The storyline is about a boy who is guided by a shadowy figure who shows him his future - from boyhood to adulthood, parenthood, old age and death.

Beautifully and simply animated with quiet piano music in the background, the film takes its time to savor all the beautiful moments in the boy's life. It sort of reminds me of the book, The Giving Tree, in how it takes the audience through the cycle of life seen through the eyes of a single person.

The film's message is about the ups and downs we experience in our lives as humans and how our journey is seen from the outside point of view.

I give The Escort 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What a lovely film and yes, perhaps a sad ending, but it does represent the circle of life - with all its ups and downs.

The storyline is about a boy who is guided by a shadowy figure who shows him his future - from boyhood to adulthood, parenthood, old age and death.

Beautifully and simply animated with quiet piano music in the background, the film takes its time to savor all the beautiful moments in the boy's life. It sort of reminds me of the book, The Giving Tree, in how it takes the audience through the cycle of life seen through the eyes of a single person.

The film's message is about the ups and downs we experience in our lives as humans and how our journey is seen from the outside point of view.

I give The Escort 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


LYRICS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LYRICS
HSUAN WANG
Series: FOREIGN ANIMATED SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Daddy Lo has a rock 'n' roll soul, having written lyrics for Wu Bai and The Party when he was young. Perhaps it's in the genes, as his youngest son, A-nee-gu, also possesses a passionate love for music. Upon returning to school, A-nee-gu decides to vigorously revamp the Chatting Club, embarking on the path of music! Despite encountering various challenges along the way, he never gives up on music, for it's something he cherishes deeply!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Fun and inspiring. We all need a hero to stimulate our ambitions and, in this case, A-nee-gu's hero is his dad.

A young boy discovers that his dad has a rock 'n' roll soul and wrote lyrics for Wu Bai and The Party when he was young. The boy now discovers his own passion for music and gathers together his colleagues to develop their own band. They are pretty terrible at first, but they persevere.

Fun story and very relatable. I love the animation - very upbeat and fun. Good storyline, well executed.

The film's message is about discovering yourself, and maybe being inspired by a parent.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Fun and inspiring. We all need a hero to stimulate our ambitions and, in this case, A-nee-gu's hero is his dad.

A young boy discovers that his dad has a rock 'n' roll soul and wrote lyrics for Wu Bai and The Party when he was young. The boy now discovers his own passion for music and gathers together his colleagues to develop their own band. They are pretty terrible at first, but they persevere.

Fun story and very relatable. I love the animation - very upbeat and fun. Good storyline, well executed.

The film's message is about discovering yourself, and maybe being inspired by a parent.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 4 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


TO CATCH A MEMORY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TO CATCH A MEMORY
SIJIA WANG
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Overcoming fear in the nick of time by catching a joyful memory from childhood. Made by a college student.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The story captures a memory of childhood and that turns things around.

I really enjoyed this film. We watch as fear grips a young woman in the baseball dugout and her coach pushes her to get out there and "do it." A ball comes her way and she falls..... Falls farther into a dream of herself as a young girl. And then a small miracle happens and everything changes. Beautifully animated -- simple and straightforward. Terrific background music.

The film's message is a bout believing in yourself and allowing your life to come together as you wish.

I give To Catch A Memory 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The story captures a memory of childhood and that turns things around.

I really enjoyed this film. We watch as fear grips a young woman in the baseball dugout and her coach pushes her to get out there and "do it." A ball comes her way and she falls..... Falls farther into a dream of herself as a young girl. And then a small miracle happens and everything changes. Beautifully animated -- simple and straightforward. Terrific background music.

The film's message is a bout believing in yourself and allowing your life to come together as you wish.

I give To Catch A Memory 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


NORMAL GIRL

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
NORMAL GIRL
KIMMY NGUYEN THOI
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - When Vietnamese-born Khanh Nguyen begins her new life in Australia, she faces challenging tribulations derived from her attempt to become the 'perfect, Normal Girl."
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


LUCA THE TEDDY BEAR

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LUCA THE TEDDY BEAR
EMILIE BERKOWITZ
Series: HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Exploring the theme of grief featuring a Latinx girl named Olivia and her beloved teddy bear, Luca, that was given to her by her father. When Olivia and her mother finally talk about the father's death, things begin to escalate as they express their emotions differently. Luca shines a light on the emotional pain families experience when losing a loved one. Here, the Latina mother, overwhelmed by her new responsibilities as a single mother trying to support her family, bottle sup her emotions. Many issues come out of this, leaving the daughter lonely and unable to share her feelings with her mom. As things begin to go downhill, Luca sparks a conversation about the loss of their father and husband.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Beautifully produced short film by a high school student about grief that touched my heart.

This short film follows a young girl and her mom after her father passes and she and he mom find ways to express their grief to one another and redefine their relationship with each other.

Oh boy, anyone that has lost a family member can relate to this short film. I am so impressed by the production values by this young filmmaker -- great camera work, audio recording and editing. Good background music. And a very touching script. I find the title a bit misleading because the teddy bear doesn't have that big a role in the film, but that doesn't detract from it at all.

The film's message is about communication and how finding ways to talk with our loved ones is key to being able to move on with our lives.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Beautifully produced short film by a high school student about grief that touched my heart.

This short film follows a young girl and her mom after her father passes and she and he mom find ways to express their grief to one another and redefine their relationship with each other.

Oh boy, anyone that has lost a family member can relate to this short film. I am so impressed by the production values by this young filmmaker -- great camera work, audio recording and editing. Good background music. And a very touching script. I find the title a bit misleading because the teddy bear doesn't have that big a role in the film, but that doesn't detract from it at all.

The film's message is about communication and how finding ways to talk with our loved ones is key to being able to move on with our lives.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 10 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GREAT AMERICAN BAKING SHOW, SEASON TWO, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GREAT AMERICAN BAKING SHOW, SEASON TWO, THE
THE ROKU CHANNEL
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Roku Original The Great American Baking Show is the American version of the most beloved baking show on the planet, bringing together passionate, talented bakers from around the country to see who will be named America's Best Amateur Baker.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Watching nine contestants bake in a tent in the British countryside became an international pastime with the release of the Great British Baking Show. Season 2 of The Great American Baking Show is soon to arrive, in an attempt to capture the magic of its counterpart across the pond...and it succeeds beautifully. The Great American Baking Show is as fluffy and sweet as its bakers' treats, and it replicates the British show's format without feeling like a knock-off - though it is a bit corny at times.

The premise of the Great American Baking Show is simple: nine bakers from across the US, who each have expertise in different areas of baking, are assembled and brought to a white tent in the British countryside where they're tasked with making increasingly difficult items. Each episode deals with one type of baked goods -- week one is cake week, for example -- and the bakers face three challenges to test their creativity and their mastery of baking in a time crunch and without a formal recipe. Their baked goods are judged by renowned chefs Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, who winnow down the pool of bakers by eliminating one each episode and, in the end, crown one baker as the winner.

The Great American Baking Show Season 2 is, by leaps and bounds, superior to the most recent seasons of its British counterpart (and its first season, which had a tough run). That doesn't mean it doesn't have issues, but it's almost at the level of the first few seasons of the Great British Baking Show. The bakers are judged by Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, both of whom lean into the characters they've carved out for themselves in the British version. Paul is the exacting master baker whose handshakes seem to be worth more than the lottery (and whose striking good looks are a source of near-constant discussion among the ladies). And Prue is the endearing British dame, providing periodic, measured compliments and pearl-clutching comments about calories. The show's hosts, comedian Zach Cherry and actress Ellie Kemper, have, essentially, one job: pull silly, cheesy stunts, motivate the bakers and mug for the camera while mournfully calling out time checks. In the first few episodes, they seem a bit awkward together, with some of their jokes working and others falling flat, but they soon find their beat. I did miss seeing Noel Fielding in the tent, but I will say that Cherry and Kemper's chats with the bakers are fun and help the show move along. The contestants are a sweet, supremely talented, but somewhat unremarkable batch, likely due to the editing which, as in last season, doesn't allow viewers to understand the bakers' back-stories very well. There are other rough moments in the editing of this show, like some jerky cutaways, shaky footage of bakers running from place to place and clearly artificial, over-the-top reactions to the technical bake judging. Also to be noted, the items on this list were present in the first season of the American show too, so perhaps it's an artistic choice. The actual content of the show is pleasant , though. The British version of the show has seen its challenges grow more and more wild over time, and the Great American Baking Show follows suit. I also think it was a smart move to make the show more "American" so that both viewers and bakers would have an easier time relating to the show. And, my final note -- I love how wholesome the energy in the tent is throughout the show. Even in the midst of heated competition, the bakers smile and encourage each other. It appears that the most kind cross-section of America got its own TV show, which is nice to see in this age of discord and infighting.

The Great American Baking Show promotes healthy competition, exploration, creativity and the enjoyment of simple joys in life like food.

Great American Baking Show: Season 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It will be available on The Roku Channel beginning May 24, 2024.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


HOME SWEET ROME!

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HOME SWEET ROME!       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
HBO MAX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Home Sweet Rome! is a coming-of-age comedy series about Lucy, a 13-year-old girl who moves from California to Rome with her father, an archaeologist, and stepmother, an Italian pop star. Lucy must adjust to her new city, school, and life with her famous stepmother, while also dealing with the challenges of being a 13-year-old girl and her best friend, Kyla, who is 6,000 miles away. The series features original music, relatable mishaps, heartwarming connections, and stunning Italian vistas.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Home Sweet Rome! is an incredible TV series with some very important messages. It ties together a lot of different components that make the series unique.

The plot of this series is that of 13-year-old Lucy (Kensington Tallman) moves from the US to Rome because her father (Darrin Rose) marries an Italian pop star, Francesca (Eleonora Facchini). The series follows her life as she learns to live and go to school in Rome without knowing any Italian. Along the way she meets many good people and learns to appreciate the life she's been given.

There are many incredible parts of this series. One of the main ones is how very relatable it is to teens and tweens alike. Lucy is forced to move away from her home and her best friend, Kyla (Ava Ro). Her dad marries new woman and she doesn't want to forget her mom. A lot of teens and tweens have experienced similar events in their lives and this show can help them feel less alone. Another fantastic thing about this show is the location. It is set in Rome! And, it was filmed entirely on location in Rome rather than in a studio with green screens, which makes it very authentic. The cast and crew flew to Rome about four months to film the show and shot all of it in and in front of actual buildings all around the city. Another interesting thing to note is that, other than a few background actors, most of the tourists in the background of outdoor shots are real tourists just enjoying their vacations.

The message of this series is to always be true and genuine to yourself because that's ultimately the most important thing.

I give Home Sweet Rome! 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. You can watch this series on Max starting May 16, 2024.

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Welcome to Rome! Home Sweet Rome! is an incredible coming-of-age comedy series set in Italy's capital, with breathtaking views, funny scenes, and heartwarming moments.

This show takes place in Rome, where 13-year-old Lucy (Kensington Tallman) moves to after her dad Will (Darrin Rose) marries Italian popstar Francesa Fortuna (Eleonora Facchini). As Lucy tries to find her place in her new school, she embarrasses herself a lot, which leads to her struggling to make new friends, other than a boy named Nico (Christian Monaldi), and her long-distance best friend Kyla (Ava Ro). And while Lucy goes through this tough change, Francesca and Will try to help her through it, as they both know what it's like to face life-changing events.

The scenery in this show is absolutely incredible -- all of it, from the fountains, to the bridges, to even the interior of Lucy's apartment. One example is when Lucy and her dad are talking by the hotdog stand, and in the background, there is an amazing view of the city. Another part I adore is the choice in fashion. The clothes are stunning, especially with their unique patterns, color combinations, and style. I love how the fashion choices for Francesca's character match her so well, since they show that she is a popstar, but also has an incredible taste in clothing, in general. My favorite characters are Kyla and Francesca. I love Kyla, because of how supportive she is of Lucy and how she always knows what to say when Lucy is upset. For example, when Lucy is upset and crying, Kyla sings a song they created together and tells her to talk to her dad. I also love Francesca because although she is a famous singer in Italy, she shows that she cares about Lucy and wants her to live the best life she can. An example of this is when Lucy wants to make her late mom's famous mac-and-cheese for Thanksgiving, and Francesca decides to take Lucy to the market to try and find the necessary ingredients.

The message of this show is it is always important to be close with your family and friends. When Lucy goes through the normal ups and downs of moving to a new place, she learns that she has people around her that love and care for her, and will always help her when she needs it the most.

I give Home Sweet Rome! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. This series will be released on Max and other streaming platforms on May 16, 2024.

By Ari P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


IF

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
IF       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - From writer and director John Krasinski, IF is about a girl who discovers that she can see everyone's imaginary friends -- and what she does with that superpower -- as she embarks on a magical adventure to reconnect forgotten IFs with their kids. IF stars Cailey Fleming, Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski, Fiona Shaw, and the voices of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Louis Gossett Jr. and Steve Carell alongside many more as the wonderfully unique characters that reflect the incredible power of a child's imagination.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love the film IF. It delivers a lot of heart and teaches everyone to keep the magic alive. It is fun, silly and had me shedding a tear in the theater and thinking about my childhood and imaginary friend.

In the film Bea (Cailey Fleming) discovers she can see everyone's imaginary friends and embarks on a magical adventure to reconnect forgotten Ifs with their kids. Bea has gone through a lot and is forcing herself to grow up and then, she meets Cal (Ryan Reynolds) and re-discovers her belief in the unbelievable. Bea needed a distraction as life was getting tougher for her and helping these imaginary friends is just what she needed.

IF is a fantastic film that is perfect for the entire family. The cast is outstanding and the CGI work is so impressive. This movie will bring you right back to your childhood in all the most magical ways. Cailey Fleming is remarkable. Her relationship onscreen with Ryan Reynolds is magical -- they get along perfectly and you can feel their natural connection. John Krasinski's role as Bea's father is amazing -- he is silly, loving and fun, and does not want Bea to give up on being a child. He jokes around with her a lot throughout the movie, even when she tells him to stop. His response is "never." John Krasinski not only stars in the film, but he wrote and directed it as well. The IF's are designed so well and there is something special about each one of them. They look so real on the screen and I fell in love with them immediately. Cailey's performance is terrific when she interacts with the IF's that obviously were not really there during filming.

The film's message deals with healing yourself and creating distractions when life gets difficult. It reminds us to never lose the joy in life -- keep the magic alive and believe in the unbelievable. It is about family, friendship and always having someone who is there for you, even if you have to make believe. The movie is the perfect length and never drags.

I give IF 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. You can watch IF in theaters on May 17, 2024.

By Kennedy P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


LET IT BE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LET IT BE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY+
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 TO 18
Topic - Family
Description - Available for the first time in over 50 years, Let It Be, director Michael Lindsay-Hogg's original 1970 film about The Beatles, is now available on Disney+. First released in May 1970 amidst the swirl of The Beatles' breakup, Let It Be now takes its rightful place in the band's history. Once viewed through a darker lens, the film is now brought to light through its restoration and in the context of revelations brought forth in Peter Jackson's multiple Emmy Award�-winning docuseries, The Beatles: Get Back. Let It Be, , brings viewers into the studio and onto Apple Corps' London rooftop in January 1969 as The Beatles, joined by Billy Preston, write, and record their GRAMMY Award�-winning album Let It Be, with its Academy Award�-winning title song, and perform live for the final time as a group. With Lindsay-Hogg's full support, Apple Corps asked Peter Jackson's Park Road Post Production to dive into a meticulous restoration of the film from the original 16mm negative.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The beauty and creative process of one of the greatest bands ever is captured in Let it Be, a documentary filmed 50 years ago that gives the audience an intimate look at the interactions of the band members. It also includes the rehearsals behind what was the very last live performance ever from the four geniuses of Liverpool: The Beatles. This is an essential testimony for music lovers that I enjoyed in every aspect. Not only is it a piece of history, but it is also a delightful music video in a longer format.

Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison and Paul McCartney stopped touring in 1966. They focused on solo careers, but after a three-year hiatus, they got back together to record some new songs and a final album. Let it Be was produced by filmmaker Peter Jackson, who produced The Beatles: Get Back, the docuseries of almost eight hours that previously aired on Disney+ in 2022. The Beatles: Get Back: The Rooftop Concert is a film that had a theatrical release in January 2022 and then on BluRay and DVD in July of the same year.

Let it Be is a condensed experience that combines rare footage of the musicians recording studio with the famous rooftop concert in around 80 minutes, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg who also directed music videos for The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. It premiered in 1970 and won an Oscar for Best Music and Original Song Score, and a Grammy for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special. This is the first time in years that the documentary is available for audiences after Jackson recovered and restored damaged 16mm footage. The documentary portrays the creative process and shows how, despite the disagreements the band members had, they speak in a common language when they play their instruments. We see the tension, the laughs, the joy, and the balance they kept as a band. It is interesting to watch the musicians in their mid-to-late 20s, coming together and working in the studio together, sometimes accompanied by their wives and children. My favorite part is when The Beatles sing "Besame Mucho," an iconic bolero written in 1932 by Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velasquez which is the song the band recorded as an audition at EMI in 1962.

The film's message is that music is a universal language and makes people come together, from the joy of a group of musicians playing to the profound effect in audiences that gather together and form an instant bond.

I give Let it Be 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages12 to 18, plus adults. Let it Be is now streaming on Disney+.

By Zo� C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


STAR WARS: TALES OF THE EMPIRE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
STAR WARS: TALES OF THE EMPIRE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY+
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8 TO 12
Topic - Family
Description - Star Wars: Tales of the Empire is a six-episode journey into the fearsome Galactic Empire through the eyes of two warriors on divergent paths, set during different eras. After losing everything, young Morgan Elsbeth navigates the expanding Imperial world toward a path of vengeance, while former Jedi Barriss Offee does what she must to survive a rapidly changing galaxy. The choices they make will define their destinies.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Star Wars: Tales of the Empire is an enjoyable series that I loved with its great animation and captivating characters.

The animated series consists of six short episodes and is split into two parallel stories - the first three episodes follow Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) who we were introduced to in 2023's Ashoka, and these episodes act as a sort of prequel for the Ashoka character. We witness Morgan's rise to power through vengeance, following the destruction of her home as a child. The last three episodes follow Barriss Offee (Meredith Salenger), a recurring character from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. These episodes show Barriss navigating an ever changing galaxy, and include stories from throughout her life.

Star Wars: Tales of the Empire is perfect for lifelong fans, but also an entertaining watch for new viewers. Its stunning animation and characters make it an amazing entry into the Star Wars franchise. The animation style is in the vein of Star Wars' beloved animated series The Clone Wars, and is absolutely stunning. We are introduced to many characters, some familiar to fans, and some brand new; every character design is unique and lifelike. The episodes travel to many different planets in the Star Wars galaxy and the landscapes are distinct and beautiful. Absolutely everything in this series, snow, wind, or fire, is all so detailed and stylistic. Some of the most stunning animation in this series comes in the form of action. Tales of the Empire perfectly depicts the essence of the lightsaber in animation, and they have captured the same thrill of lightsaber combat that is so prominent in the live action films. The two characters at the forefront of Tales of the Empire, Morgan and Barriss, are both wonderfully nuanced and fascinating. The series juggles complex themes, which make the characters and their stories very rich and grounded. Morgan Elsbeth is a character forged through tragedy and is on a path of vengeance. She needs to choose whether she will rise above, or be corrupted by the very evil that took everything from her. Barriss Offee is a former Jedi, who is forced to traverse a world of conflicting good and evil, and ultimately choose her side. The characters are surprisingly multilayered and interesting.

The biggest constraint in Tales of the Empire's short format is its limited runtime, which means that the pacing is way too fast. Each episode spans just over ten minutes and the story moves along so quickly that we are unable to get a clear picture of the characters. The episodes have to hurry to their resolution so some scenes feel rushed, which lessens the emotional impact of the stories. Additionally, each episode features a different point in the character's life, so we feel like we are missing so much in the gaps between stories. Granted, the stories are very entertaining, but the lightning fast pace doesn't allow enough time to fully grasp them.

I give Star Wars: Tales of the Empire 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 through 18, plus adults. It releases on Disney Plus on May 4th, 2024.

By Daniel S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


ELIZABETHAN THEATRE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ELIZABETHAN THEATRE
CHRYSOULA NIKOLOPOULOU
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - This student creation entitled "Elizabethan Theatre" narrates the basic historical and social elements of the Elizabethan era, regarding the development of the theater of the same name in England. The time period it focuses on starts from 1562 until 1642, when the English Parliament banned all plays and sealed all theatrical stages for the following 18 years. This Documentary Short Film was created with the Stop Motion Animation technique by the students of E1 of the 6th Intercultural Primary School of Eleftherio - Kordelio in Thessaloniki.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The student film, Elizabethan Theatre offers a unique blend of creativity and authenticity. I really enjoyed the stop-motion animation technique -- the animated images in the film are very vivid and realistic as they explain the historical and social elements of the Elizabethan era. I also like how the film is presented; it is very organized.

The documentary tells about the basic historical and social elements of the Elizabethan era and about the development of the English theater from the theatrical entertainment initiated by Queen Elizabeth to the emergence of the first permanent theatre roof in London. It covers the time period of 1562 to 1642, when Parliament banned all plays and sealed all theaters for the next 18 years due to the traditional conservative ideas of London officials, who believed that theater actors were vagabonds, and the theater attracted only criminals. One of the reasons was the spread of the bubonic plague, which led to the rule that large gatherings were forbidden.

My favorite part is the section that introduces the theater, detailing its construction and interior. The theater was circular and wooden as well as open, and the interior had no lights, so all the performances were scheduled during the day when there was natural lighting available. The stop motion animation gives a vivid explanation of each structure during the show, for example: "pit and gallery" each served different purposes. The interesting angle this film is that it is made using stop-motion animation, which is a very time-consuming way of filming which requires filming it frame by frame. The sets and locations are suitable for the story and the time it takes place in. They are pretty complicated, including the interior of the theater, the background which shows the structure of each part of the theater, such as the gallery and the entire gallery of the Grand Theatre - it explains that the Gallery is set on the second floor of the theatre, suitable for those who were wealthy and could often spend as little as two pence to see a play in the gallery on the second floor. The narration is provided by multiple speakers, all children, and their presentation is pretty consistent. The film is directed by Chrysoula Nikolopoulou. Twenty students who were in grade 5 (age 10) worked on the film.

One of my favorite parts of the film is the introduction to the inner workings of the theater. It shows how the theater was made up of several different parts; the "pit" was a large standing pit where people stood to watch the plays. The "gallery" was where the rich could see the plays on the second floor. On the top floor of the theater, there was a small attic where different colored flags were placed to represent the audience's desire to see a play. These plot setups helped me get a good idea of the inner workings of the theater.

The film's message is to inform the audience about the Elizabethan era and the development of English plays; to examine the structure of the theater's interior and the impact it had on the audiences. The film ends with the closure of the Elizabethan Theater for eighteen years due to the blight of the bubonic plague, which marked the end of the Elizabethan era.

I give Elizabethan Theater 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. By Changyang L., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The student film, Elizabethan Theatre offers a unique blend of creativity and authenticity. I really enjoyed the stop-motion animation technique -- the animated images in the film are very vivid and realistic as they explain the historical and social elements of the Elizabethan era. I also like how the film is presented; it is very organized.

The documentary tells about the basic historical and social elements of the Elizabethan era and about the development of the English theater from the theatrical entertainment initiated by Queen Elizabeth to the emergence of the first permanent theatre roof in London. It covers the time period of 1562 to 1642, when Parliament banned all plays and sealed all theaters for the next 18 years due to the traditional conservative ideas of London officials, who believed that theater actors were vagabonds, and the theater attracted only criminals. One of the reasons was the spread of the bubonic plague, which led to the rule that large gatherings were forbidden.

My favorite part is the section that introduces the theater, detailing its construction and interior. The theater was circular and wooden as well as open, and the interior had no lights, so all the performances were scheduled during the day when there was natural lighting available. The stop motion animation gives a vivid explanation of each structure during the show, for example: "pit and gallery" each served different purposes. The interesting angle this film is that it is made using stop-motion animation, which is a very time-consuming way of filming which requires filming it frame by frame. The sets and locations are suitable for the story and the time it takes place in. They are pretty complicated, including the interior of the theater, the background which shows the structure of each part of the theater, such as the gallery and the entire gallery of the Grand Theatre - it explains that the Gallery is set on the second floor of the theatre, suitable for those who were wealthy and could often spend as little as two pence to see a play in the gallery on the second floor. The narration is provided by multiple speakers, all children, and their presentation is pretty consistent. The film is directed by Chrysoula Nikolopoulou. Twenty students who were in grade 5 (age 10) worked on the film.

One of my favorite parts of the film is the introduction to the inner workings of the theater. It shows how the theater was made up of several different parts; the "pit" was a large standing pit where people stood to watch the plays. The "gallery" was where the rich could see the plays on the second floor. On the top floor of the theater, there was a small attic where different colored flags were placed to represent the audience's desire to see a play. These plot setups helped me get a good idea of the inner workings of the theater.

The film's message is to inform the audience about the Elizabethan era and the development of English plays; to examine the structure of the theater's interior and the impact it had on the audiences. The film ends with the closure of the Elizabethan Theater for eighteen years due to the blight of the bubonic plague, which marked the end of the Elizabethan era.

I give Elizabethan Theater 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. By Changyang L., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 7 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


BOX: THE EMPATHY PROJECT

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BOX: THE EMPATHY PROJECT
TODD VERCOE
Series: FOREIGN STUDENT SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Begun as a collective creation intended for the stage, shut down by pandemic to become a film. A story of quirky kids and lively people trying to make sense of the world. Going into the project with nothing more than a single theme - "Empathy" - meant there was an opportunity to empower the cast and build our film the way we wanted to, together. Through a series of vignettes beginning with characters trapped in their virtual boxes, our cast explores individual meaning searching for understanding amongst themselves, and the audience.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I like the general idea of the short film, Box: The Empathy Project. It is very thoughtful and could open up many people's eyes and minds.

This is a short film that was made during the time of Covid to broadcast different events for which people can or should have empathy. Friends come together to make scenarios and examples. The cast is a group of kids at the actOUT! KW Children's Drama Workshop.

The idea of making a film about the existence of empathy is very heartwarming. What I like about most about this film is how ironic it is. Shot during the pandemic, the young actors often appear in virtual boxes and discuss how to empathetic. Unfortunately, I find the film really confusing, especially at the beginning -- everything is all over the place and you have no idea what is actually going on. There is no description. We just see their heads or upper body parts as they float onto the screen talking.

Since everything was filmed on computers the images of the actors are all images that were shot again a green screen so there is no background; it's just black. The images are pretty pixelated; they are never crisp, but in some ways that adds to the comedic side to the film. In the second scene, the background is that of the interior a spaceship and they almost go into battle. This is probably my favorite background and it's well thought out. I also like the circus background. The costumes throughout are casual clothing typical of what kids this age would be wearing. When they are at the circus the person in charge had on a blazer replicating an outfit worn at this type of event. There is not a lot of background music; the piano music at the opening and the ending is impactful and the sound effects, which are few and far between, are well selected. Each of the actors adds their own spin which, considering the circumstances, seems to work out pretty well. What I like about this film is the idea behind it and the fact that these kids created it during the pandemic, which was a great use of their time and creative skills. My favorite part is the ending when all of the actors come together and explain the film.

The film's message is supposedly about how to show empathy towards others, and why it is important to do that. What I really took away is that this was an interesting way to spend the pandemic and these kids not only explored their own creativity, but formed relationships with each other, something that definitely was missing during the shutdown. Note that there is some profanity at the beginning.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By SaniyaRain F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like the general idea of the short film, Box: The Empathy Project. It is very thoughtful and could open up many people's eyes and minds.

This is a short film that was made during the time of Covid to broadcast different events for which people can or should have empathy. Friends come together to make scenarios and examples. The cast is a group of kids at the actOUT! KW Children's Drama Workshop.

The idea of making a film about the existence of empathy is very heartwarming. What I like about most about this film is how ironic it is. Shot during the pandemic, the young actors often appear in virtual boxes and discuss how to empathetic. Unfortunately, I find the film really confusing, especially at the beginning -- everything is all over the place and you have no idea what is actually going on. There is no description. We just see their heads or upper body parts as they float onto the screen talking.

Since everything was filmed on computers the images of the actors are all images that were shot again a green screen so there is no background; it's just black. The images are pretty pixelated; they are never crisp, but in some ways that adds to the comedic side to the film. In the second scene, the background is that of the interior a spaceship and they almost go into battle. This is probably my favorite background and it's well thought out. I also like the circus background. The costumes throughout are casual clothing typical of what kids this age would be wearing. When they are at the circus the person in charge had on a blazer replicating an outfit worn at this type of event. There is not a lot of background music; the piano music at the opening and the ending is impactful and the sound effects, which are few and far between, are well selected. Each of the actors adds their own spin which, considering the circumstances, seems to work out pretty well. What I like about this film is the idea behind it and the fact that these kids created it during the pandemic, which was a great use of their time and creative skills. My favorite part is the ending when all of the actors come together and explain the film.

The film's message is supposedly about how to show empathy towards others, and why it is important to do that. What I really took away is that this was an interesting way to spend the pandemic and these kids not only explored their own creativity, but formed relationships with each other, something that definitely was missing during the shutdown. Note that there is some profanity at the beginning.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By SaniyaRain F., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 28 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ERASERVERSE, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ERASERVERSE, THE
CONRAD PAUR
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Caleb, a 4th grade student accepts the ultimate student dare, to spend the night in the school. This choice leads to one amazing Sci-Fi adventure. This film was directed, lit and shot by 8 to 11-year-olds.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Fun student production, from concept to execution. Well done.

The storyline follows a young student who accepts a dare to spent the night in the school, thinking it's no big deal. However, while there, things turn weird and leads to one amazing adventure.

Well done. Good camera work; good audio; good acting, especially from Madden and Oliver. Fun story line. My favorite part is the ending when Oliver's told that they've been gone for a month and he responds, well, that's nothing since Dallas has been gone for a hundred years.

The film's message is to never underestimate what happens at your school after hours.

I give The EraserVerse 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Fun student production, from concept to execution. Well done.

The storyline follows a young student who accepts a dare to spent the night in the school, thinking it's no big deal. However, while there, things turn weird and leads to one amazing adventure.

Well done. Good camera work; good audio; good acting, especially from Madden and Oliver. Fun story line. My favorite part is the ending when Oliver's told that they've been gone for a month and he responds, well, that's nothing since Dallas has been gone for a hundred years.

The film's message is to never underestimate what happens at your school after hours.

I give The EraserVerse 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


CATAPULTS TO CAMERAS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CATAPULTS TO CAMERAS
ROUNDGLASS SUSTAIN
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Calcutta-born wildlife filmmaker Ashwika Kapur, sets out on a deeply personal quest to uncover the roots of an illegal wildlife hunting festival in the forests of her home in Bengal. Here, each year, thousands of protected animals are massacred in an illegal blood sport. As Ash sets out to find answers, she uncovers a heart-breaking truth: children as young as three are handed catapults as weapons in this assault against wildlife. In a defiant act of hope, Ash teams up with conservationist Suvra Chatterjee, to inspire change where it matters most - in the hearts of children within these hunting communities.

Catapults to Cameras has begun to have a tangible impact on the ground. In an inspiring journey beyond the screen, this film has turned into an actual conservation project, impacting change for both the youth and the wildlife of Bengal.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is quite a remarkable documentary about an innovative program that educates young people about the need to conserve wildlife in their country.

Wildlife filmmaker Ashwika Kapur, sets out on a deeply personal quest to uncover the roots of an illegal wildlife hunting festival in the forests of her home in Bengal where thousands of protected animals are massacred every year. She discovers that children as young as three are engaged in this assault against wildlife. Ash teams up with conservationist Suvra Chatterjee, to inspire change in the hearts of children within these hunting communities. Catapults to Cameras has turned into an actual Conservation Project, impacting change for both the youth and the wildlife of Bengal and is now officially an ongoing program.

Bravo for taking on such an important issue. This documentary is beautifully shot and beautifully narrated. We really are able to grasp the severity of the situation and join Ash in celebrating her small victories, changing the mindset of one child at a time.

The film's message is about the importance of conservation. Be aware that there are images of killing animals and dead animals. It is not glorified, but it is disturbing.

I give Catapults to Cameras 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is quite a remarkable documentary about an innovative program that educates young people about the need to conserve wildlife in their country.

Wildlife filmmaker Ashwika Kapur, sets out on a deeply personal quest to uncover the roots of an illegal wildlife hunting festival in the forests of her home in Bengal where thousands of protected animals are massacred every year. She discovers that children as young as three are engaged in this assault against wildlife. Ash teams up with conservationist Suvra Chatterjee, to inspire change in the hearts of children within these hunting communities. Catapults to Cameras has turned into an actual Conservation Project, impacting change for both the youth and the wildlife of Bengal and is now officially an ongoing program.

Bravo for taking on such an important issue. This documentary is beautifully shot and beautifully narrated. We really are able to grasp the severity of the situation and join Ash in celebrating her small victories, changing the mindset of one child at a time.

The film's message is about the importance of conservation. Be aware that there are images of killing animals and dead animals. It is not glorified, but it is disturbing.

I give Catapults to Cameras 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 39 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


FORGOTTEN GENERATION, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
FORGOTTEN GENERATION, THE
DRAHOMIR STREIT
Series: ELEMENTARY STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - The documentary film "The Forgotten Generation" was created last school year and captures through the eyes of nine-year-old children three school years that were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The main creators of the successful documentary were a group of nineteen children under the guidance of lecturer Drahom�r Streita.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The documentary, The Forgotten Generation, is very emotional and full of memories.

This student produced film tells the story of the three school years that nine-year-olds suffered from the effects of the Covid-19, when the children spent most of their time at home in online classes, without friends or teachers to talk to, and how their studies were affected. It is clear that the pandemic deprived the children of their time. It is from Czech Republic with dialogue in Czech, and English subtitles.

This movie is about what Covid has done to their lives from a child's point of view. The story is told from the perspective of nine-year-olds, who were just getting acquainted with school life and preparing to start a whole new school life when Covid-19 swept across the globe, causing all children to have to attend online classes, losing contact with their peers as well as their teachers, and how Covid was followed by another large outbreak in a short period of time which left kids having to revert back to online classes again. The plot development is good - it brings back memories of that time during the pandemic, so I could empathize with these kids. For example, one of them talks about how all of their classmates were quarantined so he had no friends to be in contact with, which was very lonely. This movie doesn't have very attractive camera work; it's very plain, without any fancy shooting techniques, but it reflects what the children really think. When the story is about the children's school life, it is accompanied by a piano in the background which is very happy, matching the carefree life of the children in the school. However, when the children are affected by Covid-19 and are unable to enter the school, the background music features a low fiddle that matches the depressing atmosphere. My favorite scene is one where the children return to school after Covid lifts. It reminds me of when I was in school and under the control of the pandemic, and I often felt very lonely without the company of my peers. That's why it's so heartwarming to see the children's happy faces when they return to school.

The film's message is about how these young children lost their school life due to Covid-19, and how the long hours of isolation made the children feel lonely because not only do they have to worry about getting Covid, but they also had to wear thick masks and couldn't gather with their friends.

I give The Forgotten Generation 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. This movie may resonate with kids who lost their own school life because of Covid. By ChangYang L., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The documentary, The Forgotten Generation, is very emotional and full of memories.

This student produced film tells the story of the three school years that nine-year-olds suffered from the effects of the Covid-19, when the children spent most of their time at home in online classes, without friends or teachers to talk to, and how their studies were affected. It is clear that the pandemic deprived the children of their time. It is from Czech Republic with dialogue in Czech, and English subtitles.

This movie is about what Covid has done to their lives from a child's point of view. The story is told from the perspective of nine-year-olds, who were just getting acquainted with school life and preparing to start a whole new school life when Covid-19 swept across the globe, causing all children to have to attend online classes, losing contact with their peers as well as their teachers, and how Covid was followed by another large outbreak in a short period of time which left kids having to revert back to online classes again. The plot development is good - it brings back memories of that time during the pandemic, so I could empathize with these kids. For example, one of them talks about how all of their classmates were quarantined so he had no friends to be in contact with, which was very lonely. This movie doesn't have very attractive camera work; it's very plain, without any fancy shooting techniques, but it reflects what the children really think. When the story is about the children's school life, it is accompanied by a piano in the background which is very happy, matching the carefree life of the children in the school. However, when the children are affected by Covid-19 and are unable to enter the school, the background music features a low fiddle that matches the depressing atmosphere. My favorite scene is one where the children return to school after Covid lifts. It reminds me of when I was in school and under the control of the pandemic, and I often felt very lonely without the company of my peers. That's why it's so heartwarming to see the children's happy faces when they return to school.

The film's message is about how these young children lost their school life due to Covid-19, and how the long hours of isolation made the children feel lonely because not only do they have to worry about getting Covid, but they also had to wear thick masks and couldn't gather with their friends.

I give The Forgotten Generation 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. This movie may resonate with kids who lost their own school life because of Covid. By ChangYang L., KIDS FIRST!
Runtime: 12 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO



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