The Family category has 2053 KIDS FIRST! endorsed titles
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KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MIRA, ROYAL DETECTIVE
DISNEY JUNIOR
Series: SERIES, AGES 4-9
Description - A CGI-animated mystery-adventure children's television series inspired by Indian culture and customs. It debuted on Disney Junior channel the United States on March 20, 2020. Set in a fictional kingdom called Jalpur which resembles a late 19th Century India, the series follows the brave and resourceful girl Mira, a commoner who is appointed to the role of royal detective by the queen and travels throughout her kingdom to help royals and commoners alike. Joining Mira are her two mongoose sidekicks Mikku and Chikku.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Chalo, chalo, let's go (!) solve a case with Mira and her friends! Mira, Royal Detective is so enchanting with its brilliant animation, authentic South Asian culture and positive messages.

Mira, Royal Detective is about a young girl, named Mira (Leela Ladnier), who lives in the mystical land of Jalpur (a fictional place based on India and the South Asia region). She is appointed by the queen as the official Royal Detective, and she's the first girl ever to have this position. We follow her while she solves mysteries with her best friends.

Mira, Royal Detective is fun to watch because she teaches us to solve our own mysteries. The animation is super beautiful, the colors are so vivid and the outfits are gorgeous! Every little thing in every nook and cranny is very detailed and the dancing and music is reflective of traditional Indian culture. The music is light-hearted, happy and very catchy. The cast, which is all South Asian, is outstanding. Leela Ladnier has an extraordinary voice for a kind, little girl like Mira. Karan Brar (Prince Veer) voices a perfect practical prince and Kamran Lucas (Prince Neel) has a "sweet inventor" tone to his voice. My favorite character is (of course) Mira because she is so charming, but Mikku and Chikku are also memorable characters because these snack-loving mongooses are both funny and adorable.

There are many positive messages throughout the show, including never give up, pay attention to the little things, girl power and always lend a helping hand to a friend in need. Since Mira depicts a strong female character in a traditional male role, she serves as a good role model as well. Every character is kind to one another and inspires each other, including the audience.

I give Mira, Royal Detective 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 through 9. This show is available to watch now on Disney Jr.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-9
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


HIGH NOTE, THE (2020)
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HIGH NOTE, THE (2020)
FOCUS FEATURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - A superstar singer and her overworked personal assistant are presented with a choice that could alter the course of their respective careers.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This musical romantic comedy/dramatic film shines a light on someone who is normally in the dark. There are many plot twists which kept me intrigued the whole time. The original songs in the film also kept me watching because they sound incredible.

The film focuses on the life of Maggie Sherwood, personal assistant to superstar Grace Davis. Maggie is amazing at her job and loves working for such a successful person in the music industry, but her dream job is to be a music producer. Her goal is to produce another hit song for Grace Davis and help her overcome the stigma of being an older woman of color in the music industry.

Tracee Ellis Ross plays Grace Davis and perfectly does so. She fully embodies the persona of an accomplished superstar and her vocals are always on point. Ross also adds a lot of comedic elements to the film. Dakota Johnson is an accomplished actress so it comes as no surprise that she is able to pull off many of the difficult scenes as Maggie Sherwood. Johnson is able to convey Maggie's determination and feelings of ambition to the audience.

The costumes are absolutely beautiful. Naturally as a superstar, Grace Davis has to present herself in the best way possible and she does not disappoint. The locations where this is shot are breathtaking as well. They beautifully capture the views and beauty of Los Angeles.

Describing my favorite scene would spoil the movie, so all I can say is that I really love how inspiring this film is. It accurately depicts the life of musicians living in LA and seeing a story like this will inspire many to go for their dreams, despite all the odds that may be against you.

There are multiple messages within this film. One of them is to go for your dreams despite the risks. The film shows that you need to be able to take risks and work hard to reach your goals. Even if you do encounter a setback, all that matters is that you keep getting back up and getting right back to work. Another message is to do what you want to do, even if others are against you. Grace Davis is an older woman of color in the music industry and, because of this, people try to shove her into a category and tell her what to do. But Grace has no intention of retiring anytime soon.

I love this film and the messages it conveys. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It comes out on Video on Demand May 29, 2020, so make sure you look for it!

Reviewed by Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

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


LLAMA LLAMA'S BEST SUMMER EVER! (2020)
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LLAMA LLAMA'S BEST SUMMER EVER! (2020)
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 2-7
Description - Llama Llama springs to life in these heart-warming tales based on the award-winning book series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney. Join Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat as they explore their safe, friendly hometown and make childhood memories. On this DVD, join Llama Llama as he camps, boats, floats and swims his way through his BEST summer ever! Adventure and learning awaits with Llama Llama and pals!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Llama Llama Best Summer Ever! DVD is tons of fun and will appeal to kids and families. It's a bright and happy animated series that is based on Anna Dewdney's books about an adventurous llama and his circle of family and friends. This DVD has eight episodes with an option to play all the episodes or select them one at a time at an approximate run time of 90 minutes of lively entertainment. The series employs bright colors, fun animals and engaging story lines that align with the daily activities that many kids are involved in, to capture their interest. The cute story lines deliver positive messages. For example, Llama Llama's kite is torn on the last day of summer and his mom teaches him resourcefulness. There's no need to buy a new one, we can fix this one and it will be better than before. The writing structure is straightforward and geared towards its target audience. The continuity and style reinforce each episode's message, teamwork, resourcefulness and helping others. The series uses vocabulary that appeals to young kids. For example, when Llama Llama's kite is torn his mom states that she will help him make a swirl-o-rama kite!

Through Llama Llama and his friends Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat, kids will learn how to problem-solve, work as part of a team, help others, develop friendship and enjoy their families with awesome summer activities such as making lemonade, camping, boating, swimming and kite flying. The series visually appeals to kids with its bright colors and cute animal friends. The DVD cover is appropriate and appeal as it features Llama Llama and his friends. There is also a listing of each episode included, with a picture next to it representing what the episode is about. There are educational benefits as kids are taught about problem solving and teamwork. For example, Llama Llama wants to help his friend buy a new bike tire, so he opens a lemonade stand to earn the money. His friends help him improve his product and help with marketing it. Additionally, kids are shown that everyone can be included even if they don't do the same things. i.e. Euclid the Sheep shows up when everyone's flying kites. He doesn't have a kite, but he can make calculations on wind, temperature and time to help the other kites fly. There are several messages in this series about teamwork, resourcefulness, friendship, family and helping others. The DVD menu has an option to watch all the episodes or select them one at a time. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 11.

Reviewed by Jennifer V., KIDS FIRST! juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Llama Llama is an animated series full of family values and nature adventures! This heartwarming series is based on the beloved children's books by Anna Dewdney who also illustrated the books. There are eight episodes on the new DVD Llama Llama BEST Summer Ever!

Llama Llama has exciting adventures with his family and friends which include valuable life lessons at the beach, camping and around the town. The series features Jennifer Garner as the voice of the loving Mama Llama. My favorite episode is "Last Day of Summer" where Llama Llama seizes the day with friends and goes to the park to fly kites and ends up using imagination when the weather complicates their plans. Change can be exciting and fun!

The message of this series is to learn from family and friends and to enjoy childhood. Change can be tough but you can always enjoy time with family and friends.

I rate this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 6. The DVD is available now.

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Llama Llama's Best Summer Ever! is so entertaining to watch. It has adorable characters, fun animation, great music and lots vibrant content. The short episodes are the perfect length to keep young children entertained.

This DVD is about Llama Llama and his friend having the time of their lives on their summer vacation. Episodes include Let's Go Camping, Beach Day, Boat Float and Last Day of Summer. Wherever Llama Llama goes, there will always be fun.

The Llama Llama animated series is so cool, because they are based on the award-winning book series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney. There are several lovable characters including Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu and Luna Giraffe. This DVD is approximately 90 minutes long with eight episodes. My favorite episode is Last Day of Summer, because it shows that even if the weather is bad you can still have fun indoors during the summer.

There are a lot of positive messages in this DVD including keeping a positive attitude when your plans change unexpectedly and, if you go with the flow and have a positive attitude, the outcome can still be fun. We also learn that a little bit of practice can make you feel more confident and that if you feel as if you are not getting enough attention from your parents, just know that they still love you. This DVD has no bad language and there is nothing risky or dangerous that kids might try to do. However, there are scenes showing jealously.

I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. This DVD is available now. I totally recommend this DVD for your kids.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11


Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-11
Suggested Retail Price: $ 6.99
Media: Video and DVD


SCOOB! (2020)
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SCOOB! (2020)
WARNER BROS. PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 7-18
Description - Scooby-Doo is the hero of his own story in "SCOOB!," the first full-length, theatrical animated Scooby-Doo adventure, which reveals how he and his best friend Shaggy became two of the world's most beloved crime busters. The story takes us back to where it all began, when a young Scooby and Shaggy first meet, and team up with Velma, Daphne, and Fred to launch Mystery Incorporated.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Grab your Scooby Snacks and get ready for a Scoob-tasic adventure. Zoinks, this movie is terrific! The storyline is creative and entertaining and there is wonderful character development that is unique to this movie versus the cartoon episodes we all grew up with.

Scoob! is about the never-before-heard origin of the Mystery Inc. gang and how Shaggy (Will Forte) and Scooby Doo (Frank Welker) met. After a montage of solving mysteries, we see the gang wanting to expand and we get to follow them on their biggest mystery yet. Only their friendship can save them.

I LOVE The Scooby Doo Franchise! And Scoob! is no exception. I remember watching the show and wondering how the Mystery Inc. gang got together. And now, in Scoob! we finally learn the answer. The animation is super vivid and creative. Everywhere you look, there is an "Easter Egg." For example, the names of streets and stores are names of people associated with Hanna-Barbera. The cast includes children of some of the adult actors. The characters' voices are cast to perfection. Frank Welker has a fantastic snack-loving dog voice and has been the voice of Scooby Doo for nearly 20 years. Will Forte has a hilarious hippy voice; Amanda Seyfried (Daphne) has a magnificent, kind and caring tone in her voice; and Gina Rodriguez (Velma) has an excellent voice portraying wit, intelligence and quite a bit of sarcasm. My favorite character is (SURPRISE) Scooby, because he is such a sweet dog and, as Frank Welker says, "When he talks, I'm not even sure I am listening to a dog talking like a human, or a human talking like a dog." I agree. But a close second is the villain of the movie (no spoiler here) because his name, his voice and his appearance are just perfect for a bad guy.

The key message of this movie is about the power of friendship. This movie has mild bad language and some magic scenes that may be scary for a younger audience.

Jinkies, I give Scoob! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. Adults will love this as well. Scoob! is available online May 15, 2020. #SCOOBMOVIENIGHT

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

SCOOB! is a hilarious, action-packed and adventurous animated movie based on the original Scooby Doo cartoon. This movie is a cool, updated version and includes cell phones and references to some of the current stores, such as IKEA and Wal-Mart. There are so many funny scenes in this movie that the whole family will love.

In SCOOB!, the entire Mystery Inc. team from Scooby Doo returns to solve more mysteries. We learn how Shaggy, Scooby, Velma, Daphne and Fred originally met one Halloween night. The team then goes on several adventures while trying to solve mysteries. Their biggest mission is when Velma, Daphne and Fred find out that Shaggy and Scooby are missing, and they go on a quest to find their lost friends. They need to stop the villain, Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs), from capturing Scooby and using him to open up the gates so he can steal the treasure of the underworld.

The lead characters are Shaggy (Will Forte), Scooby (Frank Welker), Velma (Gina Rodriguez), Daphne (Amanda Seyfried) and Fred (Zac Efron). It was interesting to learn what role each of them had in the group. For example, Velma is the "brains" of the team. The costumes are amazing and spot on to the originals. Scooby even gets an upgrade and gets to wear a great superhero costume in the movie. There is a lot of great music from different eras and it takes place in Venice, California. It is really clever that the movie starts with Dr. Dre and Tupac's song, "California Love." The special effects are realistic and make you feel as if you are in the movie. One of the coolest parts of the movie is when other Hanna Barbara characters such as, Blue Falcon (Mark Wahlberg), Dynomutt (Ken Jeong) and Dee Dee Sykes (Kiersey Clemmons) show up to help save Shaggy and Scooby. A great surprise is when American Idol's, Simon Cowell (Simon Cowell) appears in the movie. I love how current events are used in the movie, especially the joke they include about how Simon is responsible for giving the world Kelly Clarkson.

The message in SCOOB! is all about friendship. The cast uses the phrase "friendship saves the day" throughout the film. Anytime the Mystery Inc. team needs to solve a case, they do it together. This movie is PG and, even though there isn't a lot for parents to look out for, there are two scenes that could be mistaken for inappropriate language.

SCOOB! is PAW-tastic and a film you definitely want to see. You may even find yourself dancing while watching it. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids 5 to 18. Adults will love it too. This movie is available on video on demand now, so grab your Scooby Snacks and order it today!

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Fire up your Mystery Machine and head to your home theater to watch the new Scooby snack-eating, ghost-catching and hilarious new film, Scoob! Scoob! brings much more to the table then huge sandwiches and Scooby snacks, it also brings amazing characterization and belly-laughing humor. The film has outstanding animation, but some parts look a little bit off and need a little more detail. The movie brings back that nostalgic feel we all know and love, and makes the movie feel somewhat like another episode of some ghost-catching, meddling kids.

Scoob! starts off with a young, lonely Shaggy Rodgers (Iain Armitage) when he runs into a stray puppy and names it Scooby-Doo. From that day forth we get the amazing dog and man duo that forms Mystery Inc! The movie cuts to about 20 years later to see the full-grown meddling kids we all know and love, Shaggy (Will Forte), Scooby (Frank Welker), Daphne (Amada Seyfried), Velma (Gina Rodriguez), and Fred (Zac Efron). One day, Scooby and Shaggy are attacked by scorpion-looking robots and have to team up with the local superhero, Blue Falcon (Mark Wahlberg) to find the culprit responsible for these menacing attacks! This movie is an emotional rollercoaster filled with twists and turns you never saw coming!

There are many Scooby-Doo movies out there and I personally think that they all kind of all are the same, but let me tell you, Scoob!is completely out of the Scooby snack-box and original. I have to give big props to director Tony Cervone for making a movie that is completely original and its own. Another obvious favorite of this movie is Scooby-Doo himself! Frank Welker's voice acting is spot on and captures everything we all love about our snack-eating dog, Scooby. The only weakness with this movie is the character design. The main characters are designed extremely well, however, the people in the background all have a generic look and seem the same, but with different hair and shirt pieces.

Scoob is rated PG, but it is very edgy for a PG rating. The film includes two mild curse words and a bunch of hilarious adult jokes that will go over many kids' heads. The film also has scorpion-looking robots that might be frightening to younger viewers and, in some scenes, the scorpions turn into little cute robots. The movie's main theme is friendship, so throughout the film, many morals are provided for teaching younger viewers.

Overall, the producers and directors really put the pedal to the metal of the Mystery Machine and provide an original, fun-loving Scooby-Doo story with great characterization and humor. Therefore, I give Scoob! 4 out of 5 stars and recommend this film for kids ages 4 to18. You can buy or rent Scoob! Digitally beginning May 15, 2020.

Reviewed by Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

I like SCOOB! because it has an amazing mystery and the characters are really cute. It's cool that they have their own opinions about pretty much everything, yet are still good friends. This film is full of action and also has some touching scenes that that will make you feel emotional.

This animated film is about a gang that meets on Halloween when they are young and they solve their first mystery. Then they start solving mysteries all the time. When they grow up, they try to find an investor to support their mystery-solving business. Simon Cowell (Simon Cowell) meets the crew in a diner and says he won't give them any money if Shaggy (Will Forte) and Scooby-Doo (Frank Welker) are part of the business, since he believes a group is only as strong as its weakest link. Shaggy and Scooby go off bowling on their, but wind up getting chased by evil robots. They get transported to Blue Falcon's (Mark Wahlberg) ship and meet Dynomutt (Ken Jeong) and Dee Dee Sykes (Kiersey Clemons). The group gets chased by the robots who are controlled by Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs)--a bad guy that wants to take Scooby and open the gate to the underworld. You'll have to watch to see if Dick successfully opens the gate.

All the characters are so funny; each one has its own little personality. Fred (Zac Efron) isn't the smartest guy, but he's the cutest. Velma (Gina Rodriguez), on the other hand, is probably the smartest person ever. The group relies on each other to solve problems. To me, that's pretty cool. My favorite part is when Shaggy and Scooby sing "Shallow" to Simon Cowell. It is so funny because they are definitely not good singers. But I love it because "Shallow" is my favorite song.

The message of the film is to trust your friends. Even when they mess up, you should have their back. It kind of reminds me that sometimes I mess up and I want my friends to support me still.

I give SCOOB! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. I also think adults will like this film--especially if they used to watch the animated shows when they were kids. SCOOB! is available now online, so go look for it!

By Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


NATALIE WOOD: WHAT REMAINS BEHIND
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
NATALIE WOOD: WHAT REMAINS BEHIND
HBO FAMILY CHANNEL Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE 12-18
Description - Exploring Natalie Wood's life and career through the unique perspective of her daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, and others who knew her best.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind is a wonderful biography telling the story of Natalie Wood's life in a raw way from the perspectives of multiple people. The film gets into lots of details and aspects of her life. By the end, the audience knows all about who Natalie Wood was.

The film is composed of old video and audio clips of Natalie Wood as well as multiple interviews, some of which are conducted by Wood's daughter, Natasha. The clips follow in somewhat of a chronological order, but the film doesn't start off at the beginning of her life. It covers details and facts about her entire life, but skips around, going to different parts. It focuses on her success as a child, her family's struggles, her love life, and the drama surrounding her death. The documentary also highlights all of her achievements in her film career.

The people featured in the documentary represent Natalie Wood's extensive circle of family and friends. Their interviews tell their perspectives of Natalie and her life. Included are her daughters, the family nanny, her husband and people who worked with her.

I thought it was interesting the way that they decided to skip around to different phases in her life. Normally documentaries pursue a chronological order, starting from the beginning and following through to the end. In contrast, this documentary is really effective in the way it skips around, because it gives the audience a bit of background information before returning to explain some aspect in deeper detail. I liked this because it allowed me to get a general idea first of what Natalie Wood was like and then what she experienced. I could see how people viewed her from the outside and then, the film delves deeper into a closer perspective by her friends and family.

My favorite parts are the home videos of Natalie Wood with her children. These clips make you realize that, even though she was under the pressure of the spotlight all the time and looks perfect, she is a human being with a life too.

The purpose of this documentary is to honor Natalie Wood and show people how great a life she lived. Some people focus more on the tragedy of her death and overlook her legacy in the film industry.

I loved watching and learning more about Natalie Wood's wonderful story. I give Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. Even adults will enjoy learning from this documentary. Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind premieres on HBO May 5, 2020 so be sure to look for it!

Reviewed by Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

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


ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - When a suburban family inherits a real-life money tree, they have a one-way ticket to easy street. As they lose sight of the things that matter most, the family will be tested to discover that it is better to give than receive.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Root Of The Problem is one of my new favorite films. I planned to watch the first part of the film and the rest later, but the movie was so interesting that I watched it all in one session. I love this movie because one is always eager to know what happens next.

The movie centers around an ordinary man named Paul Campbell (Sergio Di Zio) who lives in Ohio with a wife and two kids. After his wife's uncle passes away, his family is left with a plant. Unbeknownst to Paul, the plant actually grows money. Paul is the first one to discover this and he decides to keep it to himself. Being selfish and greedy, Paul only buys things for himself. Eventually, authorities catch on to his spending habits. Turn of events happen, which lead Paul to reconsider his greed and other life choices. Eventually, Paul regrets all of the choices he has made and vows to right himself.

One of my favorite scenes is when Paul decides to buy a new car, even though he has bought an expensive lawn mower without his wife's permission, which creates a feud between them. It is funny because he has the audacity to do it again, only buying something way more expensive. Sergio Di Zio acts the selfish and greedy Paul Campbell perfectly at the beginning of the movie and follows through with an amazing performance as a changed new man at the end. Di Zio has his best acting when he pours all his emotion out vividly in the scene of Paul showing his genuine remorse after his big mistake later in the film.

One thing that stands out in the movie is the music. The music in the movie fits the tone of the scenes really well. The movie starts out slow and eventually picks up the speed. It could be better if the early part got to the exciting moments more quickly, so as not to lose the younger audience with short attention spans. A number of events in the movie, such as buying a Porsche with cash, a lawn mower costing $5,000 and a tree growing money by itself, are not very plausible in real life. The screenwriter seems to throw these events in for the convenience of developing the plot.

One of the main messages of Root of the Problem is to never be greedy and, when you have a chance, always give back. Root of the Problem without a doubt meets the KIDS FIRST! baseline criteria. This movie is geared towards teenagers because younger children might not understand why certain things happen in the movie, such as the authorities' investigation of Paul. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults.

Reviewed by Jason Y., KIDS FIRST! reviewer

The Root of the Problem is a film where everything is entirely adequate, but nothing more than that. The cinematography by Scott Corban Sikma guides us through the story beautifully. Though the story itself is rather uninteresting at times, and the acting is uninspiring, the music is certainly a highlight of this film. If you are ever looking for a light-hearted family film, this movie is exactly that.

The Root of the Problem is about a man, Paul Campbell, who inherits a plant from his uncle's will. Paul's family is living like any average income family - frugally and mindful of their money. But when the deceivingly ordinary plant begins to grow hundred-dollar bills, Paul trades family values for cars, machines and other expensive things. All of this causes a rift within the Campbell family.

Cinematography is one of the most important things in a film. The Root of the Problem understands this and delivers a well-shot movie. The screenplay by Francis Damberger and Joanne Sikma is a little on the bland side, though this is minor matter for a children's film. There are emotional scenes, which must be dealt with carefully to keep the viewer engaged and the actors pull it off well. Though there are negatives sides in the cast's performances. For example, Paul Campbell, played by Sergio Di Zio, nails the humor and stress his character feels when given the responsibility of acquiring his uncle's plant. But, when Paul is upset and crying, the actor struggles with being out of control and letting real tears flow freely. This causes the emotional impact of that scene to be reduced. Another thing to note is that the music is very catchy, which sets a cheeky atmosphere every time it plays. All in all, it's a solid film.

The message in The Root of the Problem is that nothing, not even money, is worth giving up your family for. Be generous, selfless and kind-hearted. These are wonderful lessons everyone can learn from.

I rate The Root of the Problem 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 16. This lovely movie comes out on digital and DVD on July 7, 2020!

Reviewed by Joshitha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.95
Media: FeatureFilm


HALF OF IT, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HALF OF IT, THE
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE 12-18
Description - Bookish introvert Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) is perfectly content with her life: watching old movies with her widowed father and ghostwriting papers for her high school classmates to help pay the bills. But her side gig turns personal when lovelorn jock Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) hires her to craft love notes to Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire) -- a smart, popular girl out of both their leagues... and Ellie's own secret crush. Just as the duo's plan begins to work, a new wrinkle emerges: Ellie and Paul have fallen into a deep friendship neither could have anticipated, giving rise to a surprising love triangle. Written and directed by Alice Wu, THE HALF OF IT is a heartfelt comedy-of-errors about searching for perfect love--and finding yourself in the process.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Half of It is certainly a beautiful story about love, friendship and longing. It is a very relatable story about the process of discovering love and what comes with it. The acting is splendid and writer/director Alice Wu is very assertive in both capacities.

The story follows Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis), a shy and introverted, straight "A" student, in her senior year, helping a friend, Paul, to capture the attention of the girl of his dreams, Aster. Initially, Ellie writes just one letter, but the story evolves into an exchange of text messages before their first date. During the journey, the characters discover the truth of the stress and challenges of courtship.

The film starts with a beautiful, artsy animation and excellent voice over work, guiding us into the mysteries of love at a very young age. The Half of It is a very well narrated story, keeping you intrigued, making you wanting to know more about the characters and how they will end up. The editing and music are very interconnected and they work in perfect harmony, turning into amazing storytelling.

I enjoyed the acting and the honesty of Leah Lewis' portrayal of a very timid, but determined girl. I love Paul naivet� and his struggle to communicate and show his emotions and how his innocence contrasts with Ellie's intelligence. Despite their differences they become friends, which is one of my favorite aspects of the film. I also love Collin Chou who plays Ellie's dad. He barely speaks English but he's really funny. He portrays a very loving and kind man and wants what's best for his daughter. Ellie's Dad loves classic films and, throughout the movie, there are several references to art in different disciplines like painting and poetry. This makes the film feel very grounded. "The Best Part," as Ellie's Dad refers when interrupted when watching his cinema classics, is when Ellie and Aster are in a secret lake and just talking. The scene itself is beautiful and the acting feels so natural. I love how this scene is shot and found it really relaxing.

The Half of It is not the typical high school movie, because in almost every high school movie there is a popular girl, a shy nerdy girl with lots of clich�s and no substance. But in this movie the characters are real, current and deep.

The message of this film is "be the best version of you." Ellie used to be an artist and one of the things she learns is that "you can have a good painting, but to make it a great one you need to make a bold stroke." I think what she means by "bold stroke" is the best version that you can possibly be of yourself. Also we hear that "love is the journey we pursue with determination."

This film is wonderful! I could watch it a million times and still be entertained. I give The Half of It 5 out of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 12 to 18. The Half of It opens on Netflix May 1, 2020.

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Half of It is interesting, however I feel like it could have been much better. I like it, yet I think there is a lot of missed potential.

The movie follows Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) who makes money by charging other students for essay help. One day, a jock named Paul (Daniel Diemer) asks her for help writing a love letter to his crush Aster (Alexxis Lemire). However, as Ellie continues to help Paul win her over, she ends up also falling for Aster.

A big aspect of this film is the LGBT twist. As someone who cares a lot about representation, this intrigued me. However, I have mixed feelings about the way this movie goes about its representation. I can't elaborate much as that would lead to spoilers, but let's just say the actual LGBT romance is a little lackluster and mostly overshadowed by the straight romance. This isn't really an issue for most of the film, however this heavily affected my opinion on the ending. I usually try not to compare pieces of media, however I want to compare this film to Love, Simon. An issue I've noticed when it comes to LGBT representation is the prevalence of tragedies and dramatic stories. Either that, or stories where the LGBT character doesn't have a happy ending. This is why Love, Simon was such a hit with the LGBT audience, because it is a wholesome, romantic comedy that embraces its gay representation. And considering The Half of It is also pushing the gay aspect in marketing, it could have been a lot better. The Half of It is far from the worst when it comes to unsatisfying representation, but it definitely has room for improvement.

However, the representation is not the only aspect of the film. As this is a comedy, how is the humor in this movie? Honestly, I really like a lot of the comedy in this film. I like the way Ellie and Paul play off each other and there's many well executed visual gags and recurring bits. I also really like the friendship between Ellie and Paul. Despite the fact that they're technically romantic rivals, you really buy their friendship as they have a great chemistry and you want them both to be happy in the end.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. It comes out on May 1, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

The Half Of It is a film that virtually anyone can enjoy. It's hilarious, unique, and has many intersecting relationships that keep you guessing what will happen in the future. The small-town setting helps the story feel more relatable. The personalities of the characters blend well and the progression of the plot makes sense.

Netflix's The Half Of It takes place in a small town by the name of Squahamish, following a girl named Ellie Chu. Ellie is in high school and has a way with words. Although she is talented, she is made fun of frequently. One day, Ellie is riding her bike and her classmate, Paul Munsky, asks her to write his crush, Aster, a love letter. Ellie is skeptical and annoyed, but she agrees to help him out. Little does she know that she will become his friend and fall for his crush at the same time.

Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis), Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) and Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire) make a great cast of main characters. Paul and Ellie (despite their differences) make a great team when trying to impress Aster. I love so many parts of this movie, however I have to choose a favorite! The acting really is something else. The cast is really amazing and, when you watch it, you feel an emotional connection to them. There is one specific person from the cast who does an exceptional job - Leah Lewis. She embodies the role of a reserved and skeptical-of-everything teenager very well.

The lesson from this film is that acting like your true self is for more valuable than the person you may want others to perceive you as. This way, others can love you for just being you. The movie is most definitely successful in portraying this. It is a very positive and uplifting message. This movie promotes the positive social behaviors of friendship and helping other people. However, there is quite a bit of bullying towards the main protagonist, Ellie, that occurs. There is a slight bit of swearing, but nothing too severe, and some alcohol use is shown.

I give The Half Of It 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find The Half Of It on Netflix in May.

Reviewed by Ruby A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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


GIGANTOSAURUS: DINO TALES
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GIGANTOSAURUS: DINO TALES
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 4 - 12
Description - ROCKY, BILL, TINY and MAZU are four young dinosaurs growing up in the Cretaceous period. Life is always an adventure: new volcanoes are popping up all the time, long-necked brachiosauruses and enormous triceratopses roam free, meteor showers light up the night sky and the big bad Gigantosaurus reigns over it all! On this exciting DVD, join Rocky, Bill, Tiny and Mazu as they explore the world of Cretacia. Embark on a mission to help find a lost egg s missing parents. Join the four friends as they venture out on a sleepover at the lake and camp among the herds in the desert. The adventures don t end there! Race with Mazu to see a once-in-a-lifetime comet and join Bill as he becomes invisible during a game of hide and seek. Enjoy these adventures and more with our Dino pals!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like the Gigantosaurus Dino Tales DVD because it is very entertaining and funny. This show amuses younger children as well as older children like myself.

This DVD is a compilation of eight funny episodes with each episode a duration of 11 minutes approximately. The episodes do not follow a sequence. Each one has its individual story line. This DVD is about four "dino" friends, named Rocky, Bill, Tiny and Mazu, who explore the world of Cretacia, where they live and make missions along the way. This show is very entertaining for young audience, keeping their attention their entire time.

The graphics are very bright and colorful. I especially like the jungle background. The voice-over talents suit each character. The music is appealing, especially the theme song. The episodes are short and interesting. My favorite episode is "Mazu's Comet," which is about Mazu wanting to see a comet with his name, because he is actually named after the comet. This is a special day for him because the comet only passes by every 100 hundred years. He makes a telescope, but the lens of the telescope breaks, so he scavenges to find a new lens in the desert. He only has a limited time to get back to the mountain to watch the comet. Finally, he finds the lens he needs but he gets distracted by another dinosaur in need of assistance and forgets all about the lens that he needs to see this special comet. He travels back without the lens and keeps helping more fellow dinosaurs along the way. When he finally arrives at the mountain he realizes that he forgot his lens. All the dinosaurs that Mazu helped along the way help him get his lens back and Mazu watches the comet successfully. My favorite character is Rocky because he is very adventurous dinosaur.

The moral of this DVD is that "teamwork makes the dream work," while having fun together. There is nothing like having a strong bond with our closest best friends to experience adventures together while exploring our surroundings or hometown.

I give Gigantosaurus Dino Tales DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults can watch this DVD with their children as well. This DVD is available now so look for it!

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

What I like about this DVD is seeing how all the characters of different types get along as great friends. I like how they work together as a team to solve problems. I also love the animation.

This DVD is a collection of episodes from the TV show by the same name. The story line is four young dinosaurs growing up in the Cretaceous period where there is a new adventure every day from volcanoes popping up, to meteor showers lighting up the night sky to all the various dinosaurs that you might run into at any time. The young dinosaurs, Rocky, Bill, Tiny and Mazu invite the audience to join them in their adventures.

What stands out in these animated episodes are the minute details of each dinosaur and the positive relationship between the four characters. The dinosaurs are very distinguished so that the viewer can determine their various types. The lead character Rocky pretends to be very brave, but his friend assures him that it's okay to have fears. The character Bill shows his loyalty as a friend. Mazu and Tiny are committed to their friendship. It's also fun that the dinosaurs have human-like qualities, making them anthropomorphic.

The message of this DVD is to demonstrate friendship, acceptance and compassion. The episodes focus on taking care of one another and being thoughtful. I learned to continue to value my friends and enjoy fun times together. I also learned how to pronounce some of the difficult names of dinosaurs.

I give Gigantosaurus: Dino Tales 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages w to 5. It is available now on DVD or digital, so look for it.

Reviewed by Bailey Rae F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 6.99
Media: DVD
      This title is available for purchase from Amazon.com


HIDDEN ORCHARD MYSTERIES: THE CASE OF THE AIR B&B ROBBERY
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HIDDEN ORCHARD MYSTERIES: THE CASE OF THE AIR B&B ROBBERY
VISION FILMS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - When a home robbery occurs in neighborhood, two junior detectives looking for adventure attempt to discover the culprit. Their closest neighbors are the most likely suspects and their investigation digs up bigger secrets than they expected.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B&B Robbery because of how the two girls are best friends and they work together to figure things out. The beginning is a little boring because there's not much adventure, but once the film gets going, I like the mystery.

The film begins with someone stealing some jewelry in total darkness and the camera shows pictures of people in frames. Two girls, who are best friends, see that there is a problem at the neighbor's house. They start working on discovering who this thief could be. They make a plan that they are going to start the next morning. I like the breakfast scene because it shows how Lulu (Ja'ness Tate) helps her friend, Gabby (Gabriella Pastore), who doesn't like her new mom because she think she is trying to replace her biological mother, feel more comfortable with her new mom. It is nice to see how the friends support each other. They start going to all the neighbors' houses one by one and they get confused sometimes, but they get some good clues. They also go to the librarian (Diane Cater), who tells them two neighbors might be having an affair. The two best friends work together to find the truth.

The actors are amazing because they portray their characters well through their facial expressions and body language. I also think the camera angles by Frazer Lockhart (Director of Photography) are great because it really feels as if you're in the same room with the characters. My favorite part of the film is when the two girls are eating cupcakes at a caf�. They are just pounding them down. Cupcakes are one of my favorite desserts, so that's probably why I like that scene so much.

The message of the film is to go with your gut, and if you work together a lot can happen in a good way. When I work on a project with my best friend, it's not only more fun, but also is easier to do. One warning is that the characters occasionally say some bad words and there is a gun involved, which might not be appropriate for younger children. But those are the only things that might concern parents.

I give Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B&B Robbery 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 17. Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B&B Robbery can be found online and on DVD June 16, 2020.

Reviewed by Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I really enjoyed Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B & B Robbery because it shows very funny and inspiring scenes. The movie is entertaining and, at the same time, teaches a life learning lesson.

This film is about a small, upper class, mostly black community name Hidden Orchard, where a robbery has occurred in one of the houses whose owners, The Parkers, have turned it into an AirB&B. Two teenage girls, Gaby and Lulu, who live in this community, start an investigation to find out which of the neighbors robbed the Parker's house. They interview each neighbor, especially a young guy nicknamed Dayday. Daydady is a scrawny, young black man who returned to the neighborhood after being away for some mysterious situation he got involved in. Both girls are suspicious of Dayday, because of his appearance and because of his mysterious disappearance when he went away before.

My favorite scene is when Gaby and Lulu meet the owners of a bakery who are a very funny couple. Gaby and Lulu convince the couple to be their partners in crime by sending one of the owners across the street with cupcakes, because Mrs. Parker was mysteriously meeting with Mr. Patricks, an insurance broker for the Hidden Orchard community. The film's scenery is very beautiful, especially the landscaping and the houses. The music is not that appealing. Some scenes are a bit boring, too long or lack a purpose in the story line. The main actors are pretty good, but some of the others are not.

The moral of this film is to not to judge a book by its cover and that not everything that shines is gold. Gaby and Lulu are convinced Dayday had something to do with the robbery, because of his appearance and his past. This film teaches you to have better judgment, to be kind and that everyone deserves a second chance. Also, it points out that things are not what they appear to be.

I give Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B & B Robbery 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This film comes out on Digital and DVD June 16, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


HORSE CAMP: A LOVE TAIL
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HORSE CAMP: A LOVE TAIL
VISION FILMS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - It's a new year at horse-riding camp and everything changes when the ranch hand has a crush on the riding instructor! The campers put competition aside and rally together to help him win her over her while building new friendships.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Horse Camp: A Love Tail is a fun movie about life lessons learned at a horse ranch. The horses and ranch serve as the backdrop for the characters to learn about kindness and true friendship. Together they learn how to be better riders and people.

It's a new summer at Black River Farm and Ranch and their camp has a lot of changes this summer. New faces and returning campers, as well as staff changes, create an interesting social environment. Campers and staff are divided until Jerry (Richard Karn), the ranch hand, develops an awkward crush on Bonnie (Teri Lee) the new head riding instructor. The campers are familiar with new love and social awkwardness and come together to help Jerry gain Bonnie's notice and affection.

The beginning of the movie during the opening credits which shows trick riding is my favorite scene. Unfortunately, we don't get to see any more of this type of footage in the movie. I really like the storyline, but the writing and characters seem very immature. Jerry's shyness and dialogue is extremely awkward and unbelievable. Luckily, Bonnie is able to see his kind heart and value rather than focusing on his behavior and speech. The one scene where he expresses his anger which is due to jealousy is really over the top.

My favorite character is Stacey Vanderbelt (Kristen Ryda), a former camper who was supposed to be the head riding instructor this camp session, but is replaced with newcomer Bonnie Lightyear who becomes Jerry's love interest. Stacey's transformation in the movie as a rider, teacher and a person is really inspiring and I enjoyed watching her change from a self-absorbed popular girl to a kind person who improves herself and others. Life lessons are abundant throughout this film and there is a lot to take away from watching this movie.

The message of this film is that kindness matters and that you can build self-confidence without bringing down others. Being popular has a limited time in the spotlight, but making and supporting friends can last a lifetime.

I rate Horse Camp: A Love Tail 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. Movie releases to digital and DVD May 15, 2020. Watch for it.

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


VAST OF NIGHT, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
VAST OF NIGHT, THE
AMAZON STUDIOS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - In the twilight of the 1950s, on one fateful night in New Mexico, a young switchboard operator Fay and charismatic radio DJ Everett discover a strange audio frequency that could change their small town and the future forever.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Vast of Night was somewhat disappointing. The film has an interesting set up but it feels underdeveloped and a waste of potential.

The story is a very clear parody of shows such as The Twilight Zone, to the point where the story is framed as if it was an episode of The Twilight Zone. The plot follows two high schoolers named Everett and Fay, who run a radio show together in the 1950s. One night, Fay hears a strange frequency through the radio and she investigates it with Everett.

To start off, I want to talk about my biggest problem with this movie, which is the pace. There are many scenes in this movie that go on for way too long and, as a result, completely kill the atmosphere and investment. The worst of these is the scene near the beginning in which Fay first hears the frequency. She calls a bunch of other people to ask them about it, and this takes around ten minutes. There is no justifiable reason that this scene needs to be so long. It barely establishes anything and, at most, reestablishes the same thing. It's not entertaining and is incredibly boring. But what makes this scene even more tedious is that, for ten minutes, there is not a single cut. It's the same frame and same shot of Fay, for the entire ten minutes. I'm usually not one to talk about cinematography and editing, but this combination is a recipe for boredom. However, props to Sierra McCormick, the actress who plays Fay, for being able to pull this scene off. I'm sure this scene was difficult to do. Unfortunately, it's not enough to save this major flaw. In actuality, this film is pretty short, but it feels like an eternity.

Aside from the pacing and poor editing, the mystery of the frequency is ultimately confusing and unsatisfying. And as an homage to The Twilight Zone, it's not eerie or unique enough and honestly it feels like a gimmick. The fact that the story takes place in the 50s rarely comes up other than the old technology, which is a bit disappointing to me, since I really like the 50s aesthetic.

I give this film 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. It comes out May 15, 2020 and on Prime Video May 29, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

This movie is so creepy and bone chilling! From start to finish, audiences are kept at the edge of their seats. The eerie feeling is present throughout the film and the ending is unexpected and a shocker.

The Vast Of Night centers around a radio DJ Everett (Jake Horowitz) and his younger friend Fay Crocker (Sierra McCormick) as they investigate a peculiar radio frequency. Set in the 1950s, the movie starts out as a show, imitating the Twilight Zone. Throughout the film, we switch from watching the television set, to watching the actual episode.

The acting by both central characters is phenomenal! Jake and Sierra have wonderful onscreen chemistry. The casting for both of their characters is superb. Their friendship is comedic. Jake's character, Everett, is sarcastic and hilarious. Even in dark times, we need humor. The storyline is super freaky and very mysterious. The ending is one that is completely unpredictable. Writers James Montague and Craig W. Sanger really create movie magic with their unique plot. Following these characters throughout their eventful night is an amazing adventure.

The lesson of the film is to always stay curious and always investigate. The moment Fay and Everett discover there is something wrong they immediately go in search of the problem. They gather all the clues to save their town. There is a tiny amount of adult language and several tobacco depictions.

I give this excellent motion picture 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. The Vast of Night is available on Amazon Prime May 29th, 2020.

Reviewed by Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


DOOZERS WE DIG SPRINIG!
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DOOZERS WE DIG SPRINIG!
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 2-8
Description - Doozers: We Dig Spring! - Living at the edges of our world and right under our noses are Doozers. Just who are the Doozers? They're green, they're cute, they're three inches tall, full of energy, ideas, and enthusiasm they're AWESOME! Doozers love to create, build, and innovate. Doozers are DOERS they put their ideas into action! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, "The stories follow four green Doozers that love helping wildlife and building things. Doozers are little green, cute and energetic creatures - two boys and two girls. Each one has a unique talent. For example, one has the power of science, another has technology, the third one has engineering and the fourth one has arts and math. All together it equals STEAM (science, technology, engineering arts and math)." See his full review below.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Doozers We Dig Spring! DVD because it is very entertaining, even for an 11-year-old, like me. This animation has very unique story lines in every episode.

The DVD has six episodes, each about 11 minutes long. The stories follow four green Doozers that love helping wildlife and building things. Doozers are little green, cute and energetic creatures - two boys and two girls. Each one has a unique talent. For example, one has the power of science, another has technology, the third one has engineering and the fourth one has arts and math. All together it equals STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). In every adventure they learn something new such as the stages of a butterfly, what bees like or how to work together.

My favorite episode is Oh Beehive where one of the Doozers is hungry and goes to a bakery to get something to eat. When he is about to go inside, a storm of bees swoops in front of the bakery's door so the owner has to shut the bakery down. The Doozer calls his friends to come and help him. All four Doozers together think of a genius plan so they can stop the bees and remove them from the door. The animation is cute with vibrant colors. The voice-overs are all by kids and their voices fit each character perfectly. The theme song is very energetic. Each episode is a different adventure and they don't necessary follow a sequence. My favorite catch phrase they say is, "Doo, doo, doo..." and, right after that phrase, they start working together as a team to resolve a situation or to build something.

The moral of Doozers We Dig Spring! is "team work makes the dream work," because in all six episodes all four Doozers team together to solve situations or to build something and they always put their ideas together to make things happen as a team.

I give Doozers We Dig Spring! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 4 to 18, and adults can enjoy this DVD as well. This DVD is available now so go get it before it runs out! Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Runtime: 66 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 6.99
Media: DVD


FLOOGALS: INVESTIGATION STATION
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FLOOGALS: INVESTIGATION STATION
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 5-12
Description - EXPERIMENTAION, DISCOVERY, OBSERVATION, HUMANS
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Floogals Investigation Station because it is very funny, original and creative. It captured my attention the whole time. I like that it is not just animation, as some parts are real life graphics. I also like that it is always teaching kids to explore and experiment in every episode.

This DVD is about three purple lookalike aliens called Floogals - Captain Fleeker, First Officer Flo and Junior Boomer. The Floogals learn new things and report back to their boss to inform him what they have learned on Earth. This DVD contains six episodes about experimentation, discovery and observation. Each episode has about 11 minutes of adventure and funny situations. One of the funniest things of this show is that the aliens call the humans "hoomans."

My favorite episode is "Project Popcorn." This episode is about the Floogals discovering a food called popcorn. When a human accidentally lets go of the popcorn, it falls and the dog eats it, so they think it is dog food. Later they start to realize what popcorn is. Another one of my favorite episodes is "Project Sleep" which is about how a "hooman" girl invites her friends over for a sleepover. The Floogals spy on the girls to see what a sleepover is all about. The Floogals slowly learn about and process the word "sleepover," The Floogals do not realize that the whole time they are actually part of the sleepover. The graphics are real live backgrounds and the Floogals are little animated aliens. The animation is neat and very colorful. The voiceover talent suits each character. I like Junior Boomer's character the most, because he is clumsy, funny, and always curious about learning new things.

The moral of this show is: don't ever let someone stop you from doing what you desire. Don't allow anyone to discourage you from doing what you are capable of doing. For example, Junior Boomer investigates this thing call "popcorn" and Captain Fleeker tries to stop him, but Junior Boomer still investigates.

I give Floogals Investigation Station 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it ages 6 to 18, plus adults. By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
Runtime: 66 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 6.99
Media: DVD


MY SPY
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MY SPY
AMAZON STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - A hardened CIA operative finds himself at the mercy of a precocious 9-year-old girl, having been sent undercover to surveil her family.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I thought My Spy was so good because I loved the friendship and love that develops between the characters JJ (Dave Bautista) and Sophie (Chloe Coleman)! They start off as strangers and then, throughout the movie, JJ teaches her how to be a good spy, and she teaches him how to be a kinder person as their relationship grows stronger and they become friends. Not only does JJ have a change of heart and but eventually he develops feelings for her mom.

My Spy is the story of a CIA agent who is secretly watching a family in order to try and get information connected to a big case he is on. One of the people he is watching is the little girl, Sophie, who discovers J.J. and that he is spying on her and her mom. In exchange for not revealing his secret, Sophie makes him teach her how to be a good spy.

One of my favorite parts of My Spy is when JJ goes on a date with Sophie's mom and starts dancing. Because his character is so serious and he's such a large person, it's very funny to see him trying to do all these trendy dances...because he does it so terribly! Honestly, it kind of reminded me of my dad dancing.

For those who like Dave Bautista in Guardians of the Galaxy you will love him in this movie. Chloe Coleman has a very bright acting future--she is such a kind person both on and off camera, and she has such an amazing on-camera presence.

A quick note to parents: My Spy does contain some adult language (and in some songs played during the movie.) So while younger kids may enjoy it, parents should decide if their kids are mature enough to see a movie with moments of profanity.

My Spy is full of action, fun, comedy and love. I give My Spy 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 10 to 18, and adults will love it too! Available now on Amazon Prime

Reviewed by Lindalee R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


I STILL BELIEVE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
I STILL BELIEVE
LIONSGATE FILMS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-14
Description - The true-life story of Christian music star Jeremy Camp and his journey of love and loss that looks to prove there is always hope.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I Still Believe is a sincere and true love story, held down by clich�d dialogue and plot development. The subtle messages and radiant leads stick their landing without feeling preachy. Adults and kids will admire this faith-based tale, perhaps in a matinee and a box of tissues.

This story brings the true-life story of Christian music star Jeremy Camp (KJ Apa) and his remarkable journey with his wife Melissa (Britt Robertson). Their faith in God is tested when Melissa is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Still, Jeremy believes there is always hope and a faith worth sharing through his music and memories.

The two leads share great chemistry allowing for a believable relationship. KJ Apa, as Jeremy Camp, steps into the shoes of the Christian music singer, through his original music and devotion towards his wife Melissa. Speaking of which, Britt Robertson, as Melissa, is the best performance nailing the emotional gravitas of the real-life counterpart's plight. She fares much better in emotional scenes, and while KJ has great screen presence, he could improve his emotional chops. Both characters absolutely deliver a heart-warming dynamic that makes the ending all the more tragic, but also reminiscing. Nathan Dean, as Jean-Luc, adds a love-triangle dynamic that feels more at home in a CW show than a dramatic real-life story. Still, his character is charismatic and relatable in his struggles. Gary Sinise, as Tom, is Jeremy's father, adding more heart to Jeremy's unwavering love and choices.

Directors Andrew and Jon Erwin return after directing the Christian film I Can Only Imagine. The Erwins have a good grasp on not being preachy and instead, focus on the human relationships that bind. However, this film's first half panders with one instance of egregious product placement, unbecoming of its more mature second half. It feels tonally inconsistent in spite of KJ and Britt's natural chemistry. There's a scene involving a broken jar of pickles where the film becomes thoughtfully complacent about its conflicts. This is where the film began to click, and it ends up being moving and lyrically heartwarming.

The message of this film is to always keep the faith and stay close to those you love. They make us for who we are, and unfortunately, tragic things can happen. It's best that we stay close and not waste any day with them.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 due to strong thematic material. The movie releases in theaters March 13, 2020, so check it out.

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-14
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


STARGIRL
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
STARGIRL
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-14
Description - A boy becomes intrigued by a mysterious and quirky student named Stargirl and spends his time trying to know more about her.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Stargirl is an amazing movie that encourages you to be yourself and not let anyone tell you who else to be. This movie could make a great impact on the world and it has such a powerful and positive message with the ability to inspire many people.

Stargirl is about a boy named Leo Borlock (Graham Verchere) and a girl, Stargirl (Grace VanderWaal) who, after many years of being homeschooled, decides to attend a regular school and the two of them begin a connection. When Stargirl shows up at the school, positive things start happening, like the football team winning games, which it hadn't for YEARS)! But, when Stargirl makes a choice that causes the school to lose the championship football game, everyone turns on her and it's up to Leo to save Stargirl and win back everyone's love for her.

One of my favorite parts is when Stargirl sings Happy Birthday to Leo at the beginning of the movie, because that's when he starts noticing that this girl is different and wonders what she knows about him. What a surprise to have a complete stranger serenade you on your birthday, in front of the whole school! I also love the moment when Stargirl runs out of her house as Leo is leaving and kisses him. She's like, "Oh no, what do I do now?" and runs back into her house. I think that's so cute and funny and I love that he gets so giggly and happy about it. It is so adorable.

The message of this film is simple enough - be true to yourself and never let anybody tell you who to be or what to do, because you'll be unhappy with yourself in the end.

I love Stargirl and give it 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 10 to 18. If you're in high school you'll be able to relate to at least one of the many likeable characters in this movie. And, Disney fans, as well as adults will LOVE this movie too. There's something for the whole family in this film. Make sure to have a box of tissues near by when you watch it. You just may need it for both the heartwarming and joyful moments. This movie is streaming on Disney+ beginning March 13, 2020.

By Lindalee Rose, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-14
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


BLOODSHOT
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BLOODSHOT
COLUMBIA PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Ray Garrison, an elite soldier who was killed in battle, is brought back to life by an advanced technology that gives him the ability of super human strength and fast healing. With his new abilities, he goes after the man who killed his wife, or at least, who he believes killed his wife. He soon comes to learn that not everything he learns can be trusted. The true question his: Can he even trust himself?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments`
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Bloodshot because it has a unique storyline, awesome action and great stunt scenes. This film keep your attention throughout the entire movie.

Bloodshot is about a solider named Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) who gets killed in action and is brought back to life by an innovative scientist named Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce), who fixes wounded soldiers by augmenting what the soldier lost in battle. One soldier, named Jimmy Dalton (Sam Heughan), lost his legs in battle so Dr. Harting gave him robotic legs. Ray lost his life and Dr. Harting replaced all of his blood with nanites, which can rebuild any part of his injured body.

My favorite part is the elevator shaft fight scene when Ray, Jimmy and Tibbs (Alex Hernandez) are fighting on top of the elevator. The digital effects are awesome, like how the nanites heal Ray every time he gets hurt. The graphics are perfect. The costumes look like army gear with special devices attached. There is some foul language and violence. The cast fits each character, especially Vin Diesel who perfectly playa Ray Garrison.

The moral of this movie is that not everything is what it seems. You have to see the film in order to understand the moral.

I give Bloodshot 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Bloodshot comes out in theaters March 13, 2020. Go watch it.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


CRITICAL THINKING
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CRITICAL THINKING
CQCM - CARIBBEAN CHAPTER
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - CRITICAL THINKING is based on the story of the 1998 Miami Jackson Senior High School chess team that defied the odds and overcame incredible adversity to become the first urban high school to win the U.S. Chess National Championship. John Leguizamo stars as Mario Martinez, the determined high school teacher who's unwavering belief in his students set in motion the rise of the Miami Jackson chess team from the city streets of1998 Miami, to the spotlight as national champions.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Critical Thinking is a film with incredible, fleshed out characters in an emotional story which surprises you at every turn. It gets you to connect with the characters quickly and made me actually feel bad for them when things go wrong.

Critical Thinking tells the true story of the lives of members of the Miami Jackson High School chess team during the U.S. National Chess Championship. It goes into the motivations behind the members and their team supervisor, Mr. Martinez, as they struggle to get out of a system that doesn't value them via the chess tournament. It follows their journey from the start, raising money to get to the tournaments, and the events that occur during the tournaments, as well as all the problems throughout. The film also goes into specific details of the members' personal lives to show their daily struggles.

The characters are developed incredibly well, making you feel as if you know the characters. It makes even the most insignificant characters interesting. They are all real people who make real choices about their lives, for better or worse. I really enjoyed the way they show the players develop during the competitions. They play like real people and make mistakes like them too. There are very complicated relationships between the characters that help them develop their abilities and personalities.

The score is subtle and matches the film. There was never a point when I noticed that the score was practically good or bad, but it fits the themes and changes when necessary. My favorite scene is the final chess match. Marcel takes risks which make sense for his character. The other members of his team appear genuinely nervous, because they don't know who is going to win. They put Marcel under a lot of pressure, and it is unclear if he is going to break because of it. There is one point when an offer is made to him and it is unclear if he would be willing to abandon his team for personal gain.

The film delivers a message that people who come from different places can still accomplish incredible things. It also addresses the problems with the school systems' view on people of color.

I give Critical Thinking 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 13 to 18, because it covers some very mature topics. Critical Thinking will be released summer 2020.

Reviewed by Rohan F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


ADVENTURE BOYZ
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ADVENTURE BOYZ
HOWARD FORD Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - When speedway racing champ Mike Harris has his kids for the summer holidays, he is stunned they want to sit inside playing on their devices. Insisting they get out into the real world for adventure and exercise, little does he realize, he is about to set off a chain of events that will change their lives forever.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Adventure Boyz is an engaging film in which family ties are tested and strengthened. The beginning of the movie shows the toll that family separation takes and the father realizing where his children are headed if they continue on that road. It ends with the returning of a missing family member and becoming a family again.

Adventure Boyz encourages family activities as healthy ways to nourish family relationships between parents and children, denouncing the use of electronics as some kind of epidemic that turns people into zombies.

What I found appealing are the main characters, the views and scenery. Plus, there is adventure and fun involved. Although the film lacks in creativity, it flows well most of the time. There are some things that don't quite make sense such as like the father being allowed to compete again and winning. It offers a please feeling of familiarity with the characters and their environments. The movie exceeds in showing positive family and faith values.

Adventure Boyz offers a positive message about family and the importance of good parenting. It emphasizes trusting God and positive advice that a committed parent should give her children. It does have some unnecessary physical violent scenes, that you should be aware of.

I give this 3 out of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 13 to 18. This film is available now on DVD and digital.

Reviewed by Carolina S., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Adventure Boyz because it has a good, interesting story. This film is full of action and adventure. It is cool how the two boys, Sam and younger brother Jake (Rory Ford, Felix Ford) work together to solve a mystery. I like how the boys' dad is a speedway racer, because that is something I'm not ever around. I also like the mom, because she is very protective of her kids. You can tell she loves them very much.

The story starts off with a news reporter reporting that 50 diamonds has been stolen in the castle. This grabbed my attention right away. When the two brothers are biking, they find a hideout where the diamonds hidden. That is just the beginning of their big adventure. The boys get chased by two bad guys pretty much throughout the movie and have quite a few close calls. They have to fend for themselves because their mom is away and their dad winds up in jail. It's really up to them to set things straight.

I love one of the bad guys in the story--one of the antagonists. He has a great personality, because he is always getting distracted by things and it's funny when he gets off task. The other antagonist is the complete opposite; he is very focused and very serious about his job. My favorite part is when one of the bad guys is admiring flowers. It's ironic because, earlier on in the film, he tells his partner he never wanted to be a criminal, he wanted to be a gardener.

The message of the film is to trust yourself. Sam sometimes has moments when he doubts himself and then, he learns to be more confident and does the right thing. I know when I'm more confident, I tend to do better at something, like when I'm singing, dancing and acting. There is one scary part, the abduction scene, when someone is tied up and has duct tape over his mouth.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 14, but even older kids and some adults may like it. Adventure Boyz is available now on Blu-Ray/DVD and streaming services, so look for it.

Reviewed by Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 12.99
Media: Video and DVD


KOKOWANDA BAY BY RUTH AND EMILIA
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
KOKOWANDA BAY BY RUTH AND EMILIA
RUTH WEBER, ENRICO LOPEZ-YANEZ AND EMILIA LOPEZ-YANEX PRODUCTIONS
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 5-12
Description - URR the alien returns to Emilia's backyard to get her help in saving beautiful Kokowanda Bay which has become polluted. The two work together and sing these catchy tunes as they learn about recycling, reusing, and reducing, to make the world a better place.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The mother and daughter team of Ruth and Emilia have a winner of a new album on their hands with Kokowanda Bay, a rock 'em sock 'em joyous explosion of fun and educational songs of friendship, caring, love and wondrous discovery and includes a cute alien visitor from another planet for good measure. The production value and super vocals are indeed other-worldly with great use of instruments. (Hey, isn't that an oboe!) Songs move the story merrily along. A fun time is guaranteed for all - on this or any planet!

Kokowanda Bay by Ruth & Emilia is finely produced, well paced and flows easily. The album speaks to its target age group with messages of love, acceptance and care for the Earth. The arrangements are totally appealing and the vocals are terrific. I absolutely recommend this with its very positive and educational messages. It encourages that we all, regardless of age, can do our bit to be proactive. This album does not talk down to its audience, but uplifts them to a brighter understanding. All done in a loving and creative way.

The production value is terrific. The vocals are lovely and the musicians are on their game. It has lots of positive messages about going green, recycling and the wonders of nature. This would make a terrific tool for schools with its participatory projects, especially regarding science and the environment. I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Reviewed by John Wood, KIDS FIRST! Music Specialist
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ruth and Emilia: Kokowanda Bay is a fun musical story that is extremely positive, while teaching younger viewers many important things about friendship. Even though this CD comes off as a children's CD, do not let that turn you away because this little package has lots to offer such as amazing singing, lyrics and important morals.

An adventurous team of Kokowanda Bay is formed when the planet Goopda sends an alien named UUR to Earth to save Kokowanda Bay. The team explores different ways to help the earth such as "going green" and planting flowers across Kokowanda Bay. They also participate in fun beach activities and learn about some of nature's cycles.

There are many reasons to love this CD and the biggest one is the vocals. Emilia Lopez-Ya�ez and Ruth Weber's voices are amazing! Their voices combined makes you want to listen to this CD for hours! Emilia and Ruth also wrote the song lyrics, which are also outstanding. They are creative and positive one thing that makes it even more fun is that they rhyme most of the time.

This CD is extremely kid-friendly, however, it moves very fast so it may be difficult for younger viewers to comprehend the entire story. The CD teaches young viewers the importance of friendship while also teaching different ways to take care of the environment.

I give Ruth and Emilia: Kokowanda Bay 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. This CD is widely available now. Look for it. Reviewed by Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 12.99
Media: AUDIO


WENDY
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WENDY
FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - Lost on a mysterious island where aging and time have come unglued, Wendy must fight to save her family, her freedom, and the joyous spirit of youth from the deadly peril of growing up.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wendy is the new re-imagined version of the Peter Pan story and a very thoughtful and meaningful film. It is beautifully shot, and it reminds us of the power of imagination. Wendy is a very introspective story that combines adventure with drama but is not a colorful vibrant tale--instead it is filled with some sadness and a little gloom.

Director Benh Zeitlin co-wrote this film with his sister Eliza, a story where a little girl, Wendy, assumes the role of a mother figure to her brothers. The story explores adulthood and the challenges of a new self-acquired freedom.

Trains pass everyday just next to Wendy's house and everything shakes. Her life seems very methodical; she helps her mom at the dinner business that operates in the lower level of her house. On the top level, she plays and uses her imagination reading books and daydreaming about adventures. One day, when she is little, a kid disappears on top of a train in front of her pretty blue eyes. Years later, she decides to disappear on a train, too, followed by her brothers, curious to see what happens at the end of the journey. She meets Peter Pan and arrives in a remote volcano island. She also meets the kid that disappeared years ago, but he hasn't aged. She discovers the secrets behind staying forever as a kid as she learns the importance of growing and enjoying every stage of life.

The film was shot on location, in places that represented a real challenge to the crew. Zeitlin is a passionate filmmaker who challenged himself filming in 16mm, a format that is artistic but represents more efforts, technically speaking. The format definitively adds texture and works perfectly for the story. The young actors are excellent; they totally conveyed a wide range of emotions.

Wendy is about lots of things; definitively a coming-of-age film where Wendy deals with the fact of growing up and assuming responsibilities and being afraid of that. But it is also about family, respect for nature and grown-ups and older people. And this is probably my only issue with this film - at times, it feels that it has too many moments of symbolism which makes it hard to follow the main purpose.

The message of the film is we should always remember the good things about being a child, keeping a free spirit and use our imagination. But aging brings wisdom and we can't change the course of life.

I give Wendy 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids age 10 to 18. Some images could be a little intense for young kids and this movie will not be very easy to understand for kids under 10. Wendy opens February 28, 2020.

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

This soulful fantasy drama drew me in from the very beginning and never let up. It is so visually stimulating, with a lot of different camera angles and incredible stunts. The location is both beautiful and exotic. It's the perfect setting.

Wendy is a very different adaptation of the classic Peter Pan story. It follows a young girl named Wendy and her adventure to a mysterious island with her brothers. Once on the island, they discover the wonders of nature, freedom and the surprising struggles of life. Wendy fights to keep her family together, while trying to stay young.

Benh Zeitlin co-wrote the screenplay with his sister, Eliza Zeitlin, and also directs the film. The awesome thing about this twosome is that they didn't just, one day, think of this idea for a movie, but had the idea their whole lives. Benh also co-composed much of the dynamic music for the movie along with Dan Romer. Wendy was filmed on location in the Caribbean, using 16mm film versus a reliance on green screens for background settings. It features real nature! This movie has a wonderful cast of nonprofessional kids, such as Yashua Mack, who plays a very believable Peter. Gage and Gavin Naquin, as Wendy's brothers Douglas and James, have a visible bond with each other as brothers as well as in real life. My favorite character is Wendy (Devin France), because she is so brave, very curious, and has a kind spirit.

The messages of this film are that it is ok to grow up, but never loose joy, hope, wonder and freedom and to confront, not escape, life's difficulties. This movie has some mild profanity, some gory images and some very risky adventures, but the last is on purpose because they wanted these kids to be free to do fun and dangerous things.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Adults will also like this movie. Wendy opens in theaters on February 28, 2020.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I like Wendy because it is a totally different and more realistic version of the Peter Pan story. I like how this movie follows Wendy's life story and point of view about life.

This film is about a little girl named Wendy who has a pair of twin brothers and they are raised by their single mother. Their mom owns a diner and she works very hard in order to take care of her three children. They live upstairs above the diner and, next to their house, is a train track where they can see the trains pass by very close to their bedroom window. When Wendy was about two or three years old, her neighbor, Thomas, who was about eight at the time, jumped on one of the trains and never came back. That memory hunts Wendy. Years pass by until one night, Wendy sees a train that's similar to the train Thomas jumped on and she decides to wake her brothers up and jump on the train. Once they are on the train, they meet Peter, a young boy who takes them to an island where a group of children and a group of very old people named "The Lost Boys" live.

Wendy is not the traditional Peter Pan classic tale or movie that we are used to seeing. This movie is unique because Wendy comes from a low income and hard working family. She is raised by her mother only. The kids are dirty, sweaty and untidy. They are very hyper, wild and adventurous. They use foul language and fist fight with each other. There is only one graphic scene with blood in it. There is no Tinkerbell and the creation of Captain Hook is very original. It is a great new take on this fairy tale story.

The moral of this movie is to always be young at heart and to use your imagination and creativity in life. Wendy physically grows old, but in her heart she is young. She believed in helping her brothers overcome their sadness and bad experiences on the island, in order for them to continue to be young.

I give Wendy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Children under 10 could watch this film under the supervision of an adult. Wendy was released in theatres February 28, 2020.

By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, age 11

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


ONWARD
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
ONWARD
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-18
Description - Set in a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf brothers embark on a quest to discover if there is still magic out there.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Oh my gosh, I loved this film from Disney/Pixar. Perhaps my favorite Pixar film yet! Lovely story with a wonderful message, beautiful told and, of course, beautifully animated. I could watch this multiple times and shared it with my daughter who is 12. The humor is great, without bowing to potty humor, thankfully. The voice actors are superb in their character portrayals (Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) and Octavia Spencer as The Manticore is the icing on the cake. Love it love it love it. Go see it. You'll be glad you did. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - As of now, this film is easily one of my favorite Pixar films. I adore the touching story and especially the world building. Overall, Onward is an amazing film.

Onward takes in a world much like our own, except it's populated with fantasy creatures. We follow two elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot as they discover magic still exists and thus go on a quest to revive their father for one day.

So, first the animation. I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory. Since it is Pixar, the animation is absolutely outstanding. But, I specifically want to discuss the world in which Onward takes place. There are so many creative and diverse character designs and representations of mythological creatures (which I appreciate as a mythology fan). The world building is probably some of the best I've ever seen. I have contemplated the idea of a suburban fantasy, so I'm really happy seeing that idea brought to life. There's a lot of really funny gags surrounding this idea, such as an historically accurate "Dungeons and Dragons" and unicorns becoming the equivalent of raccoons. You can tell the artists really enjoyed designing the settings.

However, the world is not the only enjoyable aspect of this film. The characters are especially fun. The two brothers, Ian and Barley, have amazing chemistry. This is probably thanks to their voices actors - Tom Holland playing Ian and Chris Pratt playing Barley. They already have a connection from the Marvel movies, so their relationship feels real. But Ian and Barley aren't the only great characters in this movie. I would say my personal favorite character is The Manticore, played by Octavia Spencer. The Manticore is probably the funniest character and I really like her friendship with the brothers' mom, Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus).

Speaking of which, Onward is really funny. There's a specific scene involving The Manticore that caused me to laugh probably the hardest I've ever laughed at a Pixar movie. There are also a lot of gags involving the fact that the world is populated with fantasy creatures.

And as expected from a Pixar film, it's pretty emotional. And, given the context of the plot, I feel this might be one of Pixar's most heart wrenching films. When you think about it, who wouldn't want to bring someone back, even for one day?

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. It comes out on March 6, 2020 so look for it.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Onward is a spectacular film! I especially enjoyed the very well written story line and the animation. This film had me laughing and crying, as well as sitting on the edge of my seat. The characters are funny and very well animated, and remind me of humans that I know and love.

Onward is about two elf brothers named Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt). Their dad passed away when the Barley was very young and Ian was about to be born. All the two brothers want is to see their dad again. After getting their dad's old wizard staff and a spell to bring him back for a day, they find it is a lot harder than it seems and they need to work together to solve the puzzle.

The characters in this film are voiced by some very well-known names. Tom Holland (Spiderman movies) voices Ian Lightfoot and Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World) plays Barley Lightfoot. Julia Louis-Dreyfus voices Laurel Lightfoot, Ian and Barley's mom. Manticore, the fierce creature who helps the brothers, is voiced by Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures).

Onward has everything that a fairy tale adventure film needs. The whole film is filled with magic and magical creatures like a fairy tale films has, but it also contains just the right amount of action to make it qualify as an adventure film as well. Onward's story line is fantastic! Every single detail is spot-on. My only problem with this film is that the pace starts a little slowly, but it picks up as the story develops. Other than that, I love this movie!

My favorite character in this movie is Barley, Ian's big brother. He is my favorite because most of his lines are very funny and he had me laughing every time he opened his mouth. I admire him because the other creatures think Barley is weird, but he is confident in who he wants to be and he is always himself.

The message of this film is that sometimes the very thing that you are looking for is right in front of you. I give Onward 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. Onward opens in theaters March 6, 2020, so be sure to look for it! Now I will take my family to see this movie. By Eva W, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

This animated fantasy film, directed and co-written by Dan Scanlon, is heart-warming and magical! Onward is a hilarious movie with terrific animation and special effects. Jeff and Mychael Dana's musical compositions are spectacular and really drive the flow of the movie.

Onward is about two teenage elves that receive a magical staff left to them by their father when he passed away. Their father was a magical wizard and created a way for them to use a magic spell to bring him back for 24 hours. Unfortunately, when they try to use it, the staff malfunctions and only half of their father returns. So, the brothers go on an adventurous journey to find the phoenix gem, so they can bring back the other half of their father. The catch is they only have 24 hours to do it, while solving the mystery using weird clues and some magic to get to see their dad again.

The protagonists are Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) and Barkley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt). The chemistry between the brothers is amazing, which is probably because Tom and Chris have worked with each other before. All the characters are well-developed. My favorite character is The Manticore (Octavia Spencer), because she is extremely funny. I love how she becomes the fearless warrior she was before the world stopped believing in magic. My favorite scene is when Ian uses the magic staff to make a gas can bigger and accidentally shrinks Barkley. Barkley jumps up and down, because he thought the magic worked, and then realizes it only worked on him. It is pretty funny. I also think it is clever how the unicorns play the role of raccoons and dragons act as pets. The special effects in this movie are spot on. I love the scene where Ian tries to bring his father back and everything flies around the room. Other scenes where Ian uses the magic staff are pretty cool too.

Even though the special effects are great, they are not what make this movie magical. The message of the film does. Many of the characters in this film have stopped believing in their own magic. In order for them to move onward, they need to believe in themselves, each other and the magic they each have. Adults may want to be cautious with children that have lost loved ones, as it might be disturbing to them.

Onward is an adventurous, family-friendly movie. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. Adults will enjoy this too. Move onward to see this film in theaters opening in theaters March 6, 2020. Reviewed by Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Onward is fun, exiting, adventurous, and an emotional roller coaster. Pixar delivers another wonderful film that is very appealing to new generations and easy to relate, despite characters from another world.

Onward is a computer animated, urban fantasy film directed by Dan Scanlon, who also co-wrote the script with Jason Headley and Keith Bunin. The story follows brothers Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt), two teenage elf's who embark on an extraordinary quest. Their goal is to try and see if there is magic left in the world, in order to spend one last day with their father, who died when they were younger. This is a story about bonding between father and son, and between two brothers.

Tom Holland, as Ian, the younger of the two brothers delivers a very subtle, but engaging interpretation that makes the audience immediately connect with his loner behavior. Chris Pratt, as Barley, the eldest brother, is vibrant, optimistic and his personality is almost opposite to his younger brother. Octavia Spencer plays Manticore, a fearless creature who can fly and sends people on quests). I absolutely love Octavia's performance and Manticore is my favorite character. I've always loved Octavia as an actress, so I was really exited that she voices this character. Another great voice is Laurel, the brother's mother, by super fun and charismatic Julia Louise-Dreyfus.

The animation in this movie is very detailed and sometimes photo realistic. Pixar has developed digital animation over the years to a fine art, and truly this film displays that. You can see so many details in the characters' facial expressions. If you look very closely you can see that the elves all have freckles! There is also a lot of emotion in this movie and the animation displays it so well.

I'm pretty sure everyone who watches this movie will cry at one point. I sure did. One of the fascinating aspects of Onward is how these fantasy creatures interact with each other and go through a journey of redemption and self discovery.

Onward is entertaining all the way, but some jokes don't work out and, at some point, it's a little hard to feel fully invested in one of the characters that appears only from his waist to his feet.

The message of this film is - believe. The magic in the film is a metaphor for our own ability of make things happen and letting out the light within ourselves.

I give Onward 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 13. Make sure to check out Onward in theaters on March 6, 2020. By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Onward is Disney/Pixar's new action-packed animated movie with lots of magical laughs! There's hilarious physical humor, exciting chases and fights, but it's also a very moving film. You really feel the main characters' sense of loss at not growing up with their father.

Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt) are teenage elf brothers who live in a suburban mushroom house in a land that was formerly full of magic. They use a spell to bring their dad back to life, but only get his bottom half! They have 24 hours to complete a quest to finish the spell and see him one more time. All they need to finish the spell is the Phoenix gem, but finding it proves a lot more complicated than they first think. While they are working to bring him back, they have to bring their dad's legs and feet along with them for the ride.

The animators have created a beautiful imaginative world with lots of clever details that will make you want to watch again and again. The voice acting is top notch, with Tom Holland and Chris Pratt showing a range of emotions and humor as Ian and Barley. Octavia Spencer as Manticore brings her character to life with frantic energy. The introduction of her character is hilarious! She's a former magical adventurer turned family restaurant owner. I really like the part when Barley shrinks down to a tiny size due to Ian messing up a spell. I also like when Ian turns their boat into a cheese puff so they can eat their own transportation! I love Officer Colt and his catchphrase where he asks everyone if they are "working hard or hardly working."

There are a lot of positive messages in this film about family and loyalty. Another message is that you can go searching for things you've never had in life, but you might find they were right with you all along. Parents of younger kids might want to watch out for some of the risky actions the brothers take, like when Ian walks off a cliff, trusting in his magic to keep him safe.

I give this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 5 to 17, and adults will like it too. You can see Onward in theaters everywhere starting March 6, 2020. By Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I love Onward! It is a whimsical story filled with colorful and eccentric characters. Pixar nailed the animation, and the cast of voices is pure perfection.

Onward takes place in a magical world, that isn't quite so magical anymore. Brothers Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt) are complete opposites in every way. Brave Barley is never is afraid to take a risk, especially when it involves magic. Ian, on the other hand, is quirky, and lacks confidence. Their mom, Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), is an important character as she is the glue keeping their family together.

The movie is inspired by the director, Dan Scanlon's own childhood. I love the setting of this movie. It takes place in a modern town, where everyone lives in mushroom-shaped houses. Unicorns, once a majestic creature, are now more like raccoons than anything else. Adorable mini dragons are kept as pets. The voice-over actors are wonderful. Mel Rodriguez, who voices Officer Bronco, has the funniest laugh. Octavia Spencer, who voices The Manticore, acts as wild as a Manticore should. Tom Holland (Ian) perfectly portrays an awkward kid. My favorite character is Barley, because he is a classic rock loving boy.

The messages of this movie are that family is the most important thing and sometimes what you're looking for has been with you the whole time. This film does have some magical scenes that kids should not imitate. It also reminds us to always pay your parking tickets.

I give Onward 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. People with siblings will especially like it as will adults. Onward opens in theaters March 6, 2020. By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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


CALL OF THE WILD, THE (2020)
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CALL OF THE WILD, THE (2020)
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - A sled dog struggles for survival in the wilds of the Yukon.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Call of the Wild is an amazing film based on a book with the same name by Jack London that follows the story of a massive, clumsy dog named Buck, who gets taken away from his master, is forced into slavery and struggles trying to discover his true destiny.

When the movie begins, Buck is taken away from his home and must adapt to his new environment in the wilderness. I really like the way the movie shows him changing to fit in. They use a giant, black, shadow of a wolf with glowing, yellow eyes. Every time Buck needs to make an important decision, the wolf is there leading him to the best path.

The animation and CGI in this movie are great; all the dogs look incredibly realistic. There is a dog fight between Buck and another dog that is very intense and the dogs act just like normal dogs act when fighting each other. The cinematography, with the visual effects, is really outstanding. Each different landscape has thousands of small details that showcase the amazing power of mother nature, which is exactly what the movie wants to show to us.

My favorite character is Buck the dog; he is playful, kind, funny and all-around relatable character. Buck is the main character in the movie, even though he doesn't talk. My favorite scene is when John Thornton, Buck's final owner, is trying to drink his bottle of whiskey and Buck keeps knocking his glass out of his hand. Eventually, Buck steals the bottle and buries it in the yard. This scene was hilarious and it made me think that Buck was saying, "no drinking."

There are two different messages that this movie offers. One is, "you don't need to hurt people to be a leader; be kind and you will get your best team." The second is, "Mother Nature is powerful, don't try to take too much from it, only take what you need so the world can stay as beautiful as it is today."

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to18 because some jokes most kids won't understand. This film comes out in theaters February 21, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

My feelings about this movie are quite mixed. On one side, the use of CGI helps to portray the strong emotions of the dogs. On the other hand, there are many scenes containing brutal animal abuse that many audiences will find disturbing and unsettling. The storyline, however, is incredibly well-structured and detailed.

The Call of the Wild is about Buck, a fearless, strong dog who has been through so much in his life. After being shut out on the porch of his California home, Buck's name is called and he finds himself in the hands of a dog seller, who locks him inside of a box for transport. A while later, he is recruited as a puller for a dogsled that delivers mail in Alaska. After a journey full of twists and turns, Buck discovers a whole new world with someone he loves and trusts by his side.

Some of the lead characters include John Thornton (Harrison Ford) Perrault (Omar Sy) and of course, Buck. What really stands out is the CGI that is essential in expressing the emotions of the animals. It is really effective in this aspect of the story. The dogs look almost human! With such emotion in their eyes, and their actions, there is barely anything that humans can't relate to. (Except for the furriness!) My favorite part of this movie is in fact the CGI. The difference it makes in it is emotionally impactful and helps the audience feel attachment to the characters, and love for them too. It improves the quality and aesthetic which makes the viewing experience vivid.

This movie strongly conveys a message of how perseverance is enlightening and can make anyone a stronger, more intelligent person who can take on more difficult challenges than ever before. It is definitely successful in signifying this empowering lesson through symbolism and emotion, and definitely reminds me to push through the problems that I run into in life. There is something that the audience should look out for. There is some extremely aggressive behavior that is inflicted upon animals, and between other characters. Several weapons are used, such as a whip, a bat, and guns. Minimal amounts of blood are shown. There really isn't any bad language, however.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can find The Call of the Wild in theaters on February 21st, 2020.

Reviewed by Ruby A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The Call of the Wild is an action-packed suspenseful movie that takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. The film follows many CGI created animals that seem very inconsistent and too expressive to be real animals. Throughout the film, there are laugh-out-loud jokes to lighten the mood from its intense plot and dialogue. The film has amazing landscapes showing the Yukon terrain and prospector theme.

The Call of the Wild follows a dog named Buck as he gets kidnapped and joins a sled dog team. At first, Buck doesn't seem to fit in anywhere, but throughout the film, he grows to be a more confident dog and learns to face challenges head-on. One day, Buck meets a man named John Thornton (Harrison Ford) who sees the abusive condition Buck is in and decides to save him. For the rest of the movie, John and Buck's friendship grows and you get a glimpse of the sweetest duo ever.

For The Call of the Wild, the CG images are critical. Even though the CGI is inconsistent, I give major props to all the visual artists for their work. A movie like this is heavily reliant on CGI and, frankly would not be possible without it. Harrison Ford once again proves that no matter whether it's Star Wars or Indiana Jones, his acting is spot on and he never disappoints. The photography is extremely crisp and makes you really feel the wilderness environment.

The Call of the Wild is rated PG and advertised as a family-friendly movie, but I disagree with this rating because throughout the entire film, the dogs face multiple levels of abuse that will make you put your hands over your eyes. The overall tone of the movie is sad and dark. It is a real tear-jerker and just makes you want to help these poor dogs. However the movie does teach viewers the importance of loyalty and companionship.

The Call of the Wild portrays multiple levels of animal abuse and cruelty, so I recommend it for ages 13 to 18 and give it 2.5 out of 5 stars due to graphics, but well-portrayed relationship between a man and a dog. The Call of the Wild opens in theater February 21, 2020.

Reviewed by Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 13

The Call of the Wild has such wonderful sets, cinematography and CGI. Although the film is pleasing to watch, the plotline itself is predictable and redundant. There are so many films out there about a man's best friend and there was nothing in The Call of the Wild that sets it apart from them.

Based on the novel by Jack London, the storyline follows a dog named Buck who is stolen from his home on a ranch. He is sold to become a sled dog to deliver mail. Buck has many encounters with a man named John Thornton who eventually becomes Buck's owner. They become very close and John takes him on a trip to the other side of the mountain in honor of his late son, because it is a trip that he would have loved. Unfortunately, another man named Hal, whose judgment is clouded by greed, believes that John is taking this trip because he knows where the gold is. Hal follows him with ill intentions. Because of this whole journey Buck, in the end, finds where he belongs.

Harrison Ford, who plays John Thornton, embodies his role and shows the audience the bond that Thornton develops with Buck. It's almost as if he sees Buck as his own son. The dog that plays Buck is named Buckley. He was a stray dog in Kansas and director Chris Sanders and his wife adopted him because he was the same breed as the dog in the novel. Buckley went from being on the streets to starring in a movie where he gives an amazing performance.

The story is set in Alaska where the scenery is quite beautiful. They capture the majesty of the frozen mountains and even the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. The CGI for the dogs is photorealistic. It is super cute how they show the dogs' emotions by their facial expressions.

My favorite parts of this film are the various shots of the scenery. It really looks so beautiful in both the daytime and nighttime shots. I loved seeing it and it makes me want to visit those places.

The message of this film is about realizing that life is a journey and will be full of challenges, but through these challenges you will find your place. If Buck wasn't kidnapped from his home on the ranch he never would have truly been happy. Without the challenges that he faced, he would have never gotten his freedom in the wild. Everything happened for a reason, from being tortured to meeting John Thornton.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. Even adults might enjoy this film. The Call of the Wild comes out in theaters on February 21, 2020, so check it out!

Reviewed by Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


EMMA.
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
EMMA.
FOCUS FEATURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Jane Austen's beloved comedy about finding your equal and earning your happy ending, is reimagined in this. Handsome, clever, and rich, Emma Woodhouse is a restless queen bee without rivals in her sleepy little town. In this glittering satire of social class and the pain of growing up, Emma must adventure through misguided matches and romantic missteps to find the love that has been there all along.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Emma is a cheerful adaptation of Jane Austen's beloved novel. Readers of Jane Austen can rejoice as her characters come to screen. Others might not find this to be their cup of tea.

In this adaptation the "handsome, clever and rich" matchmaker Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor Joy) pursues adventuring through matches and romanticism to find love.

Anya Taylor Joy, as Emma, gives the best performance. Anya has grown from a being newcomer, and this demanding performance proves that, allowing for eloquent speaking and characterization. Her conversations with other characters are straight out of the classic Victorian tale; keeping in mind, she is American. Her love interests are Johnny Flynn as Mr. Knightley, a dashingly critical friend, and Callum Turner as Frank Churchill, a rich gentleman. I also enjoyed Mia Goth as Harriet, as she helps Emma find her match.

Director Autumn de Wilde is artistic, but the pacing could be tighter. This is a slow movie as several scenes are long, drawn-out conversations. I feel this aspect is best achieved in books, though some movies can capture the audience's attention like that. This movie really must be your forte for it to be enjoyable. The character's parlance is always olden English, and there is a loss of stakes. The score by Isobel Waller-Bridge is authentically Georgian capturing the grounded roots of genteel women living in England.

The message of this film is to not rush love, as Emma and Harriet let time prove its worth after hasty pursuits. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, due to brief nudity, even though younger kids might not be interested in watching this. The movie releases in theaters on February 21, 2020, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Description - After discovering a small, blue, fast hedgehog, a small-town police officer must help it defeat an evil genius who wants to do experiments on it.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this movie because is based on one of my favorite game characters. Sonic The Hedgehog is a live-action film--except for Sonic who is a CGI character (Ben Schwartz)--based on the global blockbuster video game franchise from Sega.

The story of Sonic the Hedgehog follows Sonic, a small blue hedgehog who has super-speed powers. When Sonic was younger, his owl guardian gave him a bag of rings to help him escape to different planets in case anyone discovers and kidnaps him because of his powers. One night, after he comes to Earth, he is playing baseball by himself and he gets upset because he realizes he is very lonely. Sonic runs in circles as fast as he can because he is upset. He is so fast that blue energy comes out of his body causing the whole town to black out.

This power outage causes big problems for Sonic who is pursued by a crazy military man named Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) or Dr. Eggman, as Sonic calls him. Fortunately for Sonic, the town's sheriff (James Marsden) catches him and helps protect him from Dr. Robotnik.

The graphics in the movie are excellent, and, with the new Sonic design, it looks like Sonic is real. The new design works better than the Sonic design Paramount Pictures had before redoing this movie. The special effects are impressive too, such as Sonic's blue lightning which also looks real. Ben Schwartz did and very funny voiceover for the Sonic character. He is really full of energy.

The moral of this movie is that you are never alone in the world. There will always be someone for you to be your friend, to talk to and to be by your side when you need it. When Sonic is feeling alone, Sheriff Tom, or The Doughnut Lord, as Sonic calls him, takes Sonic to protect him and help him get to the Mushroom planet where Sonic needs to go.

Sonic the Hedgehog is filled with a lot of action and fun. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. If I could, I would give this movie 100 out of 100 stars. I recommend it for ages 5 to 18 plus older adults. Sonic the Hedgehog comes out in theaters on February 14, 2020.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Sonic the Hedgehog fails to evoke the propulsive rush of its source material. There's so much possibility in translating this character and the mythology he brings with him from the video game to the big screen. Unfortunately, this film gets bogged down in familiar family film antics.

An adaptation of the popular game franchise of the same name, Sonic the Hedgehog follows Sonic (Ben Schwartz), a carefree, lightning-quick blue hedgehog who hides out, in fear of what those with villainous intent would do with his super-speed. Trouble comes calling in the form of a genius named Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey), who is brought in to deal with the growing threat of a rogue, ultra-powerful hedgehog. Sonic convinces a small-town police officer (James Marsden), who dreams of working in the big city, to help him retrieve a few of his golden rings to help Sonic flee this world and move on to a new one.

Jim Carrey delivers a next-level performance as Dr. Ivo Robotnik, and he's easily Sonic's most valuable asset. Robotnik is another entry in the pantheon of zany, almost manic characters Carrey plays so beautifully. Carrey hasn't been this in control of his comedic strengths in a long while and its great to see him back in his element. His performance is on an entirely different wavelength than the rest of the film and, yet, it feels like he knows exactly what this movie should be. Kooky, frenetic and even more cartoonish than the film's CGI lead, Jim Carrey gives Sonic the Hedgehog a boost of energy it desperately needs. Ben Schwartz works well as the blue speedster at the center of the film. There's an innocence and playfulness to Sonic that Schwartz radiates nicely in his vocal performance.

I don't understand the screenwriter's choice to coop Sonic up in a car for much of the film's runtime. A character that is known for his speed finally arrives on the big screen, and they chose to confine him to a car with James Marsden. At the point at which the road trip begins, it feels as though you see every moment on the journey ahead coming far before you're supposed to. When Sonic and his pal arrive at their destination, they reach a visually exciting climax, but no payoff can make up for the bland route that is taken to get there. These games are not the most modern and this adaptation does its best to rectify that with countless references to current trends and popular culture to middling results. Even so, Sonic the Hedgehog struggles to keep its finger on the pulse of the culture.

I give this film 2 out of 5 stars and an age recommendation of 4 to 12 for some peril and crude humor. Sonic the Hedgehog is not the disaster many expected, nor the surprise sensation nobody saw coming; it's just fine, and I was hoping for more than that from this film. Fans of this character will relish getting to see him on the big screen, but I'm not sure I can confidently recommend this to those who are not die-hard Sonic fans. Sonic the Hedgehog releases in theaters February 14, 2020

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

I've never played Sonic the video game and was never a really big fan of the character but I really like this movie. It is very well done and great for the whole family. I like the animation and I love the acting. The story is very human and has very little to do with video games. It is about friendship and friends that become a family.

Sonic the Hedgehog is about a blue hedgehog that ends up on earth and he's trying not to be discovered. He lost a ring that helps him transport to places. When humans find Sonic, he has to run away (something he does well because he moves at super sonic speeds). Sonic feels lonely and wants a friend. When he meets Tom, a police officer (James Marsden), they develop a great "bromance," but they have to face Mr. Robotnik who is obsessed with everything fast and wants to experiment with Sonic. In their journey, both learn they don't have to run away from their problems.

I love all the characters! Dr. Robotnik is so funny and pleasing to watch. He is played by Jim Carrey, who is one of my new favorite actors. His performance is amazing and he is definitely a fascinating villain. He is graceful, entertaining and full of life. I also love the character Sonic; even though it is an animated character he really looks realistic. I could really see all the details in Sonic and I felt like he was pretty much a stuffed animal, opposed to a virtual digital character. Sonic is played by Ben Schwartz, an amazing voice actor who gives the character a great personality.

It's so amazing to see a character that was made about 30 years ago continuing to fill children's hearts with joy. I think Sonic is 100% absolutely adorable and all the characters are so fun to watch. There are a lot of action scenes and wonderful colors in the film as well. The music adds so much energy; it is catchy and upbeat. Finally, I like all the jokes and they definitely made me laugh. To add to that, I love how Sonic gives everyone their own special nickname. That gives the movie its own special touch and I guess I'll nick name this film "Blue Speedy Furry with Heart."

I give Sonic the Hedgehog five out of five stars and recommended it for ages 4 to 13. The message of this film is that friends in our lives bring us the most joy and they are the family we chose. Another message is that humans will always be more important than technology. Dr. Robotnik keeps trying to make technology a greater power than humans, but Sonic and everyone prove that our simple life and connections are what really matter. Sonic the Hedgehog opens February 14, 2020. Look for it!

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I really love this movie! Sonic the Hedgehog's team has created a movie based on the SEGA video game of the same name. There are amazing special effects from the beginning to the end. I love how it includes parts from the SEGA game, such as Sonic running in vertical loops and his spin attacks. I felt as if I was watching a live version of the actual game!

Sonic the Hedgehog is about a blue, fast and funny hedgehog named Sonic (Ben Schwartz) who has to escape his home in another world and ends up on Earth. He accidentally causes a power outage and has to hide out in Green Hill, Montana. The government tries to hunt him down and hires Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to capture him. Sonic meets a cop named Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) or Donut Lord, as Sonic calls him, and Tom agrees to help Sonic, find his rings and defeat Dr. Ivo Robotnik, who wants to use Sonic's power to take over the world.

The lead characters are Sonic, Tom Wachowski and Dr. Ivo Robotnik. It is very clever that the movie takes place in Green Hill, Montana, since the first level of the actual SEGA game is called Green Hill Zone. My favorite character is Sonic because he is funny. I love how he is made to have lives, just like he does in the SEGA game. One of my favorite scenes is when Dr. Ivo Robotnik has a virtual reality screen behind him and it shows a dinosaur running after him. Jim Carrey uses his flexibility to lower his head to make it look like the dinosaur bit it off. The movie is filled with special effects, such as explosions and lightning when Sonic runs. Sonic's CGI perfectly match his character in the video game. This is something the producer went back to correct before releasing the film. The music ties into what happens for each part of the movie; however, I was a little disappointed that the song Super Sonic used in the trailer is not in the movie.

The main message of Sonic the Hedgehog is that you should consider home wherever people that care the most about you are. There isn't much to be forewarned about besides Dr. Ivo Robotnik uses some minor foul language.

I rate Sonic the Hedgehog 5 out of 5 rings and recommend it for kids ages 6 to 18. Adults, especially gamers, will also love this movie. Since it's based on the Sonic the Hedgehog video game by SEGA, it may remind them of their own childhood. It's a great action-packed, family movie. Catch Sonic the Hedgehog in theaters starting February 14, 2020. Be sure to stay for the credits.

Reviewed by Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

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


HOPE RANCH
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HOPE RANCH
VISION FILMS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: VOD, AGES 12-18
Description - A young girl and her mother are in danger of losing their ranch after the death of her military father. With a little help from their majestic white horse, they hatch a plan to save the ranch and learn to never lose hope.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I personally enjoyed Hope Ranch. This inspirational family drama kept me engaged, yet I wished that the storyline was a little more complex. I also wished the father (Jon Schneider) had a little more screen time. We don't quite get invested in him before he is gone.

The storyline is about a mother and daughter who go through a strong testing of their faith when the father goes off for a final duty in battle and does not return. The mother has to deal with the possible foreclosure of their ranch property and her daughter's faith is temporarily shattered after her dad is killed in battle.

The production quality of this film is outstanding. The picture resolution and sound are clear, the cinematography is beautiful. The subtle color scheme works well for a mid-western ranch in a mountainous region.

The message of "keeping the faith" is very straightforward and appropriate for its target audience. There are no deeper or entangled themes that might confuse the viewer. The subject of potentially losing one's home and losing a loved one in war is very relatable to many people and a very realistic storyline.

I give Hope Ranch 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 14, plus adults. Hope Ranch is available on VOD March 3 and DVD March 10, 2020.

Reviewed by Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really enjoyed Hope Ranch. It has a wonderful storyline and involves horses, which I love.

Hope Ranch is about a girl and her mother trying to save their ranch after her father dies at war. It's well structured and easy to follow and also deep at the same time.

It is live action with lots of beautiful landscapes. The camera explores lots of interesting angles. The protagonist, Grace (Grace Van Dien) loves her home, her family and her horse, Faith. But, she loses her faith after her father dies, which makes her horse's name ironic. The costumes are suitable to the story. The sets are either at the farm or the church. The music is very dark and emotional, enhancing the feeling that something is about to happen.

The message of this film is that even in the worst, darkest time of your life, if you have hope and faith, everything will turn out all right in the end. The only negative behavior is that Grace yells at her mother a few too many times.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Hope Ranch comes out on VOD March 3 and DVD March 10, 2020. Look for it. Reviewed by Kayenta C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Although the message of this film is quite uplifting and can help any person, it is directed at a Christian audience with its faith-based focus. I found the plot a bit slow in developing and the topic of the arguments between the characters pretty repetitive.

The storyline entails a mother Rebecca (Marisa Brown), a father Mike (John Schneider), and their teenage daughter Grace (Grace Van Dien), who move to a large, countryside ranch. Everything goes downhill when Grace's father is deployed in the military and passes away in battle. After this, she and her mom struggle to pay the mortgage and must do anything to save the farm, including hold on to hope, have faith and believe that not all is lost. Grace is a very emotionally driven character. She cares so much about the ranch and will do anything she can to make sure that she and her mom can keep it and continue to live a full life together.

What really stands out most to me in Hope Ranch is the music. The tempo and instruments in every scene tie everything together in an emotionally expressive way. The music helps the viewers to connect deeply with the storyline and the situations that the characters are experiencing. This film definitely promotes the admired social behavior of helping others in need and sticking together in times of difficulty, which is an effective choice, as it helps other people in desperate situations.

The message of this movie is that you should never give up or lose hope, and that if you persevere through tough times, it will only make you stronger than ever before. It is definitely successful in portraying its message.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find Hope Ranch on VOD on March 3, 2020 and on DVD March 10, 2020.

Reviewed by Ruby A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Hope Ranch is an inspiring tale of loss and the power to overcome the obstacles life throws your way. Though the scriptwriting is a little clich�, the cinematography makes up for it. Hope Ranch impresses with its high quality production. The cast lacks a bit, apart from Marisa Brown.

Hope Ranch is about a girl, Grace (Grace Van Dien), struggling with the passing of her father and, in turn, acts out against her mother. Grace's mother, Rebecca (Marisa Brown), is trying to pay off their debt so they can keep their family farm, all while getting her daughter under control. As tension rises, both mother and daughter begin to lose hope - including hope for Grace's horse, Faith, to not be sold off to pay their rising debt.

This film starts off slowly and picks up pace slightly. When it comes to the storyline, despite Grace Van Dien's expertise, it's a challenge to make Grace's character come to life. The dialogue between Chris and Grace is, at times, embarrassing to watch, due to some awkward lines. These two are positioned to be the film's power couple, but they are also meant to be best friends. Many scenes between Chris and Grace are uncomfortable to the viewer. Although the screenplay doesn't excel at the romance in the film, it successfully delivers other messages quite well, especially when Rebecca is slowly breaking down from the pressure of holding the farm and her family together. The portrayal of feeling genuine pain is truly astonishing. I give Marisa Brown credit for holding this film together, particularly in this scene.

The message of this film is to never give up hope. No matter what is going on in your life, you will find a way through it. Whether it is with God or with your friends, that time will surely come to pass.

I give this film 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 13. You can find this motivational film on VOD March 3 and DVD March 10, 2020.

Reviewed by Joshitha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9
Runtime: 85 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.95
Media: VIDEO


I GOT YOU A PRESENT!
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
I GOT YOU A PRESENT!
REIMAGINE PR
Series: E-BOOK, AGES 2-5
Description - A quest for the perfect birthday present leads to ever grander (and ever more imperfect) gift ideas from our hero, a duck. "I wanted to get you the greatest present ever,!" our narrator tells us. But somehow, none of the best ideas seem to pan out. First, there was the pair of hand-knitted birthday socks (have you ever tried knitting birthday socks?). Then, the ten-scoop ice cream cone (a disaster to carry), the magic kit (it disappeared, just like magic!), the apple juice-fueled jet pack (still a few kinks to work out) and the dinosaur (I couldn't find one anywhere). And now, time has run out, and our narrator still has nothing to give. Or, maybe there is something after all. Something that contains all those awesome gifts in one. Something that can be enjoyed again and again, just by turning the pages.

In their debut picture book, Emmy Award-winning children's television writers Mike Erskine-Kellie and Susan McLennan have taken a metafiction approach (speaking directly to "you"). Cale Atkinson's is the illustrator. Though a book about finding the perfect birthday present is itself the perfect birthday present, it's also a simple a good read year round because it offers character education lesson on perseverance. There is also a live show.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really enjoyed this book. The illustrations are engaging and brightly colored, which will attract young children. The story itself is a fun read with a lovely message. Also, the character is very likable.

The story is about a quest for the perfect birthday present. The main character does not know what to get a friend for his birthday explores various options and why they are not suitable. The character finally comes up with a clever solution. The story flows very well and the ending is lovely. It makes sense and is very appropriate for preschool and early elementary age children. A young child could be asked questions about birthday gifts and what to get for friends and family. One could even ask them which gift idea they liked the best.

This is an e-book with visual appealing the illustrations. They really make the book. It is primarily entertaining but also has a message about birthday celebrations with people who are special to you. It might make kids start thinking about what they want for their birthday. (how fun is that?) My only concern is the vocabulary. I am not an expert in this, but I would pass it on to someone who is, because there are some words that might not be the most suitable for the target age.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 7. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - See adult comments

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-5
Suggested Retail Price: $ 18.8
Media: Book


TO THE BEAT! BACK 2 SCHOOL
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TO THE BEAT! BACK 2 SCHOOL
VISION FILMS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: VOD, AGES 12-18
Description - Sisterhood is tested, rivalries heat up and new bonds are formed when students go back to their performing arts school to compete for an all-expense paid summer scholarship program to a prestigious Conservatory of Fine Arts.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - To The Beat! Back 2 School is very entertaining and witty. Most typical teens will enjoy this film because they can easily relate to the story, as it presents situations that most high school student may face in real life.

The film is a high-school comedy with typical ingredients such as the nerdy students, the pretty student, the funny student and a common target. Its appeal because of its catchy plot, a variety of attractive and talented performers from varied racial backgrounds, and their (mostly) well-chosen wardrobe and background music.

The beginning of the film has some flow problems, but it quickly recovers about fifteen minutes into the film. Keep in mind that this is a sequel to To The Beat!, which I recommend watching first to know who is who and avoid confusion. In watching this, I found knowing the characters a little challenging. After I realized who is who, I could focus on the plot. The characters, settings, most costumes, soundtrack, plot, and selected talented cast makes this film appealing for any teenager. I enjoyed some of the jokes and funny behavior from some of the characters.

As to conflicts, it gets complicated because both the main and supporting characters have some form of internal conflict he or she is facing and must solve in order to grow. I like seeing a film making these internal conflicts part of the plot and trying to wrap up everything at the end of the film. The film drew me in by addressing these conflicts and showing how the characters come to terms with overcoming their obstacles. I also found alluring the use of clean humor and well-timed sarcasm.

I enjoyed most visuals, although some scenes are so dark it is difficult to see what's going on, like the ones in the dance practice room. The acting is pretty basic and could benefit from a bit more work from the secondary characters. The big plus for me is the inclusion of kids from multiple racial backgrounds, without making that a big deal. I also appreciate that the film does not go into any gender-related issues. The film is definitely entertaining, plus it touches on family and friendship values.

The message of this film is to about finding yourself. You should be aware that there is some inappropriate language, scenes where hatred is displayed and some inappropriate clothing.

I give To The Beat! Back 2 School 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18 plus adults. The message of this film is available Digital and DVD May 10, 2020 so don't miss it.. Be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Carolina S. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewers
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - To The Beat! Back 2 School is a hilarious and entertaining new feature film! This film is so fun and there is never a dull moment. If you are looking for an engaging drama-packed movie, this is the one for you.

Tensions at Valley Performing Arts grow high when the twins, Mackie and Mia, return from spring break. The students are put to the test when offered the opportunity to audition for one of three scholarships to the Triad Conservatory of Fine Arts in New York City. Between the huge scholarship, Mia's new boyfriend and Mackie's newfound friend in her longtime rival, Avery, things are bound to heat up.

There are a bunch of incredible aspects to this film. One of my personal favorites is the writing. Susan Bernhardt and Jillian Clare crafted an incredible story that has plenty of plot twists and turns to make it engaging to watch. The actors are extremely believable in their roles at Valley Performing Arts. Sydney Bourne, who plays Cassidy, is insanely talented. I love when actors and actresses that play villains can make me genuinely dislike their character enough to stir emotion within me, and Sydney Bourne was able to do just that. One small problem I found with To The Beat! Back 2 School is that since I hadn't watched the first movie, the first few minutes were a little bit confusing, due to my lack of background knowledge. I really enjoyed how the soundtrack for the movie keeps the scenes lively and energetic. Another thing I thought kept the movie lively was the stellar choreography. Every dance scene is visually appealing and kept my eyes glued to the screen.

To The Beat! Back 2 School shows us that people can change and we should not to judge a book by its cover. Making instantaneous assumptions about a person doesn't tell you much about them. In order to understand a person, you should get to know them first. Another valuable message is taught is about respecting other people for who they are, as a person and not based off of their talent.

I give To The Beat! Back 2 School 4 out of 5 stars and highly recommend for kids ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Make sure to check out this film March 10th, 2020 on VOD and DVD. Trust me, you won't want to miss it!

Reviewed by Brad M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18
Runtime: 92 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.95
Media: VIDEO


FINDING GRACE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FINDING GRACE
VISION FILMS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: VOD, AGES 12-18
Description - A troubled teenage girl is forced to provide community service in a retirement home. As she develops a friendship with one of the residents and becomes closer to her father, she discovers the power of family, hope and faith.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Finding Grace is a heart-warming film that presents the need of God in our lives through common, real-life situations. This film demonstrates the best way to handle even the most difficult moments in our lives through the sometimes direct, sometimes indirect connection to God. It shows that, even in the darkest moments, anyone can experience hope through God.

Finding Grace follows a struggling family facing new challenges when they are already are dealing with so many things. It has many appealing elements including the cast, the settings and the storyline. I loved the beautiful settings near the sea and I love that the cast includes elderly actors as extras, which something is not something found in films these days.

This film would appeal to the whole family or even a teenager who might be experiencing similar feelings as the protagonist. For example, the anger of not having the power to change or control of your own life, just as Alaska expresses in the film. The film flows well and, even though you are unfamiliar with the characters at first, it is easy to follow their internal conflicts as a broken family and as individuals. Things evolve and come to a happy resolution after inner changes and personal growth takes place, through a connection with God. The storyline uses real-life situations, from early youth, through mid-life, that any person might experience in their lifetime. Even though the cast is prominently Caucasian, there is good inclusion of other ethnic groups. I appreciate that the film gives a natural flow of life-like situations and presents a positive resolution.

The message of the film is how important it is to involve God in our lives as our guide and counselor. You should know that some scenes are not quite suited for young audiences, but can be well explained if the viewer is accompanied by an adult. Though it is not an explicit scene, there is one where Mrs. Foster is about to attempt suicide and gets caught by Alaska. The negative part of this scene is that there is no resolution at that moment for the suicide attempt, other than switching the dialogue over Alaska's experience with suicide.

I recommend Finding Grace for ages 16 to 18, plus adults. I do suggest that the whole family make this part of a great family night. I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Carolina S. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewers.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Finding Grace is a sweet, tear jerker! Have tissues on standby because this film delivers all the feels and should not be missed. It truly pulls your heartstrings with the trials and tribulations of this urban family.

This movie is about a girl named Alaska (Paris Warner), who got arrested and is sentenced for one hundred hours of community service at a nursing home. While working there, she meets an elderly lady, Ms. Julianne Foster (Kisha Sharon Oglesby) and forms an unlikely friendship. Alaska soon finds out that working at the nursing home is not as terrible as she thought it would be.

I'm so in love with this film. The acting is superb and it has a very relatable storyline. The character development of Alaska and her father Connor's (Jasen Wade), showing how their relationship changes is outstanding. The blossoming of Alaska's friendship with Ms. Foster is captured beautifully by director Warren Fast.

Throughout the movie, Alaska learns that life is very difficult. However, having family and true friends by your side makes it easier. There are multiple adult topics that are addressed - underage consuming of alcohol, suicide mentions and a suicide attempt are shown.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Finding Grace is available April 21, 2020 on digital and DVD.

Reviewed by Heather Suarez, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Runtime: 107 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.95
Media: VIDEO
      Order FINDING GRACE Now!


LLAMA LLAMA FAMILY FUN COLLECTION
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LLAMA LLAMA FAMILY FUN COLLECTION
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 4-10
Description - Llama Llama springs to life in these heart-warming tales based on the award-winning book series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney. Join Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat as they explore their friendly hometown and make childhood memories.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Llama Llama Family Fun Collection DVD features the animated friends from Anna Dewdney's Llama Llama book series in 15 stories, including holiday stories for Halloween, Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. The friends learn to use their unique talents with some creativity to overcome day to day problems by following grown up advice and helping each other. In "Stage Fright," Luna Giraffe's upcoming dance recital is giving her performance jitters, but Llama Llama and Nelly Gnu are there to offer support, calming breaths and remind her to just have fun. Nelly Gnu is jealous of the attention her baby brother receives in the story "Jealous Nelly." Her new tree-house takes a backseat to babysitting and party planning for the baby. She misses her parents' and friends' attention, but soon realizes that being a big sister is the perfect role for her. The friends accept the challenge to do without their electronic gadgets when Grandma Llama and Mama Llama take them on an overnight campout in "Let's Go Camping." They use their five senses to appreciate the sights and sounds of nature. Upbeat, positive messages about friendship and family make these great for family viewing. Children ages 4 to 8 should enjoy these fun, engaging episodes. I give this 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Christine R., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Llama Llama Family Fun Collection is a cute, fun, and family-friendly DVD that is based on an award-winning book and TV series. The storyline and adorable personalities of the characters combine to make the viewing experience enjoyable. The characters' companionship is very sweet, and they care a lot about one another. They always have each other's back.

The Llama Llama Family Fun Collection DVD is collection of episodes about a group of animal companions that go on a lot of adventures, meet new friends and solve problems along the way. In one episode, Llama Llama's friend, Luna the Giraffe, struggles with bad stage fright. She has a dance recital the next day. Llama Llama and Nelly Gnu have to help her, or she won't be able to perform without becoming nervous on stage. In another episode, Llama Llama and two of his friends, Gilroy Goat and Euclid Sheep, plan a sleepover together. What they don't know is that strange things will happen just as they are about to go to sleep. But maybe the friends' imaginations will wander too far.

Some of the lead characters are Mama Llama (Jennifer Garner) and Llama Llama (Shayle Simons). They are an adorable mother-son duo, and they love each other very much. What really stands out in this collection is the incredibly detailed and expressive animation. The vibrant colors and homey scenery go hand in hand to create a wholesome, fun show for children and their families to watch. It really is a great choice for teaching good lessons to young minds.

The message of the DVD Llama Llama Family Fun Collection is that you should always be willing to help your friends, and that problems can be solved through the effort of a team. It is definitely successful in communicating its message through the close-knit friend group, and how they stick together and help each other face their fears. The message is definitely positive and uplifting, and can teach young children that companionship is an important life skill to have. There really isn't anything to worry about when children are watching this series. There is no bad language at all, and there isn't any negative behavior that young children may attempt to imitate.

I give this series 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 3 to 10. The Llama Llama Family Fun Collection DVD is available now.

Reviewed by Ruby A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I like the Llama Llama Family Fun Collection DVD because every episode has a different main idea with an interesting story to tell. The animated characters each have their own thoughts about things and how to approach a situation. The only part I didn't really like is that the characters sometimes talk too slow and you want to make them talk faster, but it probably makes it easier for little kids to understand.

The Llama Llama Family Collection has 15 episodes and is based on the book series written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney. The animated collection is about a llama and his friends who have awesome adventures together. Each episode has a moral to the story. For example, in one of the episodes, Luna (a giraffe, voiced by Vania Gill) is very scared to go on stage to perform a solo in front of an audience. Then Llama Llama and Nelly Gnu get a dance machine and it really helps Luna lose her fear of performing in front of an audience. Another story tells about Llama Llama, Euclid and Gilroy Goat having a sleepover, where they experience new and different things while at a friend's house. I know when I go to a sleepover, I find myself trying a new food or doing any activity that I wouldn't necessarily have done at my house.

I didn't recognize the voices of any of the characters, although after looking at who does the voices, I recognize Jennifer Garner, who voices Mama Llama. I like Luna's personality, but my favorite character is Euclid (Brendon Sunderland). He's smart, but in a funny way. I like when the group of friends take swimming lessons with Mama Llama in Eleanor Elephant's (Kathleen Barr) pool. Even though Llama Llama (Shayle Simons) isn't a great swimmer, his friends are supportive. And it is cute seeing Llama Llama's grandpa (David Hoole) learn to swim, too.

The message of the film is to be nice to others. It's important to help your friends, rather than make fun of them or bring them down. When I see someone making fun of someone, I try to stand up for them. It is nice to watch a film where a group of friends support one another.

I rate this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 9. This DVD is available now, so go look for it!

Reviewed by Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Runtime: 165 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-10
Suggested Retail Price: $ 12.95
Media: DVD


SONIC BOOM: SEASON 1, VOL 2 (2 DISCS)
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SONIC BOOM: SEASON 1, VOL 2 (2 DISCS)
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 5-8
Description - It's a Sonic you haven t seen before an ensemble comedy that pokes fun at action-adventure storytelling, but still manages to deliver plenty of adrenaline! Wherever he goes and whatever he s up against, Sonic the Hedgehog is aided by his sidekick, Tails, and his friends Knuckles, Amy, and Sticks and, of course, attacked by his arch nemesis, Dr. Eggman
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I am quite aware of Sonic the Hedgehog as a video game character, but have never watched any of his shows. I was pleasantly surprised as I watched this action-packed Season One, Volume 2 DVD. There is a lot of action as Sonic and his friends outwit Sonic's arch-nemesis, Dr. Eggman. I like that there isn't just the typical "good wins over evil." It is expected that good will win, but it is fun to watch too. Some of the humor is a bit dry if you are an adult watching the show. But, it is appropriate for children ages 5 through 12. I like that it shows teamwork and friendship, and all of the action makes it very entertaining to watch. The characters are very likable; my favorites are Sonic and Amy. I like that the characters are unique and each brings something to the show. Of course, Dr. Eggman is not a favorite of mine, but he also makes the series entertaining, especially since Sonic and his pals usually outwit him. I give this 4 out of 5 stars for its entertainment value. This DVD would make a great gift for a Sonic fan, since it is a Limited Edition Gift Set that includes Knuckles and Tails figurines. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Sonic Boom: Season 1 Volume 2 is nearly five hours of laugh-out-loud, animated fun, featuring your favorite hedgehog. The physical humor and amusing adventures will keep kids entertained for hours on end.

The DVDs include 26 action-packed episodes, and if you get the limited edition gift set, you'll also get two action figures--either Sonic with Dr. Eggman or Knuckles with Tails. In every episode, Sonic and his friends protect their village from the evil Dr. Eggman. Of course, no matter how crazy the situation, Sonic and friends are able to save the day in the end.

There are some really funny storylines, like when Sonic and Knuckles spill nacho cheese on Amy's couch while house-sitting. They try cleaning it up with grape soda, which just makes it worse! Their next idea is to try to win a new couch by going on a game show, but they fail and one of Dr. Eggman's missiles ends up exploding the couch anyway. In another episode, it's hilarious when Sonic grabs the last chili dog that Dr. Eggman wanted, so to be nice Sonic goes all the way to the warehouse to bring his nemesis a chili dog. But Dr. Eggman wanted extra relish, so he throws a tantrum by trying to destroy the whole town by shooting it with lasers and attacking it with robots. Of course this is nothing Sonic and friends can't handle. One of the best jokes is when the boys compete against the girls in a survivor challenge. The girls decide the losers will have to do everyone's laundry, but Sonic says, "That's not fair for us boys - we don't even wear pants!"

The message of this series is that friends are stronger together. There's probably not a lot of content that parents will object to, but there is some cartoon violence that kids might be tempted to copy. The only thing that's a problem for me is that there is one episode out of the 26 that's only available with Spanish audio, no English at all. Unfortunately I can't understand what they're saying in the episode, "Fire in a Crowded Workshop."

I give this series 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 12, and adults might enjoy watching with their kids as well. Sonic Boom: Season 1 Volume 2 is available on DVD February 2020.

Reviewed by Will C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I like this DVD because it is very entertaining. Each story line is funny; it has a lot of action and delivers a lot of adrenaline.

The Sonic Boom, Season 1, Volume 2 DVD, is over four hours of action, fun and entertainment. The package comes with two DVDs, which include 26 episodes. What is nice is the gift set comes with two toys, Knuckles and Tails. Sonic (Roger Craig Smith) is a blue hedgehog that has a sidekick, Tails, who helps him in his adventures. Sonic's friends - Knuckles (Sebastian Desjours), Amy (Cindy Robinson) and Sticks (Nika Futterman) - help him attack his arch nemesis Dr. Eggman (Mike Pollock). Each episode has a different story line. The episodes do not follow a sequence, which it means that each episode is always a different adventure and that's what makes it so entertaining.

The graphics are amazing and the colors are very bright. The voice-overs are funny and they fit each character. The music is okay. I especially like the theme song, which is very catchy. My favorite episode is "Bro Down Showdown," because it's extremely funny. It is about how Amy had to leave for a little bit, so Sonic and Knuckles ask her if they can stay at her house while she is gone. Amy says yes, but there is one rule - no foolish things in her house. So the first thing they do is eat nachos and spill on the couch. Conveniently a commercial comes on saying, "if you win the best bros contest you win a brand new couch." They immediately enter the contest. It turns out Dr. Eggman is spying on them. He arrives and starts bickering with Sonic about a bogus little thing. A guy working there sees them fighting and pairs them up, even though Knuckles is going to be Sonic's buddy. Knuckels finds a new partner and tries to win the couch. This is my favorite episode because this all happens, just because they spilled a nacho.

The moral to the stories is about "teamwork making the dream work," because in each episode Sonic is helped by his sidekick and best friend, to either defeat Dr. Eggman or to enjoy their different adventures.

I give Sonic Boom, Season 1, Volume 2, 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, but adults can watch it with their kids and may find it amusing too. This DVD is available now so look for it!

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Runtime: 290 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.99
Media: DVD
      This title is available for purchase from Amazon.com


Z-O-M-B-I-E-S 2
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
Z-O-M-B-I-E-S 2
DISNEY CHANNEL Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-15
Description - The continuing adventures of Seabrook High students Addison and Zed, whose budding romance is threatened by the arrival of werewolves.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV

TURNING, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TURNING, THE
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A young governess is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece after their parents' deaths. A modern take on Henry James' novella "The Turn of the Screw."
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I'll admit, this film ended up being a lot more interesting than I originally expected. It actually managed to scare me a little and I got surprisingly invested. However the last act of the movie makes this experience very confusing and overall middle of the road.

The plot follows a woman named Kate who's hired to work as a nanny for two orphans named Flora and Miles. However, the longer she stays at their home, a giant mansion, the darker things get. Soon she begins seeing and hearing creepy things.

The plot is simple, however it managed to suck me in. That is because the movie sets up a lot of interesting mysteries about the true nature of the job and the kids. Yet, none of these mysteries are really resolved and that is disappointing. Plus, towards the end, the story gets even more unclear. In fact, the final moments of the film end up contradicting things that are set up earlier. While I like parts of the ending in concept, the inconsistencies in the story make it really hard to pin down whether the ending is good or not.

So, how about this film's horror? While it is mostly comprised of jumpscares; they are somewhat effective. One in particular genuinely scared me. This film definitely tries to insinuate a feeling of dread and does that quite well. It's not really that scary, but I appreciate the effort.

While I didn't really get attached to any of the characters, the acting in this film is honestly pretty good. Unsurprisingly, Mackenzie Davis as Kate and Finn Wolfhard as Miles are great. However I especially like Brooklynn Prince as Flora. She hasn't been in that much previously, but I believe she has a promising career ahead.

One thing I really like about this movie is the setting. I'm a sucker for historical aesthetics, so it makes sense that I would really enjoy Miles and Flora's mansion. The mansion is really beautiful ,yet creepy. We also see several locations outside that I would love to visit, specifically the forest area and the coy fish pond.

I would give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. This film comes out in theaters on January 24, 2020.

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

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


PLAYING WITH FIRE DVD
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PLAYING WITH FIRE DVD
PARAMOUNT PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-18
Description - When straight-laced fire superintendent Jake Carson and his elite team of firefighters come to the rescue of three siblings, they quickly realize that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet -- babysitting. As their lives, jobs and depot get turned upside down, the three men soon learn that children -- much like fires -- are wild and unpredictable.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This laugh-out-loud comedy stars John Cena as forest firefighter Jake Carson, who has his hands full leading a bumbling, but surprisingly adept team including John Leguizamo at his manic best and Keegan-Michael Key wearing every emotion on his sleeve. Things get unruly after the firefighting team rescue a teenager (Brianna Hildebrand) and her younger siblings from a wildfire and must watch over them for a weekend until their parents arrive. The plot allows square-jawed Cena plenty of opportunity to strike exaggerated stubborn poses while trying to keep in check both his wacky team and the mischievous siblings, who have to be rescued a second time after they run away in an all-terrain vehicle and wind up trapped on the edge of a cliff. The smart script balances one-liners and occasional silliness against the moments of peril, which feels surprisingly intense, thanks to excellent special effects. The fast-paced action and jokes keep the plot moving, often in unexpected ways. Eventually the kids warm to Jake who starts to loosen up, rekindling a romance with animal scientist Dr. Amy Hicks (Judy Greer). The unusual mix of comedy and danger lends a refreshing sweetness to scenes such as Jake fumbling to tell the two younger children bedtime stories. Playing With Fire is available on Digital starting January 21, 2020 and will release on Blu-ray and DVD on February 4, 2020. DVD extras include bloopers, deleted and extended scenes, "Storytime" with John Cena, and the cast reading humorous emails from the director during the shoot. Recommended for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. I give this 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Mike F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this movie because it is very entertaining and super funny. Playing with Fire is a 96 minutes filled with shenanigans. John Cena makes the audience laugh and it is weird to see him with a head full of hair.

This movie is about four smoke jumpers played by John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, Tyler Mane and John Leguizamo, who save three kids from a cabin on fire. The three children are siblings and two of them, Will and Zoe, are under the age of 10. Their older sister Brynn (Brianna Hildebrand, X-Men) is taking care of them. The smoke jumpers bring the kids to their depot until their parents can come to get them. The kids constantly mess with all the equipment at the fire depot, which distracts the smoke jumpers from doing their jobs.

The storyline includes comedy and sometimes sad moments. The visuals are perfect. The fire scenes looks real. The child actors are great at portraying their characters. My favorite scene is when Will is feeding peanut butter to the smoke jumpers' dog and he accidentally spreads it on the firefighter truck. Will drops the industrial soap and takes the fire fighter hose to clean the mess and the truck makes lots of foam.

The moral of this film is that family fulfills your life, in addition to working hard to accomplish your professional goals. Jake's (John Cena) priority is his career. He works hard to achieve and accomplish his title in the firefighter department and forgets to have fun or remember that there are people around him that love him.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 18 and adults can enjoy it too! Playing with Fire comes out in theaters on November 8, 2019. On Digital January 21, 2020; Blu-ray� Combo Pack Arrives February 4, 2020

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, are 11

Playing With Fire is one of the greatest family movies I have ever seen! It is a family-friendly, feel-good movie with an important message - family is the most important thing to help you keep going. There is a lot of comedy in this movie that makes the audience laugh out loud.

The story line is both adventurous and exciting. There is lots of action, but it is not violent. The characters are super funny and the acting is phenomenal! If I had to recommend any film to watch with friends and family, it would be this one. Some parts are sad, but there is also plenty of action and comedy to keep the audience engaged.

Playing With Fire is about four smoke jumpers, which is an elite team of fire fighters. Jack and his friends are specially trained to jump into dangerous wildfires, so they can rescue people and fight fires. Their lives are perfect, until they find three kids trapped in a fire and this special group of men is forced to hang onto them until they can find their parents. Until then, they have to fight fires and take care of the kids. What could go wrong?

The cast in this film is amazing! The casting director, Rich Delia, not only picked some big names to be in this film, but also found some talented new-comers. The whole cast portrays their characters really well and they are hilarious too! Superintendent Jack Carson, head of the smoke jumpers, is played by John Cena, a well-known actor and WWE wrestler. Keegan- Michel Key, a famous comedian, plays Lieutenant Mark, a friend of the Superintendent and another smoke jumper. Jack's soft-hearted friend, Rodrigo, is played by John Leguizamo. Brianna Hildebrand plays Brynn, the oldest of the three kids. This film also has a dog named Masher, that is Jack's fierce firehouse dog. Masher is very well trained and his interaction with the kids is hilarious. Andy Fickman directs the film.

I give Playing With Fire 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, as well as adults. Playing with Fire comes out in theaters on November 8, 2019.

Reviewed by Eva W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Playing with Fire is a funny and a fantastic Nickelodeon movie. It has so many funny moments and cool stunts. There is also some scenes that are very emotional. It is very fun and up beat. It is an enjoyable movie for the whole family to watch.

The storyline is about fire superintendent Jake Carson and his elite team of firefighters coming to the rescue of three siblings and realizing that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet--babysitting. The three siblings, Brynn (Brianna Hildebrand), Will (Chrisian Convery), and Zoe (Finley Rose Slater) cause trouble all over the fire depot and are uncontrollable, much like fires. There are lots of hilarious moments that everyone will laugh at, and sad moments where you might cry.

The cast of Playing with Fire, especially John Cena, Keegan Micheal Key, John Leguizamo, and Brianna Hildebrand, elevates the film and makes it amazing. They all put there own little twist on there character and it is really cool how they performed all of their stunts. The cinematography and special effects is fantastic as well. The director, Andy Fickman, did an outstanding job directing everything and everyone. The screenwriter, Dan Ewen, also wrote a funny and a great script.

The message of this movie is that family and friends are important. When someone needs some help, they try to help them like a family. The firefighters have to treat the siblings like they're their kids and teach them what and what not to do. All of them have to stay together for a little while and start to grow on each other.

I would recommend this movie for ages 6 to 12 (adults might like it too). Younger audiences would find it more fun and exciting than teenagers would. I give this movie a 4 out of 5 star rating. Playing with Fire comes out in theaters on November 8, 2019, so go watch it.

Reviewed by Leandro R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Playing with Fire is a super-duper good movie. I like it because it shows the difference between only caring for yourself and caring for others. I also love how it shows all the crazy things that kids can get into at a fire station, when left alone. Originally, I didn't understand the title, Playing with Fire, because, even though the firefighters rescue people from fires, they don't "play with fires" at all in the movie. When I thought about the phrase "playing with fire" and what it means, it made more sense.

Playing with Fire is about a team of specially trained firefighters, called smokejumpers led by Superintendent Jake "Supe" Carson (John Cena), who saves three kids from a burning log cabin using a helicopter. Since he and his crew are unable to safely deliver the kids to their parents due to stormy weather, they take the kids back to the fire station until their parents return. In addition to taking care of the kids, Jake is also trying to get a promotion. He tries to find time to apply for this promotion while the kids are "playing with fire" or getting into all types of trouble at the fire station.

The protagonist is Superintendent Jake "Supe" Carson. The movie takes place at the smokejumpers' base in Redding, CA. My favorite part is when the young boy Will (Christian Convery) accidentally spills cleaning powder in the room where Jake's truck is stored and he tries cleaning it up with water from a hose. The room is filled with all these bubbles and he is flying around the room with the water hose. One weird part is when "Supe" first drops from the helicopter to save the kids; he doesn't have on the typical safety equipment that firefighters wear to help them breathe. He and the kids have an entire conversation in the middle of a burning log cabin and everyone is breathing fine in the smoke-filled room.

The message in the movie is that everyone has a soft side and it's okay to show it. It's okay to let your guard down and let people into your world. You never know what you could be missing out on in life if you don't. Some things adults should look out for are characters accidentally drinking lighter fluid and scenes where John Cena is shown shirtless or in the shower.

Playing with Fire is fired up with plenty of fun and laughs so I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Adults may not enjoy the film as much, especially since most of the funniest scenes are in the trailer. Playing with Fire comes out on Digital January 21, 2020 and DVD/Blu-Ray February 4, 2020. Look for it. It's a fun family movie.

Reviewed by Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

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


ELLA BELLA BINGO
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ELLA BELLA BINGO
ABS-CBN FILM PRODUCTIONS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - Ella Bella and Henry are best friends, but she becomes jealous when Henry wants to play with the cool new kid. When Henry runs away, Ella Bella and a new kid go on a bicycle adventure to find Henry and learn the magic of friendship.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really enjoyed the animation and the storyline of Ella Bella Bingo. I particularly like that Henry's father is constantly there for Henry, notably when Henry runs away to the clubhouse and they decide to go to the amusement park. I found the ice cream parlor salesman describing Henry using ice cream very interesting and niche-y.

The storyline is about Ella and her best friend Henry who have a fight and then both try to make friends with the new kid in town and everyone discovers true friendship along the way.

I believe kids will easily relate to this storyline, because it involves friendships and has age-appropriate vocabulary throughout. They will relate to the concept of magic and the visuals will draw them in along with the sharp and colorful animation. The entire story flows at an even pace from beginning to end and is sensible throughout. The structure and style reminds me of many DreamWorks productions in terms of the introduction to characters and situations, conflict resolution and the kid-friendly humor. I was absorbed in the story the entire time and felt empathy with both Ella and Henry.

I like that the father is aware when Henry has a fallout with his best friend. This film teaches kids about looking out for the needs of others. For example, Ella and Henry realize and empathize that the new kid in town who has no friends. Kids may pick-up on the fact that the new kid brags about all his expensive gadgets, to compensate for his parents not being there for him. At the end, we see his parents trying to do the right thing, when they praise him for his circus performance. The overall message of the film is really about true friendship.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 12. Ella Bella Bingo comes out on VOD march 24, 2020. Check it out.

Reviewed by Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ella Bella Bingo is a fun movie about the joy and pain of friendship. Ella learns that friendships can change and new friends add new dynamics. I enjoyed the adventure of Ella Bella and Henry learning how to bring a neighborhood together through their explorations.

Ella Bella loves magicians and the circus and, when she finds out that her best friend Henry has never been to one, she decides to create a neighborhood circus so Henry can experience the magic for himself. Ella and Henry have a great time in the preparations and recruiting neighbors to help with the circus until a new boy, Johnny, moves into the neighborhood. Henry is torn between spending time with Bella and the cool new boy. Henry runs away when Ella and Johnny fight over him and the neighbors get involved in finding him.

The animation of this film is truly beautiful and filled with rich colors. All the voiceover actors are to be commended on their performances. I absolutely love all the animals in this movie; they add a great deal of humor to the storyline. The chickens are so funny throughout the film that they really steal the show.

The message of this film is that friendship and loyalty matter. Friendship is more important than having things or possessions, as Ella Bella learns about the special magic that is friendship. The movie also highlights the strength of community when the neighborhood comes together to produce the circus.

I rate this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 10. It is available on VOD and DVD March 24, 2020.

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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


QUEZON'S GAME
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
QUEZON'S GAME
ABS-CBN FILM PRODUCTIONS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Based on a true story of Holocaust heroism during World War II in the Philippines by Filipino President Manuel L. Quezon--who rescued as many persecuted Jews as Oskar Schindler at a time when most countries were turning their backs--the release of Quezon's Game also marks the landmark 75th anniversary on Jan. 27 of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Nazi's most-notorious concentration camp. Once forgotten to history, the incredible tale of what just one man can accomplish when defeat isn't an option ... a miraculous feat of human triumph. Starring Raymond Bagatsing, Rachel Alejandro, Billy Ray Gallion, David Bianco, and James Paolelli and Kate Alejandrino. Directed by Matthew Rosen.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I was complete unaware of this story before watching this film. It provides homage to the heroic efforts of Manual Quezon and his advisors to rescue Jews trapped in German and Austrian ghettos.

Inspired by a true story, this docudrama directed by Matthew Rosen offers the viewer a recounting of how, just before WWII, the President of the Philippines, Manuel L. Quezon (Raymond Bagatsing), rescued more than 1200 Jews from Germany, in spite of the anti-Semitic forces in his own country and world-wide. It begins with disturbing newsreel footage showing Jews incinerated by the Nazis. These were dangerous times and, had not Quezon acted in the way he did, these refugees would not have survived. High Commissioner to the Philippines Paul McNutt (James Paoleli) and Jewish American businessman Alex Frieder (Billy Ray Gallion), along with young officer and future U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower (David Bianco) bring the plight of the German Jews to the President's attention and then attempt to get visas for more than 10,000 of them trapped in Nazi Germany.

The sets and locations artfully reflect scenes from 1938 Philippines, as do the costumes, manners and music. I love seeing the horse-drawn carriages, the men in their Panama hats, the women in white, and the tinted film - all of which appropriately show the time period. Raymond Bagatsing, who plays President Quezon, is shown as a young man hiding his life-threatening illness, tuberculosis, from those around him. His feelings of despair about the German Jews provoke him to put his own health aside in order to do what he can to rescue them. Aurora (Rachel Alejandro), his wife shows strength in protecting her husband, while knowing he is hiding something from her (his illness).

The rise of anti-Semitism pushes the President to take action, as we see newsreels of Jews being turned away as they arrive in Cuba and the Alex Frieder being turned away at the German club with the Nazi sign clearly in view inside the front door. David Bianco portrays a youthful Dwight Eisenhower who will become the U.S. President after the war. When the refugees arrive, looking emaciated and exhauster, they are greeted by the president, his family and advisors. Thanks to Quezon's efforts over 1200 Jewish refugees were saved. The closing credits include interviews with some of the refugees who were children at the time of their rescue. Their testimonials reinforce the selfless act of Quezon, to help their families when everyone else was turning them away.

The message of this film is about selflessness and honor; about doing the right thing, even when the world around you is not. I give Quezon's Game 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult juror.

Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film is incredible. It really is a great expression of Manuel Quezon's heroism in the time of World War II. The characters are so physically and emotionally involved with the events that take place. Since this is a huge part of the true story, it really helps the audience discover the brutal reality of this situation and how the Holocaust affected so many innocent people. These unparalleled features in this film make it an educational and moving experience.

Quezon's Game is about the president of The Philippines (his term ran from 1935 to 1944) and an important telegram that is passed on to an American ambassador by several officials. The telegram, sent from Austria by a Chinese ambassador, says that there are Jewish refugees who need a place to go. Quezon comes across this and is determined to take action after being urged by his wife and an ambassador, Alex, who he works with.

The lead characters are Manuel Quezon (Raymond Bagatsing), Aurora Quezon (Rachel Alejandro) and Alex Frieder (Billy Ray Gallion). The characters and the events of the story are based on true events, which is crucial, and the cast portrays them remarkably well. For example, Bagatsing and Gallion express such vivid emotions and opinions and Alejandro shows a tough and strong attitude in a bad situation. They really shine throughout the entire film. My favorite part is when Manuel, his allies and political advisors reach their goal of being able to transport the refugees from Europe to the Philippines. The victory is very emotional for everyone and Manuel, along with those working with him, are happy to welcome the people to the Philippines, their new home.

The message of this film is that if you fight for what you believe in, work hard and are determined, you will eventually reach your goal. The film, sets and emotionally-moving reality go hand in hand and make Quezon's Game one of the most memorable, true story-based movies I have ever seen. This movie definitely calls me to action with its powerful message.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, as well as adults. You can find Quezon's Game in theaters beginning January 24, 2020.

Reviewed by Ruby L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Quezon's Game, directed by Matthew Rosen, is an incredible and triumphant depiction of true life events that is a delight to watch play out onscreen. The film captures the beauty of the Philippines showing amazing landscapes and bright colors. The filmmakers show a persistent, noble, and accurate version of Quezon through the actor Raymond Bagatsing who dramatically captures the spirit of the iconic leader. In Quezon's Game, the acting is wonderful, the production is gorgeous, and the plot is intriguing and riveting. This is a very well made film.

Quezon's Game details the true story about the journey that Manuel Quezon, President of the Philippines, takes in order to help Alex Frieder bring Jewish refugees into the country in order to flee the impending doom of the Holocaust. Meanwhile, Quezon's health is deteriorating and his marriage suffers trials and tribulations. The film depicts a young President Eisenhower and diplomat Paul McNutt helping Frieder and Quezon. The actions taken by Quezon and his team, along with encouragement and help from his wife and his daughter, are moral, tenacious, and beyond heroic.

Quezon's Game is an extraordinary story, one that brought my mother and I to tears multiple times throughout watching it. I don't necessarily cry that often during movies, but Quezon's Game is so powerful and poignant, I couldn't help but shed more than a few tears. I am incredibly impressed with the high production value and gorgeous setting. It must have been such a joy to film on such a magnificent set. The acting is also high caliber as all the actors go above and beyond to embody their characters. The writing and the plot are intense and I was highly interested throughout the entire film. It is fast-paced, stimulating and easy to follow. It is emotional and astonishing. In addition to being a fantastic film, Quezon's Game promotes righteous morals and exceptionally positive messages. Quezon always perseveres through his challenges and does what's right. He puts the needs of others before himself and truly does heroic work. He never gives up and fights for the cause.

Quezon's Game is an incredible and inspiring film, one that I will remember for a long time. The acting is phenomenal, the setting is wonderful, the production values are high, and the plot is intriguing. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 due to some difficult themes and jarring images. Quezon's Game opens in theatres January 24, 2020. Be sure to see it!

Reviewed by Ella L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Quezon's Game is a beautiful movie that is based on true events. This movie has great music and acting, lots of drama and emotion. There are also some scenes that made me cry. This movie taught me a lot about what happened behind the scenes during World War II. My only complaint with this movie is that when they speak Filipino, there are Spanish words included. I'm not sure if that is accurate or if it is a mistake, but being Latino, it caught my attention.

The storyline follows Philippine President Manuel Quezon, in 1938, trying to save as many Jewish refugees as he can from Hitler and the Nazis before the Holocaust. President Quezon is fighting a personal relapse of tuberculosis at the same time. There are other historical figures of note such as future U.S. President Dwayne Eisenhower. This story is not very well known. It is certainly the first time I hears about it. Quezon's Game teaches about an aspect of history you might never learn in school.

The acting in Quezon's Game is fantastic. Raymond Bagatsing, who plays President Quezon, gives a heart stopping performance that captures every essence of the actual person. There is so much emotion and effort put into his performance. It is cool how much Raymond Bagatsing looks a little bit like the real Manuel Quezon. This movie has gorgeous scenery that makes you feel like this was actually filmed in the 1930s.

The message of this movie is to keep trying, no matter what problems come your way. It shows how Quezon goes through so much trouble and problems, yet doesn't give up on bringing the Jewish refugees to the Philippines. You should know that there is some mild profanity and it deals with difficult themes.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, as well as adults. This movie hits theaters January 24, 2020 so go watch, you won't regret it.

Reviewed by Leandro R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12.

This heroic, memorable, and passionate independent film embraces the heroism of Manuel Quezon during World War II. This bewildering and educational docudrama leads you back to 1939 to 1945 to experience the unimaginable reality of how the holocaust affected many. This film, directed by Matthew Rosen, shows the beauty of the Filipinos in rescuing Jews from Nazi Germany. In Quezon's Game, the actors created a realistic story, that urged me, as a viewer, to learn more.

Quezon's Game leads with the perspective of Filipino President Manuel Quezon and Aurora Quezon, his wife. In the film, the Filipino President is faced with a tough decision. A Chinese ambassador comes to Manuel seeking help for the Jewish refugees who need a place to go. Released January 24, 2020, this film marks the landmark 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. After being urged by his wife, Quezon finally comes to a decision.

The lead characters in this film are Manuel Quezon (Raymond Bagatsing), Aurora Quezon (Rachel Alejandro) and Alex Frieder (Billy Ray Gallion). The characters are based on actual characters and the actors portray them very believably. Their emotion and connection with each other makes it all seem plausible and real. My favorite part is President Quezon, his allies and family members accomplish their goal of rescuing the refugees and seeing them arrive in the Philippines. The victory is absolutely meaningful and emotional. Each character expresses bravery and strength.

This film has a little bit of profanity but there is no other inappropriate activity that kids might imitate. I love the scenery of the Philippines and the 1930s tropical vibe with beautiful scenery, colorful trees and beautiful tall, tower-like homes.

I give this film 4 � out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 15. It is available at select theaters January 24, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Nathalia Marie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

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


GIGANTOSAURUS: THE BIGGEST, FIERCEST DINOSAUR OF ALL!
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GIGANTOSAURUS: THE BIGGEST, FIERCEST DINOSAUR OF ALL!
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 5-8
Description - In GIGANTOSAURUS, four dinosaur pals team up for big adventures around their community as they help others, solve problems, and learn about the mysterious Gigantosaurus that lives among them. Often it's Mazu's curiosity that leads the group's charge, and her friends Tiny, Bill, and Rocky eagerly join in her explorations. Whether it's returning a lost egg to its herd or saving an insect species from extinction, these dinosaurs never give up on a challenge.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I absolutely love this adorable animated series. It is unlike any other animated series I have seen. The dynamics between all the friends is interesting and it is so pleasing seeing how supportive they are of each other.

Gigantosaurus: The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is centered around four tiny dinosaur friends and their gigantic dinosaur friend, that have a love-hate relationship with. Each of the tiny dinosaurs has a different personality. One is brave, one gets scared but loves food, one's silly and one is smart. Together they form the perfect team and are able to solve any problem. Their friend Gigantosaurus doesn't talk, so Gigantosaurus isn't close with them. Gigantosaurus' size is beneficial to them because he is protect their herd, but his size can also cause some problems when he walks around. Therefore, the tiny dinosaurs still fear Gigantosaurus and they become cautious whenever he is near.

The voice actors for this series are all ages, to separate the adult dinosaurs from the innocent tiny ones. Even though there is this contrast between the adult voice actors and the younger voice actors, it is hard to tell the difference between the younger voice actors. Even so, the younger voice actors are quite remarkable. They are lively and portray various emotions well.

The animation is pretty detailed and very colorful. It is wonderful to see that the effort put into animating so many different types of dinosaurs, as well as other animals including birds, a rodent and an interesting walking fish. There is a lot of detail in their facial expressions which portray their emotions quite well.

My favorite part of this DVD is that it is so fun and educational. Hidden inside the plot are actual dinosaur facts that kids can learn, which is amazing.

There can be multiple messages in any episode, all of which are extremely valuable. It is great to see how encouraging the dinosaur friends are towards each other, as well as how all the characters are accepted. For example, Gigantosaurus is a large, scary-looking dinosaur, yet he is so caring, protective, and never means any harm. The tiny dinosaur who is considered to be the brave, adventurous one is encouraged by his friends to let out his soft, caring side. Most importantly, this DVD shows kids to look past the stereotypes and accept others, which I love.

Gigantosaurus: The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is a wonderful animated DVD collection which kids will absolutely love and learn a lot from. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 8. It comes out on DVD January 13, 2029, so make sure to pick it up!

Reviewed by Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this DVD because it is very funny and teaches children different morals. Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is approximately 90 minutes long and has eight 11 minute episodes including "Giganto's Laugh," "Frozen Giganto," "The Lost Egg," "The Island," "The Biggest Hero," "Treasure!," "Seeing Stars" and "Dinosia."

Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! follows four dinosaur friends - Mazu, Tiny, Bill and Rocky - who team up to help animals in need and to solve their community's situations or problems. They also learn about the Gigantosaurus that live among them. Mazu is the leader of the group and her three friends follow her on different adventures. The graphics are neat and very colorful. The landscape is very detailed. The music is pleasant and appealing in each episode. The voice-overs match each dinosaur's personality.

One of my favorite episodes is "Treasure!" This episode is about the four dinosaur friends playing on a playground. Tiny says to get cave moss for Giganto before they leave. When Rocky gets the cave moss, he falls in some sticky water and Tiny pulls him out. Tiny notices a little shiny gold pebble. Mazu takes the gold pebble and brings it home. Eventually, almost all the dinosaurs are chasing each other for the pebble. The only one who's not chasing or fighting over the shiny gold pebble is Giganto. My other favorite episode is "The Biggest Hero," because it teaches an important lesson. This episode is about Rocky and Tiny fighting over who is the best hero. They compete by solving a ton of problems and trying to help everyone in need. At the end they are both heroes.

The moral of Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is about coming together as friends and never give up on any challenge or obstacle that you might find on your path. These four dinosaur friends defeat every obstacle and challenge without giving up and help their community and other animals in need.

I give the DVE Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 18, plus. This DVD is available now so look for it!

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is not my favorite DVD, but I can see how younger kids would love it. It's not really a show that makes you laugh, but there are lots of lessons that can be learned from each episode. I really love how every character has its own unique personality.

Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is an animated show based on the book by the same name by Johnny Duddle. The DVD contains eight episodes about four young dinosaurs that go on many adventures. They all work hard to face their own fears and solve problems together on their journeys. While they are on their quests, their frenemy, Gigantosaurus, who is the largest, fiercest dinosaur of all, makes appearances. Sometimes the friends help him and other times he helps them. The four young dinosaurs learn different things about Gigantosaurus during each adventure.

The main characters are Tiny (�ine Sunderland), Bill (Nicholas Holmes), Rocky (Dylan Schombing) and Mazu (Nahanni Mitchell), which are all dinosaurs. Even though they are all different species, they still treat each other like brothers and sisters. One of the things I felt lacking is more of the stories are not about Gigantosaurus, which is who the show is named for. I expected Gigantosaurus to be the main character, but he only makes a few appearances in each episode. The other characters talk about him a lot and they learn about him, but the four dinosaur friends are the main characters. My favorite part of each episode is how Tiny, Bill, Rocky and Mazu learn to overcome their fears. You can really see their true friendship whenever any of them needs a little help. They are always there to help each other throughout the day. I also love how they never give up.

The message in the movie is: everyone has a different talent that is useful for different things. You should appreciate others' differences and believe that their talent has a true purpose. Since this is a kid's movie, there isn't much for adults to look out for except parts where kids may imitate bragging and scaring people on purpose.

Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! will have younger kids roaring with laughter. I rate it 4 out of 5 stomps and recommend it for ages 3 to 6. You can find it now on DVD.

Reviewed by Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

I absolutely love this adorable animated series. It is unlike any other animated series I have seen. The dynamics between all the friends is interesting and it is so pleasing seeing how supportive they are of each other.

Gigantosaurus: The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is centered around four tiny dinosaur friends and their gigantic dinosaur friend, that have a love-hate relationship with. Each of the tiny dinosaurs has a different personality. One is brave, one gets scared but loves food, one's silly and one is smart. Together they form the perfect team and are able to solve any problem. Their friend Gigantosaurus doesn't talk, so Gigantosaurus isn't close with them. Gigantosaurus' size is beneficial to them because he is protect their herd, but his size can also cause some problems when he walks around. Therefore, the tiny dinosaurs still fear Gigantosaurus and they become cautious whenever he is near.

The voice actors for this series are all ages, to separate the adult dinosaurs from the innocent tiny ones. Even though there is this contrast between the adult voice actors and the younger voice actors, it is hard to tell the difference between the younger voice actors. Even so, the younger voice actors are quite remarkable. They are lively and portray various emotions well.

The animation is pretty detailed and very colorful. It is wonderful to see that the effort put into animating so many different types of dinosaurs, as well as other animals including birds, a rodent and an interesting walking fish. There is a lot of detail in their facial expressions which portray their emotions quite well.

My favorite part of this DVD is that it is so fun and educational. Hidden inside the plot are actual dinosaur facts that kids can learn, which is amazing.

There can be multiple messages in any episode, all of which are extremely valuable. It is great to see how encouraging the dinosaur friends are towards each other, as well as how all the characters are accepted. For example, Gigantosaurus is a large, scary-looking dinosaur, yet he is so caring, protective, and never means any harm. The tiny dinosaur who is considered to be the brave, adventurous one is encouraged by his friends to let out his soft, caring side. Most importantly, this DVD shows kids to look past the stereotypes and accept others, which I love.

Gigantosaurus: The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is a wonderful animated DVD collection which kids will absolutely love and learn a lot from. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 8. It comes out on DVD January 13, 2029, so make sure to pick it up!

Reviewed by Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 6.99
Media: DVD
      This title is available for purchase from Amazon.com


JUNGLE FUN WITH MUNKI & TRUNK
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
JUNGLE FUN WITH MUNKI & TRUNK
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD AGES 2-8
Description - Munki and Trunk: Ain't no mountain high enough, river wide enough, or banana big enough to tear these two apart! Our brave, curious monkey and big-hearted elephant live together in the jungle, as children imagine it: a playground with vines to swing on, trampoline mushrooms to bounce on, and a crew of jungle buddies to share endless adventures. Munki and Trunk explore their world together, facing fears, having fun and helping friends in a comedy adventure that s brim-full of heart, and built on a bedrock of friendship. Includes 8 tree-crashing, rock-smashing, water-splashing, fruit-mashing episodes!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Jungle Fun with Munki and Trunk is an adorable selection of stories compiled onto one DVD. The fun adventures that Munki and Trunk experience are simple, yet engaging to watch. These best friends sure know how to have a good time!

This compilation of episodes follows two main characters, Munki and Trunk, as they explore the world together. Along the way, these jungle animals learn lessons about nature, their friendship, as well as their own unique qualities. The protagonists quite often face their fears with one another and help them grow as individuals.

An interesting part of the world the characters live in is how they communicate through noises and actions, rather than actual words. Brent Dawes, the voice actor for Munki, and Alison Lambole, the voice actress for Trunk, are terrific at making the animal noises comprehensible for the audience. I love how bright and fun the animation in this show is. The jungle and characters all have a very playful vibe that keeps the audience super intrigued with each adventure. For example, each tree is animated with a particular texture that is incredible to look at. One issue I have with the DVD is how repetitive it is, but I believe that is effective for younger viewers. The two goofballs (Munki and Trunk) are amazing at bringing creativity to really simplistic scenarios. For example, the two characters are chasing a rainbow and decide to run through it. When going through the rainbow they change colors like a chameleon and then end up swimming up the rainbow.

Jungle Fun with Munki and Trunk has many lessons to teach viewers. My favorite is that each animal is their own individual, yet they all get along and coexist so well with one another. I think we can use this in our lives - to not worry about other people's perceptions of us, because we should all be kind to one another regardless. Another moral of these stories is how effective teamwork is in problem solving. It seems that every episode has some type of roadblock or obstacle to overcome, and only when the two friends stand together they can prevail over the problem.

I give Jungle Fun with Munki and Trunk 4 out of 5 stars and recommend for kids 2 to 8. It is available now on DVD, so go check it out!

by Brad M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this DVD because it is cute and funny to watch. It makes me smile through all eight episodes, each around seven and a half minutes. Jungle Fun with Munki and Trunk DVD is approximately 60 minutes long. The adventurous episodes include: "Hot Stuff," "Rainbow Rising," "Bubble Trouble," "Copycat," "Hypno-Munki," "Boing Boing," "Sticky Situation," and "Midnight Run."

Jungle Fun with Munki and Trunk is about an elephant and a monkey who live together in the jungle. They have adventures that range from comedy to scary situations. Munki is a very curios and friendly monkey, while Trunk is a big-hearted, kind elephant. They are friends with everyone in the jungle and very nice to other animals in need. The jungle is their playground. The vines are their swings, the mushrooms are their trampolines to bounce on. The graphics are super amazing and the colors are very bright. The animation can be compared to Disney's animated movies. The forest looks so realistic; it looks like a real forest with real animals. The music and theme song are very pleasant and delightful to listen to. There is no dialog in this DVD.

My favorite episode is "Rainbow Rising," because it is very funny. It's about Munki and Trunk finding berries that makes their skin or fur look blue. They go around showing every one that they are blue. Then, the blue wears off and they get upset. Munki and Trunk soon see a rainbow. They play in the rainbow and soon it makes them change colors, so they are happy again.

There are multiple morals for different episodes but the overall moral is about accepting people for who they are, with their perfections and flaws. Nobody is perfect and true friendship is about accepting each other for who they are. Part of the lyrics from the theme songs says, "Ain't no mountain high enough, river to wide enough, or banana big enough to tear these two apart!" Munki and Trunk are completely different animals, but they are still inseparable best friends.

I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars because and recommend it for ages 3 to 18. Adults can enjoy this DVD with their children as well. It is available now so look for it

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11.

I like this film for its animation, but I typically enjoy films that have dialogue (which this doesn't). The characters are cute, especially the hedgehog with his spunky attitude. I also like how colorful the scenes are. It is nice to see a change of scenery, since I'm often surrounded by snow, living in northern Minnesota.

This DVD is a collection of episodes about the jungle adventures of two friends--a monkey named Munki and an elephant named Trunk. They have fun together and meet new friends, but always seem to get in a little bit of trouble. They discover really cool things in the jungle and luckily can use many of the things they find to have some fun.

In one episode the elephant (Trunk) and monkey (Munki) start out being too hot, so they find different ways to cool off. They try to find shade and find themselves getting to a place that has snow, where they roll a huge snowball to try to get the hot spot cooler. At another time, they have fun changing colors and use grapes to turn purple, but then the rain washes away the colors. After finding a rainbow, they and other animals start changing colors. In their next adventure, Munki and Trunk find themselves in space because they chewed too much bubble gum. They start copying each other and get all the animals around them involved. Munki winds up hypnotizing all of the animals so they start acting like monkeys. In other adventures they find a plant that has a liquid that causes them to turn into Jell-O. They lose control over their bodies, while another liquid sticks to everything. There's an ostrich that appears throughout the film that is always trying to protect her eggs.

My favorite part of the film is the music, composed by Andries Smit, because it is very catchy. It's exciting and upbeat. It brings out the happiness of the characters. Some episodes on this DVD are a bit cheesy, but would probably appeal to a younger audience. I found myself laughing at one point when Munki and Trunk are squished in a bubble and get stuck in a tree. It is also fun to see all of the animals change colors and watch how excited they get. Listening to the animals just make noises gets a little annoying, but the animation, done by Infinite Studios, is great and gives lots of personality to the characters.

The message of the film is to trust your friends. Munki and Trunk show that you can get through almost any sticky situation by working together and using the problem as the solution.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend this DVD to ages 4 to 8. The DVD is available now, so look for it.

Reviewed by Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Runtime: 60 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 6.99
Media: DVD


TOYS & PETS
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TOYS & PETS
VISION FILMS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 5-12
Description - A little toy with a wish and a robot from the future team up to find a fabled mystic and rescue their friend from the evil rat Flash. On this magical animated journey, they discover that teamwork and friendship will help them save the day.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Toys & Pets is well produced and has a Hollywood quality to it; it reminds me of Toy Story.

Toys & Pets is an animated film following the protagonist, Nathan, who meets up with a robot, Timebot, and their adventures to find the mystical 3G. Many obstacles get in their way.

The sound and picture quality of this film are excellent, with clear and vibrant color. It is very action-oriented and will keep viewers engaged. The one thing that I would warn audiences of is the violence, which is a bit intense for its target audience. For example, a truck delivery driver slaps a delivery boy a couple of times. This is meant to be humorous, but from an adult point of view, it's not. Another example is during the climax of the film, when Nathan crunches down on the tongue of a toad, accompanied by exaggerated sound effects. The last one is when Nathan falls into a fiery coal-ridden kiln. Does the Flash fall in as well? He is not shown falling, but is not seen after that incident.

This story is okay, but a bit disappointing. It is straightforward and makes sense, but gets lost at times in the action. Produced in Hong Kong, it may be a bit confusing for a U.S. audience, since the characters - porcelain figurines, robots, toads and rats - would not be considered as either toys or pets in the United States.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 13. It is available on DVD January 14, 2020.

Reviewed by Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

This film is completely entertaining. I loved watching the adventures of the toy Nathan and his Robot friend. It has humor and adventure. I love the animation and the music. It is fun to watch, but has a real message about friendship as well. The storyline flows well and, of course, good wins over bad. But, the main message is of friendship. I like that it shows how friendship really is the answer to many things, such as the question, "How can I avoid being controlled?" It also shows that it is often better to focus on the here and now, and not just on the future. I recommend this film for ages 4 through 18. It really is something that the whole family could watch together. Very nicely done with enjoyable characters, animation and overall story. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Toys & Pets is appealing to me because it shows how two strangers meet, build a special friendship and help each other through a tough journey.

The storyline follows Nathan who can't understand why he can't change colors like his friend. Nathan meets Timebot, thinking she's from the future. Timebot is willing to help Nathan figure out why he can't change colors. The two of them become good friends and go on an adventure of a lifetime.

I love the storyline because the writer creates a special friendships between two strangers and it taught me how strangers should be kind and caring to everyone. Directed by Gary Wang, the film made me feel as if I was riding the best rollercoaster in the world. The camera work is flawless and amazing. It has great details in every scene and for every character.

I love the character Nathan, because he's a risk taker. He and his friends are created by the Toy Master and Nathan is the only one that can't change colors in water, like his ceramic tea toy friends. He goes on a magical adventure with Timebot trying to find out why. Jason Kesser plays the voice of Nathan. Mr. Kesser is an actor and producer (Girls Gone Dead, Rio, A Story of Love, Fury, Unforgotten). I also love the Timebot character; she's caring and helpful. She and Nathan become friends and go on adventures with Nathan. My favorite part is when Nathan gets stuck under water and can't figure out how to escape. The Toys and Pets costumes are like every day wear. The locations for this film look very realistic - inside a warehouse, a child's toys chest, science lab, baseball stadium. It reminds me of Disney/Pixar's Toy Story. The music is very futuristic, upbeat and happy. The special effects make it seem like you're watching it in 3D.

The message of the film is that good friends are hard to find and you should love your neighbors. What I learned from Toys & Pets is that it doesn't matter if you're different, you should always have self-confidence and be kind to others. There is no profanity but it does show a scene with the characters risking their lives going into a sewer drain. That is not healthy or safe, so I would hope that kids wouldn't imitate that.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It comes out on DVD January 24, 2020 so look for it.

Reviewed by Brianni W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

I like Toy & Pets because it has a very interesting storyline and reminds me of Disney's movie Toy Story. It's produced in China from light Chaser Animation Studios.

Toys & Pets is about a ceramic toy figure made by an old toymaker. One day, the toymaker makes two toy figures, a geisha named May and a chef named Nathan. The toy maker's wife collapses while holding May and a strange, rat-looking creature comes out of the sewer and steals May. The toymaker's wife passes away and he stops making toys. One day, some customers are examining the different ceramic figures and discover that they change color when they get wet, all but the little chef. The little chef is upset, because he doesn't know why he cannot change color. Along comes a robot from the future into the shop that meets the ceramic toys. The robot doesn't know where it came from, so the little chef teams up with him to help him find out also learn why he cannot change color when wet. During their journey they fall into a sewer and meet Flash, the evil rat. Flash has a huge collection of figurines and one is May. The Robot and Nathan come up with a plan to free May.

My favorite part of this Chinese made animated film is when Nathan finds a Ferris-wheel snow globe in the sewer and gives it to the robot as a friendship gift. The graphics of this film are simply amazing. The colors are very bright and the animation looks real, almost like a 3D movie. The background and landscapes also look very real. The voice-overs match the characters quite well and the sound effects are perfect. For example, every time the toys move, you can hear the clanging sound of ceramic.

The moral of Toy & Pets DVD is that teamwork and friendship, together, help save the day. The robot and Nathan become friends and put their idea together to rescue May.

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Older adults can enjoy it with their children as well. Toy & Pets is available on DVD now so look for it.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Toys & Pets has many characters to fall in love with. There are funny, quirky, loyal and intelligent characters as well as villains to befriend in this film. Join in the adventure of tea toy Nathan and his pal Time-bot as they seek answers and a missing friend.

The Toy Master creates a group of ceramic figurines which are tea toys. The last figurine the Toy Master creates cannot magically change color, like the other toys, and sets out on an adventure to discover why. The villain of this story is a rat named Flash who likes to own all that is beautiful and steals the last completed tea toy made. Find out what happens when Nathan and Time-bot encounter Flash and enter his underground lair.

The movie is written and directed by Gary Wong, who has created quite a few funny and quirky characters. The plot is a little difficult to follow, because there are so many characters in this story. The special effects in this movie are really outstanding and steal the show. Animation is by Amp Wong and you can really visualize this world he has created and the characters that live there, because the animation is absolutely brilliant. The visual effects are by Yang Xiaoqi and truly enhance the production. The sound effects engage the viewer and are supervised by Wu Zhe; the music is composed by Guo Haowei. There are many voices that lend their skills to this production that add depth to the characters and their humor.

The message of this film is that friendship and loyalty matter. The future is now so share it with your friends.

I rate this DVD 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. It is available on DVD now, so look for it.

By Selene Weiss, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12
Runtime: 98 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: DVD


TROOP ZERO
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TROOP ZERO
AMAZON STUDIOS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Description - In rural 1977 Georgia, a misfit girl dreams of life in outer space. When a competition offers her a chance to be recorded on NASA's Golden Record, she recruits a makeshift troop of Birdie Scouts, forging friendships that last a lifetime.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this movie because it is a combination of comedy, drama, diversity and great casting, especially the children actors. This film is an Amazon Prime original and has a duration of 1 hour and 37 minutes.

Troop Zero timeline is the late 70's and the storyline is about a young girl named Christmas (McKenna Grace) who's obsessed with outer space, aliens and planets. She finds out there is a competition that offers her to be recorded on NASA's Golden Record, but in order to compete she needs to belong to a Girl's Scout troop. She recruits four challenging kids and asks her father's (Jim Gaffigan) co-worker, Mrs. Rayleen (Viola Davis), to be her Troop Mom. The five children go through tough and exciting experiences in order to earn their badges to enter the NASA's competition. During their journey, all five children create a strong bond and friendship.

My favorite part is when Christmas starts recruiting kids to belong to her troop. Troop Zero has amazing actors such as Award Winner Viola Davis, Jim Gaffigan, Allison Janney and McKenna Grace from The Haunting of Hill House. Charlie Shotwell, who portrays Joseph, Christmas' best friend, pulls off an amazing performance as a feminine boy. I am happy to see Johanna Colon (internet dancing sensation) play Smash, in this movie. She's great! The scenery and costumes are typical 70s style, including the hairstyles. The story line is bit slow in the beginning, but later it gets interesting. You will experience laughter, sadness and tears of joy with this movie.

The moral of this film is to have a child's heart when it comes to choosing your friends or recruiting a team. Christmas does not discriminate against skin color, gender identity, religion or personalities when it comes to recruiting her troop and becomes friends with all four of them because she sees their hearts, not what society considers flaws.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars because the beginning is rather slow. I recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Older adults might enjoy this movie as well. Troop Zero is available on Amazon Prime beginning January 17, 2020.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I recently saw the inspiring new Amazon Prime movie, Troop Zero, and love it. It's a warm-hearted coming-of-age story with a beautiful, positive message and a fun adventure throughout. The movie guides us through the story of a quirky girl, Christmas Flint played by the talented McKenna Grace and her rag tag group of Birdies known as Troop Zero.

Christmas is passionate about science. She wants to connect to the universe and her late mom through a NASA competition. The winner will have their voice recorded and sent out to the universe for posterity on a Golden Record. This movie is a journey of self-discovery, not only for Christmas, but everyone that is a part of her adventure. Each person learns more about themselves as they work together.

One of my favorite scenes is at the end of the movie, when the cast comes together and performs at the jamboree competition. I won't give away what happens but it is an emotional moment when they take a stand to be accepted for who they are. Another favorite scene is the baking fight scene. I bet it was so much fun for the actors to film, because it is absolutely hilarious and, at the same time, cathartic as a baking food fight between Troops Zero and Birdie. My question for you is: Who do you think won? LOL.

The acting by McKenna Grace as Christmas Flint and Viola Davis as Miss Rayleen, is perfect. Each of them make the audience believe in the struggles they face during the movie. McKenna really embraces her character with the lopsided haircut and awkward, quirky moves. However, I particularly connected with her character's father, Ramsey Flint (Gaffigan), because he so perfectly portrays the ideal father. He reminded me of my own father, who while not perfect, truly loves his daughter and wants her to be happy and achieve her dreams. Indeed, theirs is a father-daughter relationship very touching that I think families will connect with.

The moral of the story is to be yourself, listen to your heart and, if people try to knock you down, just keep on fighting the good fight for what you believe in. This is definitely a triumphant movie of self-acceptance and overcoming life challenges and one definitely to watch. This film would be especially enjoyable for those who love science. The transition of Troop Zero becoming Troop Hero is inspiring and uplifting. At the same time, the critic in me did find the film a little slow moving at times. All said, I think it is a wonderful movie and give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It is airing on Amazon Prime beginning January 17, 2020.

Reviewed by Abigail Zoe L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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


DOLITTLE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DOLITTLE
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Description - Dr. John Dolittle lives in solitude behind the high walls of his lush manor in 19th-century England. His only companionship comes from an array of exotic animals that he speaks to on a daily basis. But when young Queen Victoria becomes gravely ill, the eccentric doctor and his furry friends embark on an epic adventure to a mythical island to find the cure.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wow! The long anticipation of Dolittle is well worth the wait! A big two thumbs up for director Stephen Gaghan, for knocking this action-packed, comical, fun-loving film out of the ball park! The film, although perhaps a little lengthier for younger kids, keeps viewers on the edge of their seats while they take in all the adventure, suspense, laughs and emotion that this film offers. I left the theater with an appreciation of the quote, "It's truly by helping others that you can help yourself!"

The film follows the life of quirky veterinarian Dr. John Dolittle, of Victorian England, who has a sure connection with animals. Dr. Dolittle becomes reclusive, hiding behind the walls of Dolittle Mansion following the death of his beloved wife Lily. His only companions since her death are his furred and feathered friends that the animation department has excelled in giving anthropomorphic qualities to. Dolittle is quite content with his lifestyle, void of humans, until he has to make a decision when the very ill Queen of England calls on him to help save her from sickness. Dr. Dolittle appears to be the only person able to bring the Queen the secret antidote to reverse the symptoms of her sudden illness. The doctor, along with his humorous animal crew and new young, self-appointed assistant, set sail in search of the cure which will save the Queen from dying. They encounter several obstacles while on their journey, which adds to the suspense, adventure and comedy of the film.

The star of film, Robert Downey Jr. as Dr. Dolittle plays his role well. He also is one of the film's executive producers. Hats off to the very lengthy list of animators who bring Dolittle's friends to life and make us laugh at each of their personalities. The animatronics are by far my favorite part of this movie. It was also super fun to try to identify the many voices behind Dr. Dolittle's menagerie. I especially love the voice of Craig Robinson who plays Kevin, the squirrel with an attitude. The locations also deserve mentioning. Landscapes are lush, bright and so captivating, which adds such so much to this film.

The message in Dolittle is all about relationships. You have to have a sense of imagination to appreciate the connection between Dr. Dolittle and his animal friends, but the message is clear that no matter how diversified living things are, we can find a way to connect, communicate and appreciate one another. The film writers gathered together a variety of different characters that show that no matter what their limitations, they can interact with each other and build heartwarming friendships. This film allows us to open up our minds about differences and promotes positive interactions.

I give Dolittle 5 out of 5 stars and, if I could rate it higher, I would! I recommend it to ages 5 to 18. Dolittle is the perfect family film and adults will love it as much as kids. Dolittle opens January 17, 2020 in theaters. This is a film that you do not want to miss...mark your calendars!

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9

What a terrific movie! The dialogue among the characters is so much fun and the cinematography, costumes and visual effects are so beautiful and well done.

Dolittle takes a new spin on the infamous tale of Dr. Dolittle, who is of course the doctor that speaks to animals. The story begins at Dolittle Manner, which is an estate provided to him by the Queen of England for serving as her veterinarian. Dolittle Manner is a sanctuary open to all animals until his wife passes away on an adventure and Dr. Dolittle closes it and isolates himself from people. As the Queen falls ill, Dr. Dolittle is convinced to go on an adventure to find a cure to help save the Queen before it's too late!

The movie trailer does not do this movie justice as I was not overly excited to see movie before going to the screening. My feelings changed greatly after I watched the movie. The writing is very clever with the dialogue for the animals. Everything they say is witty and playful. I also love that the animal characters aren't stereotypical, as they all need a lit bit of fixing. There are some magnificent actors in Dolittle, such as Robert Downey Jr. (as Dr. Dolittle), Harry Collett (as Stubbins, Dr. Dolittle's self-appointed apprentice), Emma Thompson (as the parrot Polly and Dr. Dolittle's advisor), Rami Malek (as the funny gorilla Chee-Chee), Octavia Spencer (as the enthusiastic duck Dab-Dab), Tom Holland (as the sight-challenged dog Jip), Craig Robinson (as the wise-cracking squirrel Kevin) and Selena Gomez (as the giraffe Betsy). My favorite character is Kevin since he made me laugh the most.

The messages of this movie are about perseverance and the importance of family and friends to help you overcome obstacles. Dolittle has no bad language, but it does have some mild violence and action scenes, primarily among the animals. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 14. Adults will also like this movie. This movie opens in theaters January 17, 2020. Check it out.

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

Dolittle is a roaring, barking and chirping fantasy adventure story with great humor and special effects. The film has amazing CGI and the animals look completely real. The movie also has very creative dialogue that fits each of the characters very well. The film has very vibrant colors and beautiful landscapes. Unfortunately, even though the film is not very long (an hour and 41 minutes), some scenes seem very slow and the film feels a lot longer than it actually is. The movie is very comedic and has some laugh out loud moments, but sometimes the humor seems a little forced and unfunny.

Dolittle follows the retired Doctor Dolittle (Robert Downy Jr.) after his wife passes away from a ship-wreck. An odd boy named Stubbons (Harry Colltett) seems to have the same animal talking abilities as Doctor Dolittle himself and becomes his apprentice. When the Queen of Buckingham Palace (Jessie Buckley) falls gravely ill, Doctor Dolittle, Stubbons and the rest of the animal gang embark on a journey to attain the cure for the Queen to preserve the land they live on and the animal's sanctuary.

It is difficult to cast people for this kind of film, because we're dealing with lots of animals and I think the casting is amazing! The voice-overs for the animals really make a big difference because they add humor, drama and suspense. The dialogue is very creative and fits each animal very well, making them seem very real. For the most part, the dialogue is very entertaining and creative. However, some lines try to force the humor and come off as not humorous at all. Robert Downy Jr.'s performance is spot on, but his accent seems a little off and inconsistent throughout the film. It seems as if he is trying to be too exotic and it doesn't work.

Dolittle fits the PG rating. It has some action and possibly scary creatures that could be frightening to younger viewers. The message of the film is about helping other people, even when it does not benefit your personally. It also points out that when something gets in your way of reaching your goal, don't give up, figure out a new way to reach that goal. Be creative. Think outside the box.

Dolittle did not soar as high as the parrots do in the film so I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. It has amazing visuals and CGI, but forced jokes and slow scenes. I recommend this film for ages 8 to 18. Dolittle opens in theaters January 17, 2020. Look for it.

By Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Unfortunately, Dolittle left me confused because its storyline is all over the place. There are too many plot elements to follow and they do not tie together cohesively in the end. Most of the characters have vague back-stories which are presented in ways that prevent any character from becoming fully developed.

The story follows the grief stricken Doctor Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) who is mourning the death of his wife. He lives alone with his animal friends including Chee-Chee (Rami Malek), a gorilla and Yoshi (John Cena), a polar bear. When the Queen of England (Jessie Buckley) falls ill, she calls upon Dolittle for help. To save the Queen, he must embark on a perilous journey to find a mythical healing fruit.

Robert Downey Jr. has the quirkiness and personality to play an eccentric individual like Dolittle. However, his potential is overshadowed by his perplexing accent which feels forced and thus, his voice does not match his emotions or actions very well. Rami Malek plays my favorite character, Chee-Chee, and gives him a sweet, loveable personality. Unfortunately, due to the excess of poorly developed characters, Chee-Chee's character arch seems irrelevant even though he is one of the better characters.

The graphics are well done in some aspects but not in others. The gorilla, polar bear and the parrot all look realistic and have features that add to their cuteness. Other animals such as the dragonfly and the ostrich do not look realistic, which disrupts the mood, making it cartoonish, and contributing to the chaos I felt when viewing the film. Moreover, the graphics in exciting scenes, such as those that take place on the ships, are noticeably done in CGI and thus the realistic aspect is not achieved.

The saving grace is the creative incorporation of the animals. I enjoyed the scenes where Dolittle uses his gift of animal communication to ask for help, whether to solve the mystery of the Queen's illness or to run away from the antagonist.

The message of Dolittle is that the best way to help yourself is to help others. However, this message is stated by the narrator at the end and is otherwise loosely relevant to what happens throughout the film. I give Dolittle 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Check out Dolittle when it opens in theatres January 17, 2020.

By Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Dolittle does little in terms of original storytelling, but this reboot offers colorful ambiance and magical performances. Anyone interested in big budget family entertainers is sure to get their money's worth on a matinee.

The reimagining of the Dr. Dolittle franchise follows the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.), famed English doctor and veterinarian, who hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his collection of exotic animals for company. When the young queen (Jessie Buckley) falls ill, her daughter Rose (Carmel Laniado) asks a reluctant Dolittle to set sail to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his humanity and courage and gaining a young, self-appointed apprentice Tommy Stubbins (Harry Collett).

Robert Downey Jr. brings his signature charisma and his posh British accent to fill the energetic void left by January releases. His conversations with his animals are seamless; keep in mind, he's talking to larger-than-life CGI constructions. Regarding the big ensemble cast voicing the animals, they're all great if a little bit reliant on star power. You wouldn't know big list actors are voicing the animals without background research or watching the credits. However, there are a few noteworthy exceptions including Rami Malek's Chichi, a paranoid gorilla, which is greatly characterized and developed. Emma Thompson brings her acerbic demeanor as Poly the parrot. I also enjoyed John Cena and Kumail Nanjiani, as Yoshi and Plimpton, the bickering and bantering polar bear and ostrich that serve as the film's comic relief. Finally, the film has impressive child performances from Harry Collett, who previously acted on Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk and Carmel Laniado, both of whose screen presence holds well alongside Robert Downey Jr.

I enjoyed the special effects as they are truly impressive to look at, even a bit too flashy at times. The director Stephen Gaghan blueprints the film in an honest way. However, his writing is trope-ridden and uninspired, at times hodgepodging rather than creating. Don't expect a developed plot, even if some good messages prevail.

The message of this film is about allowing friends to carry your back as Dolittle realizes his reclusiveness is unhealthy and decides to be better. I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. The movie releases in theaters January 17, 2020, so check it out.

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

Dolittle is a great family movie - comedy, drama, adventure and fantasy all together. Not all is perfect in this film, but is definitively engaging for young audiences and totally entertaining.

The Story of Dr. Dolittle, Being the History of His Peculiar Life at Home and Astonishing Adventures in Foreign Parts was written in 1920 by Hugh Lofting. In 1998 there was a modern cinema version with Eddie Murphy portraying Dolittle that was a commercial success.

In this re-imagined of the beloved characters by writer/director Stephen Gahan, we meet a grumpy Dr. Dolittle with very messy hair, living with a delightful assortment of animals in his Manor. The movie is set in Victorian England, just like in the original books. In this film, the Queen is very ill and about to pass away. Dr. Dolittle still hasn't recovered from the death of his wife seven previous, despite the efforts of all the animals doing their best to keep him alive. When a young boy tries to save an injured squirrel, he is guided by a colorful parrot (Emma Thompson) to Dolittle's manor. On his way, he meets Lady Rose, a sweet young Lady determined to bring Dr. Dolittle to the palace to help save her mom, the Queen. She manages to convince him and all that arrive at the castle to help. They discover the only way to prevent the Queen's death is to find a cure on a remote Island. They embark on a journey where they will face many dangers to find a magical tree that hopefully will heal her.

The movie starts with a cool animation that explains, not in depth, who Dolittle is and how significant his wife was in her life. Robert Downey Jr. is certainly graceful. He adds personality to a character that definitely lacks development. He is perfectly cast because he has the gravitas to make this film work and connect with the audience. The voice over cast is amazing; you'll enjoy the performances and discovering all the talented actors that bring the animals to life. Among my favorite are John Cena who plays the polar bear, Rami Malek who plays a gorilla with fear issues, Selena Gomez as the giraffe, Tom Holland as the dog and Kumail Nanjiani as the revengeful squirrel who, by the way, is the first actor I ever interviewed.

These characters remind us of the power of team work and the importance of friendship and loyalty. Not only do they all get along well, but they are family. They are also protectors of the man that devoted his life to rescue them. The actors make this movie engaging and bring lots of humor to it. On the technical aspect, a lot is recreated in a well done, not perfect CGI. The costumes are beautiful and the cinematography is colorful and thrilling, showing many eye candy locations.

Dolittle is a fantastic film for the whole family. A few scenes may be a little frightening for kids under age six. The message of this film is that you can accomplish anything and you can face your fears when you work together with friends. I give Dolittle 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids 4 to 14. It opens January 17, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


UNDERWATER
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
UNDERWATER
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A crew of aquatic researchers work to get to safety after an earthquake devastates their subterranean laboratory. But the crew has more than the ocean seabed to fear.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this movie because it is a very thrilling film. It's a mix of drama, comedy and horror. The whole film is filled with jump scares and excitement that kept me on the edge of my seat. Underwater is a 95 minute long movie.

This movie is about a drilling crew that lives in a facility all the way down in the Mariana Trench, which is located in the western Pacific Ocean. The Mariana Trench is one of the deepest part of the ocean, basically like the Grand Canyon but in the ocean. Suddenly the facility suffers a type of earthquake, which the crew thinks has happened. Six survivors go through a difficult journey in order to get to the life pods and survive the catastrophe. It happens that it was not an earthquake that destroyed the facility, it is a kind of sea creature that is too big and powerful for them to defeat.

My favorite part of Underwater is when the crew discovers a new life form. It takes the crew and the audience by surprise. The costumes are very creative. They look like a heavy type of astronaut suit. The graphics are incredible. The underwater scenes look very realistic. A few scenes are too dark to figure out what is going on. There is fowl language, blood and gore - perfect for horror fans. The acting is perfect, especially Kristen Stewart (Nora) who keeps the audience in suspense. Vincent Cassel (the Captain) and T. J. Miller (crew member) are spectacular too.

The moral of this story is to know our limits and respect other living beings' habitats. Humans are very curious to know more or learn more, to the point that we cross the line and trespass other living beings' homes. It's good to have more knowledge, but it is also good to know our limits.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus older adults. People with bad hearts or epilepsy should not watch this movie. Underwater opens in theaters January 10, 2020.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Underwater is under whelming! Despite trying to be scary, the only emotions I felt from this film were frustration and boredom. There is really not much to this movie and, what I do have to say is not good. Also, Underwater is a lack luster title for a movie. It's like calling a movie set in space "In Space."

The story follows a group of underwater researchers as they're attacked by mysterious creatures. That is really it. The story is pretty simple, yet the movie somehow feels super long. Towards the end I was begging for the credits to start rolling. However, that's only where my problems start.

First, the film doesn't establish anything. Barely a minute in, an explosion goes off and suddenly the main conflict is happening. Meanwhile you're confused because you don't know who anyone is, why they're underwater or what their goal is. This is such a huge issue, because when the true danger arrives, you don't care who lives or dies. You are not invested in these characters, so why you should care. The dialogue between the characters is also weak. If I had to guess why the film is like this, I'm going to assume the writers thought it would be scarier to throw you right into the action, but honestly it does the opposite. At first I thought the explosion scene was a dream, not only because it was so ridiculously sudden, but also because Norah, the main character, is just talking about dreaming for no particular reason.

That's my biggest issue, but it's certainly not the only problem. Another major issue is the "horror" in this horror movie. I hope you like jump scares, because that's all you'll get. I don't like jump scares, not just because I'm jumpy, but also they're incredibly cheap. They're like the horror equivalent to tickling someone to make them laugh - it's easy and simple but shouldn't count.

While this could be considered a nitpick, this really bothered me and should be mentioned. When the crew members aren't in these diving suits, they're in nothing but their underwear. There is no reason for this and I don't know why this is the case, other than the obvious excuse. But it's really impractical. The research facility is filled with water, wouldn't it be freezing?

I give this film 1 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Not a great start to the decade. It opens in theaters January 10, 2020.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Underwater is a fast-paced sci-fi thriller with a message about our planet. It's basically Alien, but under the sea. There's lots of blood and death and also some funny moments to lighten the mood. Underwater also reminds me a lot of The Meg, another deep-sea monster movie. What it lacks in originality, it mostly makes up through pure entertainment.

When a drilling station deep in the Pacific Ocean is damaged, a handful of survivors attempt a complicated plan that involves walking along the bottom of the ocean to escape pods. They quickly discover they are being hunted by an unknown creature from these unexplored depths.

The action starts very quickly, which makes it hard to care about the characters right away, but eventually there are some moments of character development. My favorite character, Paul (T.J. Miller) provides comic relief. I love how he carries around a stuffed bunny for comfort. I really like when the camera keeps turning to a first person perspective so it appears as if you're looking through one of the character's eyes. The best example of this is when Norah (Kristen Stewart) is looking around and suddenly we see two creepy eyes staring back at us through the darkness. As you would expect from a monster movie, the visual and sound effects are top notch. The lab sets are convincingly realistic and there's some strong acting, especially from Vincent Cassel, who plays the captain.

Parents should watch out for the language and violence in this movie, both of which made me wonder why it's not rated R. I have never before seen a movie where people both implode and explode like the graphic, gross and disturbing deaths in this film. Parents might also want to know that several characters end up running around in their underwear for no particular reason. The message of this film is that when we don't respect our planet, there are consequences. Emily, played by Jessica Hanwick, sums up this moral when she says, "We've drilled too deep. We've taken too much. Now [the ocean's] taking back."

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 17, as well as adults. You can see Underwater in theaters everywhere starting January 10, 2020. Reviewed by Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Underwater is a suspense filled movie that made me jump out of my seat. This movie has action and some scary scenes as well. Also, the sound effects make the jump scares even more shocking. There is a lot of emotion in this movie. The acting is amazing and the special effects are great.

The storyline is about a crew of aquatic researchers trying to get to safety after an earthquake like experience at their underwater laboratory. There is a blood thirsty sea monster they worry about that follows the six surviving workers as they travel through the ocean trenches. They are 5,000 miles from land and seven miles below the ocean surface.

The acting in this movie is very good. Kristen Stewart's portrayal of Norah is excellent. She puts so much effort and emotion in this role. T.J Miller's role as Paul is a wonderfully comedic performance. I really like how he diffuses a serious or depressing scene with a joke. I love how scary the sea monster is and how its made. The cinematography is amazing. The underwater camera shots look so real.

This movie contains some mild profanity and some scary scenes. There are also some intense and gory scenes. It is appropriately rated PG-13.

I recommend this movie for ages 13 to 18 and adults might like it also. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars. You can find this movie in theaters beginning January 10, 2020 so go watch it! Reviewed by Leandro R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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


SPIES IN DISGUISE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPIES IN DISGUISE
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-15
Description - Super spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith) and scientist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland) are almost exact opposites. Lance is smooth, suave and debonair. Walter is...not. But when events take an unexpected turn, this unlikely duo is forced to team up for the ultimate mission that will require an almost impossible disguise - transforming Lance into the brave, fierce, majestic...pigeon. Walter and Lance suddenly have to work as a team, or the whole world is in peril.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Spies in Disguise is a slick spy film that mirrors James Bond, but at the same time sticks to its own authenticity. Several of the scenes are adopted from action and spy movies like Skyfall, but I was impressed by the way that they are altered for comedic effect. Despite its silliness at times, Spies in Disguise manages to be entertaining with a perfect blend of emotions.

The story follows the typical conundrum of a framed spy trying to redeem his image. Lance Sterling (Will Smith) is a #1 spy who is beloved by his agency, but when a mission goes terribly wrong, he finds himself the agency's most wanted criminal. With help from a tech specialist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland), Sterling learns valuable lessons through his journey for redemption.

The animation and the screenplay are key to making this story intriguing. For instance, every spy film has a car chase and so does this one. Yet, this car chase involves a pigeon controlling the getaway car. It is one of the funniest scenes and, since the animation has a realistic look, the chase is exciting and imaginative, yet not too absurd. Additionally there is impeccable attention to detail. In the same chaotic car scene, there is a slow motion scene where a calculator in the car is tossed upside down to reveal the numbers turning into the word "help."

My favorite part about this film is what makes it unique: its message. Walter Beckett is a kind, nerdy individual who teaches his friend, Sterling, that every fight does not need to be fought with violence because we are all just people who make mistakes. This theme makes the film lovable and differentiates it from any other spy film. Furthermore, the film does not take itself too seriously which actually strengthens the comedy. I found myself giggling most when the film exaggerates the clich�s that are so typical to spy films such as the car chases, trips to exotic places and the slow motion action. Another message of Spies in Disguise is that you do not have to do everything alone.

I give Spies in Disguise 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. Please check out Spies in Disguise for a fun adventure when it opens in theatres on Christmas Day, December 25, 2019. By Sahiba Kaur, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

Spies in Disguise is a fun-filled, action movie that's not just for the birds! It stars two of the most currently popular and talented actors, Will Smith and Tom Holland, who entertain us from beginning to end.

The animated movie begins with a little bit of background about Walter Beckett, Tom Holland's character, and Agent Lance Sterling, Will Smith's character. Walter Beckett grows up alone and often isolated, despite being a genius and inventor for the C.I.A. He struggles to make friends and is often referred to as "weird." Agent Sterling thinks he has it all, as the best and most respected C.I.A. agent, but he does not work well with others and does not know how to be part of a team. He doesn't even bother remembering his coworkers' names! The two unlikely friends pair up out of necessity and eventually realize how much they need each other.

During the movie, Agent Sterling becomes a pigeon, which is of course, hilarious! Smith's voice-over of Agent Sterling is perfect. He brings his usual suave, debonair qualities that we often see Smith portray in many of his movies. During his time as a pigeon, his outrageous comedic chops brings the theater to laughter. Smith is truly an entertainer.

Even though Smith's performance is hilarious as always, Holland steals the show as the voice of Walter. He brings warmth to the film much like he does with his rendition of Spider Man. Walter is the heart of the movie. He teachers Sterling valuable lessons about how to care about others, work as a team, and make the world a better place. Holland's endearing and lovable voice-over brings the movie together. Instead of it just being a funny action film, the movie becomes a funny, sweet action film.

The message of the film is that you can defeat all by working together as a team. Agent Sterling becomes a better agent and person when he allows Walter to help him, and he learns how to effectively defeat the enemy without violence.

I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4-18. Adults will love it as well. The family friendly film opens in theaters on December 25, 2019. By Mia Gonzalez, KIDS First! Film Critic, age 9

I love this animated movie! It is action-packed and has a fun soundtrack. Also, the writing is very creative.

Spies in Disguise is about the world's best spy, Lance Sterling, who gets framed for a crime that he didn't commit. So, he turns to a very smart young man, named Walter Beckett, who is the complete opposite of himself to find a gadget to help him. Lance then accidentally drinks an elixir that turns him into a pigeon and now has to save the world as a pigeon, with Walter as his side-kick.

Before Spies in Disguise, I did not think that pigeons were all that smart or even had much of a personality. I learned that pigeons are very under rated. You'll find out how awesome they are when you watch this movie. There are some extraordinary actors in this movie, including Will Smith, Tom Holland, Ben Mendelsohn and Rachel Brosnahan. My favorite part of the movie is the escape scene in their car, because it is the funniest scene of the movie and takes place in slow motion.

The key messages of this movie are to be yourself and to not always fight fire with fire as many times you can solve problems with peace. This movie has no bad language; however, there is some violence with guns and other weapons.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. Adults will also like this movie. This movie opens in theaters on December 25, 2019).

By Katherine Schell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: Web Series


MOLANG: SEASON 3
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MOLANG: SEASON 3
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 4-8
Description - Join Molang, a round, fluffy, and happy rabbit, and his best friend, Piu Piu, a poised, timid, and reserved yellow chick, as they explore everyday life. Despite their many differences, Molang and Piu Piu enjoy a special friendship. They have amazing times together ranging from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Whether performing in a rock band, becoming superheroes or enjoying a hike with friends, Molang and Piu Piu embrace every daily adventure together. No matter what happens, every single moment with these two is filled with warmth and humor. Embark on 52 adventures with Molang and Piu Piu!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this DVD because it is very cute and nice to watch. Every story has its own moral and they are all very interesting.

Molang: Season 3 is about a white, round bunny named Molang and a little, yellow chick named Piu Piu. They have amazing adventures together that always teach them something new. No matter what happens, Molang and Piu Piu always laugh even through tough times. There are 52 episodes of different stories. The DVD is about three hours of unforgettable fun. The main menu consists of two features, "Play All" which plays everything and "Stories," which play each episode.

My favorite episode is "Santa" because it's about how Santa comes to Molang and Piu Piu's house to give them presents. When Santa is about to put the presents under the tree, the tree falls on Santa and knocks him out. When the tree falls, it makes a loud noise so Molang and Piu Piu wake up to see what happened. They see Santa knocked out, so they decide to take the gifts to every one to save Christmas.

Another one of my favorite episodes is "The Long Trip." This episode is about how Molang and Piu Piu are flying a kite and a bird hits the kite which causes the bird to fall on the ground. Molang and Piu Piu take the kite off the bird's neck and they realize the bird can't fly any more. They get in the car with the bird and follow the bird's family so the bird can reunite with his family. The graphics are pretty good. This animation reminds me of looks the Hello Kitty animation. The colors are vibrant and the background has different patterns and colors. The voice over is funny because is just gibberish; there is no dialogue going in these stories.

There are multiple morals, but the main moral of this show is that we should treat each other equally and learn to get along. Even though Molang is a bunny and Piu Piu is a chick they still are best friends. Just because they are different doesn't mean they cannot get along and have fun together.

I give Molang, Season 3 DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 4 to 18, plus adults can enjoy it with their children too. It is available now from NCircle Entertainment so look for it. >p> By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

This animated, unique, funny and creative film takes you along adventures that will make you laugh and wish you were part of Molang and Piu Piu's world. I must say, Molang and Piu Piu love ranging from the ordinary to the extraordinary on a daily basis. Get ready for amazing adventures, each with its own moral.

This film follows Molang, an accommodating, nurturing, kind and happy round fluffy rabbit and his best friend, a little duck that loves quack time named, Piu Piu. Despite their many differences, Piu Piu and Molang enjoy their special friendship. Whether it's helping a delivery worker or exploring a haunted house, joining a competition or joining a rock band, they embrace every day adventure together. No matter what happens, every single moment with these two is filled with warmth and humor.

The lead characters in this film are the hilarious and wild Molang and his goofy and tiny friend Piu Piu. Throughout all episodes you meet new characters. Many characters are recurring, such as the neighborhood watch group.

My favorite episode is "Top Model," because it brings so much humor. It's one of the opening episodes and really starts off the show with a bang. I savor this episode specifically because of one scene when Molang and Piu Piu call all the models and take their photos. The faces on the bunny are hilarious.

This film disregards bad language; every adventure in this mirthful and amusing DVD is safe. There are several important messages in this DVD including never stop believing in yourself even when others are fearful, be honest and work hard. The main message is that, although Molang and Piu Piu are different, they got along just right.

I'd give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 11. This film is available on DVD now. Make sure to check it out.

By Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Molang is a very cute animated kids' series about a big, fluffy rabbit and his best friend, Piu Piu, a tiny, yellow chick, who every day come across a different problem. Those problems can be from losing the instructions to build a hammock, to trying to find out how to make a carpet fly in the air. Even if Molang and his friends don't speak English, or any real language whatsoever, the series is still so easy to understand.

What I like about this series is how the creators and animators make the characters look. The animation is so cute, and I was impressed with how they made the tiny little arms and cheeks. The best part is that when the characters get excited their eyes glow! I also like that the creators use a fake language--that way it's easier for everyone to understand what's going on in the plot. Although since the cartoons facial expressions are very easy to read, we probably don't need a fake language!

This show has no bad language (they just make sounds) or bad actions. The message of this film is trying to teach you or your kids that there is always a way to get over a situation that you might have trouble in.

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars! Molang is perfect in every way possible! My age recommendation is ages 2 to 6. This series might be more interesting for kids those ages, but even though I am almost 12 I was very interested in this cute series! This DVD is available now so look for it. By Ava L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Runtime: 186 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: DVD


JUST MERCY
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JUST MERCY
WARNER BROS. PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian's life.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Just Mercy is a must-see movie! It tells a great story about how the law treats people based on the color of their skin and how you may not be treated fairly if you are poor. This movie is so inspiring! Just Mercy is the perfect title because the movie helps show how people can have "mercy" for other human beings instead of just punishing them.

Just Mercy is based on defense attorney Bryan Stevenson's memoir of the same title. The film tells stories about cases Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) works on when he first becomes a lawyer. The main story in the movie is about a man named Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx) who is an African-American man that is wrongfully sent to jail for a crime he didn't commit and sentenced to die. Stevenson helps McMillian appeal his case. Stevenson also works on other cases for other prisoners that are on death row. Many of the prisoners are not able to afford good lawyers and are unable to fight the law and the "bad" men in the town, so Bryan Stevenson, with the help of his co-worker at his business called The Equal Justice Institute, looks into their cases to help change the court's decisions.

The lead characters are Walter McMillan and his lawyer Bryan Stevenson. They build a great friendship and become more like family than colleagues. All of the actors fully bring their characters to life. One of my favorite parts is when the prisoners show support for each other by banging on the bars of their jail cells with metal cups. It is also a sad part because it usually happens when one of their friends is going to be put to death; however, it shows that the prisoners are all in this together, and it helps the one going to die not feel so alone.

There are different messages in this movie. The message for the prisoners is to never give up hope, but the message for the people making decisions for the prisoners is that it is good to show mercy for people even when the situation looks bad. Some of the things adults should look out for in Just Mercy are foul language and scenes when inmates are put to death. There is also a scene where a character has to remove some of his clothes (not all of them) when he visits the prison.

Just Mercy is an excellent movie that could really help people learn to treat each other as humans. I rate this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Just Mercy opens in theaters January 10, 2020. Make sure you stay for the credits!

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

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


STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams join forces once again to take viewers on an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the riveting conclusion of the seminal Skywalker saga, where new legends will be born and the final battle for freedom is yet to come. The film stars Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, with Ian McDiarmid and Billy Dee Williams. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Abrams and Michelle Rejwan. The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more as Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron's journey continues. With the power and knowledge of generations behind them, the final battle commences.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments

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

CATS (2019)
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CATS (2019)
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Description - A tribe of cats called the Jellicles must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Cats, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, was one of the longest running Broadway musicals of all time. Now, with the help of director Tom Hooper, Cats has been adapted for the big screen, making the new movie a unique blend of both a musical and a major motion picture. Cats is filled with intriguing characters, dances and songs that are incredibly memorable.

The story begins in a mysterious alleyway when a car drops off a new, innocent yet unwanted cat named Victoria (Francesca Hayward). It is there that she stumbles upon a tribe of stray animals known as the Jellicle Cats. Once a year, the cats gather for their annual Jellicle ball, where they audition to be chosen by the wise leader Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench) to go to the "Heavyside Layer", a place that will provide them with the new and better life that each one can only dream of. As they prepare for the life-changing event, Victoria encounters each of the cats that hope to win, such as the hilarious Jennyanydots (Rebel Wilson) and gluttonous Bustopher Jones (James Corden). Meanwhile, the evil Macavity (Idris Elba) and his partner in crime Bombalurina (Taylor Swift) will do anything to win, even if it means eliminating the competition.

From the beginning, the plot feels rushed and that it needed to be developed more. During the film, the characters constantly switch from different sets and have sudden outbursts of singing and dancing. While these aspects may have worked well on Broadway, it makes some of the scenes feel awkward on the big screen. Because of the rushed plot and lack of dialogue, it is not only difficult to follow what is happening in the movie, but also to sympathize and get to know the characters of Cats and their struggles. Audience members are not given enough time to really take everything in, making the movie a bit overwhelming at certain times. Also, the CGI that was used makes everyone seem to be a strange combination of both human and feline. Depending on the actor or actress, the CGI is either very distracting or more on the subtle side.

In spite of this, everything still feels very whimsical and as though you are being whisked away into the magical world that the Jellicle Cats are a part of. The sets for every scene are each incredibly giant, detailed and unique, adding to the fanciful and imaginative feeling. Although it is hard at times to sympathize with the characters, we get to see a more endearing side of them as the movie progresses. From the Magical Mr. Mistoffelees (Laurie Davidson), an aspiring magician, to Grizabella (Jennifer Hudson), an outcast who seeks acceptance, you can easily see that some of the cats in the film spark emotion. There are also some amazing vocals in the film such as Jennifer Hudson's "Memory" and Taylor Swift's "Macavity: The Mystery Cat".

Overall, while there are some confusing scenes, it is balanced with comedy, singing and dancing. The film also shows the important lesson of learning to accept and be kind towards others, especially cats.

I rate Cats 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18 as well as adults. You can see Cats in theaters on Friday, December 20, 2019. By Jordan M., KIDS First! Film Critic, Age 13

This film is a "claw-full fantasy tail" about a tribe of misfits called Jellicle cats. Directed by Tom Hooper, this live-action movie version of the musical Cats tells the story of alley cats that seem to be competing for another kind of afterlife.

The story starts in a big city setting with a sad thing that happens to many helpless animals: A young beautiful cat is abandoned by its owner in a dark alley. Soon she makes "fur-ends" with other cats of all shapes, colors and sizes. All the cats have their own unique personalities. Cats shows the "paw-some" nature of the cats, including the playful, sneaky and mischievous personalities of these human-like creatures. There are a few crazy cat characters, which were my most favorite to watch. They are in a competition for a better life and that is when the cat fight starts. Who will be the next chosen one?

The lead role is Victoria (Francesca Hayward), the abandoned kitty. Taylor Swift also makes an appearance as Bombalurina. Another of my favorites in this film is Bustopher Jones (James Corden). I really like this healthy cat and his funny scenes. My favorite of all is Jennyanydots (Rebel Wilson). She is so "hiss-terical" in this role. I love the entire scene from the dancing mice and the army of cochroaches. The scenery colors are really electric, and I like how the set is realistically sized to the scale of the cats. The choreography and costumes are also very intriguing.

The Cats storyline is a little hard to follow, because there is more singing than dialogue. However, the overall meaning comes through, which is about finding your way in a big city, making friends, learning who to trust and letting the right people get what they truly deserve, and being honorable. There is no bad language, and it is very suitable for kids.

I give Cats 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It opened in theaters December 20, 2019 so be sure to check it out.

By Ivey H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Everyone get ready to transported to a world where cats rule, dogs drool, and humans are nowhere to be found. The actors are intriguing to watch, because you forget they are human. Their personification of individual cat traits and personalities keeps you glued to the screen. It is fun to watch our favorite stars such as Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson and Jennifer Hudson behaving as if they are cats.

Victoria (Francesca Hayward) is a gorgeous dancer and singer. I have never seen a more graceful cat than her. When her journey begins it seems that she is a very scared young kitten, but as time goes on she grows to be a very graceful cat who knows what to do. Since she is such a great singer, she is my favorite character.

Mr. Mistoffelees (Laurie Davidson) is the most magical cat I ever seen and he always has trick up his sleeve. Plus, he is too gosh darn cute to ignore.

The song Skimbleshanks, the Railway Cat by Andrew Lloyd Webber is magnificent and too cute to ignore. The cinematography is magnificent and the dancing is outstanding. One of the best moments in Cats is the song sung when Skimbleshanks is tap dancing and turns the whole stage into a railway station.

The graphics are eye candy. Everywhere you look there is something or someone to look at. One time, it's a giant bed the size of three people, another time it's a building in the background, or it might even be the cats themselves. No matter where you look your eyes are never bored and there is always a fun graphic or two or three.

The dancers are stupendous. When they are dancing they act like cats. When performing simple moves they have to land or do the move in a whole new different way. Plus all time they are standing like cats and walking on all fours.

The songs from Cats are all now going onto my fave playlist because they all are so good. Each song is sung by different artist, so we get a glimpse of many different art forms while watching the film. We also see the characters having fun and being themselves.

Cats is based on the award-winning Broadway play and book Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. It is definitely a must see for 2019. People who love song and dance and are animal fans will find it a fascinating and magical experience.

I give Cats 5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18 years. Cats comes out in theater nationwide on December 20, 2019 so get tickets right meow.

By Morgan Bertsch, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

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


LITTLE WOMEN (2019)
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LITTLE WOMEN (2019)
COLUMBIA PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 9-18
Description - Writer-director Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) has crafted a Little Women that draws on both the classic novel and the writings of Louisa May Alcott, and unfolds as the author's alter ego, Jo March, reflects back and forth on her fictional life. In Gerwig's take, the beloved story of the March sisters - four young women each determined to live life on her own terms -- is both timeless and timely. Portraying Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth March, the film stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, with Timoth�e Chalamet as their neighbor Laurie, Laura Dern as Marmee, and Meryl Streep as Aunt March
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Little Woman (2019) is the eighth film adaptation of the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott. I really enjoyed this coming of age film, mostly because of the genuine performances, but also how these young women are so powerful, sensitive, smart and gentle. I also think in an era of super heroes, galaxies and futuristic sci-fi films with special effects, this classic story reminds us of the power of good classic literature and simple characters. I read the original book a long time ago, so when I found out the movie was coming out, I was very excited. This adaptation is well done and touching.

This movie is about four sisters in America in the aftermath of the Civil War. Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Meg (Emma Watson), Amy (Florence Pugh) and Beth (Eliza Scanlen) occasionally get into fights, especially the youngest with the oldest, but they all bond and share a simple life together. They are united, but they have unique and different personalities. The story goes back and forth in time and the time reference in the film is unclear, which makes the story difficult to follow at times.

One the sisters, Jo, is trying to pursuit an art career. She loves to write books and is having trouble actually getting her book published or even come up with some new ideas. The film shows how the sisters interconnect with the book storytelling, while the sisters are trying to figure out their lives and how to deal with all the chaos in their lives. In the film we see them all under the same roof and how their life evolves as adults when they don't live together anymore.

All the performances are very good. I particularly like Eliza Scanlen as Beth who has a fascinating arc. I also love the performance of Timoth�e Chalamet as Theodore "Laurie" Laurencehe who falls in love with Jo but is Beth's love when he first appears in the sisters' lives. Chalamet and Ronan worked together previously in Lady Bird from the same director (Greta Gerwig) and they create a whole different dynamic in this film.

Laura Dern plays Marmee March, mother of the four sisters. Her caring portrayal is more supportive mom than a matriarch since these young ladies are definitively leaders of their own lives. Dern nails the tone that this character requires.

I really like the music by amazing film composer Alexandre Desplat. Director Greta Gerwig manages to retell the classic story in a new way, keeping the essence of a story that has captivated people over the years. It is soft, subtle and perfect for new audiences. I really like the costumes and color palette. Each and every scene is beautiful to watch, particularly the ones at the beach, perhaps because the romanticism of the sea.

Little Women shows girls who are independent, able to succeed without a partner and bond in a special way. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 17 and adults as well.

Little Women open in theaters nationwide on December 24, 2019. Check it out.

Reviewed by Zoe Cannella, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Little Women, the new adaptation of the well-known novel, incredibly portrays the revered classic! Little Women is also very satisfying to watch; I find myself lost in the aesthetics of the film, no matter the ambiance of the scene. Credits to Yorick Le Saux for the captivating cinematography. The wardrobe is detailed for the timeline that the clothes are meant to reflect, designed for our enjoyment by the skilled costume designer Jacqueline Durran. Moreover, the plot is fast moving and engagingly interesting, paired with timely humor and realistic tragedy.

Little Women is the tale of four sisters with alluring traits that set them apart. Joe passionately writes, Meg is a born actress, Amy gathers her dreams as an artist, and all that remains is the musical prodigy, Beth. These girls grow up in a society with an ever-present stigma against independent women. With the system rooting against them, how will a woman prove herself worthy of more than a delicate romance?

The harmony of the talent is intriguing, as each character portrays their own inner struggles. The character development is by far the most impressive aspect of this film, especially when the cast individually represent their characters as more than just little pieces of Jo March's story. The characters of Little Women come to life in their struggles as females within a sexist society, intertwining their experiences as he story weaves together. The casting is undeniably the cause of anticipation for this movie; Oscar-nominee Timothee Chalamet as Theodore "Laurie" Laurence, and award-winning Saoirse Ronan as Joe March amplify the natural realism of the story. And comic relief plays a large role in this film. My favorite humorous scene is when the frame shifts from an emotional scene to a view of Amy sticking her foot in a bucket of clay, claiming that she must make a mold of her pretty feet for Laurie. Overall, every part of the movie proves to be essential to the message of the film.

Speaking of message, Little Women shows that a person is the only one who can deem their own worth and their limits. A woman is not made to be sold off into marriage; she will choose her future whether the world accepts it or not.

I give Little Women 5 out of 5 stars. With mature themes from all corners of this film, I recommend this for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find this sensational movie in theaters near you, December 25, 2019.

Reviewed by Joshitha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

There are a lot of good things about the movie Little Women, but I don't think the filmmakers had 10-year-old boys like me in mind as their audience. Parts of the movie are fun to watch, but I got lost when the scenes switched back and forth in time, and I had started to lose interest by the end of the movie. By watching this movie, however, I did get a good understanding of how people lived around the time of the Civil War.

Little Women is a fictionalized version of the early life of author Louisa May Alcott, and how she took her own personal experiences and turned them into a popular book in the late 1800s. The setting is mostly in Massachusetts, but there are some parts in New York City as well as Paris. There are four sisters, and the movie frequently switches back and forth in time for about seven years following their adventures, which is confusing at times. The sisters face various difficulties and have conflicts with each other, but they also help each other. Three of the sisters have love interests, so there are some male characters. However, most of the screen time features the women.

Little Women has some funny parts, but nothing very memorable. My favorite part is the realistic depiction of New York City, because I kind of felt as if I was there. Younger viewers will definitely recognize actress Emma Watson from the Harry Potter movies as Meg. Some viewers will recognize Saoirse Ronan as Jo and Timothee Chalamet as Laurie. Overall, one of the best things about this movie is the period costumes that seem very realistic.

The message of this film is that people should try to reach their goals even when there is adversity, and perseverance can pay off, as demonstrated by the main character Jo, trying to get her writing published. Younger kids might be troubled by brief scenes of sibling violence and a near drowning, but it's rated PG and there's not really any inappropriate language or content.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, as well as adults. I think girls will appreciate this movie more than boys. You can see Little Women in theaters everywhere starting December 25, 2019

Reviewed by Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

This film version of Little Women tells the classic story of four young sisters after the American Civil War of the 1860's. It is heartwarming and has great storytelling in the screenplay, adapted from the Louisa May Alcott book by director Greta Gerwig. I liked this take on the classic book made into a movie. All the scenes were so true to the time period and shot beautifully. The bond between the sisters seems genuine and deep.

During the Civil War, many husbands and young men go off to war, leaving their loved ones to struggle to survive. Scarlet fever is killing people rapidly. It seems people are either really wealthy or really poor. This family in the film comprises the mother and four sisters who are the "Little Women." They love, play, laugh and grow together. They deal with starvation, illness and love. They pull together to help their neighbors in time of need. You see the challenges they face of this time period, and they question the way things have been, facing issues such as marrying to help their family or marrying for love. Or whether to pursue a career or not.

This film really takes us back to this time period, and we are able to get an understanding of the struggles of young women of those days. At first I didn't catch that the film was moving from past to present. The time switches made it a little hard for me to follow, but that did keep my attention as did the sets and costumes.

The actors did phenomenal work in their roles. I really felt the civil rivalry, love and bond between the siblings. The main character in this film is the oldest sister, Jo March (Saoirse Ronan). She aspires to help her family and to be a writer, so she writes stories and submits them to a paper. She was great to watch in this role. The other sisters are Meg March (Emma Watson), Amy March (Florence Pugh), who loves to paint and draw and who looks up to her sister Jo, and Beth March (Eliza Scanlen). Aunt March (Meryl Streep) is a well-to-do, snooty widow. She is really funny, annoying and uses her money to her advantage.

My favorite part of Little Women is when the man that works at the paper company wants Jo's book. He thinks he is smarter than she.

Little Women is about young sisters growing up, facing life challenges, making mistakes and forgiving. It really is good for all young ladies and women to see this film.

I give this movie a 5 out of 5 stars rating and recommend this movie for ages 12 to 18. Adults will enjoy this classic as well. Little Women releases on December 25, 2019.

Reviewed by Ivey H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 9-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


SNOWMAN, THE (2019)
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SNOWMAN, THE (2019)
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 5-18
Description - One crisp, winter morning, a young boy wakes up to find a thick blanket of snow has covered the ground as far as the eye can see. Filled with excitement, the boy decides to build a snowman using a tangerine for his nose, coal for his buttons and eyes, and tops him off with a hat and scarf. Later that night, at the stroke of midnight, the snowman comes to life! The young boy and the snowman embark on a magical adventure of discovery where the snowman explores the young boy's world and in return he takes him flying to his home in the North Pole. Upon arriving at the North Pole, the two join a party as the guests of honor to a very special person. Based on Raymond Briggs book, THE SNOWMAN is a family classic for generations to enjoy.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This classic animated film, based on the Raymond Briggs book, is one of my all-time holiday favorites. I have seen it shown with a live orchestra accompanying it, which was an incredible event. I'm so that that NCircle is celebrating its 40th anniversary as I firmly believe it belongs in everyone's holiday film collection, to be shared with youngsters and family members annually. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

The Snowman (1982) harkens back to a more pure form of animation: hand-drawn, nearly wordless and not a pop culture reference in sight. The story of a boy whose snowman comes to jolly life unfolds in bursts of warm color, the images flowing into each other in a mesmerizing effect. Based on the popular children's book by Raymond Briggs, this 30-minute short was made for British television, earning a BAFTA TV Award and an Academy Award nomination. The texture and tremulous nature of the hand-drawn animation is of a piece with the author's original drawings, truly a book brought to life in a swirl of images and music, most notably the ethereal "Walking in the Air." This DVD release, celebrating the film's 40th Anniversary, includes two excellent bonus features: an alternate opening with David Bowie created for the 20th Anniversary and a 25-minute "making of" that goes into great detail about how the animation was done. Recommended for ages 4 to 18 and older. 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Michael F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.

Winter is a magical time for children, especially when the snow falls. Every child looks forward to that one giant snowfall of the season. You know the one, where the whole world looks like it's engulfed in a comfortable, soft blanket. It makes even adults reach into their soul for their inner child and go outside to make snow angels, forts and of course... a snowman. The reality of the wonder of a heavy snowfall is what makes The Snowman such a wonderful story. The Snowman is based on the 1978 wordless picture book of the same name. The story is about a young boy who goes outside on a particularly snowy day to build himself a snowman. To his delight, at midnight the snowman comes to life! James and the snowman have all kids of fun together and even go on a little adventure to the North Pole! This story differs a bit from its source material, but it is a wonderful adaptation. The Snowman received a sequel called The Snowman and the Snowdog. This 40th anniversary DVD has some great special features, including an alternate introduction by David Bowie. This story has aged very well and the animation is still breathtakingly beautiful. This story is great for children ages 2 to 12, but anyone in the holiday spirit will really enjoy watching this! I give it 5 out of 5 stars for being so wonderful! Reviewed by Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Snowman is a masterpiece that will bring families closer together for the holidays. The film is based on the classic UK picture book by Raymond Briggs, which has sold more than 8.5 million copies since it was first published in 1978.

In The Snowman, a young boy James wakes up one morning and finds snow on the ground. He quickly gets dressed and runs outside. He then builds a huge snowman. He gives it eyes, a nose, a scarf and a hat. He even gives it a big smiley face. After building the entire snowman by himself, it is time for James to go to bed. When he wakes up he notices that the Snowman has moved a little, so he runs downstairs and out the door. He then notices that the Snowman is glowing, moves some more and then, totally comes to life. James is flabbergasted to see a live Snowman. The Snowman and James introduce themselves and become great friends. The rest the film shows the two flying around having so much fun and adventure throughout the day.

The Snowman book was adapted for the screen in 1982 and earned a nomination for an Academy Award for best animated short film. The animation of the drawings is just amazing, bringing to life so many memories from the days of movie shorts. There is no dialogue, which makes it even more beautiful and somewhat old-fashioned. The music by Howard Blake, Peter Auty and the Sinfonia of London is amazing. It fits perfectly with everything the boy and the snowman are doing. Each song tells a story, with each pluck of a string or push of a piano key. The songs in the movie are catchy and addicting to sing along with. I am sixteen and I sung along with the songs!

The Snowman is directed by Dianne Jackson and produced by John Coates. This extravagant film has a little touch of magic which will keep you on your toes with excitement. I recommend this for ages 1 to 12 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Clayton P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

This heartwarming film about the winter season never ceases to amaze me. It reminds me of myself during the holidays. For example, when the boy has to scrounge up snow for his snowman, I thought about when I tried to do the same thing!

In the film, a young British boy in a classic 1950s English rural home builds a snowman on Christmas Eve. At midnight, the snowman comes to life and takes the boy on a flying trip around the world! The scenes become grander and grander until you think nothing more can happen! After all of this is over, they travel back home. The next morning, the boy...well, you'll see. The ending brought meaningful tears to my eyes!

The detail in this movie is stunning! Even though there is no talking, the artistry makes up for that. Each scene is hand-drawn, which must have been a technical pain for the scenes in motion! These movies are based on Raymond Briggs' classic picture book. Besides young children, adults who have read this book in their youth will also appreciate this quality film. The unexpected ending is truly memorable!

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 2 to 6, as well as adults. This movie is available both on DVD now so check it out. Enjoy this winter delight!

Reviewed by Eden T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Holiday movies are one of my favorite forms of entertainment. Especially those that have adorable characters and a heartwarming tale. That is what this short film is all about. Add magnificent hand drawn animation and you have the perfect Christmas movie.

I love that this film has no words is both beautifully illustrated with animated images. The orchestra for the original film is Sinfonia of London. Their performance is stunning. Each piece of music fits the scene perfectly because it made me feel as if I was in the scene myself. Also the music is superb to relax to. So grab a hot cup of cocoa and put your feet up.

The images in this film are hand drawn with pastels and pencils, which make it special and unique. I like having a break from all the CGI we see and seeing animation as it was made years ago. This is something that many other kids will appreciate as well. This movie never gets old and people from all over the world will absolutely adore it. This DVD has become one I have added to my holiday collection and will watch it every year. Even really young children can watch it because it is so beautiful and the message is all about friendship, love, cheer and what the holidays are all about. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 golden stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 18, as well as adults.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Runtime: 30 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: DVD


JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL
COLUMBIA PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - The gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to Jumanji to rescue one of their own, they discover that nothing is as they expect. The players will have to brave parts unknown and unexplored, from the arid deserts to the snowy mountains, in order to escape the world's most dangerous game.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film is pretty entertaining and hilarious, and a surprisingly impressive sequel. It's a good example of "stupid fun," and I mean that in a good way. And it is surprisingly emotional too.

This film takes place in an unknown time, sometime after the 2017 Jumanji. Spencer has gone back into the game and the other three players need to go back to rescue him. However, due to the console being broken, Spencer's grandpa, Eddie and his friend Milo enter the game along with Martha and Fridge, instead of Bethany.

Now, an issue with sequels is the possibility of new viewers being confused and alienated, due to not having seen the first one. However, because Martha and Fridge have to explain the rules of the game to Eddie and Milo, the movie explains the rules to the audience, without it seeming forced.

Speaking of Eddie and Milo, they're a pretty fun inclusion to this film. As a formula changer they work really well and they easily steal the show. They both have a nice chemistry and, having Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart (of all people) acting like elderly men, makes it even funnier. Honestly, the cast is perfect. Of course, all the returning actors are great, especially Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, since they're now playing new characters. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Awkwafina is in this film. She's recently become one of my favorite actresses, so I was really happy when she showed up.

Since this film is a comedy, you're probably wondering how good the comedy is. Overall, this film is pretty hilarious. In the beginning, most of the comedy comes from Eddie and Milo being confused about the game. While this is pretty funny, it does become somewhat repetitive. Thankfully, the film has a lot of really nice details, such as Eddie admiring his tattoos in the game and Fridge freaking out over cake, due to events from the first movie. Plus, the action scenes are really energetic and fun. They are the perfect definition of "stupid fun." They're absolutely ridiculous, but you're still having a blast.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. If you liked the first film I bet you'll like this. The film opens in theaters nationwide December 13, 2019. Look for it.

By Calista Bess, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

Jumanji: The Next Level keeps things playable, perhaps surpassing the first. The ensemble cast and direction add newfound levels of entertainment. Anyone interested in the Jumanji franchise must catch this on the biggest screen possible.

The game has changed as the gang returns to Jumanji to rescue one of their own. The players will have to explore parts unknown, from the salty deserts to the snowy mountains, in order to win the world's most dangerous game.

All of the returning original cast is great, and there is a longer setup that allows for further characterization. Alex Wolff and Morgan Turner, as Spencer and Martha, continue their budding romance as Spencer struggles to manage long-distance dating. Madison Iseman and Ser'Darius Blain, as Bethany and Fridge, show their maturity and growth since the first, especially Bethany who is more inclusive and less cliquey. Danny DeVito and Danny Glover, as Eddie and Milo, add heart and dynamic as their grouchy and forgetful antics are always a good laugh. As you may know from the trailers, the roster of characters makes it back, but not everyone is in the same avatar they were last time. Jack Black, Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan effectively play this change. Awkwafina makes a debut and standouts among this roster as her signature fast mouth is always hilarious.

Jake Kasan directs, as he did the first, and this is even better than the first in terms of stylistic choices and pacing. In fact, it captures the feel of a videogame better than the first. Every sequence feels like a level and the special effects are impressive, especially in the bridge chase which is inspired by the likes of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and the monkeys add pure adrenaline rush. This is truly my favorite scene in the movie.

The message of this film is about teamwork, as the gang is willing to sacrifice themselves to rescue Spencer and leave no one behind. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 due to action, suggestive content and some language. The movie releases in theaters on December 13, 2019, so check it out.

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Jumanji: The Next Level is one of the most entertaining films I've seen in a while and is an excellent sequel. The movie is funny when it knows to be and serious when called for as well. I do have a concern for this series though, because the entire premise is the same as the original and it could wear out in the near future. Also, some of the tonal switches are really sudden and it throws you off on how to feel in those scenes.

Jumanji: The Next Level takes place two years after the events of the first Jumanji movie. The four friends - Martha, Spencer, Fridge and Bethany - have all gone their separate ways. Over winter break they plan to get back together at a cafe called Nora's. When Spencer gets home he finds out his grandfather is staying with them as he recovers from hip surgery. The night before the meet-up Spencer is feeling lost and goes to find the Jumanji game console, which we thought had been destroyed. The following morning Martha, Fridge and Bethany show up at Nora's and wait for Spencer. They call him and he doesn't pick, which makes them suspicious. So they go to his house where he cannot be found anywhere. Suddenly they hear ominous drumming so they check the basement where a fixed Jumanji console sits.

My favorite part of this movie is the expansion of the already interesting video game world. They keep the video game aspect of the non-playing characters that serve the same purpose as the first film, but give them slight alterations like a classic video game. They also expand on the weaknesses and skills of each of the characters based on what's coming, as a video game should.

This movie has some amazing star power! My personal favorites are Danny DeVito and Karen Gillan. Danny DeVito is a veteran actor who has starred in films such as The Rainmaker and L.A. Confidential. On the other side of the age spectrum is Karen Gillan, an amazing young actress known for playing Nebula in the MCU and Amy Pond, the companion to the Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who.

The message of this movie is the same as the original Jumanji - be yourself because ultimately that's what matters most. This movie will appeal most to fans of the first installment of the series and The Fast and Furious movies. I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18, but adults will enjoy it as well. I give Jumanji: The Next Level 3.5 out of 5 stars. It opens in theaters December 12, 2019. Look for it.

By Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Jumanji: The Next Level is an action packed movie with some hilarious moments. It's pretty similar to the previous film, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, but with a few twists. I love all the new ways this film uses body swapping with humorous results.

At the end of the previous film, Fridge destroys the Jumanji game with a bowling ball so that no one else can be harmed by it. Well guess what? At the beginning of Jumanji: The Next Level, we find out that Spencer has not only saved the broken Jumanji, but repaired it and joined the game again! All of his friends try to join the game to help him, but Spencer's elderly grandfather (Danny DeVito) and old friend (Danny Glover) end up getting sucked into Jumanji as well. The old gang has to help the newcomers get used to the gameplay while at the same time navigating this new level of Jumanji, which has desert dunes, an oasis, and plenty of new villains and dangers to overcome. I won't spoil it, but there's a new section of the game that can only be passed by using geometry - but don't worry, this is Jumanji so it's not like a boring math class! Soon, the players learn that they will need to rely on each other and use everyone's skills and talents if they want to have a chance to save everyone and make it home safely.

This gets a bit confusing, but try to stay with me. My favorite part of the movie is when Kevin Hart is playing Milo, Danny Glover's character, while he's controlling the zoologist avatar, Mouse Finbar. Milo discovers that he knows everything about the animals they encounter, but he speaks so slowly that he can't get the information out fast enough to be useful. The results of this are pretty hilarious. The special effects are very effective, like the scene with a blimp crash that's done in a very exciting way. There's also a sequence with mandrills that are very realistic and scary. The most impressive thing about this movie is the acting. Everyone has to take on different personalities, impersonating at least two people with different accents and mannerisms. It's pretty cool to watch Akwafina playing Eddie, Danny DeVito's character, controlling a new avatar, Ming Fleetfoot.

The message of this film is that when you find your people, you should stick with them. Also, you should not hold a grudge, but it's never too late to forgive. Parents should know that there is some profanity, including the s-word twice. There are a couple of inappropriate jokes that made me feel embarrassed to watch them - a long back-and-forth conversation about someone's privates being cut off, and a joke about a boy playing a girl avatar and grabbing her body parts. There's also some scary stuff like action violence, and a really gross part where a bad guy feeds a lump of meat to hyenas while he explains it's human - from a man in his group he killed for making a mistake.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for children ages 12 to 18. I believe adults will like it too. You can see Jumanji: The Next Level in theaters everywhere starting December 13, 2019.

Reviewed by Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 13-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm



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