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What to know: Captivating and unique storyline that gives a twist to how dreams are created.
DREAMBUILDERS is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 7-13
81 minutes
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Dreambuilders is a unique movie because it uses something that we have in real life and dreams. It gives us a unique twist on how dreams are created. The movie is really imaginative when it shows how dreams are created and the design of the dream-stage. The story line is about step-sisters and family, which is very common, but the use of dreams is something that makes it different from other family-focused animated movies. A plus is that Dreambuilders has some great animated aspects. There is lots of vivid color and imagery, which gives you something to look at when the storyline is lulling.

The story revolves around Minna's (Robyn Dempsey) dad, John (Tom Hale), getting a new love interest, Helene (Karen Ardiff). When Helene and her daughter, Jenny (Emma Jenkins) move in with Minna and her dad, Minna has to share her room with her. What's worse is that Jenny doesn't like Minna's hamster and she wants the hamster out of the house! As all of this is going on, Minna discovers she has a special gift and she tries to use her gift to get what she wants, but things don't go as planned.

The actors, for the most part, pull off their characters really well. However, every time Minna cries it sounds fake and she has no tears. It's hard to believe the emotion here when we don't see it on the screen. This isn't enough to distract from the great animated aspects, which are mostly believable and true to what we expect from the characters. My favorite character is Minna because she is the most developed. For example, when we learn more about her relationship with her hamster and how they have bonded we see how important it is to her and why. Although this is animated, the characters look very realistic, not overly cartoony. When I imagine the characters, the animation matches what I imagined. My favorite part is seeing the roller coasters and being introduced to Gaff (Luke Griffin), an alien dreambuilder, who explains dreambuilding and dreamscapes to Minna. Being a kid, things like roller coasters and colorful aliens serve their purpose of keeping my attention.

I think the message here is to be careful of your actions because they can cause unwanted consequences. The more extreme your actions, then the more extreme the consequences can be. Another message is that it is easy to be selfish and to think only of yourself. It takes effort to think about others. This movie can help people think about their actions before doing something. Minna could have found a way to talk to Jenny before messing with her dreams. However, since Dreambuilders is a fantasy, there's little risk of kids imitating the behaviors seen in the film.

I give Dreambuilders 2.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 13, plus adults.

By Ayden P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Dreambuilders is a creative comedic animated family film. This film is a funny, thought-provoking film with a humorous theme. This film talks about dreams and family tension and how to deal with them.

Directed by Kim Hagen Jensen and Tonni Zinck this film centers on Minna (Robyn Dempsey), a young girl who has the ability to create and control other people's dreams. However, she missuses her gift to teach her bother and stepsister a lesson.

The story is great to watch, but there isn't a great deal to think about. The merging of live action and animation elements is where this film shines the most. The characters are charming and their interactions are well executed such as when Minna enters the dream world one final time to face the dreams she has created in order to save Jenny and her new family. It has a good plot with outstanding background music that compliments the film. My favorite actor is Robyn Dempsey who voices Minna. I enjoyed her charismatic and humorous characterization of Minna and her accent. One scene that I particularly like is when Gaff (Luke Griffin) helps Minna even though it is a close call with his boss. I dislike when Jenny (Emma Jenkins) looks at something of Minna's that she wasn't supposed to look and then gets angry at her.

The message is that, even though you assume you don't like somebody, in your heart you always will. This film promotes positive behavior and family-friendly.

I give Dreambuilders 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults.

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

I absolutely love Dreambuilders! It has such a captivating story line. It also mentions a lot of things that happen in everyday life that some people can relate to.

Dreambuilders is an animated film about Minna (Robyn Dempsey) and the dreamworld. Minna isn't too happy when her dad's (Tom Hale) new fiance (Karen Ardiff) and her daughter, Jenny (Emma Jenkins), move in with them. Minna accidentally discovers a world behind her dreams created by dreambuilders. Once she sees how these dreambuilders control dreams, she decides to manipulate Jenny's dreams, until she realizes she takes things too far.

Minna is smart, adventurous, and brave. Throughout the film, Minna shows these traits by continuously outsmarting the dreamworld. Jenny is snobby, rude, and spoiled, although she does have character development. The interactions between Minna and Jenny are entertaining as they don't seem to be too fond of each other. They are practically opposites. But you know what they say, opposites attract. John, Minna's dad, is a loving and patient character. He shows his love for his family many times, and is patient even when his situation isn't always the best. The voice acting is excellent. It portrays the different emotions well. The creativity in the animation and graphics are insane! It's definitely a key factor in keeping the audience entertained throughout the film. The setting takes place primarily in Minna's cozy countryside home, and the colorful dreamworld.

The message of this film is that taking things for granted can lead to consequences.

I give Dreambuilders 5 of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 8 to 18.

By Taia P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

The film Dreambuilders is a very creative movie. It is very whimsical and bright and takes you on a fun adventure behind the scenes of our dreams!

The plot of this film takes in the concept of modern family issues. When Minna's ( Robyn Dempsey) life is turned upside down upon the arrival of her new stepmom Helene (Karen Ardiff) and mean daughter Jenny (Emma Jenkins). Minna is able to find the backstage to her dreams and tries to sabotage Jenny's dreams to stop her from ruining her life. When a dream creation goes wrong, Minna finds herself and her dream worker friend Gaff (Luke Griffin) helping to bring back Jenny.

Throughout the animated movie each scene is colorful and bright. The set designs are so whimsical and creative. I love each design and the idea of our dreams. The dreams are created for each person with actors, sets and scripts. There is a whole new world behind the backstage of dreams. The ideas are super fun. My favorite part of the movie is when Minna finds this hidden world. Each character is very unique and has a certain style that makes them different. The storyline is also quite sad because it addresses family issues. The hardship between the two families eventually wears off until they all learn to love each other. There is beautiful background music playing throughout the film. The songs all have a story behind them relating back to the scenes in the movie. The movie did become a bit predictable at times, but it is still original, entertaining and worth watching.

The message is to be careful what you wish for. Minna wants a specific life with just her dad. When others show up, she is unsure and does not take into account the sadness and harm she would bring to her family by messing with others' dreams. You should know that this film includes a sensitive topic of families like divorce, fighting and new family members. There are also some frightening and intense scenes.

I give Dreambuilders 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 13. Reviewed by Avery P., KIDS FIRST!

Minna's life is turned upside down when her dad's new fianc�e Helena and her daughter Jenny move in. Her new stepsister Jenny turns out to be horrible and Minna is frustrated. She wants her gone! One night, Minna discovers a world behind her dreams in which the dreambuilders create our dreams on theater stages and finds out how to manipulate Jenny's dreams. But interfering with people's dreams has dire consequences and when Minna goes too far one night, Jenny can't wake up. Minna must enter the dream world one final time to face the dreams she has created in order to save Jenny and her new family.
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