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KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
INSIDE OUT 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SCHOOL OF MAGICAL ANIMALS 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 20
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TOMORROW'S GAME
TOMORROW'S GAME - STREETS AHEAD PRODUCTION
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-12
Description - Daniel de la Rosa travels back in time to 1957. To get home, he must find a way to restore his family's legacy and rewrite baseball history. A fun adventure for the whole family ensues, full of baseball and time travel, featuring Paul Rodriguez.
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99 Media:

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JOHNNY PUFF: SECRET MISSION

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JOHNNY PUFF: SECRET MISSION - INTERNATIONAL MEDIA NETWORK
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-8
Description - Four Puffins, under the guidance of Johnny Puff (Johnny Depp), develop their superpowers and use them for good. When their home, Taigasville, comes under threat from the evil Otto von Walrus, Johnny Puff and co. embark on a secret mission. Releasing in theaters, VOD, AVOD, streaming and online retailers July 12, 2024.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Johnny Puff: Secret Mission is fantastic! The animation is top-notch, and it vividly chronicles the tale of four heroic Puffins using their extraordinary powers to defeat the villainous walrus, Otto von.

The story takes place in Tuss V., a tiny coastal town in the Arctic where four inseparable friends live among the Puffins. They're naughty and playful and always looking for new adventures. They find something even more valuable than any treasure - meteorite that gives them incredible powers.

This film is very imaginative and very organized, plus I'm impressed by the story development. It has a well-structured plot that beautifully showcases how the four Puffins use their superpowers for good and ultimately triumph over Otto the walrus. The quality of the animation is great - the film constantly switches scenes along with the storyline, and the production is smooth. The background music changes with the development of the plot. For example, when the Puffins are stripped of their food source by Otto, they go to Otto to get back their food, fall into Otto's trick, and are captured and taken to Otto's base camp. Throughout this scene the background music is tense and creates a tense atmosphere. The four Puffins include Tick, the littlest of the team, who is clumsy, naive and has a good heart. He is able to control nature. Pi is the giant of the group; he is moody and impulsive and never gets tired. He is unstoppably strong. Dak is the brains of the bunch; he examines everything very closely. Didi is the most self-absorbed of them all; her powers are being able to break the sound barrier and make time go slower. Johnny Puff (Johnny Depp) is a retired rock star who lives a peaceful life in harmony with nature and can transform into a sneaky ninja warrior. Otto von Walrus is famous for his craftiness and intelligence and his dirty tricks. At the end of the story, Otto's mother visits Otto and instructs him to go on the right track. Under the influence of his mother, Otto gradually gives up his prank plan and reunites with the animals in the town. My favorite scene is the opening scene where Tick, Pi, Dak and Didi are introduced; it beautifully portrays the distinct personality traits of each little auk. It's a captivating and engaging start that draws you into the story from the get go.

The film's message is about the four little Puffins that accidentally discover meteorites with superpowers during their expedition, and they each acquire superpowers and use them for good things, and their secret mission to save the arctic Johnny Pop mission.

I give Johnny Puff: Secret Mission 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8.

By Changyang L., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The animated adventure, Johnny Puff: Secret Mission is a colorful journey with Johnny Puff. I love how the characters' unique personalities and superpowers come together in a classic, yet thrilling plot. The narration adds a comedic touch that keeps you entertained throughout the movie.

In Johnny Puff: Secret Mission, the peaceful town of Taigasville is threatened by the evil Otto von Walrus. Johnny Puff (Johnny Depp) and his team of four super-powered Puffins--Tic, Tac, Didi, and Pie--embark on a secret mission to save their home. The storyline is straightforward and predictable but executed in a charming and engaging way.

The characters are one of the highlights of the film. Johnny Puff is the wise and brave leader, while each Puffin has distinct traits that match their superpowers. The animation style might remind viewers of the Ice Age franchise, giving it a nostalgic feel. Although the movie lacks dialogue other than the narrator, it compensates with vibrant visuals and expressive characters. The narrator's humor is a standout, adding a light-hearted and fun element to the film. One of my favorite parts is the dynamic between the Puffins and how their abilities complement each other during their mission. The special effects and animation bring their powers to life in a visually appealing way. The sets and locations are beautifully designed, creating an immersive environment that enhances the storytelling.

The movie's message is about teamwork, bravery, and using your unique talents for good. It's a positive theme that encourages viewers to value their individuality and work together to overcome challenges. The film promotes positive social behavior.

I give Johnny Puff: Secret Mission 3 out of 5 stars. It's perfect for ages 5 to 12. You can find this movie in theaters and on major streaming platforms and DVD beginning July 12, 2024. Get ready for a fun-filled journey with Johnny Puff and his heroic Puffins!

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

Johnny Puff: Secret Mission is an innovative and hilarious movie. It incorporates a lot of different theatrical elements to add to viewer enjoyment.

This film is about the super puffins, specifically Johnny Puff (Johnny Depp) who has to save Taigasville from all the evil shenanigans that Otto von Walrus keeps pulling. Every ten to 15 minutes he tries something new and the super puffins must stop him from destroying the arctic. It is based on the TV series, Puffins.

This film has many unique components -- most noticeable is that none of the characters speak. The only voice heard in the whole film is that of the narrator, Johnny Depp. The rest of the characters simply grunt and make other vocal noises, which allows the disagreements and plot to be up to the interpretation of the viewer. Another aspect of this film is its ever changing plot. Rather than just one big evil scheme throughout the film, Otto von Walrus constantly tries different things and continually gets defeated. It feels like a full TV season of ten to 15 minute episodes put into a fun, entertaining movie. The animation is very impressive; it uses an animation style that is not often used in movies which therefore makes the whole film much more interesting. The villain, Otto von Walrus, is more of a bully than a true evil villain, which makes the character relations even more unique.

The message of this film is to never give up and keep having fun because the world doesn't stop for you.

I give Johnny Puff: Secret Mission 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8, plus adults. It releases in theaters and streaming on July 12, 2024.

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

I thoroughly enjoyed Johnny Puff: Secret Mission for its imaginative storyline and dynamic characters. The film masterfully combines adventure and fantasy, and it is a captivating watch for audiences of all ages.

Johnny Puff: Secret Mission follows four Puffin friends, Tic, Pi, Dak and DD, who stumble upon a mysterious glowing meteor that grants them incredible powers. Alongside their retired rockstar friend, Johnny Puff (Johnny Depp), who can transform into a ninja through his music, they embark on an epic quest filled with challenges and discoveries.

The movie excels in character development and creativity, which are two aspects that particularly stand out to me. Tick's ability to control nature adds a beautiful, almost poetic element to their journey. Pi's super-strength provides both humor and heroism, while Dak's technological prowess offers clever solutions to the group's obstacles. DD's ability to break the sound barrier and manipulate time introduces thrilling, high speed sequences that keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Johnny Puff's transformation into a ninja through his music is a unique and entertaining twist that highlights the importance of following one's passion. The film's animation is vibrant and detailed, making the Puffin's world come alive in a way that is visually stunning and deeply engaging.

The film's message is about the power of friendship and teamwork.

I give Johnny Puff: Secret Mission 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 through 12. This film releases July 12, on VOD, AVOD, Streaming, Online Retailers, and in theatres. Be sure to check it out.

By Gavin S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 5-8 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
KEEPERS OF THE FIVE KINGDOMS, THE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Ryan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SUMMER CAMP

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

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

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

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

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

I give Summer Camp 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Look out for Summer Camp which releases in theaters May 31, 2024.
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I give A Bee And A Silkworm 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Gloria J., KIDS FIRST!
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GARFIELD MOVIE, THE (2024)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Alma K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 5-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FOR LOVE & LIFE: NO ORDINARY CAMPAIGN

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

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

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

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

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

By Tia O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
IF

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

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

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

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

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

By Kennedy P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LET IT BE

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

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

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

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

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

By Zo� C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SARIRI
SARIRI - ESCUELA DE CINE UNIVERSIDAD DE DESARROLLO
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - In a mining town lost in the desert, women live under male rules. Dina, pressured by an unwanted pregnancy, plans to escape to the city. But she cannot leave her sister Sariri, who has just reached menarche. From Chile. Dialogue in Spanish with English subtitles.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really like the film Sariri - its plot is intriguing because it talks about very important issues that happen to us such as how to lead maturely in difficult situations.

The storyline follows a city far away where women have no rights and only men rule, Dina (Catalina Rios) has an unwanted pregnancy and the fear of the consequences makes her want to run away from home. However, she cannot go without taking her younger sister, Sariri (Martina Gonzales).

The film is very good in many ways, including the script, the subject matter, and the production. However, it takes a long time to develop the scenes, which makes it difficult to follow the film, and it becomes a little tiring to watch. Other than that, everything is impeccable. The camera work is outstanding! The scenes look so natural. I could see small details, like in a scene where Sariri is in the dark cave, I could see the cave details very clearly. The background music is very well chosen and well placed. For example, in one moment of tension, the music is chilling and brings complete suspense. The character development is good too. Girls go from being isolated by men to being able to do things independently. Sariri becomes braver throughout the film. Laura Donoso, the director and screenwriter, is to be commended for excellent work. My favorite part is the scene where the sisters look at famous magazines and want to participate in a talent show; in the middle of that, one discovers that she has a different talent than the others.

The film's message is that women have to be more united and should be more recognized for the good work they do. It's a reminder that the challenges that life brings us are make us stronger and more mature. Be aware that the film shows people smoking and drinking alcoholic drinks.

I give Sariri 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. By Anna Clara B., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really like the film Sariri - its plot is intriguing because it talks about very important issues that happen to us such as how to lead maturely in difficult situations.

The storyline follows a city far away where women have no rights and only men rule, Dina (Catalina Rios) has an unwanted pregnancy and the fear of the consequences makes her want to run away from home. However, she cannot go without taking her younger sister, Sariri (Martina Gonzales).

The film is very good in many ways, including the script, the subject matter, and the production. However, it takes a long time to develop the scenes, which makes it difficult to follow the film, and it becomes a little tiring to watch. Other than that, everything is impeccable. The camera work is outstanding! The scenes look so natural. I could see small details, like in a scene where Sariri is in the dark cave, I could see the cave details very clearly. The background music is very well chosen and well placed. For example, in one moment of tension, the music is chilling and brings complete suspense. The character development is good too. Girls go from being isolated by men to being able to do things independently. Sariri becomes braver throughout the film. Laura Donoso, the director and screenwriter, is to be commended for excellent work. My favorite part is the scene where the sisters look at famous magazines and want to participate in a talent show; in the middle of that, one discovers that she has a different talent than the others.

The film's message is that women have to be more united and should be more recognized for the good work they do. It's a reminder that the challenges that life brings us are make us stronger and more mature. Be aware that the film shows people smoking and drinking alcoholic drinks.

I give Sariri 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. By Anna Clara B., KIDS FIRST!
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PRINCESS HALLE AND THE JESTER

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PRINCESS HALLE AND THE JESTER - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Description - When goblins attack and capture the king, a young princess and a poor jester must avenge her father and battler the evil stepmother who has taken over the throne. This film uses cutting edge technology can make a new IP with real humans and in a sustainable way. The feature-length film is the first in a planned trilogy and uses breakthrough technologies to meld action, romance, and fairytales into a completely new and unique world that is both modern and timeless. The extensive, photorealistic digital world immerses the viewer in a hyper real experience with cutting-edge virtual sets, procedural AI, CGI creatures, and digital doubles.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wow, but wow! Princess Halle and the Jester is such an interesting film - with all the CGI. It is so interesting and funny with lots of dramatic action. It has everything you can think of in a film and it is not a "once upon a time" movie. It's action royal - a kind of movie I just love. This movie tells you all about fairy tales. It doesn't have to end with a royal wedding. This movie ends unlike any royal fairy tale movie.

The storyline follows a kingdom that is attacked by an army of goblins and their king (Byron Herlong) is kidnapped and turned into stone. The young princess Halle (Emma Duchesneau) runs away with the jester Henri (Duncan Novak) and he brings her to his hometown. Afterwards she wants to return but the guards take her away and then kill Henri's grandpa (Geoffrey Lyons). Together they fight the evil goblin queen, Priscilla (Rachel Stacy).

The film's CGI is so good, especially how the dragon looks. It begins as cute, small and harmless, and then they make it big and ready to fly across the world. The animator deserves a lot of credit for his work which is very good. The costume makes Henri look like a villager and the dress for the princess makes her look royal - the necklace looks like an actual gem. The hair and makeup artist (Justine Sylvie) outdid herself, making the princess's hair look very regal. The lead animator (Kieth Lee) gives the dragon very bright colors, but it still looks realistic. I just love this film. It has a royal fairy tale movie genre and its executed so well. There is one thing that bugged me - when they are fighting the goblin queen, the princess Halle hits a wall and falls in pain, but there was no sound. That is weird.

The message is that not all fairy tales end with a happy royal marriage like in this film.

I give Princess Halle and the Jester 4.4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. Princess Halle and the Jester releases on VOD and streaming on May 21, 2024.

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

Perfect for fans of fantasy, Princess Halle and The Jester tells an elaborate and exquisite tale replete with action, drama and unconventional twists. It's a good watch despite stilted scriptwriting and performances, and some rough CGI.

The film follows Princess Halle (Emma Duchesneau), a teen royal reeling from the loss of her mother. At the coronation of her stepmother Queen Priscilla (Rachel Stacy), the new queen, goblins attack the castle and capture Halle's father King Victor (Byron Herlong), taking him to a faraway land. She must save her father and restore balance to the kingdom while also fighting her stepmother's allegations that she conspired with the goblins to steal her father's throne.

The plot of Princess Halle and the Jester really makes it stand out from any other action/fantasy film. It's somewhere between Lord of the Rings and a kids' show like Sophia the First. Halle's character is well built out, and we see her evolve and mature mentally and emotionally throughout the film. I also love the jester, Henri (Duncan Novak), who acts as Halle's sidekick; he was given such a positive and supportive role, and he plays it with conviction. There are some instances where Princess Halle and the Jester is let down by its budget. The CGI looks antiquated and basic. In many scenes - one where a dragon takes King Victor away and another where the characters pass through otherworldly groves and forests - the heavy usage of green screens and artificial graphics is evident. The backgrounds and characters are roughly rendered, and you can see the individual frames of some of the motion animations. Other technical elements could have been refined, too. The camerawork is awkward at times, with diagonal panning and some untimely cuts. But the film is lifted by performances by the supporting cast, who give it their all, and a well-written script. The dialogue writing is nicely done; it's crafted more like a work of theater than a film in some parts, which makes sense, since the action can be broken up into three acts, like a stage play. Justine Sylvie aces the costumes and hair and makeup, one element of the film I really love.

Princess Halle and the Jester promotes fighting for justice and preserving your internal sense of goodness and kindness.

I give Princess Halle and the Jester 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. The film releases on May 21, 2024 on demand and on Apple and Amazon streaming.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FALL GUY, THE

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FALL GUY, THE - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - After leaving the business one year earlier, battle-scarred stuntman Colt Seavers springs back into action when the star of a big studio movie suddenly disappears. As the mystery surrounding the missing actor deepens, Colt soon finds himself ensnared in a sinister plot that pushes him to the edge of a fall more dangerous than any stunt.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Fall Guy contains all the elements necessary in a wonderful movie such as comedy, romance, mystery, and most of all: action. With something for lovers of every movie genre, The Fall Guy is a great film to go watch.

The story follows Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling), a retired stuntman who has come out of hiding to work on a movie in hopes of rekindling a year-old love story with the director Jody (Emily Blunt). After discovering Jody has left their relationship in the past, Colt is told that the lead actor Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) has been involved with bad people and is sent on a mission by Tom's producer, Gail (Hannah Waddingham), to find him and, although it won't be easy, he can hopefully save Jody's movie, while getting her to fall back in love with him.

All aspects of this movie are fantastic - something that really stands out to me is the music. Part of the reason it's noticeable is because of the iconic tracks on this film. Viewers of all ages will recognize some of their favorite tunes while watching The Fall Guy. Not only is the music popular, but the use of these songs is unexpected while being perfect at the same time. An example of this is Kiss' "I Was Made For Lovin' You," which can be heard throughout the movie. It's used in many different situations and you can tell the people behind the film knew what they were doing, choosing this as the main track for the film, because it goes so smoothly with the love story behind the mystery and comedy parts of The Fall Guy. The multi-genre part of this movie is also fantastic. Every type of movie lover can find something to enjoy while watching. Ryan Gosling's laidback comedic personality really shines in his performance of Colt Seavers. Throughout the movie the audience will watch moments that are especially hysterical due to Gosling's acting. Gosling and Blunt's quirky, but loving chemistry is so entertaining. Every scene they are in together left me viewers laughing, crying, and swooning. My favorite scene includes a cameo with some Taylor Swift music when Colt replays his relationship with Jody in his head in a little highlight reel to "All Too Well." Jody sees him crying in his car and goes to check on him. Obviously, Colt denies the accusations.

The message of this film is that there's always more than meets the eye. This message can be applied to many different situations, both in life and in the film. Colt talks about how stunt people are the ones who take the falls for the actors and the actors are the ones who win awards and get to be in advertisements. Somebody watching the film would never notice a stuntman because that's his job, to go unnoticed. One reason that Gosling made this film is to appeal to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to establish an award for stunt people.

I give The Fall Guy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. It releases in theaters May 3, 2024.

The Fall Guy is an absolute blast of film-- incredible on the technical side, with great stunt work and action set pieces.

A big-screen remake of the 1980's television series of the same name, The Fall Guy follows Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling), a stuntman who retires after a near-fatal accident. After being encouraged to return to the job for his ex-girlfriend's new film by big time producer Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham), he accepts. Little does he know, he is tasked with solving the disappearance of the lead actor he doubles for, Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). If he wants any chance of rekindling his love with director Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt), Colt must unravel Tom's sudden vanishing so that production can continue.

The Fall Guy's story unfortunately falls a bit flat, due to its overused story beats, and predictable twists. The story itself is completely distinct, but it consists of so much that is all too familiar. Some of the situations and surprises--down to even some lines of dialogue--feel unoriginal and foreseeable. The love story between Colt and Jody is especially stereotypical. The movie is mostly style over substance, but does it work? Answer: it does! The Fall Guy was made as a love letter to the dedication, hard work, and talent of all the regularly overlooked stunt workers in Hollywood. The film highlights stunt doubles, stunt coordinators, and more, in a self-aware commentary about audiences'--and even Hollywood's--neglect of stunt people. It's only fitting that The Fall Guy itself contains exceptionally impressive stunt work. Every fight scene is brilliantly choreographed, and the car stunts are astonishing. We get a peek behind the curtain at the true care that goes into this art. Speaking of car stunts, much of the action in this film involves characters in, or on, racing cars. These action scenes are so well executed--they feel grand in scope and adrenaline-inducing, and just so much fun. They are explosive, and encapsulate the true entertainment value of the action genre.

Although The Fall Guy's story is somewhat of a letdown, it is an enjoyable blast due to its stunts and action. With a great love story, action, cast, and message of respect for stunt teams. The Fall Guy has something for everyone. Parents should be aware that the film contains violence and profanity.

I give The Fall Guy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Catch The Fall Guy in theaters on May 3, 2024.

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

The Fall Guy is an action packed blockbuster, filled with intensity and suspense. I really like this film because, despite the thrill, it is comedic and romantic all at the same time. There is a little bit of each genre, which makes it extremely enjoyable and helped keep my attention the entire time.

The Fall Guy is a film that highlights Stunt doubles, and brings them their much deserved attention. In this movie, Colt (Ryan Gosling) is known as one of the top stuntmen in the industry, but unfortunately he suffers a severe accident. After a year off, he is asked to join the set of a big studio movie, when the leading actor goes missing. Colt is thrown with numerous obstacles, and is put on a crazy journey, but in the end would do anything for its director and his ex-love Jody (Emily Blunt).

Major standouts in this film are the stunts. Ryan Gosling and his stunt doubles perform extremely high demanding stunts that completely elevate this film. The risk of each one had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The car flip stunt, specifically, is extremely entertaining. It really helps show what the character, Colt, is capable of, and just how impressive his skills really are. I also enjoyed the locations. The big studio movie takes place in Australia so viewers get to experience the beautiful architecture of Sydney, as well as the desert and mountain sides. The major scenes take place in the sand dunes, and it's really cool to see the behind the scenes aspect of a film with that large of a production. Lastly, I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline. It is creative and one of its kind. Stuntmen are rarely discussed in films, and definitely don't get the appreciation they deserve. This movie brings the spotlight onto them, and does this in such a unique way. Witnessing their work up close, and just how demanding it is, has brought me a new found respect for this talent.

The message of The Fall Guy is to always put yourself first, and that you can't always trust the people you think that you can. You should be aware that one reason Gosling made this film is to get the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to add a category for stunt people.

I give The Fall Guy 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The Fall Guy opens in theaters on May 3, 2024.

Mikella G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, age 17

The Fall Guy is a love letter to the overlooked art of stunt work. While it may not be anything groundbreaking, the explosive mix of practical effects, comedy, and romance makes this an old-school summer blockbuster that I loved. This is a crowd-pleasing film that never takes itself too seriously.

This storyline follows down-and-out stuntman Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) after he's enlisted by his ex-girlfriend Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt) to find the missing star of her directorial debut. On one side, lies his quest to win back his ex after abandoning her following a traumatic stunt mishap, but on the other lies a more urgent quest to find his colleague and lead actor Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) amidst a criminal conspiracy. Equipped with only brains and brawn, Colt must rise to the occasion for a new chance in life. Can he win back his ex and find the star of the movie? There's only one jump to find out. The cast is full of mainstream talents that carry the screen with their comedic and physical prowess. Ryan Gosling, as Colt Seavers, cements that he's more than just a stoic and silent figure. Just like he did as Ken in Barbie, Gosling showcases a natural sense of humor that he's truly grown into. All the while, he impresses with his stunts with each fall - his success is a big part of the film's charm. Still, it's his love story with Emily Blunt, as Jody Moreno, that is the heart of the film. This helps cover for some of the film's opening jokes that don't stick their landing so well. It starts out a bit slow, but thankfully kicks into high gear quickly with an effective blend of action and comedy. The criminal conspiracy overtakes the second half of the film presenting real and raw stakes; however, the mystery surrounding Aaron Taylor-Johnson, as Tom Ryder, is met with his bizarrely comedic presence. He might just be the highlight here as he hams the role up without ever seeming artificial. I didn't know whether to be concerned by his mysterious notes on his fridge or laugh. These characters are nicely rounded out by a terrific supporting cast. Winston Duke, as Dan, provides a true friend for Colt as well as an encyclopedic knowledge of iconic film references. Stephanie Hsu, as Alma, helps Colt on his quest with her adorable dog. Hannah Waddingham, as Gail, weaves her real-life experience as a television presenter with her character's larger-than-life screen presence. Lastly, a surprise cameo makes the cast come full circle in an unexpectedly hilarious manner. David Leitch helms the direction with fluid stunts that flow like water. They embody the feeling of being on a rollercoaster on a nice summer day. In particular, one sequence stands out where Colt is attacked by gun-toting henchmen. It's a man versus a system as he employs creative use of his mobility and surroundings to evade bullets and manipulate their guns against each other.

The film's message is that true love prevails. Although Colt estranged himself from Jody, it's their communication that binds his mistakes and his regrets push forward his asking for another chance. It shows that anyone can make mistakes in love, but mistakes can be forgiven with a genuine attempt to change. After all, love is not a game; instead, it's a poetic act that can face and overcome any obstacles. Despite the film's playfulness, be aware that there is lots of violence, strong language, and infrequent drug content.

I give The Fall Guy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The film releases on May 3, 2024 in theaters. Be sure to check it out in theaters.

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 22
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HARD MILES

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HARD MILES - BLUE FOX ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - Hard Miles tells the uplifting true story of the bicycling team at Rite of Passage's RidgeView Academy, a medium-security correctional school in Colorado. The film follows beleaguered coach Greg Townsend (Matthew Modine) as he rounds up an unlikely crew of incarcerated students for a seemingly impossible bike ride from Denver to the Grand Canyon.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really love the film Hard Miles because it is very inspiring, touching, and has a funny twist to it.

The story follows four teenage convicts who have lost hope for a "normal future" and are trying to get their "second chance" by showing their motivation to be better. The prison social worker (Matthew Modine) takes them on a 1,000 mile bike riding journey to the Grand Canyon. This journey is not easy, but it makes them discover who they are, what they are made of, and the importance of friendship and teamwork.

All in all, this film is great for family movie night. Hard Miles is very inspiring - it features violent teenagers that have had a tough life and they learn how to work together as a team and to cross hundreds of miles on a self-made bike. While I was watching, all I wanted to do was to get out into the sweet, cool, fresh air and ride my bike. There is also a side story regarding a father-son relationship that adds to the complexity of their story and contributes to a very heartfelt scene at the end of the film. I found this movie to be very funny. For example, a scene that made me laugh out loud, was when the teenagers, who were willing to do practically anything not to return back home and move to another school, pop the wheels of the van that was supposed to take them back. After a staff member finally fixes it, she finds another "nice surprise" waiting for her in the van. Scenes like this happen throughout the film. In addition, knowing this movie is based on a true story really made me excited and appreciate bicycles. The scenery really stands out and makes it feel like you're riding with them. The costumes go great with the storyline and even contribute to the movie's antagonists' turning point.

The film's message is "never stop something until you finish it." There are many more life lessons and messages all to be learned by watching this film. Be forewarned that this film has a little violence and some profanity.

I give Hard Miles 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It will be released in theaters April 19, 2024.

By Ariel K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GREEN SUPERHEROES 2030
GREEN SUPERHEROES 2030 - 1 SOUL PRODUCTION
Series: INDIE DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8 TO 18
Description - This documentary follows a group of ten young environmentalists and their stories about how they are changing the world for the better and making the planet greener.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Green SuperHeroes 2030 is truly wonderful, showcasing a group of ten young and dedicated environmentalists working together to make our planet greener.

An extraordinary team of ten young environmentalists from different parts of the world, ranging in age from 5 to 17, have taken on a bold mission to save our planet. With their boundless creativity and scientific curiosity, they are developing groundbreaking environmental initiatives that have the potential to make a significant impact,

This film is a masterpiece of visual storytelling, created with cinematic precision. Using the latest technology, including a green screen, stunning drone shots, and imaginative visual effects, this movie takes viewers on a journey unlike any other. It inspires children to take action and protect the environment, planting a seed of awareness that will grow for years to come. These young environmentalists are a testament to the power of youth and innovation in addressing the ecological crisis that our planet is facing. They are working tirelessly to combat issues such as plastic pollution in our oceans, deforestation, and the impact of fossil fuels on the environment. Their passion and dedication are truly inspiring, and they are a shining example of what can be achieved when we come together to make a difference. As we witness their journey of hope, they remind us of the urgent need for action and the crucial role that we all have to play in protecting our planet for future generations. The plot development in this movie is captivating. It is interesting and well-organized, keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout. The movie masterfully introduces ten green superheroes, before showcasing a group of young environmentalists from around the world who unite to make a difference. Their audacious quest to save the planet is truly inspiring, as they develop ground-breaking environmental initiatives to protect our only home - the Earth. This movie is an absolute must-see and will motivate you to make a difference in the world. The film truly amazed me with its seamless transitions between different scenes. It features ten environmentalists, each presenting their own unique conservation project. The accompanying camera footage is equally impressive, showcasing various environments that have been severely impacted by human activities. From dry lands to polluted oceans and floating debris, the visuals are both disheartening and eye-opening. The plight of animals that died due to entanglement in the garbage is particularly hard-hitting. It is a powerful reminder of the urgent need to take action and address these pressing issues before it's too late.

The quality of the camerawork is suitable for exhibition; it's a high quality work! The sets and location were meticulously chosen to perfectly complement the story. The Earth Protectors' presentations are accompanied by informative videos and data presentations that leave a lasting impact. One video showcases the commendable efforts of the team in sorting out a large number of toys from landfills and distributing them among children in low-income areas. Another video highlights the dire need for marine conservation, detailing the tragic deaths of marine life due to marine debris and showcasing alarming footage of vast amounts of plastic polluting our oceans. All of the information is carefully curated to resonate with the storyline and leave a lasting impression on the audience. The carefully crafted soundtrack complements its message perfectly. For example, during the discussion of data, the video showcases a plethora of digitized data and is accompanied by upbeat techno music. Even the background music, which is typically tranquil, is robust and influential. It is evident that the background music greatly enriches the video, making it a more immersive experience. The ten young individuals featured in the film are the shining stars of environmental activism. Their stories are a source of inspiration and motivation for all of us. Kyle Tianshi, a 15-year-old, has designed a device called NEREID, which is a ray of hope for the world's oceans that are choking on micro-plastic pollution. Ryan Hickman, a 13-year-old, has taken the concept of zero waste to the next level with PROJECT 3R, which promotes reuse, reduction, and recycling. Katia Thomas, a 14-year-old, has developed DAESSE, an award-winning device that generates electricity from trash, a game-changer in the world of renewable energy. Janeth Guanulema, a '16 graduate, has taken up the cause of saving the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest from deforestation and fracking and is a true hero for her community. Connor Berryhill, a 15-year-old with autism, founded the Micro Activist Foundation, which is an excellent platform for educating young people on marine conservation. Sam Torres, a '17 graduate, has launched campaigns such as #MeatlessMonday, which is an innovative way to promote sustainable eating habits. Jessica Ong, also a '17 graduate, is doing her bit to save the planet by saving old toys from landfills and donating them to children in need. Justin Sather, an 11-year-old, has taken up the cause of protecting habitats such as rainforests through the Justin Frog Project and is a true champion of the environment. Ianna Mallyaka, a 13-year-old, has planted thousands of trees in Kenya through her foundation and is working to protect the soil through her ENVIROSAVE! Program. Finally, 5-year-old Nina Gomes may be the youngest of the lot, but she is doing her bit by collecting plastic on her father's surfboard in the bay of Rio de Janeiro every day after school. These young individuals have shown us that age is just a number and that we can all make a difference in our ways.

Director, Los Angeles Barea studied at the famed Cristina Rota School of Theatre in Spain. Discovered by Director Pedro Almodovar, Angeles made her debut acting in his Academy Award winning film Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown which received an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Angeles went on to work with acclaimed directors such as Jess Franco and Alex de la Iglesia. Los Angeles became a well-known personality making countless television appearances. Los Angeles was inspired after working for six years with the environmental non-profit Grades of Green - watching young people develop amazing projects to help the Planet and looking for solutions. It is so inspirational that she realized she wanted to show the world how these young, brilliant minds create such new and innovative ideas and projects to help the planet with plastic pollution, clean energy, water contamination, fossil fuels, and climate change. These young people are role models, and heroes.

The scene where Connor Berryhill advocates for ocean conservation is truly inspiring. It's unfortunate that many species are on the brink of extinction, despite laws in place to protect them. Human activities continue to cause irreversible damage to wildlife, and marine life is particularly vulnerable due to the serious threat of fishing nets and garbage. We have a responsibility to follow the example set by animals and protect the ecosystem rather than destroy it. We can all do our part, no matter how small, to make a difference. Together, we can make a positive impact and ensure that future generations can enjoy the beauty of our planet's diverse wildlife.

The film's message is about taking responsibility for our actions is key to achieving a healthy environment, clean air, and peace that we all desire. Let's do our part and work together to create a better world for ourselves and future generations.

I give Green SuperHeroes 2023 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. This qualifies as a special interest topic - environment, ecology and climate change. By Changyang L., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Green SuperHeroes 2030 is truly wonderful, showcasing a group of ten young and dedicated environmentalists working together to make our planet greener.

An extraordinary team of ten young environmentalists from different parts of the world, ranging in age from 5 to 17, have taken on a bold mission to save our planet. With their boundless creativity and scientific curiosity, they are developing groundbreaking environmental initiatives that have the potential to make a significant impact,

This film is a masterpiece of visual storytelling, created with cinematic precision. Using the latest technology, including a green screen, stunning drone shots, and imaginative visual effects, this movie takes viewers on a journey unlike any other. It inspires children to take action and protect the environment, planting a seed of awareness that will grow for years to come. These young environmentalists are a testament to the power of youth and innovation in addressing the ecological crisis that our planet is facing. They are working tirelessly to combat issues such as plastic pollution in our oceans, deforestation, and the impact of fossil fuels on the environment. Their passion and dedication are truly inspiring, and they are a shining example of what can be achieved when we come together to make a difference. As we witness their journey of hope, they remind us of the urgent need for action and the crucial role that we all have to play in protecting our planet for future generations. The plot development in this movie is captivating. It is interesting and well-organized, keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout. The movie masterfully introduces ten green superheroes, before showcasing a group of young environmentalists from around the world who unite to make a difference. Their audacious quest to save the planet is truly inspiring, as they develop ground-breaking environmental initiatives to protect our only home - the Earth. This movie is an absolute must-see and will motivate you to make a difference in the world. The film truly amazed me with its seamless transitions between different scenes. It features ten environmentalists, each presenting their own unique conservation project. The accompanying camera footage is equally impressive, showcasing various environments that have been severely impacted by human activities. From dry lands to polluted oceans and floating debris, the visuals are both disheartening and eye-opening. The plight of animals that died due to entanglement in the garbage is particularly hard-hitting. It is a powerful reminder of the urgent need to take action and address these pressing issues before it's too late.

The quality of the camerawork is suitable for exhibition; it's a high quality work! The sets and location were meticulously chosen to perfectly complement the story. The Earth Protectors' presentations are accompanied by informative videos and data presentations that leave a lasting impact. One video showcases the commendable efforts of the team in sorting out a large number of toys from landfills and distributing them among children in low-income areas. Another video highlights the dire need for marine conservation, detailing the tragic deaths of marine life due to marine debris and showcasing alarming footage of vast amounts of plastic polluting our oceans. All of the information is carefully curated to resonate with the storyline and leave a lasting impression on the audience. The carefully crafted soundtrack complements its message perfectly. For example, during the discussion of data, the video showcases a plethora of digitized data and is accompanied by upbeat techno music. Even the background music, which is typically tranquil, is robust and influential. It is evident that the background music greatly enriches the video, making it a more immersive experience. The ten young individuals featured in the film are the shining stars of environmental activism. Their stories are a source of inspiration and motivation for all of us. Kyle Tianshi, a 15-year-old, has designed a device called NEREID, which is a ray of hope for the world's oceans that are choking on micro-plastic pollution. Ryan Hickman, a 13-year-old, has taken the concept of zero waste to the next level with PROJECT 3R, which promotes reuse, reduction, and recycling. Katia Thomas, a 14-year-old, has developed DAESSE, an award-winning device that generates electricity from trash, a game-changer in the world of renewable energy. Janeth Guanulema, a '16 graduate, has taken up the cause of saving the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest from deforestation and fracking and is a true hero for her community. Connor Berryhill, a 15-year-old with autism, founded the Micro Activist Foundation, which is an excellent platform for educating young people on marine conservation. Sam Torres, a '17 graduate, has launched campaigns such as #MeatlessMonday, which is an innovative way to promote sustainable eating habits. Jessica Ong, also a '17 graduate, is doing her bit to save the planet by saving old toys from landfills and donating them to children in need. Justin Sather, an 11-year-old, has taken up the cause of protecting habitats such as rainforests through the Justin Frog Project and is a true champion of the environment. Ianna Mallyaka, a 13-year-old, has planted thousands of trees in Kenya through her foundation and is working to protect the soil through her ENVIROSAVE! Program. Finally, 5-year-old Nina Gomes may be the youngest of the lot, but she is doing her bit by collecting plastic on her father's surfboard in the bay of Rio de Janeiro every day after school. These young individuals have shown us that age is just a number and that we can all make a difference in our ways.

Director, Los Angeles Barea studied at the famed Cristina Rota School of Theatre in Spain. Discovered by Director Pedro Almodovar, Angeles made her debut acting in his Academy Award winning film Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown which received an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Angeles went on to work with acclaimed directors such as Jess Franco and Alex de la Iglesia. Los Angeles became a well-known personality making countless television appearances. Los Angeles was inspired after working for six years with the environmental non-profit Grades of Green - watching young people develop amazing projects to help the Planet and looking for solutions. It is so inspirational that she realized she wanted to show the world how these young, brilliant minds create such new and innovative ideas and projects to help the planet with plastic pollution, clean energy, water contamination, fossil fuels, and climate change. These young people are role models, and heroes.

The scene where Connor Berryhill advocates for ocean conservation is truly inspiring. It's unfortunate that many species are on the brink of extinction, despite laws in place to protect them. Human activities continue to cause irreversible damage to wildlife, and marine life is particularly vulnerable due to the serious threat of fishing nets and garbage. We have a responsibility to follow the example set by animals and protect the ecosystem rather than destroy it. We can all do our part, no matter how small, to make a difference. Together, we can make a positive impact and ensure that future generations can enjoy the beauty of our planet's diverse wildlife.

The film's message is about taking responsibility for our actions is key to achieving a healthy environment, clean air, and peace that we all desire. Let's do our part and work together to create a better world for ourselves and future generations.

I give Green SuperHeroes 2023 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. This qualifies as a special interest topic - environment, ecology and climate change. By Changyang L., KIDS FIRST!
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GREATEST HITS, THE

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GREATEST HITS, THE - SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Harriet (Lucy Boynton) finds art imitating life when she discovers certain songs can transport her back in time -- literally. While she relives the past through romantic memories of her former boyfriend (David Corenswet), her time traveling collides with a burgeoning new love interest in the present (Justin H. Min). As she takes her journey through the hypnotic connection between music and memory, she wonders -- even if she could change the past, should she?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Greatest Hits is an emotional comedy, drama, and fantasy film that highlights the impact of music. The cute yet sentimental storyline is unique, and I especially love how this film uses music as a metaphor to depict grief, and the stages people go through processing it.

The film introduces Harriet (Lucy Boynton) who loses her boyfriend in a car accident. The tragedy leaves Harriet with trauma and also the ability to go back in time. When she hears a song that's connected with a memory, the ability to time travel is triggered, and Harriet goes back to that time. Harriet tries to bring Max back, and faces many life-challenge obstacles that don't allow her to recover from his death. Two years later, Harriet remembers the accident like it happened yesterday--she visits a support group where she meets David (Justin H. Min). And so Harriet must "face the music" and make some very tough decisions.

This film is authentic, heartbreaking, and very relatable. I love the soundtrack and connected with it so much as I constantly listen to music, and I love how music symbolizes different stages of life. Throughout the film, Harriet is desperately looking for ways to bring Max back. While this makes Harriet relatable, I also found this to be the film's biggest flaw. That being said I did find the plot to be very cute and romantic. The story is about overcoming grief, and I like how the film represents what that means to Harriet. However, the acting and script aren't as strong as I wished. Lucy Boynton does deliver a very good performance as she shows how grief can harshly impact one's life. And I liked Austin Crute's performance as Harriet's best friend--their chemistry is refreshing as he supports Harriet through her grieving process. Finally, I enjoy the aesthetic of this film--the warm cinematography is pleasing to the eye.

The message of this film is that sometimes we need to let go of the past to move forward with the present.

I give The Greatest Hits 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The Greatest Hits debuts in limited release in theaters on April 5, 2024 and on Hulu April 23, 2024.

By Zoe C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FOOD, INC 2

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FOOD, INC 2 - MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-18
Description - Food, Inc. 2 is a timely and urgent follow-up to the Oscar�-nominated documentary from directors Robert Kenner and Melissa Robledo. In the sequel, Kenner and Robledo reunite with investigative authors Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) and Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) to take a fresh look at our vulnerable food system. The groundbreaking Food, Inc. ignited a cultural conversation about the multinational corporations that control our food system at enormous cost to our planet, workforce, and health. FOOD, INC. 2 comes "back for seconds" to reveal how corporate consolidation has gone unchecked by our government, leaving us with a highly efficient yet shockingly vulnerable food system dedicated only towards increasing profits. Seeking solutions, the film introduces innovative farmers, food producers, workers' rights activists, and prominent legislators such as U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Jon Tester, who are facing these companies head-on and fighting to create a more sustainable future.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Our lives depend on healthy food. I believe it's imperative to watch the new documentary Food, Inc. 2 to learn about our food supply system one bite at a time by watching this informative and thought provoking film. You and your family can move forward by making choices to work toward a healthier future which is certainly my goal.

Food, Inc. 2 is an update to 2008's Food, Inc. which was a groundbreaking Oscar�-nominated expose on the multinational corporations that control our food supply. There has been more consolidation in the food industry since 2008 and Food, Inc. 2 explores how our values should impact our food choices. This documentary emphasizes the anti-trust and monopoly issues encountered in our agricultural system. It highlights the profits of capitalism versus the sustainability of nature and how this directly affects the quality and nutrition of our food. In addition, the movie makes the point that the agricultural labor force is essential, but is often treated as disposable.

Corporate profits have risen at the expense of both consumers and rural America's farming communities. There are definitely concerns for future soil and water quality which impact our food's nutritional value as well as the effect they have on individuals and our communities. I value the information shared by Senators Cory Booker and Jon Tester as they work to improve access to healthy food and to support our farmers. The documentary is also interesting when it chronicles the food additives which affect our taste and metabolism. Most other countries don't have so many highly processed foods and the multinational corporations are looking to change that in their zeal to increase corporate profits. Perhaps there will be added cooperation with international partners on finding ways to improve nutrition and agriculture globally in the future. I really enjoyed learning about the innovative farmers working to improve our food supply from the ground up or, in the case of a kelp farmer, by charting a new course in food supply. I learned a great deal from all of the interviews and contributors to this project and hope that, in the future, there will be more information available to us concerning the impact on health and our healthcare system tied to nutritional and environmental concerns.

Food, Inc. was released the year I was born and this new documentary, Food, Inc. 2 will hopefully provide further food for thought for a new generation or for those who missed the original film. There may be some viewers who feel that there is not enough differentiation between the original documentary and the new update but this makes it palatable for those of us who haven't watched the original to understand the overview of the food industry and to inspire us so that hopefully our food supply can improve by replicating better standards and not from further consolidation.

Food, Inc. 2 gets 4.5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This documentary releases in theaters for special screenings on April 9, 2024 and will then be available on digital April 12, 2024.

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Food, Inc. 2 expands on the original Food, Inc. ideas of encouraging consumers to change the food system. Its interesting facts opened my eyes to the corrupt system that exists currently. I like that the film inspires people to solve these problems. It doesn't scare the viewer but provides hope for alternative solutions. It's a topic that I resonate with.

The film follows Michael Pollan, who is known for his books that explore the socio-cultural impact of food such as The Botany of Desire and The Omnivore's Dilemma, This documentary investigates the food industry and shows the not-so-pretty parts. Pollan interviews experts as well as people who are involved with food production and distribution personally including farmers, scientists, and entrepreneurs.

Michael Pollan narrates the film. As an author and an investigative journalist he shows people and places that demonstrate how corporate food companies are hurting small businesses and the environment. Another claim he makes is that animals are not being treated humanely in food production. He brings in various people to speak about their personal experiences in the food business including Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, US Senators Cory Booker and Jon Tester and Pat Brown, a former Stanford professor who is the founder of Impossible Foods. He states that, if we replaced cows, it could give us 30 more years before greenhouse gases rise further. At times, there is some creative animation that demonstrates what he is discussing, but most of the film is shot in typical documentary style with lots of voice-overs and interviews. The film's directors, Robert Kenner and Melissa Robledo, are wonderful at displaying various aspects of the food industry, including beautiful shots of sustainable farms and labs. On the other hand, farm workers are shown with less pleasing shots. My favorite part of the film is a new invention that allows goats and pigs to eat plants in a small space. I was truly shocked by the alarming facts about the food industry that are presented here. For example, a third of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world come from the food industry. That's a lot! This is just one of many startling facts in this film.

The film's message is that we can work together to transform the food system. The film encourages viewers to abolish factory farms, prioritize healthy foods and sustainable farms, and end cruelty to the environment.

Food, Inc. 2 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Food, Inc. 2 releases in select cities April 9, 2024, and will be available on digital platforms beginning April 12, 2024.

By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
EVIL FAIRY QUEEN, THE

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EVIL FAIRY QUEEN, THE - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - Elemental spirits have held power over the human world since its inception. The relationship, however, is symbiotic. Elfame is a fairy kingdom ruled by Melisandria and it is dying, the required ritual sacrifice is late. Elspeth Moore's family is bound to Elfame, every generation a child has been offered for sacrifice to renew Elfame's magical energy. When Kate Richards receives a letter from her estranged great-aunt Elspeth offering a place to stay when they need it most, they gratefully accept not realizing they are being lured towards their demise.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Evil Fairy Queen is a tale of mischief and deception. It combines important lessons with an engaging storyline.

The story revolves around a family of four who move into the mother's great aunt's old farmhouse. However the house is not quite what it seems to be when they discover that a group of fairies live in the area - a group of evil fairies who need to complete an oath. Throughout the film, the mother has to protect her family from getting sacrificed by this evil clan of fairies.

This film has so many distinct fun features. One of my favorite parts is how the beginning of the film has a short animated intro that quickly transitions into the live-action film. The film is based on old European folklore rather than American fairy tales which allows the fairies to be evil and adds an interesting new element to the film. One of the coolest parts of this film is the young lead, Violet (Kitty Sudbery), who has many different scenes and she performs in all of them very beautifully and powerfully. The final thing I noticed is that the group of evil fairies is really just one big family that is looking for a way to survive - they're just doing what's necessary for their survival. The film was produced in the United Kingdom and therefore they use many words such as bloke, mate and mummy, which may be unfamiliar to American audiences.

The film's messages are that not everything is always as it seems and be careful who you trust.

I give The Evil Fairy Queen 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch it on VOD on April 16, 2024.

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

I thoroughly enjoyed The Evil Fairy Queen for its gripping storyline and immersive atmosphere.

The film's portrayal of the evil fairies and their sinister motives kept me on the edge of my seat.

The story unfolds as a family is lured to a remote farmhouse by a deceitful relative, only to fall victim to malevolent fairies that require sacrifices to renew their magical life force. As tensions escalate and the family's plight becomes increasingly dire, they must confront the dark forces that threaten their very existence.

What impresses me the most about this film is its masterful blending of horror and fantasy elements. The film's eerie setting and chilling portrayal of the fairy creatures creates a palpable sense of dread that lingers long after the credits roll. Additionally, the strong performances from the cast, especially Julia Czartoryski, who plays Kate Richards, add depth and emotional resonance to the story. The special effects used to bring the evil fairies to life are impressive, adding a layer of visual richness to the film. However, there are a few moments where the CGI looks slightly unpolished and detracts from the overall immersion of the viewing experience. Nonetheless, the film's strong narrative and compelling performances overshadow any shortcomings in the visual effects department.

The film's message is that everything is not always as it seems.

I give The Evil Fairy Queen, 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 through 18. This film releases April 16, 2024. Be sure to check it out.

By Gavin S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Evil Fairy Queen is an exciting movie with a very unexpected take on fairies. This film, directed by Simon Wells, is a fantasy with elements of a horror movie and plenty of surprises!

When the Richards family receives a call from great aunt Elspeth inviting them to move to her farmhouse, Kate Richards (Julia Czartoryski) believes it could be a new beginning. But a world of danger is lurking in the woodlands surrounding the farm with sinister ties to Kate's past. The youngest daughter, Violet (Kitty Sudbery), innocently befriends Melisandria (Hannah Harris), the Evil Fairy Queen, who wants to sacrifice Violet and Kate to preserve her reign. With help from Dillon (Luke Hunter), Kate tries to save Violet and herself from the evil clutches of Melisandria and her evil fairy sidekicks.

I like how the story is presented throughout this film! There is a good mix of mystery, horror and suspense to keep the plot moving forward. The Evil Fairy Queen delivers a combination of horror mixed with fantasy. The woodland fairies are very different from those in most childhood stories as they prefer the taste of human flesh. Fortunately, the well-lit scenes and cinematography keep the dark subject matter from feeling too scary. Kitty Sudbery is double-cast as both Violet and a younger Kate, which I found mildly distracting, yet this movie still is enjoyable to watch. The relationships between the Richards' family members are interesting and the subplot is that they overcome a family tragedy.

The message of The Evil Fairy Queen is to be careful who you trust as things are not always what they seem.

I give The Evil Fairy Queen 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The film releases in theaters on April 16, 2024.

By Kira O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The Evil Fairy Queen is an engaging fantasy film that combines real and fantasy elements, as it transports us into a world of fairies!

The Evil Fairy Queen follows a family that moved from a suburban town to a large, seemingly normal house in a rural area. However, this house and the family's experiences there are anything but normal. Something seems off from the day they arrive, when a neighbor creepily warns them of the house's dangers. The younger daughter, Violet (Kitty Sudbery), discovers the fairy queen but doesn't realize the dangers of keeping it a secret. Eventually, the rest of the family figures out what's going on, but not until it's too late and the entire family is in grave danger.

This film has strong, relatable characters that pulled me in and allowed me to connect with the storyline. The older daughter, Adelaide (Aniela Leyland), is a typical teenager while the younger daughter is still an innocent, sweet, explorative little girl. This contrast is typical for siblings, no matter what the age difference or similarity in interests. The dynamics between the family members make the film relevant and also demonstrates the character motives in the more suspenseful parts. Because this film includes many fantastical aspects, it's important that viewers can relate to the characters, even if their situation is a bit unrealistic. With all that said, the story has some issues - there are some unclear parts of the fantasy world and various things are never explained. That makes some parts of the film slightly confusing and diminishes its overall suspense. However, the concept of the fantasy world is interesting and it's a wonderful idea.

The film's message is to trust your loved ones and support them if they're struggling. Violet, the youngest daughter, feels that her family is uninterested in her passion for fairies and is aware that no one believes what she's experiencing. The family's refusal to believe her ends up wasting time that could have been spent trying to get out before the real danger occurs.

I give The Evil Fairy Queen 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. You can watch The Evil Fairy Queen on video on demand beginning April 16, 2024.

By Kyla C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SOCCER FOOTBALL MOVIE, THE

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SOCCER FOOTBALL MOVIE, THE - SPLASH STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - An "evil doctor" ("Weird Al" Yankovic) wants to steal the world's best soccer players' talents, skills, and abilities. He targets Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Megan Rapinoe (both playing themselves) and turns them into horrifying "mutant" monster versions of themselves. But with the help of some children soccer players, "Weird Al" will have to overcome their team of heroes that relies on hard work and practice instead of a magic serum.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Soccer Football Movie is a delightful blend of humor, heart, and thrilling action sequences. From start to finish, the film captivated me with its engaging storyline and charming characters. It's a joyride that kept me hooked throughout.

In this animated adventure, a group of plucky kids, known as the Creature Catchers, embarks on an exciting journey to witness their soccer heroes, Zlatan and Megan Rapinoe (voiced by themselves) in action. However, their plans take an unexpected turn when they discover that the players have been mutated by a strange slimy slug concocted by the eccentric Weird Al (voiced by Weird Al Yankovic). Now the creature catchers must team up with superstars to thwart a monstrous creature created by the nefarious slime.

This movie is a true gem! The clever humor, stellar voice acting, and stunning animation make it a joyride from start to finish. The jokes had me laughing out loud, and the voice acting by the remarkable cast brings the characters to life in a way that is both entertaining and endearing. The animation is top notch, with vibrant visuals that capture the excitement of the soccer matches, and the chaos of the creature's rampage. Moreover, the underlying message of unity and camaraderie adds depth to the storyline, making it a film that resonates long after the credits roll. Watching the creature catchers and the soccer stars come together to overcome obstacles and defeat the common enemy is not only thrilling, but also uplifting. The Soccer Football Movie is a winner for both soccer fans and animation lovers.

The film's message is that teamwork makes the dreamwork, and that with support anything can get done.

I give The Soccer Football Movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 through 12; this film is available on most streaming platforms now, be sure to check it out.

By Gavin S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE

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GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - In Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, the Spengler family returns to where it all started - the iconic New York City firehouse - to team up with the original Ghostbusters, who've developed a top-secret research lab to take busting ghosts to the next level. But when the discovery of an ancient artifact unleashes an army of ghosts that casts a death chill upon the city, Ghostbusters new and old must join forces to protect their home and save the world from a second Ice Age.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is the second movie in the franchise and it is so much fun! This time, new and old Ghostbusters team up to battle an ancient demon that wants to freeze Manhattan. The special effects are mind-blowing, especially when they're chasing the icy ghosts. Also, this movie is really funny and features cool new ghostbusting gadgets and special appearances by some of the original cast members.

The film is set in New York City where Phoebe Spenglar (Mckenna Grace) and her family have moved, and they are busting ghosts in the original firehouse. Ray Stantz (Dan Ackroyd) runs an occult book and antique shop. When Ray buys a strange, ancient orb that contains a dangerous and ancient spirit, the two stories collide and the old and new Ghostbusters team up to save the city.

There are a ton of great things in this movie. The CGI ghosts and scenes of frozen New York City are amazing and very creative. The story is really fun because of many unexpected twists, new ghostly friends and lots of comedy. One of my favorite things about this film is that many of the original characters make appearances like when Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) tests out some new ghost-catching gadgets from his secret lab.

The film's message is that it's important to work together to overcome challenges and that family can give us strength and the ability to be brave. Viewers should know it has scary moments, and that there is some light swearing.

I give Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can see it in theaters on Friday, March 22, 2024.

By Connor S. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire works as an extension of the adventures of the Ghostbusters. It has a developing plot that surprised me since it's pretty creative. However, it's not something to call "out of this world."

This film follows the Spenglers who reunite with beloved former Ghostbusters to fight an ancient icy evil that threatens all of humanity. Will their skills match up to this cold villain, or will they all freeze to death?

The main characters are Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), Mr. Grooerson (Paul Rudd), Callie (Carrie Coon), Ray (Dan Aykroyd), Winston (Ernie Hudson, Lucky (Celeste O'Connor), Podcast (Logan Kim), Janine (Annie Potts), and Venkman (Bill Murray). It's interesting to see the new and old Ghostbusters collaborate to fight Garraka, the ancient ice god. This film offers a reunion the fans have wanted, and the filmmakers responded to that. I recommend watching the previous Ghostbusters movies. However, keep in mind that the original Ghostbusters do not have much involvement in this film -- they are merely there to watch, which is extremely disappointing. During the ending fight scene, they just stand there. On the other hand, the plot is engaging and I never found myself bored during the film. It starts off with the Spengler family on a mission to capture a ghost. Therefore, it has a quick start as it kicks into the storyline. I do not care for the direction of this movie. It feels off. For example, when the ghost betrays Phoebe it happens all of a sudden, without much context, especially since the two of them don't have that much of a bond. Also, the characters don't really stand out from each other, besides barely knowing their backstories. I also did not like the special effects. They could be playing homage to the original movies, but the special effects of the ghosts are not realistic in any way. On a higher note, my favorite parts of the film are the mini Stay-Puft Marshmallow Men. They are adorable and hilarious. If you remember, in the original film the marshmallow man is huge. Also, the character Nadeem is extremely amusing. He is supposed to be the Fireman that saves them all from Garraka, which is a great addition to the storyline. That's something new I like about the movie because they don't stick with just ghosts, which gets boring after a few movies. In the end, the film makes a good addition to the adventures of the Ghostbusters, but it isn't something to rave about or call extraordinary.

The film's message is that family matters most. Phoebe is banned from Ghostbusting and she gets into more trouble later on. However, in the end, her and her parents forgive each other because they realize the importance of family. You should be aware there are mature conversations and violence in the film, with a hint of profanity.

I give Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire releases in theaters March 22, 2024.

By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WHERE IS ANNE FRANK?

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WHERE IS ANNE FRANK? - ALTITUDE FILM ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Description - Kitty, the imaginary girl to whom Anne Frank wrote her famous diary, comes to life in the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Her memories reawakened by reading the diary, believing that if she's alive, Anne must be alive as well, she sets out on a quest to find Anne. We follow Kitty as she travels across Europe and back to Anne Frank's time, armed with the precious book, in search of her beloved friend.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Where is Anne Frank? offers a poignant and innovative take on the story of Anne Frank through the lens of animation and the adventures of her imaginary friend, Kitty. I thoroughly enjoyed this film for its unique approach to storytelling and its ability to blend historical narratives with elements of fantasy.

Directed by Ari Folman, the story unfolds as Anne Frank's diary comes to life years after Anne's death. Anne's imaginary friend, Kitty, embarks on a journey to find Anne, spending a lot of time trying to uncover the truth about Anne's fate. Kitty learns about the harrowing experience that Anne and her family experienced during the holocaust, and the heartbreaking reality of their demise.

The film captivates audiences from the outset with its imaginative premise, as her imaginary friend Kitty, embarks on a quest to find Anne years after her death. This narrative device not only provides a fresh perspective on Anne's life but also allows for a deeper exploration of her experiences and legacy. The animation is beautifully crafted, bringing both the historical setting and the fantasy elements of life with vibrant visuals and rich detail. The adventure that Kitty undertakes to uncover the truth about Anne's fate is both suspenseful and emotionally resonant, keeping viewers engaged throughout.

The film's message is that anyone has the right to live in freedom, no matter their race, religion, or culture. Be forewarned this film does contain moderate profanity.

I give Where Is Anne Frank? 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 through 12, plus adults. It was featured on March 10 at the New York International Children's Film Festival. You can watch it on Prime Video, Vudu or Apple TV. Be sure to check it out.

By Gavin S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
KUNG FU PANDA 4

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KUNG FU PANDA 4 - DREAMWORKS - LA
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-18
Description - After Po is tapped to become the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace, he needs to find and train a new Dragon Warrior, while a wicked sorceress plans to re-summon all the master villains whom Po has vanquished to the spirit realm.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Don't get your noodles in a twist because Kung Fu Panda 4 is available now. For the first time in almost a decade, comedy icon Jack Black returns to his role as Po, the world's acknowledged most unlikely kung fu master. Some familiar characters are here to support him on his journey along with some new relationships which refresh this beloved franchise.

Po, the Dragon Warrior (Jack Black) is about to experience a transition in his kung fu role in the Valley of Peace. Kung Fu Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) informs Po that he is needed to become a spiritual leader and to choose and train the next Dragon Warrior. This new role is a challenge for Po as he enjoys butt-kicking moves to counter villains and questions his fitness for a new cerebral role. While searching for inner peace we are reminded that for Po everything comes back to dumplings. Resisting his new role, Po determines it is necessary to first thwart a powerful new sorceress, Chameleon (Viola Davis), who can shapeshift and seeks total kung fu domination. He finds an unlikely partner in a tricky thief, Zhen (Awkwafina) who ends up teaching him that heroes can be found even in a den of thieves.

The computer animation of this film is so beautiful that, in the beginning, it almost appears to be 3D. The backgrounds are stunning and you'll love the various scenes in this wonton wonderland from DreamWorks Animation. I really enjoyed the interaction between the unlikely duo of Po and Zhen and the comedy created between their two characters. I absolutely love the new villain Chameleon and Viola Davis really illustrates how small and stylish stature doesn't impact the extent of evil evident in a character.

This film's message is that true change comes from within and that support from family and friends makes a great impact while helping to enable that change. After all, every step someone takes, no matter how large or small creates a footprint for others to follow.

Kung Fu Panda 4 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. This movie releases in theaters March 8, 2024 so go enjoy this hilarious new chapter in a favorite action-comedy franchise!

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Kung Fu Panda 4 is just the feel-good movie I needed this year. It's an incredibly entertaining family-friendly movie that seamlessly weaves humor and heartwarming messages.

When our favorite Dragon Warrior and Kung Fu fighting panda, Po (Jack Black), is chosen to become the spiritual leader of the Valley of Peace, he must step down and train a new Dragon Warrior. However, he isn't quite ready for that change and has no idea who to choose as his successor. To top it off, the Chameleon (Viola Davis), a powerful sorceress, has set her eyes on Po's Staff of Wisdom, so he must go on one last Dragon Warrior adventure to save the Valley of Peace with the help of the clever bandit corsac fox, Zhen (Awkwafina).

Even though the target audience for this movie, based on its humor, is pretty young, this film is enjoyable for the whole family. Plus, it embeds some deep messages about change and redemption. The animation style and quality is top notch - reflecting exactly what we expect and more from DreamWorks. The animation style of the bunnies and pigs is so iconic and adorable, and I love seeing the new types of animals the movie introduces. I also love how they portray the energy coming from the Staff of Wisdom and the Chameleon's magic. One of my favorite duos in this movie is Mr. Ping (James Hong), who is Po's adoptive dad, and Li (Bryan Cranston), Po's biological dad. You can really tell how much they both care for Po and they make a great team. Awkwafina's distinct and unique voice really fits the personality of Zhen. It's so endearing to see her character grow and develop, and the contrast between her sneakiness and Po's genuineness makes them complementary partners. Of course, Jack Black never fails to make the audience laugh - he makes Po so lovable and relatable. There's a lot more star power in this film with voice actors like Viola Davis, Ian McShane, Dustin Hoffman, Mr. Beast, Seth Rogen and more. I only wish we got to see more of the Furious Five.

The film's messages include recognizing that even though change is hard, it isn't always bad, and it's never too late to do the right thing. Also, as with the previous Kung Fu Panda movies, we are reminded to never judge a book by its cover.

Kung Fu Panda 4 gets 4 of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It comes out in theaters on March 8, 2024.

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

Exciting. Dynamic. Captivating. Our favorite panda, Po is BACK in the fourth installment of Kung Fu Panda. With a daring adventure and character development that gives the movie an appropriate pace, Kung Fu Panda 4 is a new lighthearted film that I definitely enjoyed.

Kung Fu Panda 4 focuses on Dragon Warrior Po (Jack Black), who has been promoted to the spiritual leader of the Valley of Peace. This means that he now has to select and train a new warrior. In his process, he discovers that the evil shapeshifter Cameleonul (Viola Davis) is trying to steal his Staff of Wisdom. Joining forces with a witty and sly fox named Zhen (Awkwafina), Po has to try to stop Cameleonul's plan.

This animated film is geared toward a younger audience and with that in mind, the plot is a bit predictable. The viewers can sense the plot twists and changes throughout the movie. Despite this, the fast paced scenes like the chase in the town, keep you engaged the whole time. The animation pays great attention to detail, which helps move the story forward while keeping the audience interested. One of the biggest examples of captivating animation is when Cameleonul is shape shifting. Audiences anticipate what she will turn into next, big or small, and what vibrant colors are coming. One of the characters that stands out is Zhen, voiced by Awkwafina. Her delivery and comedic timing is on point, and she fits the character perfectly. Her banter with Po creates a friendly relationship that audiences can invest in. Kung Fu Panda 4 is perfect for a family movie night, and has an important message that all audiences can relate to.

The film's message is that, while it may not be easy, change is what builds character and makes you the best version of yourself. Po doesn't know who he is, if not the Dragon Warrior, but he eventually realizes that passing wisdom down and helping others succeed is one of the greatest accomplishments he can achieve.

Kung Fu Panda 4 gets 4 out 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. You can find Kung Fu Panda 4 in theaters on March 8, 2024. Make sure you check it out!

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

Kung Fu Panda 4 may not pack the punch of earlier Kung Fun Panda movies, but the breathtaking animation, frenetic fights and well-placed humor more than deliver. Families must check this out for fun pandemonium that both adults and kids can enjoy.

This film starts a new journey for Dragon Warrior Po (Jack Black) once he is commanded by Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) to find a replacement Dragon Warrior and complete his transformation as the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace. Unfortunately, Po knows little of spiritual learning, preferring a good fight and dumplings; worse yet, he runs into a mysterious thief Zhen (Awkwafina), who really gets under his fur. Worst of all, a sinister, shapeshifting sorceress Chameleon (Viola Davis) seeks to usurp Po's Staff of Wisdom to lead and re-summon the spirit realm that is littered with Po's finest foes. Desperate times call for desperate measures from Po as he trains and relies on Zhen. Can Po once again save the day and make a Dragon Warrior out of Zhen?

The cast is full of hilarious talent that works well off each other. Jack Black, as Po, picks up his character compellingly since he last picked up the mantle. Black's liveliness is always present, but here, he also gets to show off his emotional chops while coming to terms with change. Po might be at a career crossroads, but thankfully Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) is here to help with his elderly wisdom. The Furious Five might leave a void in their absence but thankfully Awkwafina, as Zhen, naturally fills that void with Po as their hunt for the Chameleon turns into a buddy-cop spectacle. I can't think of a better complement for Po as the duo bond over their similarities and weaknesses; furthermore, it's Zhen's inner struggle with her inherent shadiness that remains most compelling. For that reason, Zhen's inclination to improve and do the right thing is a memorable and honorable character arc. Viola Davis, as Chameleon, absolutely carries the foe's presence with her commanding, sinister voice. Sadly, the Chameleon is the weakest antagonist in the franchise. Her underdeveloped, generically villainous endgame does not bring the nuances and complexities of Po's previous rogue gallery. Last but not least, Po's parents Mr. Ping (James Ping) and Li (Bryan Cranston) undergo a wholesome quest to find Po; Cranston, in particular, comedically shines in a recurring subplot where he must fool enemies into thinking he's Po. Mike Newell aptly directs the animation with stylistic choices that allow for breathtaking world building and fluid, stadium-like fights.

The film's message is that violence never solves conflicts. Although the film is full of fisticuffs, Po goes to great lengths to first reach an understanding with his foes. Po's reluctant transformation from Dragon Warrior to Spiritual Leader is at the heart of this nonviolence; furthermore, it develops Po's brazenness into a source of peace. Despite the film's child-friendliness, parents should be aware of mild violence. A few characters unfortunately die, but thankfully the deaths are comically unfocused and mostly implied.

Kung Fu Panda 4 gets 4 out of 5 stars and from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. The film releases on March 8, 2024 in theaters. Be sure to check it out in theaters.

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 22

Set in the fun and humble town of the Valley Of Peace, Kung Fu Panda 4 had me laughing from the amusing story, amazing acting and great animation.

Po (Jack Black), the great Dragon Warrior, now has to become a spiritual leader who has to identify a successor and guide the next Dragon Warrior. He does not believe he can be a mentor and a leader, and while meditating to find a solution, he encounters a fox named Zhen (Awkwafina). A fight ensues and when Po puts her behind bars, he finds out that a new villain, The Chameleon (Viola Davis), has taken over Juniper City. With her shape shifting powers, she can turn into anyone and is planning to take over more land, including The Valley of Peace. Together, Zhen and Po go on a dangerous journey to bustling Juniper City to fight The Chameleon. They are met with countless challenges, and ultimately with the help of a team of bandits, take down The Chameleon.

Kung Fu Panda 4 definitely is entertaining with its funny and amusing characters, plus great morals and stories. The animation is mind blowing with amazing detail for these two different locations. The Valley of Peace is shown to be a small, colorful, village where everyone knows each other. Compared to the Valley of Peace, Juniper City is shown to be a darker, bustling city with many hardened people. The 60s style fight scenes, reminiscent of old Batman TV shows, kept me engaged and are very enjoyable. Jack Black definitely skadooshes as Kung Fu Panda! His empathetic and hilarious tones make it impossible not to love Po. Awkwafina is so great as Zhen because you can feel the hurt she carries with her in her voice. Viola Davis shows her Oscar prowess by delivering a very intimidating Chameleon. Dustin Hoffman, as Master Shifu, shows his annoyance and frustration towards Po in a very funny, yet kind way. Finally, Bryan Cranston and James Hong play Po's Panda and Goose dads, Li and Ping respectively, showing their love and support of Po throughout the movie. Kung Fu Panda 4 reminds us to always believe in ourselves and, even when we do not, at least pretend to. After Po gets hurt, he does not believe he can defeat The Chameleon, but his belief in himself grows with his parents' support. When it gets challenging, his panda dad, Li, is extremely worried, but acts brave just to save Po. We also are reminded that anyone has the ability to grow into a successful or beautiful thing. At first, Zhen does the wrong thing and then she remembers Po's kindness and how he believes in her and that changes her.

The film's messages are to believe in yourself and remember that kindness is important - everything we say to others affects them as it can affect how they think about themselves and ultimately, their actions.

Kung Fu Panda 4 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters on March 8, 2024

By Avani M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ARTHUR THE KING

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ARTHUR THE KING - LIONSGATE FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT Click to purchase directly from the producer
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-18
Description - Over the course of ten days and 435 miles, an unbreakable bond is forged between pro adventure racer Michael Light (Mark Wahlberg) and a scrappy street dog companion dubbed Arthur. Based on an incredible true story, Arthur The King follows Light, desperate for one last chance to win, as he convinces a sponsor to back him and a team of athletes (Simu Liu, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Ali Suliman) for the Adventure Racing World Championship in the Dominican Republic. As the team is pushed to their outer limits of endurance in the race, Arthur redefines what victory, loyalty and friendship truly mean.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Arthur The King is a captivating emotional journey that tugs at your heartstrings, leaving you teary-eyed yet filled with a sense of joy. This film is a delightful blend of suspense, humor, and adventure, making it a must-watch for audiences of all ages.

Based on the true story of Mikeal Lindnord (Mark Wahlberg), the movie takes us on a thrilling ride as Mikeal and his group set out to win a race that will go down in history. However, their journey takes an unexpected turn when they encounter Arthur (Ukai), a lovable dog who becomes an integral part of their team.

What makes Arthur The King truly special is its ability to resonate with both dog lovers and non-dog lovers alike. The film's visuals are breathtakingly natural, capturing the beauty of the outdoors with stunning cinematography and seamless editing. It's evident that the crew poured their hearts into bringing this true story to life, and their dedication shines through in every frame. Mark Wahlberg's portrayal of Mikeal Lindnord is nothing short of remarkable. He exudes leadership and compassion, especially towards Arthur, which instantly endears him to the audience. Ukai's performance as Arthur adds depth and charm to the film, elevating it to new heights. One of the film's greatest strengths is its pacing. Despite its quick pace, Arthur The King never feels rushed. Instead, it effectively conveys the message of the film - that a dog truly is man's best friend - in a short amount of time, leaving a lasting impact on the audience.

The message is "dog is man's best friend" and it serves as a reminder of the special connection between humans and dogs.

I give Arthur The King 4 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults (and dog lovers.) This film is a heartwarming tale that will leave you laughing, crying, and ultimately feeling uplifted. Don't miss your chance to experience this emotional thrill ride when it hits theaters on March 15, 2024.

By David E., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Arthur the King is a great family film and a good movie with a strong main character and a heartwarming story. However, even with all these great aspects, the greatest part of this film is the dog.

The story focuses on Mikael Linord (Mark Wahlberg) is a renowned adventure racer who has a lot of medals but has never won the championship. He tries to get back into the sport that he loves, but along comes a furry friend to help him overcome his fears and possibly win the championship. The team adopts the dog and the adventure begins.

Arthur the King does everything right. To start off the protagonist, Mikael goes through a simple but great character journey, starting off the film as someone who refuses to listen to other people's point of view but grows as a person learning to consider others ideas by the end. Mikael isn't the only thing that makes this film good-- it's also a heartwarming story about family. If you're looking for a good film you can see with your family this is the one--you'll be happy watching this film. You may feel a little sad but mostly you'll be rooting for the characters to succeed. And Arthur the dog will win you over. The filmmakers make sure you love Arthur and hope that it never gets hurt and that it succeeds. That leads to us getting invested in this dog, and in Mikael's story, which creates strong emotional moments.

The theme of Arthur the King is that sometimes you have one goal and yet achieving that goal isn't necessarily the most important thing in your life. The theme is portrayed by Mikael as learns that his goal isn't what's most important to him--it's what he has that he takes for granted.

I give Arthur the King 3.5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. This film releases in theaters March 15, 2024.

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

By Rayce S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 5-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
ORDINARY ANGELS

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ORDINARY ANGELS - KINGDOM STORY COMPANY
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - Based on a remarkable true story, Ordinary Angels centers on Sharon (Hilary Swank), a fierce but struggling hairdresser in small-town Kentucky who discovers a renewed sense of purpose when she meets Ed (Alan Ritchson), a widower working hard to make ends meet for his two daughters. With his youngest daughter waiting for a liver transplant, Sharon sets her mind to helping the family and will move mountains to do it. What unfolds is the inspiring tale of faith, everyday miracles, and ordinary angels.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Tighten up your heartstrings for this new release because the film Ordinary Angels delivers a rollercoaster of scenes sure to unleash your deepest emotions. This well-crafted film offers such a mixture of highs and lows, almost in a magical way, that it definitely made its way onto my favorite films of all time. Viewers are in for a real treat with this masterpiece!

Based on an amazing true story, Ordinary Angels takes us on a journey to a small Kentucky Town where a bold, yet emotionally struggling hairdresser, Sharon Stevens (Hilary Swank), finds meaning to her life by helping a tragedy stricken family who are complete strangers. With the recent loss of his wife, Ed Schmitt (Alan Ritchson) faces yet another hardship when his youngest daughter must have a lifesaving liver transplant in order to survive her illness. With mounting medical bills and other expenses which the Schmitt Family cannot afford, saving his daughter's life seems out of reach until Stevens sets out to move mountains in making this happen. With renewed purpose, this "ordinary angel" brings her community together in this near impossible mission.

There is so much to love about this film! The cast, with both its lead and supporting actors, are dynamite and are an absolute perfect fit for their roles. Although some scenes are bitterly sad and required a box of tissues within reach, others I found to be comedic, which offered a great balance and some time for the tears to dry up. I was totally connected to the film from beginning to end as each scene delivers something so unique, setting off a gamut of emotions. A big two thumbs up for writers Kelly Fremon Craig and Meg Tilly, as well as for director Jon Gunn, for such a powerful timely film which is a true gift in a world so divided. Ordinary Angels reminds us that we must see beyond our flaws and appreciate one another, which I can certainly appreciate. This film is the perfect family movie one in which I will be encouraging families far and wide to watch!

Ordinary Angels delivers a message of faith within "community" and allows that faith to encourage good deeds for one another. God shows up in a big way when there is faith allowing for such a unique ripple effect. Serving within your community is a powerful tool and can result in significant positive change in people's lives. "Find a reason to be here and find meaning outside yourself."

I give Ordinary Angels 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Ordinary Angels is available in theaters now.

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DUNE: PART TWO

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DUNE: PART TWO - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - Dune: Part Two will explore the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a path of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Wow! Just saw this in IMAX, which really delivers the visuals in a breathtaking way, especially the desert scenes. I loved Part One and this is twice as good, perhaps because the storyline is more developed or so it seems.

The story revolves around Paul Atreides' mythical journey as he reunites with Chani (Zendaya) and the Freman seeking revenge for the insurgents who murdered his family. Paul has to prove himself to the Freman by undertaking several tasks, including riding a sandworm - and he calls the largest one ever seen. After a two-year conflict, Paul eventually emerges victorious and successfully deposes the Emperor. The Emperor picks Feyd Rautha (Austin Butler) as his champion to duel Paul for the universe's fate. In the end, Paul abandons the love of his life and claims Princess Irulan as his bride, while sending the Freman out into the universe to start a war against the great houses.

This second installment, based on Frank Herbert's books brings with it lots of questions about Paul and the Arrakis. It adds some key characters to the already splendid cast such as Austin Butler playing the evil Feyd Rautha and Florence Pugh playing Irulan. Emperor Shaddam IV is played by Christopher Walken. Lady Margot, the Bene Gesserit wife of Count Hasimir Fenring, is played by Lea Seydoux. Of course, returning cast members include Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides, Javier Gardem as Stilgar (leader of the Fremen tribe), Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck and Stellan Skarsgard as Baron Harkonnen. Chani, played by Zendaya, delivers a stunning performance and shows how she is caught between the man she loves and her dedication to her people, exemplified by her fury at Paul when he breaks his promises to her and colonizes the Fremen through religious propaganda. Having Paul declare war on the great houses at the end of the film shows his drive for ultimate power and sets the scene on world-building. I can't say enough about how impressive the visuals are in this film, created by Patrice Vermette, who goes old-school Hollywood in creating the most immersive sets and environments for the film. That meant filming on location. The grand desert landscapes of Arrakis - the futuristic planet - were filmed in Jordan and Abu Dhabi and are perfectly captured by widescreen cinematography. The vast desert seas are shot from above showing how they stretch for miles in every direction. New worlds are introduced - Caladan and Giedi Prime -- each with its own unique visual characterization. The sandworms appear frequently in Part Two and are massive! Particularly inspiring is Paul's initial ride on the sandworms and, at the end, Chani prepares for her own turn. The most complicated sets were constructed on giant soundstages in Budapest, including the ornithopters. The visual aspect is further enhanced by the incredible flowing, futuristic costume designs by Jacqueline West whose work reaches far and wide as the characters move from planet to planet. Composer Hans Zimmer completes the creative team with an evocative score that absolutely is mind bending, complementing the visuals and enhancing the story's emotional impact.

The film's message is about the importance of family and culture, but it reminds us to beware of heroes. Paul Atreides unites the Fremen people of the desert planet Arrakis to wage war against House Harkonnen who murdered his family. The question is, does Paul take it too far?

I give Dune: Part Two 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters on March 1, 2024. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Dune: Part Two is a jaw-dropping movie that sent thrills through my spine as it follows Paul Atredes and the Freemen. The film opens your eyes to the beauty of the desert while keeping you on your toes with stellar fight sequences and war scenes.

Dune: Part Two starts where the first movie ended, with Paul Atredes (Timothee Chalamet) and his mother (Rebecca Ferguson) having joined Chani (Zendaya) and the Freemen. Seeking revenge against those who have hurt his family, Paul learns the way of the Freemen to gain their trust and respect, falling in love along the way. When the threat resurfaces, Paul and the Freemen must work together to regain their land and prevail over the House of Harkonnen.

Director Denis Villeneuve outdoes himself with Dune: Part Two. His collaboration of brilliant storytelling with world creation and surreal cinematography makes it a movie that audiences will remember long after watching. This movie gave me a new appreciation for the desert, primarily due to how cinematographer Greig Fraser shoots the landscapes. The beginning of the film, with the shots of the sand and the visuals of the red sun setting with the dunes in the background, is breathtaking to watch on the big screen. But the visuals don't stop with the sequences of the sand, as the visual effects are absolutely incredible. Although there are some moments where I could tell that CGI plays a part in creating the setting, most of the CGI is outstanding. The fight sequences are some of the best I've ever seen and definitely kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The movie is very long, at two hours and 46 minutes, and I admit that it feels a bit long near the end. Some characters and plot lines seem to be extraneous to the overall story. For example, Feyd-Rautha Hakkunnen (Austin Butler), although visually very compelling and greatly acted, seems to be somewhat unnecessary. My favorite character is Stilgar (Javier Bardem), as he brings a much-needed amount of humor to an otherwise dark story. Every actor in this film delivers amazing performances, but Chalamet and Ferguson really blew me away. Their acting is phenomenal and makes you empathize with their characters while also fearing them. The background score, by Hans Zimmer, helps transport audiences to the world of Dune and embellishes the beauty of cinematography, making the movie more jaw-dropping.

Dune: Part Two promotes respect and trust, but most importantly, the value of staying true to yourself. A large part of the story is Paul Atredes's difficulty understanding who he is and the Freemen's perception of his role in their society, causing internal conflicts in Paul's head. Once he becomes vulnerable and accepts his destiny everything becomes more clear, not only for him but for the audience as well. Be aware that the movie is very violent at times and involves many fight scenes involving weapons and blood and other disturbing visuals.

I give Dune: Part Two 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters March 1, 2024.

By Emma D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Dune: Part Two is one of the best produced films I have ever seen. The cinematography, casting, direction and special effects are all phenomenal. The filmmakers have paid intricate attention to detail and it shows throughout the movie.

The film follows two strong-willed lovers who are among the many fighters on the planet Arrakis. Paul wants to destroy the people who killed his family, but foresees a dangerous future. That same force is messing with his mind and may ruin his plan to save their people.

Some of your favorite actors are in Dune: Part Two! The main characters are Paul or Uzul (Timoth�e Chalamet), Chani (Zendaya), Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), Stilgar (Javier Bardem), Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler), Beast Rabban (Dave Bautista) and Emperor (Christopher Walken). The casting is fantastic; each actor compliments their characters beautifully and believably. I felt many emotions while watching it because of the great acting. When Chani is hurt by Uzul's sudden change of mind, the air feels tense and her anger is shown. Also, Uzul's mom, Jessica, is mysterious and changes her personality when she drinks the poison. This film is so well-produced. I am beyond amazed by the quality of the production. The camerawork captures the scenes so well, especially when they are in the desert. The special effects are mind-blowing, like when Uzul and Chani blow up multiple helicopters. The machine they are running from looks incredibly realistic and threatening. When Uzul has visions, the special effects are well-displayed. We learn that, by consuming Spice, the people on Arrakis can see the future. You know when they are seeing the future because their eyes turn blue. This film exceeds all my expectations and explores science fiction beautifully. The pacing is perhaps a bit off, but you might expect some slow parts since it is nearly three hours long! A lot of hard work went into creating this film. I highly recommend watching Dune: Part One to understand the concepts, the characters and their backstories. Dune: Part 2 picks up right where Dune: Part One left off. These two films really bring the Dune books to life. I applaud the director, Denis Villeneuve, for creating such admirable work. My favorite part of the film is when Paul (or Uzul) learns to ride a huge sandworm. The special effects are remarkable because you feel as if you are on the sandworm with him - the wind rushes, the sand flies everywhere, and the motion of the sandworm is smooth. It looks incredibly realistic and it shows how far CGI has come.

The film's message is to have hope and to always believe it can happen. Paul's hope carries him throughout his fights and he constantly encourages the others to believe that they can do it. He also tells his mother to not give them false hope over a prophecy. Be aware that this film has mature concepts, a lot of violence, profanity, and bloody scenes.

I give Dune: Part Two 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Dune: Part Two releases in theaters March 1, 2024.

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

The story of Dune is back with a sequel to the 2021 film, Dune: Part One. Dune: Part Two is action-packed, visually stunning, and matches the dynamic energy and format as the first film. It also has breathtaking scenery, amazing performances, and an engaging storyline.

Continuing the storyline of Frank Herbert's science fiction novels, Dune: Part Two follows Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) after the happenings in the first film where the Atreides family was defeated. In this film, Paul works hard to protect the Arrakis people. We learn more about Paul's visions and the prophecy that is said to revolve around Paul.

There are many focal points of this film so there are a few main characters besides Paul. The acting in this film is terrific. Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya make for an amazing acting duo throughout the film, and the rest of the cast's performance, including Austin Butler as Feyd-Ratha Harrakum helps move the story along. The visuals are stunning, with the desert landscape, incredible set designs, and mind-blowing special effects. The cinematography, storyline, sets, and overall design come together perfectly to create a truly well-made film. The story is very adventurous -- sci-fi film lovers will be fascinated and interested. The costumes perfectly match the setting and, in a way, tell their own story. Dune: Part Two takes you on an emotional rollercoaster which is expected based on the content in Part One. As much as I enjoyed this film, it is almost three hours long and it seems to lack a lot of context and dialogue. I definitely recommend seeing the first movie before this one.

Dune: Part Two is all about trust, bravery and hope. Paul is challenged with keeping his family's legacy, leading Arrakis, and facing the future he sees in his visions. To protect those who he cares about most, he must be brave. He must have hope for the future despite its dangers and risks. And he must trust others as well as himself to do what he has to do. Parents should be aware that there is a lot of graphic violence and suggestive scenes.

I give Dune: Part Two 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Dune: Part Two opens in theaters March 1, 2024.

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

The film Dune: Part Two is an action film set in the year 10191. This film is faster paced and creepier than Dune: Part One. I was a little confused during parts of it and found the story hard to follow.

The storyline follows Paul Atreides (Timoth�e Chalamet) as he attempts to learn the ways of the Fremen after the House of Atreides has fallen. Paul receives visions and knows that if he travels south a Holy War will begin. He also knows that the only way to bring people together to overpower the Emperor and the other eight houses is to allow people to believe he is "The One."

While this film is set in the future, the sword fights and battles scenes remind me of war scenes from the past. Don't worry; there is plenty of sci-fi throughout the film as well, with the costume design, eerie music and floating characters, such as Baron (Stellan Skarsgard). My favorite part of the film is the developing love story between Paul Atreides and Chani (Zendaya). I am so happy that Chani is a more prominent character in Dune: Part Two than her minimal part in Paul's visions during Part One. The way Paul Atreides asks for the emperor's daughter's hand in marriage has me thinking there is a Dune: Part Three in store for us.

The film's message is that sometimes you have to sacrifice your wants and needs for the wants and needs of the group. Paul doesn't want to abandon Chani but he knows that if he travels south toward the fundamentalists, he will have to lead and that will bring trouble between them. He knows he must do it anyway. Note that this film has violent content, gore and is a bit creepy and scary.

I give Dune: Part Two 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This film releases in theaters March 1, 2024.

By Avalynn G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



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