Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for April, 2022

It’s The Small Things, Charlie Brown * The Perfect Special To Galvanize Kids Into Climate Action This Earth Day

Friday, April 22nd, 2022

Sally’s bond with a special little flower on the baseball field may spell disaster for the big game. For Charlie Brown and the team, it’s just the inspiration they need to make a positive impact on their environment. It’s the Small Things, Charlie Brown is the Peanuts Earth Day TV special which features an original song by American singer-songwriter Ben Folds, Tyler Nathan as Charlie Brown, Terry McGurrin as Snoopy, Hattie Kragten as Sally, Rob Tinkler as Woodstock, Lexi Perri as Peppermint, Patty Isabella Leo as Lucy van P.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “Since 1965, the characters in Charles M. Schulz’s famous Peanuts comics have brought joy to so many families during the holidays and have also served to promote mature conversation among them… With a deep message and multilayered characters, It’s The Small Things, Charlie Brown is the perfect special to galvanize kids into climate action this Earth Day. Tiana S. adds, “Just in time for Earth Day, Charlie Brown and the gang are back with a special message about environmental protection and using your voice in a fun, yet educational way only the Peanuts gang can deliver! In the new short film, It’s the Small Things, Charlie Brown, they are ready to plant flowers, and clean up trash to make our planet a better place.” Avalon N. wraps it up with, “In It’s The Small Things, Charlie Brown there are many fun things to talk about. One is the use of the old style Charlie Brown comics. Rather than use the new style of 3D animation, like some recent Charlie Brown movies, this film goes back to 2D style animation, although it still is very high quality and has cool animation.” See their full reviews below.

It’s The Small Things, Charlie Brown
By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Since 1965, the characters in Charles M. Schulz’s famous Peanuts comics have brought joy to so many families during the holidays and have also served to promote mature conversation among them. Not much has changed in 2022, as Craig and Bryan Schulz bring the new Earth Day special It’s The Small Things, Charlie Brown to Apple TV+. With a deep message and multilayered characters, It’s The Small Things, Charlie Brown is the perfect special to galvanize kids into climate action this Earth Day.

In this short filmCharlie Brown (Tyler Nathan) is determined to help his team win the big baseball game against Peppermint Patty’s (Lexi Perri) team so he can claim the neighborhood pennant. But things turn into a fiasco right before the game when Sally (Hattie Kragten) bonds with a flower on the pitcher’s mound and vows to protect it at all costs. Charlie Brown tries his hardest to get her off the mound but repeatedly fails. Throughout her sit-in, all the characters learn to value nature.

What I find intriguing about this special is that it’s one big metaphor; Charlie Brown represents the average person, and the ball field represents the planet. Charlie Brown is so obsessed with winning this ballgame that he doesn’t see that the ball field is going downhill. Sally represents the new generation, whose focus is on conservation and enhancing the planet.

The animation style of this special is the part of the production that stands out the most to me. It is somewhere between the 70s still-frame animation and The Peanuts Movie. In each scene, the lighting is manipulated to make the characters look more lifelike and three-dimensional. It’s absolutely beautiful. Though Snoopy (Terry McGurrin) isn’t the focus of the special, I still love how his character develops throughout the 38 minute short. By the end of the film, he too realizes how important it is to save the environment. For kids like me who love Snoopy even more than Charlie Brown, this sends a great message. I’m also a big fan of Tyler Nathan as Charlie Brown and Hattie Kragten as Sally; their voice acting really completes the package of the show and makes the plot more believable.

It’s The Small Things, Charlie Brown promotes taking initiative, caring for others (whether people, animals or plants), saving our planet and serving as a positive role model for others.

I give It’s The Small Things, Charlie Brown 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It’s The Small Things, Charlie Brown is available to stream now on Apple TV+ in celebration of Earth Day 2022.

It’s the Small Things, Charlie Brown
By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Just in time for Earth Day, Charlie Brown and the gang are back with a special message about environmental protection and using your voice in a fun, yet educational way only the Peanuts gang can deliver! In the new short film, It’s the Small Things, Charlie Brown, they are ready to plant flowers, and clean up trash to make our planet a better place. Everyone loves the Peanuts gang, so what better way to spread the message?

In It’s the Small Things, Charlie Brown, the main characters in this short film are Sally Brown (Hattie Kragten) and Charlie Brown (Tyler Nathan). In the story, Charlie Brown just wants to play a baseball game, but his little sister, Sally, finds a special little flower on the baseball field that reminds her of herself. She decides she must protect this flower and give it a voice. Sally relates to the flower because she is also small and tends to be lonely and ignored. It is a nice touch that the flower’s petals are the same color and shape as Sally’s hair.

The film has updates to the animation techniques, but still gives us the look and feel of the original animation we’ve come to love. I love the diverse cast and how it reflects what our world looks like today. One of my favorite parts is when Ben Folds’ original song, “It’s the Small Things, Charlie Brown,” plays as Sally is singing about the flower on the mound. It really breaks down how we are all connected to the Earth and can come together to make things happen.  

It’s the Small Things, Charlie Brown shows us how important and easy it is to take care of our planet, no matter how young or small you are. Even though Sally was told she was too small to play baseball, she wasn’t too small to take a stand to try to help protect and save the flower, which represents the Earth. Sally was able to use her voice to show how we should speak up to help save the world.

The Peanuts world is known for creating content that prompts conversations for adults and that also inspires young people, and this film does just that. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 3 to 18, plus adults. You can watch It’s the Small Things, Charlie Brown on Apple TV+ now!

It’s The Small Things, Charlie Brown 
By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

It’s The Small Things, Charlie Brown is a funny, inspirational and entertaining movie. Though it’s only 40 minutes long it really embodies the classic Charlie Brown spirit.

This film is about Charlie Brown (Tyler James Nathan). There is a big baseball game between Charlie’s team and Peppermint Patty’s (Lexi Perri) – a championship. Unfortunately, Sally (Hattie Kragten) grows attached to a flower on the pitcher’s mound, preventing the game from happening. In the film, we find out what Charlie Brown does about this.

In It’s The Small Things, Charlie Brown there are many fun things to talk about. One is the use of the old style Charlie Brown comics. Rather than use the new style of 3D animation, like some recent Charlie Brown movies, this film goes back to 2D style animation, although it still is very high quality and has cool animation. Another thing is the use of words during the practicing baseball scene. When they hit the ball there is a fun “POP!” animation on the screen and it really caught my eye and kept my attention. Lastly, there is a really fun song about how “It’s The Small Things” – hence the title. It is a really beautiful song about a dandelion and, while others consider it a weed, Sally promises to keep it safe. 

The message of the film is that sometimes it’s not about the thing, but the love you show for it.

I give It’s The Small Things, Charlie Brown 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 16, plus. It’s available on Apple TV+ now – just in time for Earth Day!

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Chloe and Theo * Inspiring Film Showing How Unlikely Friendships Can Change The World And How Protecting The Environment Is Crucial

Thursday, April 21st, 2022

Based on true events, a young woman living on the streets meets a wise Inuit elder who was sent to New York by his elders to provide a message of change to the world. The woman, who had been searching for something to believe in, becomes inspired and, with the help of a kind lawyer, the three of them present his story to the United Nations in hopes of creating a better future for us all.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Carlee S. comments, “Chloe and Theo is a touching and thought-provoking story based on the life of a young homeless woman named Chloe whose world changes when she meets an Inuit with a message to help save the world… The messages in this film are to care for others and for the Earth’s environment. Protecting the Earth is vital for survival for everyone, so everyone should work together to make sure it is taken care of for the future.” Ashleigh C. adds, “Chloe and Theo is a unique and inspiring film that shows how unlikely friendships can change the world! Caring and helping with the environment is very crucial and this film brilliantly portrays this message.” See their full reviews below.  

Chloe and Theo
By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

Chloe and Theo is a touching and thought-provoking story based on the life of a young homeless woman named Chloe whose world changes when she meets an Inuit with a message to help save the world. Theo, an Inuit, travels from the snow-covered Arctic to New York City in search of the Elders of the South. They both discover that although their worlds are very different, friendship and a common cause can bring people close together.

The film begins in the Arctic, a winter wonderland, where Theo (Theo Ikummaq, who is playing himself) and other Inuit are discussing the effects of the sun and global warming on their environment. They decide it’s time for someone to deliver this message to Elders in the South to help save Earth. They choose Theo as the best candidate because he spent time in the South when he was young. He sets out on his mission and ends up in New York City in search of the Elders. Along the way, he meets Chloe (Dakota Johnson), a homeless girl who seems tough on the outside, but has a kind heart. She listens to his message and decides she wants to help him spread it. Together they face many obstacles and dangers, but they also make new friends, including a woman named Monica (Mira Sorvino), who are determined to assist Theo in his journey to deliver his message help save the environment.

My favorite scene is when Theo goes to a meeting with other green environmental companies who have the same goals as Theo. Theo decides to take the stairs and walk up to the top of the building rather than taking the elevator. Thankfully, Chloe and his other friends cover for him in the meeting while he walks up all those flights. The scene shows how far Theo is willing to go for his cause while adding a bit of humor. The costumes fit each character’s situation and culture. Theo is seen in clothes he would wear in his village in the Arctic and his clothes change in the film due to the storyline. Chloe is seen with worn, dirty clothes and messy hair, which showcase what it’s like to live on the streets. The contrast in settings helps the viewer to understand the characters’ lives. The peaceful Arctic village, compared to the noisy city, shows how different Chloe and Theo’s lives are.  The place Chloe shares with her street friends is also a contrast to the apartment belonging Monica who helps them.

The messages in this film are to care for others and for the Earth’s environment.  People are all connected no matter how far apart they live.  Protecting the Earth is vital for survival for everyone, so everyone should work together to make sure it is taken care of for the future. There is some mild violence that parents should be aware of.

I give Chloe and Theo 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend this for ages 12 to 17, plus adults. It is releasing for Earth Day, April 22, 2022 on VOD and DVD.

Chloe and Theo 
By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18 

Chloe and Theo is a unique and inspiring film that shows how unlikely friendships can change the world! Caring and helping with the environment is very crucial and this film brilliantly portrays this message. 

A homeless female, Chloe and an Inuit named Theo build a relationship after getting a life changing message in order to save the world. Despite being total opposites and having a difficult, yet hilarious adventure, both Chloe and Theo create an unbreakable bond in order to finish the mission successfully. 

Chloe (Dakota Johnson) is my favorite character in this film. Dakota Johnson is an all-around, well-rounded actress and her acting brings so much to the complex character of Chloe. There is so much character development with Chloe; we see how she grows and matures as a person. Her character is someone that many people will relate to. The Inuit, Theo (Theo Ikummaq) essentially plays himself and captures his own cultural heritage with what seems like little to no acting. His portrayal Theo makes this film heartfelt and more personal for audiences. Chloe portrays a homeless woman and her clothing shows us exactly what her circumstances are. Theo’s clothing, to the best of my knowledge, does justice to the Inuit culture by using traditional attire. The music and score, from start to finish, is incredible! Every funny scene, serious scene or even dialogue rich scene is enhanced with the background music. My favorite scenes of the film are those with educational aspects. While much of the film is based on fictional storylines, there are many cultural and environmental aspects that I learned by watching this film — an experience you don’t have often with movies. 

The message of this film is to be open minded to different people and possibilities. If Chloe had rejected the opportunity to help Theo carry out the message to save the environment, then she would not have been able to be a hero or make a difference. Despite their differences, they looked past this and decided to see the bigger picture – a lesson I encourage all to learn from. 

I give Chloe and Theo 5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Chloe and Theo releases just in time for Earth Day, April 22, 2022 on Digital and DVD. Don’t miss it! 

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Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore * Finally – The Backstory Of What’s On Dumbledore’s Brilliant Mind Throughout The Harry Potter Saga

Thursday, April 14th, 2022

Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) knows the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to lead an intrepid team of wizards, witches and one brave Muggle baker on a dangerous mission, where they encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers. But with the stakes so high, how long can Dumbledore remain on the sidelines?

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Nyara A. comments, “This fascinating film, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore finally gives us the long-awaited backstory of what is going on in Dumbledore’s brilliant mind throughout the Harry Potter saga. The movie is heart-wrenching, and yet at moments it leaves you bent over with laughter.” Katherine S. adds, “After four years of waiting, the third movie in the Fantastic Beasts franchise is finally here! Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore has a perfect balance of comedic scenes that will make you chuckle and action-packed scenes that will make your adrenaline pump and tightly grip your seat.” Ava C. adds, “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the 3rd movie of the Fantastic Beasts movie series. It brings the same mysterious, dangerous-yet-exciting adventure as the movies that came before it. Actor Eddie Redmayne’s character, Newt Scamander has a new mission that is more courageous and dangerous than before! Can he do it?” Heather S. wraps it up with, “This movie is every bit as magical as the Harry Potter series. After ten Wizarding World films, fans might expect a decline… However, The Secrets of Dumbledore puts in new creatures, new defense spells, and a whole world of port keys that will astound even die-hard fans.” See their full reviews below.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
By Nyara A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

This fascinating film, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore finally gives us the long-awaited backstory of what is going on in Dumbledore’s brilliant mind throughout the Harry Potter saga. The movie is heart-wrenching, and yet at moments it leaves you bent over with laughter. The actors are truly convincing, bringing their characters to life. Every Harry Potter fan will enjoy hearing the subtle references to the books as they watch the infamous Grindelwald at the height of his power.

The storyline follows Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his comrades as they act on instructions given by Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to find and defeat the dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen). This unlikely team faces major challenges and setbacks as they try to stop Grindelwald from winning the election for Minister of Magic. Newt uses his quick mind to find him, with help from his fantastic beasts, his friends’ brilliant minds and his brother’s spell work. Dumbledore has a plan, although he is just as secretive as all Harry Potter fans will surely remember. Will a small group of wizards (and a muggle) be able to defeat the greatest dark wizard of the time?

Jude Law portrays Dumbledore almost perfectly, just as people have always imagined his younger self to be. Dumbledore’s secrecy, love and trustworthiness come across effortlessly in Jude Law’s face. The protagonist, Newt Scamander, is likable and a spark of joy in these dark times. The computer generated fantastical beasts are extremely realistic and adorable, and the visual effects during fight scenes are powerful. My favorite part of this movie is the bittersweet ending. Watching the characters finally enjoy their lives, far away from evil, brought tears to my eyes.

The message of this film is that strength comes in numbers. One person may be powerful, but when people come together using their unique strengths, they can triumph. This is a beautiful message to all those who feel helpless, reminding them that they can always turn to people they trust. There are not many age restrictions in this movie, but I think it will be more interesting to slightly older audiences. The film starts slow and there are subtle clues that the viewer needs to pay attention to in order to completely understand the storyline. Because of this, this movie would be most appealing to people over the age of eleven.

I give Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters on Friday, April 15, 2022.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

After four years of waiting, the third movie in the Fantastic Beasts franchise is finally here! Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore has a perfect balance of comedic scenes that will make you chuckle and action-packed scenes that will make your adrenaline pump and tightly grip your seat.

Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), former partner of Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) and future headmaster of Hogwarts, calls upon Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), the socially awkward but loveable “magizoologist” to lead a team of witches, wizards and muggles to defeat Grindelwald and his vast crowd of supporters before he takes over the Wizarding World and starts a war between muggles and wizards.

I highly recommend watching the first two films in this prequel, Harry Potter spin-off series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald before watching this third installment. However, it is not necessary to watch the Harry Potter movies or read the Harry Potter books. The special effects are remarkable, as all the magical animals are truly “fantastic” and the magic spells coming out of the wands are so convincing. The movie takes place in the 1930s and the costumes, objects and sets are absolutely beautiful and so well put together.  The movie also maintains an accuracy to the era. The acting is very strong in this movie, especially with Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore, Mads Mikkelsen as Grindelwald, Eddie Redmayne as Newt, and Jessica Williams as Professor Hicks. My favorite character is, without a doubt, Jacob Kowalski, (Dan Fogler), the amiable muggle, because he is so hilarious at some points and also convincingly serious in others.

The message of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is to do what is right and not what is easy. There is violence and death in this movie, so be aware of that for younger viewers.

I give Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Fans of the Wizarding World will definitely enjoy this. This will be released exclusively in theaters on April 15, 2022.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
By Ava C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the 3rd movie of the Fantastic Beasts movie series. It brings the same mysterious, dangerous-yet-exciting adventure as the movies that came before it. Actor Eddie Redmayne’s character, Newt Scamander has a new mission that is more courageous and dangerous than before! Can he do it?  Will Newt and his team be able to successfully complete this mission?

Newt Scamander and his team are tasked with trying to stop Gallert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) from taking over the wizarding world. Not only is this movie mysterious with great humor, but it is also dark, eerie and action packed with enough action and suspense to keep you guessing. There are parts where I laughed so hard—I love a movie when I can get a good laugh in. Let’s talk about suspense: The whole movie kept me on my toes. I kept wondering what was going to happen next. I was never able to predict what would happen next, which made the movie extremely enjoyable.  Viewers of the previous Fantastic Beasts movies will really enjoy this movie. Part 3 aligns perfectly with the other two movies; therefore, it makes it easy to follow what was going on from the start. Honestly, you really do not need to watch the other two to follow the movie.

There is a lot going on in the movie with switching clips from one character to next, yet the camera quality and editing makes it easy to keep up with.  The acting also makes this movie wonderful— it has a marvelous cast, and you can see how well they all worked together. I really enjoyed the plot and storyline of this movie. It is interesting all the way through, and I never lost my attention.

The message of this movie is to not judge people or alienate others because they can’t do certain things, look different, and accept your family members for who they are. The movie is kid appropriate. There’s no bad language or drugs. The most violence shown is battling with the wands. Some of the creatures can be scary or creepy for younger kids, but it is not too bad.

I give Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. The film releases in theaters April 15, 2022.  

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

We return to the Wizarding World once again! Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is a grand adventure you won’t want to miss. Fan-favorite characters make their return and fans are swept up in an incredible ride of magic and mischief.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore picks up right after its predecessor Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) has a blood pact with Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen), who is gaining power and rallying supports to kill muggles. With the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Dumbledore assembles of team of wizards to break the blood pact and end Grindelwald’s war. 

This movie is every bit as magical as the Harry Potter series. After ten Wizarding World films, fans might expect a decline, for example, with common spells that have been seen before. However, The Secrets of Dumbledore puts in new creatures like the Chillen, new defense spells, and a whole world of port keys that will astound die-hard fans. The visuals are exciting; with many slow-motion fight scenes, scattering papers, and jets of light from wands. Spells and magical creatures are hidden in every nook and cranny of film, which makes the magical universe seem infinite and extremely detailed. The director, David Yates, shows how the Wizarding World evolves, keeping fans on their toes for more violent duels and even better special effects. The best part of the film is seeing new sides of the characters we know and love. Newt’s kindness and bravery is on full display, as well as seeing Jacob, a muggle, use magic.  Seeing Dumbledore question himself and make mistakes reminds fans that before he was the most powerful wizard on the planet, he was just a human who was in love. 

Several characters learn different messages throughout the movie. Newt learns that he can be kind but also brave and a valuable asset to a team. Jacob and Queenie fight for their love in a world that was disapproving of their relationship. Dumbledore and Credence have to face old ghosts of their pasts and do what is right to save humanity. 

I give Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It premieres in theaters April 15, 2022.

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Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood * The First Moon Landing Through The Eyes Of A Kid Growing Up In Houston

Tuesday, April 12th, 2022

Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood tells the story of the first moon landing in the summer of 1969 from two interwoven perspectives – the astronaut and mission control view of the triumphant moment, and through the eyes of a kid growing up in Houston, Texas who has intergalactic dreams of his own. Taking inspiration from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Richard Linklater’s own life, Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood is a snapshot of American life in the 1960s that is part coming of age, part societal commentary, and part out-of-this-world adventure.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood tells a creative twist on a story we all know well, NASA’s moon mission, and makes us think that history is not always as it seems.  Based on the childhood fantasies of director Richard Linklater, this animated dramedy perfectly weaves together classic childhood coming-of-age memories, late 1960’s pop music and NASA’s historic race to moon.” See her full review and interview with the director below.

Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood
By Katherine S. , KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood – (L-R) GLEN POWELL as Bostick and ZACHARY LEVI as Kranz. Cr: Netflix © 2022

Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood tells a creative twist on a story we all know well, NASA’s moon mission, and makes us think that history is not always as it seems.  Based on the childhood fantasies of director Richard Linklater, this animated dramedy perfectly weaves together classic childhood coming-of-age memories, late 1960’s pop music and NASA’s historic race to moon.

This nostalgic movie, set in suburbs of Houston in 1969, follows the childhood of Stan, who is voiced by Milo Coy as a child and Jack Black as an adult. The pressure to get to the moon is ever growing, but NASA builds the lunar module too small, so they turn to Stan to do the job before astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins suit up for their famous Apollo mission. Unfortunately, Stan cannot tell anyone, not even his family.

The animation is one of the coolest things about this movie and really sets it apart from other animated films I’ve seen. It is a mix of live action with hand drawn and computer animation. I also enjoy how accurate it is to the era, so that as a period piece it does not feel artificial. All the clothes, houses, dialogue, objects and even actions reflect that of the time. I always hear my parents talk about their childhood during this era, but I could never really imagine it until I saw this movie. Jack Black is the perfect choice to play adult Stan as his accent is so subtle and his tone is perfect to play an older Stan. And Milo Coy wonderfully captures the personality of a 10 and ½ year old.

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood – Milo Coy as Stan. Cr: Netflix © 2022

The message of Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood is that mistakes are okay and that not everything is always as it seems. This movie shows some unhealthy and unsafe practices, which were more common in the 1960’s, like smoking, riding in the back of a pickup truck or in cars without seatbelts, and playing with fireworks in the middle of a street. However, the narrator, the adult version of Stan, explains how dangerous these behaviors are. There are also a couple of graphic injury scenes and slight profanity.

I give Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Anyone who loves space and maybe even remembers the actual lunar landing will definitely enjoy it also. This movie premiered at South by Southwest on March 13, 2022 and will be on Netflix on April 1, 2022.

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Sonic the Hedgehog 2 * Sonic Is Back! With New Characters, Major Plot Twists, Mind-Blowing Adventures, And Tons Of Laughs

Friday, April 8th, 2022

The world’s favorite blue hedgehog is back for a next-level adventure in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2. After settling in Green Hills, Sonic is eager to prove he has what it takes to be a true hero. His test comes when Dr. Robotnik returns, this time with a new partner, Knuckles, in search for an emerald that has the power to destroy civilizations. Sonic teams up with his own sidekick, Tails, and together they embark on a globe-trotting journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands. Sonic The Hedgehog 2 stars James Marsden, Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic, Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell, Adam Pally, Lee Majdoub and Jim Carrey returning, alongside new additions Shemar Moore, with Idris Elba as the voice of Knuckles and Colleen O’Shaughnessey as the voice of Tails.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tiana S. comments, “The wild, fun and adventurous blue hedgehog we all love, Sonic a.k.a. Blue Justice, is back in his new movie, Sonic the Hedgehog 2! This film has new character appearances, major plot twists, mind-blowing adventures, and tons of laughs throughout it.” Ava C. adds, “I really enjoyed the original Sonic movie and this second one, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, is even better. If Sonic was real, I would want to be his friend. Although, this is more of a little kid’s movie, it brings excitement and suspense.” Maica N. wraps it up with, “The humor in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is why I would watch it again. This especially goes for the scenes with Rachel (Natasha Rothwell). As her desire for the perfect wedding increasingly gets ruined and her banter with the characters increases, it makes her a really lovable character.” See this full reviews and Red Carpet interviews below.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2
By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) and Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

The wild, fun and adventurous blue hedgehog we all love, Sonic a.k.a. Blue Justice, is back in his new movie, Sonic the Hedgehog 2! This film has new character appearances, major plot twists, mind-blowing adventures, and tons of laughs throughout it. It’s great that this sequel is one of those movies you can enjoy without seeing the original; however, since it refers to different scenes from the first one, you may want to watch the original first.

In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Dr. Ivo Robotnik, or Dr. Eggman as Sonic calls him (Jim Carrey), returns to Earth with a new ally, Knuckles (Idris Elba), in hopes of finding a magical gem that holds the ultimate power of the universe. All that stands in their way is Sonic (Ben Schwartz) and his new partner in crime, Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey). It’s a battle of good and bad to see who will reach the emerald first and win in the end.

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

The main characters are Sonic, Dr. Robotnik, Tails and Knuckles. I love how this film introduces characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and they just fit in seamlessly. One of the voice actors who surprised me is Idris Elba. His voice is the perfect match to portray Knuckle’s strong and confident personality. My favorite part is when Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) and Maddie Wachowski (Tika Sumpter) are at Rachel’s wedding and need to open a portal for Sonic; Tom realizes he may have mistaken the wedding ring for one of Sonic’s golden rings. It adds some hilarious adventure to the wedding. Kudos to Junkie XL for keeping an “old school” feel throughout the film with songs such as It’s Tricky by Run D.M.C. and Here Comes the Hotstepper by Ini Kamoze.  

This film sheds light on the importance of having family and friends in your life. They will always have your back and keep you on the right path in life. Sonic and the other characters experience different obstacles that teach them the true definition of a family, even if they come as friends.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is out of this world. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 8 to 18, plus adults. The “battle of the gem” takes place in theaters on April 8, 2022. Be sure to stay for the after-credits movie scene.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2
By Ava C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Jim Carrey in Sonic The Hedgehog 2 from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

I really enjoyed the original Sonic movie and this second one, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, is even better. I really enjoyed watching this new Sonic movie, especially with his fun, amusing and youthful personality. If Sonic was real, I would want to be his friend. Although, this is more of a little kid’s movie, it brings excitement and suspense. The battle between Sonic (Ben Schwartz) and the evil Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) makes this film a “must-see”!

In the story, Dr. Robotnik figures out a way to get off the planet that Sonic banished him to. His goal is to seek revenge on Sonic with a new partner. When Dr. Robotnik arrives back to earth, he goes looking for Sonic and realizes that there is something bigger that he wants – something that can give him extreme powers to take over the world. While Dr. Robotnik is trying to figure out how to conquer the world, Sonic is struggling with self-control. He wants to be a real superhero and do good, but sometimes, he causes more problems than doing good. Soon he will be put to the test when it comes time to face Dr. Robotnik.

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) and James Marsden in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

My favorite part of the movie is the ridiculous plan Dr. Robotnik makes to get off the planet he is stuck on. I also like Sonic’s character which is relatable to young teenagers. His funny and quirky personality really embodies how a 13-year-old child really acts. Sonic’s characteristic demonstrates how it would look if a child his age had the same power as Sonic and what they would do with it.  The animation and quality of the effects are impressive! How they made the real people interact with the animation seems so realistic.

The messages of the movie are discovering what it means to be a true hero, making new friends, and not giving up. There was a little foul language at the beginning of the movie—I felt the movie would have been great without using inappropriate language and some innuendo. Older kids and adults will probably understand what they are insinuating.

I give Sonic the Hedgehog 2, 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5-18, plus adults.  It’s a family-oriented movie and everyone can enjoy it. It can be found in theaters near you on April 8, 2022.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Age 14

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in Sonic The Hedgehog 2 from Paramount Pictures and Sega.

Our familiar blue hedgehog friend Sonic is back with new adventures in Sonic the Hedgehog 2! This film has an exciting plot that moves at the perfect pace, sure to make the audience yearn for more.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 focuses on Sonic (Ben Schwartz) as he’s becoming more familiar with his new life in Green Hills. While Tom (James Marsden) is away from home at a wedding, Sonic realizes that Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey) is back and he’s not alone. Doctor Robotnik has a new sidekick named Knuckles (Idris Elba) who gives Sonic and his new sidekick Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey), a run for their money. When Doctor Robotnik and Knuckles try to capture a sacred emerald that belonged to Sonic’s family, Sonic and Tails have to try to stop them before evil takes over.

Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

The humor in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is why I would watch it again. This especially goes for the scenes with Rachel (Natasha Rothwell). As her desire for the perfect wedding increasingly gets ruined and her banter with the characters increases, it makes her a really lovable character. Natasha Rothwell’s body language and the acting choices she makes are commendable and really drew me in. That being said, I was a little disappointed about how little she was displayed at the end. She is a vital character in the beginning, since she is the whole reason Tom is away from Sonic. However, she then disappears and I wondered when her humorous contribution was coming again. Knuckles is against Sonic the whole time, and then they finally get to know each other, which opens up a lot of room for interpretation and possibly another movie. Now that Sonic has people he can rely on, that can be used to continue to build his story.

James Marsden, Tika Sumpter and Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

The message of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is that sometimes people are just misunderstood. You have to get to know a person before you can truly understand what they’re going through and why they make certain decisions. Sonic didn’t know why Knuckles was the way he was, but when he hears his story and gets to know him, it is easier for them to see eye to eye.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a very fun movie to watch. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. Everyone will find something they enjoy and can look back on to laugh at. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 releases in theatres April 8, 2022. Make sure you check it out!

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