Molang: Season 2 – Funny Animated Shorts Following the Adventures of a Chubby Bunny and a Tiny Chick

June 7th, 2019

Join Molang, a round, fluffy, and happy rabbit, and his friend, Piu Piu, a poised, timid, and reserved yellow chick, as they explore everyday life. Despite their many differences, Molang and Piu Piu enjoy a special friendship. They have amazing times together ranging from the ordinary to the extraordinary. From finding themselves in the middle of the jungle, going to the circus or enjoying a rainy day, Molang and Piu Piu embrace every daily adventure together. Who knew dancing in the rain with your best friend could be so much fun? No matter what happens, every single moment with these two is filled with sheer happiness. Embark on 52 lovable adventures with Molang and Piu Piu! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Will C. comments, “Molang: Season 2 is 52 episodes of animated fun for kids. I enjoyed these funny cartoon shorts, each only about 3 to 4 minutes long, following the friendship between a chubby bunny and a tiny little chick. Together they have little adventures, both ordinary and extraordinary.” Sahiba K. comments, “The adorable, warm-hearted duo of Molang and Piu Piu are back in Molang Season 2 directed by Marie-Caroline Villand and Stephanie Miziak! The writers compose plots that are incredibly simple, yet engaging and expressive.” Selene W. adds, “Molang is an adorable and funny series that’s great for kids! My favorite episode is Chickenpox; when cute Piu Piu, the little chick, gets chickenpox all over his face.” See their full reviews below.

Molang: Season 2
By Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Molang: Season 2 is 52 episodes of animated fun for kids. I enjoyed these funny cartoon shorts, each only about 3 to 4 minutes long, following the friendship between a chubby bunny and a tiny little chick. Together they have little adventures, both ordinary and extraordinary. They go on safari, plant a vegetable garden, act in a movie, and dance in the rain.

There’s no real dialogue in these short animations, because the characters speak their own made-up language. The only words they use consistently are their names- Molang, the bouncy, happy rabbit, and Piu Piu, the shy and timid chick. This must be a fun challenge for the animators and voice actors because they have to use body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice to help the audience understand what’s going on. When there’s a more complex idea that needs to be communicated, a speech bubble with a picture appears above the character to show that they’re thinking about doing the dishes or riding on a mechanical bull.

The art direction uses soft, beautiful pastel colors to create a peaceful, friendly world that preschoolers will enjoy. The characters are drawn in such a simple way that they look like icons, which makes sense if you’ve ever noticed them as stickers in apps like Facebook Messenger or on merchandise from night lights to face cream. The music is bright and cheerful, and creates a positive atmosphere that really suits the characters and action.

This series has some positive messages about friendship, working together, and problem-solving in difficult situations. My favorite part is when Piu Piu and Molang grow a prizewinning watermelon so big they have trouble moving it to the competition. They don’t give up, though, and eventually they find that a helicopter with a plunger is the solution!

I give this show 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8, but older kids and parents will also be amused, especially since these episodes are so short. Molang: Season 2 is available on DVD now.

Molang: Season 2
By Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

The adorable, warm-hearted duo of Molang and Piu Piu are back in Molang Season 2 directed by Marie-Caroline Villand and Stephanie Miziak! The writers compose plots that are incredibly simple, yet engaging and expressive. The directors are skilled in easily conveying the plot, jokes and emotion without the use of dialogue.

These stories take Molang and Piu Piu on adventures near and far, as they help others and bring joy to the lives of everyone they touch. They often run into a friend or neighbor who could use a helping hand or a mood boost. Molang and Piu Piu find unique solutions to everyday experiences and make many friends along the way.

The lexicon of Molang and Piu Piu is incomprehensible, so the animation, sound effects and music work together to transcend words. The animation uses simple images to convey the characters’ ideas and concepts. For example, when Piu Piu or Molang have a solution to a complication, a thought bubble pops up to show it in a quick image. The sound effects are either bright or dark, based on the mood of the scene. For example, when Piu Piu gets stressed, which is quite often, he screeches in distress. Furthermore the music, composed by Nicholas Varley, is very adventurous and upbeat, especially during the traveling scenes. It is lively and adds all the more to the jovial ambience.

The art of the animation is pure and simple, yet gives a relaxed and easy going aura. The colors are soft, not too bright or too dark, making the visuals sweet and appealing. Many of the objects such as the houses, characters, trees, vehicles and hills are all rounded creating the huggable, lovable world of Molang.

For me, the most appealing part is the happiness that surrounds each and every episode. Piu Piu and Molang are inseparable and their friendship is beautifully strong. This foundation sets the mood of each episode and their kindness reaches out to my heart.

The message of Molang Season 2 is to brighten the days of those around you and to help those in need. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 10. It is available on DVD now so, be sure to check it out.

Molang:  Season Two
By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Molang is an adorable and funny series that’s great for kids! My favorite episode is Chickenpox; when cute Piu Piu, the little chick, gets chickenpox all over his face.  I also love the other episodes, but that one is my favorite. There are so many good episodes in this series including The Side Car, The Aquarium, At the Circus  and The Competition to name a few. Each episode is overrun with happiness, which makes me smile nonstop.

Molang is a round, fluffy and happy rabbit who has adventures with his friend Piu Piu.  Molang and Piu Piu enjoy a special friendship, filled with laughter and giggles. They have amazing experiences such as finding themselves in the middle of the jungle, going to the circus or enjoying a rainy day.  Who knew dancing in the rain with your best friend could be so much fun?

The music for this series, by Nicholas Varley, is upbeat and really adds another dimension to the various scenes. The music is playful and fun for kids to dance or move to and will hold their attention. I love the animation of the imaginative and pastel world created for Molang and thank the many artists that contributed to the production.

The message of this series is to enjoy life and value friendship. In all of the 52 episodes, Molang and Piu Piu find every good thing in each bad or sad moment and they always stick together, no matter what.  Friendship is important and the two of them find ways to have fun together.

I rate this DVD 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 7.  The DVD is available now so look for it.

A Dog’s Journey – A Tear Jerker and Emotional Roller Coaster

June 4th, 2019

Some friendships transcend lifetimes. In A Dog’s Journey, the sequel to the heartwarming global hit A Dog’s Purpose, beloved dog Bailey finds his new destiny and forms an unbreakable bond that will lead him, and the people he loves, to places they never imagined.

Bailey (voiced again by Josh Gad) is living the good life on the Michigan farm of his “boy,” Ethan (Dennis Quaid) and Ethan’s wife Hannah (Marg Helgenberger). He even has a new playmate: Ethan and Hannah’s baby granddaughter, CJ. The problem is that CJ’s mom, Gloria (Betty Gilpin), decides to take CJ away. As Bailey’s soul prepares to leave this life for a new one, he makes a promise to Ethan to find CJ and protect her at any cost.

Thus begins Bailey’s adventure through multiple lives filled with love, friendship and devotion as he, CJ (Kathryn Prescott), and CJ’s best friend Trent (Henry Lau) experience joy and heartbreak, music and laughter, and few really good belly rubs. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Will C. comments, “A Dog’s Journey is my second-favorite reincarnating dog movie. This sweet, but unoriginal sequel to 2017’s A Dog’s Purpose is much like the first one, with plenty of cute doggy screen time and butt-sniffing jokes.” Selene W. adds, “I absolutely love the emotional journey that Bailey takes in this film! Bailey’s sense of humor shines throughout the film as he tries to make sense of the actions of his various owners and his meaning in life.” Raquel Y. wraps it up with, “The film A Dog’s Journey, directed by Gail Mancuso, is the most heartwarming, tear-jerking, wholesome film yet to hit the theaters. This movie (the sequel to A Dog’s Purpose directed by Lasse Hallström) is much better than the original film, because it incorporates characters from the previous film and adds a whole new plot.” See their full reviews below. 

A Dog’s Journey
By Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Bailey as Buddy, a Great Pyrenees Bernese Mountain Dog (voiced by Josh Gad), and Ethan (Dennis Quaid) in “A Dog’s Journey,” directed by Gail Mancuso.

For a movie for dog lovers, this one sure shows a lot of dog deaths! As the movie begins, loyal dog Bailey is living with Ethan and Hannah as an old Saint Bernard on their farm in Michigan. As Bailey draws his last breaths, Ethan orders the dog’s spirit to watch over his granddaughter CJ throughout her life. That’s exactly what the reincarnating dog does, first as a puppy named Mollie, who helps CJ as a child, then as a terrier named Max, who helps teen and adult CJ (Kathryn Prescott).

Josh Gad is back as the perfect dog voice, which stays the same regardless of the breed his spirit is currently inhabiting. Director Gail Mancuso has made a real tearjerker for dog fans, aided by Mark Isham’s strings-heavy score.

Bailey as Buddy, a Great Pyrenees Bernese Mountain Dog (voiced by Josh Gad), Toddler CJ (Emma Volk) and Hannah (Marg Helgenberger) in “A Dog’s Journey,” directed by Gail Mancuso.


This movie has fewer adult themes than the book it’s based on. Aside from the dog deaths, there are a few other things that might upset younger children. One character gets very sick and another is stalked by an ex-boyfriend. There’s also an upsetting car crash and some alcohol and drug use at a party.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, but adults will like it too, if they really love dog movies. You can find A Dog’s Journey in theaters everywhere starting May 17, 2019.


The message of this film is that you can persevere to overcome the bad things that happen to you in life. And, you should surround yourself with people who care about you.

A Dog’s Journey
By Selene Weiss, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

I absolutely love the emotional journey that Bailey takes in this film! Bailey’s sense of humor shines throughout the film as he tries to make sense of the actions of his various owners and his meaning in life.  He balances his purpose with his love for bacon and all disgusting smells. 

Ethan (Dennis Quaid) and Bailey as Buddy, a Great Pyrenees Bernese Mountain Dog (voiced by Josh Gad) in “A Dog’s Journey,” directed by Gail Mancuso.

A Dog’s Journey continues with the story of Bailey and the humans in his life.  His relationship continues with Ethan on the farm until Ethan gives him a new purpose which is to protect Ethan’s granddaughter, C. J.  Bailey goes through many changes and continues to be puzzled by humans.  He protects C. J. at any cost from the time she is a toddler through her adult experiences.  Some of my favorite scenes are those where he deliberately misbehaves or manipulates to get rid of her boyfriend Barry. Bailey gathers people into his human packs and eliminates others that don’t belong.

CJ (Kathryn Prescott), Bailey as Yorkshire terrier Max (back to camera, voiced by Josh Gad) and Trent (Henry Lau) in “A Dog’s Journey,” directed by Gail Mancuso.

Bailey’s voice is portrayed by Josh Gad who has a brilliant sense of comedic timing and he adds so much humor and depth to Bailey’s character.  W. Bruce Cameron who wrote the book, also worked on the screenplay.  Dennis Quaid returns to the role of Ethan and the movie just wouldn’t be the same without him.  Casting is by John Papsidera and the entire cast is talented and works together seamlessly in their humorous and very touching roles under the guidance of Director Gail Mancuso. 

The message of this film is to find meaning in your life experiences.  In all of Bailey’s lives he learns things which fulfill his purpose and allow him to find meaning in his actions with his humans.  It is an emotional roller coaster filled with laughter, joy, love, tears and bacon.

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 18, but of course adults will definitely enjoy it too. This movie opens nationwide in theaters May 17, 2019.  

A Dog’s Journey
By Raquel Y., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

Bailey as Max, a Yorkshire Terrier (voiced by Josh Gad), and Trent (Henry Lau)

The film A Dog’s Journey, directed by Gail Mancuso, is the most heartwarming, tear-jerking, wholesome film yet to hit the theaters. This movie (the sequel to A Dog’s Purpose directed by Lasse Hallström) is much better than the original film, because it incorporates characters from the previous film and adds a whole new plot. The film is about a dog (Josh Gad) named Bailey (initially) and the many lives he experiences while trying to help and protect toddler Clarity Kathryn Prescott) from unnecessary hardships.

My favorite part is when Bailey does a major chase throughout a neighborhood in New York City in order to reunite with Clarity for the second time. The tension as well as the suspense of Bailey being lost for even just a split second, and then the progression of Bailey’s character conveyed through his determination to make it to Clarity ties the movie together. This event effortlessly launches us into the next plot twist which is a key detail that I love even though it is a small event (timewise).

My least favorite thing about the film is the slow-paced beginning. I was so excited to finally get a sequel to the amazing original film, but the beginning is unnecessarily lengthy. A movie that good doesn’t need the cushion of a background story, especially since we already have the previous film to refer to.

Ethan (Dennis Quaid) and Bailey as Buddy, a Great Pyrenees Bernese Mountain Dog (voiced by Josh Gad), in “A Dog’s Journey,” directed by Gail Mancuso.

I give A Dog’s Journey 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, although adults are sure to love this movie as well.  You can catch this movie in theaters near you starting May 17, 2019.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters – Over Two Hours of Non-stop Monster Action!

June 3rd, 2019

The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient superspecies, thought to be mere myths, rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a one of kind slamfest, despite some bland plot points and characters. The excellent cinematography and special effects really immerse the audience into the ring.” Will C. adds, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters is over two hours of non-stop monster action! I loved watching the extraordinary action scenes where giant monsters battle each other. The best part of this movie is definitely the special effects, which are amazing!” Ethan P., wraps it up with, “I love this movie so much because of the cool creatures that lurk in this make believe world.  This is one of the best movies I have ever seen.” See their full reviews below.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters
By Arjun Nair, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a one of kind slamfest, despite some bland plot points and characters. The excellent cinematography and special effects really immerse the audience into the ring.  All fans of summer monster movies or just summer blockbusters, in general, must check this out on the biggest screen possible.

The film follows secret agency Monarch as its members face off against a battalion of god-sized monsters, or kaiju, including Mothra, Rodan and the ultimate mastermind – the three-headed Ghidorah. These threats leave humanity’s very existence teetering towards impending apocalypse. But sometimes, one must fight fire with fire. Their only hope relies in the mighty kaiju Godzilla, who anyways intends to kill these monsters for dominance.

The ensemble cast of Monarch includes many A-list actors including Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Ziyi Zhang, Bradley Whitford and Sally Hawkins. All of them give their best, but mediocre a screenplay really gives the human scenes a somewhat lethargic feel. The family drama between Kyle Chandler’s Mark Russell and Vera Farmiga’s Emma Russell feels out of place, and it really just adds nothing to the overall plot. Thankfully, Milly Bobby Brown adds a complex perspective with expressive acting and a signature defiant attitude. Bradley Whitford is the most memorable character here, with his wit and well-timed comic relief. Charles Dance, as Jonah Alan, is a great addition as the veteran actor gives his all as this menacing new threat. It’s really all in the kaiju here, with their unique designs and characteristics. I quite enjoyed Ghidorah’s banter between each of his three heads.

Michael Dougherty spectacularly directs with great roaring fights and exploration of lore. He pays homage to the best of the old Gojira movies. However, I miss the more small-scale feel of Godzilla (2014). Gareth Evans really added something new to the monster movie genre with that. But, there are tons more fights here, which should alleviate fans’ complaints about the lack of fights and monster screen time in the previous movie. The soundtrack helmed by Bear McCreary roars, paying respect to the original themes that started it all. My favorite scene is a climatic moment, and that I can’t spoil. It explains most of the surrounding lore and contains one truly chilling scene from Ken Watanabe’s excellent acting. McCreary’s track elevates this to one of the best scenes this year overall.

The message of this film is about the commitment to family, whether from the Russells or between fellow Monarch crewmates. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, due to intense monster fights and language. The movie releases in theaters on May 3, 2019, so check it out.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters
By Will Chuhta, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is over two hours of non-stop monster action! I loved watching the extraordinary action scenes where giant monsters battle each other. The best part of this movie is definitely the special effects, which are amazing!

The action starts with a flashback to the previous Godzilla movie from 2014, but you don’t need to have seen that film to enjoy this one. The plot revolves around a new communication technology that allows scientists to control ancient monsters such as Mothra, Rodan and of course, Godzilla. Unfortunately, some bad guys steal this technology and try to release the monsters from captivity to destroy the planet, including the terrifying Monster Zero. The good guys have to decide if they want to take the risk of helping Godzilla defeat Monster Zero, potentially making him stronger than ever before.

My favorite part of this movie is a hilarious joke about a fortune cookie, delivered by my favorite character, Dr. Ishiro Serizawa. He’s played by Ken Watanabe, who continues his role from the previous movie. Millie Bobby Brown, who you may recognize from Stranger Things, gives an excellent performance as the daughter of two of the scientists who built the technology that communicates with the monsters. There are lots of exotic locations, including Antarctica, but the special effects are the most important part of this movie, particularly the monsters and especially Godzilla, who frequently shoots something like a giant blue laser beam from his mouth.

VERA FARMIGA as Dr. Emma Russell and MILLIE BOBBY BROWN as Madison Russell in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Parents should know that there’s a lot of bad language, and lots of people are killed in various battles, so younger kids are advised to stay away. Also, be warned that there’s a very scary preview for the movie IT Chapter Two that plays before the film. So if you don’t want your kids to see Pennywise the evil clown, make sure to come just as the movie is starting. Godzilla: King of the Monsters doesn’t really have a strong message, it’s mainly action, action, action! Don’t forget to stick around for the post-credits scene that sets things up for the next film in the franchise: Godzilla vs. Kong.

I give this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Some adults will like it too, although my dad didn’t think it was very good. Godzilla: King of the Monsters opens in theaters nationwide Friday May 31, 2019.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters
By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

I love this movie so much because of the cool creatures that lurk in this make believe world.  This is one of the best movies I have ever seen.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is about a family trying to save the world from creatures called The Titans. Godzilla is the main Titan in this film. The movie focuses on the wife, Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) and her ex-husband Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler).  Both of them are trying to save the world, but the villain veteran Jonah Alan (Charles Dance) tricks Dr. Russell into unleashing all of the Titans. She unleashes one of the oldest and strongest, a three-headed monster named King Ghidorah. King Ghidorah and the rest of the Titans that are awakened destroy numerous countries. It is Godzilla’s duty to stop them.

KEN WATANABE as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa and KYLE CHANDLER as Dr. Mark Russell in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Something cool that I like is that famous actress, Millie Bobby Brown, from Stranger Things, plays Madison Russell who is Emma’s and Mark’s daughter. She has a very important role in this movie as she tries to fix what her mom did wrong. The special effects and sound effects are so good that it feels as if you are actually there, live, and can see everything. Watching Godzilla fight with King Ghidorah kept everyone in the movie theater on the edge of their seats. At the end of the fight, one of the Titans has a special connection with Godzilla and something very interesting happens. 

The moral of this movie is that Godzilla is the one and only Boss! Also, it reminds us that family comes first and the monsters second, because Dr. Russell does not really pay attention to Madison when she becomes too fascinated with the Titans.       

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Know that there are some curse words and some scenes with strong content unsuitable for little children. It opens nationwide in theaters May 31, 2019.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Aladdin – A Grandiose Production That You Must Check Out!

May 24th, 2019

A kind-hearted street urchin and a power-hungry Grand Vizier vie for a magic lamp that has the power to make their deepest wishes come true. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “Aladdin is bolstered by its great direction and acting talent, but ultimately it doesn’t quite break the Disney fatigue in remakes. Still, its grandiose production overcomes its lack of originality. Fans of Disney movies, especially the cartoon classic Aladdin, must check this out.” Benjamin P. adds, “Aladdin keeps the best parts of the original, while adding a few really awesome new things. None of these tweaks to the story feel like filler, but necessary changes that bring this story to life for a new audience. I really like that characters Genie and Jasmine get more to do. Jasmine, in particular, takes on a much more active role in this version.” Katherine S. wraps it up with, “This action filled movie is incredible. The acting is remarkable and the music is excellent. It will truly touch your heart.” See their full reviews below.

Aladdin
By Arjun Nair, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Aladdin is bolstered by its great direction and acting talent, but ultimately it doesn’t quite break the Disney fatigue in remakes. Still, its grandiose production overcomes its lack of originality. Fans of Disney movies, especially the cartoon classic Aladdin, must check this out

Mena Massoud is Aladdin and Marwan Kenzari is Jafar in Disney’s live-action ALADDIN, directed by Guy Ritchie.

The film centers upon the beloved classic story, taking a few liberties. The adventure roams as “street rat” Aladdin (Mena Massoud) frees a genie (Will Smith) from a lamp, granting all his wishes and transforming himself into a charming prince so that he can please beautiful Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). But, every hero has his villain as evil sorcerer Jaffar (Marwan Kenzari) is determined to secure the lamp for his own sinister purposes. He threatens to do this at any cost necessary, and only Aladdin can outsmart him.

First off, Mena Massoud, as Aladdin, is fantastic with his charisma and kind heart, while also proving his physical prowess in the adventurous parkour scenes. His chemistry with Jasmine is well realized and moves forward their iconic romance. However, his singing does not fare well, with most of it appearing like a mediocre lip dub. This appears to be more of an error on the production side, than that of Massoud’s. Will Smith, as Genie, is my favorite character because it’s really just a medley of charm and swagger. I was worried that he would just try to imitate Robin William’s signature fast talk. Thankfully, he really does his own thing, and it works. Naomi Scott, as Jasmine, is stellar with her overall strength, and a few liberties are taken to establish her as more independent than her predecessors. Her aspirations to become a ruler among Abragah are well-fleshed, and her singing fares the best, despite some choppy editing. Unfortunately, Marwan Kenzari, as Jaffar, gives his best, but fails to leave an impression. His character is terribly one-note with his nefarious intentions. The script fails to develop his motive, but then again, he was never the classic cartoon’s strength. He always was a moustache-twirling villain.

Numan Acar is Hakim, Naomi Scott is Jasmine, Nasim Pedrad is Dalia and Navid Negahban is the Sultan in Disney’s live-action ALADDIN, directed by Guy Ritchie.

Guy Ritchie elegantly writes and directs with many dazzling musical numbers and soaring perilous adventures. His movies always contain a unique style, but at times, style outweighs substance. Here, it’s mostly not the case as the brilliant acting talent carries emotional and humorous scenes relating the story. The pace moves fast from one Saharan setting to the next. The production value and costume design are always wondrous. My favorite scene is the “Friend Like Me” number which doubles down on the craziness of the original. It’s a familiar, but faithful take that highlights Will Smith’s ability to helm the iconic musical number. New numbers such as “Speechless” are welcome additions that highlight the changes in Jasmine’s overall character in this version. They also showcase Naomi Scott’s range as a singer, and that musical number also stands among my favorites.

The message of this film is that love conquers all. It is not just in Aladdin and Jasmine’s love for each other, but also in the brotherly fulfillment of promise on the Genie’s side. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18 due to some action and peril. The movie released in theaters on May 24,2019, so check it out.

Aladdin
By Benjamin Price, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Aladdin is an enchanting retelling of the classic Disney animated film.

Scene from Prince Ali’s parade in Disney’s live-action ALADDIN, directed by Guy Ritchie.

Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is a streetwise thief living in Agrabah, stealing to survive with his monkey Abu. He has a chance encounter with the Princess of Agrabah, Jasmine (Naomi Scott), disguised as a handmaid and romance blossoms. While sneaking into the palace one day, he is seized by the nefarious Jafar (Narwan Kenzari), an advisor to the Sultan, who sends him to retrieve a powerful lamp in the magical Cave of Wonders. Once he gets the lamp, he is granted three wishes by mystical Genie (Will Smith). Aladdin wishes to look like a prince in order to get closer to the Princess, but has to prove to her and to himself that he is worthy without truly being a prince.

Aladdin keeps the best parts of the original, while adding a few really awesome new things. None of these tweaks to the story feel like filler, but necessary changes that bring this story to life for a new audience. I really like that characters Genie and Jasmine get more to do. Jasmine, in particular, takes on a much more active role in this version.

Marwan Kenzari is Jafar, Naomi Scott is Jasmine and Navid Negahban is the Sultan is Disney’s live-action ALADDIN, directed by Guy Ritchie.

I love the performances in this film. Will Smith is measuring up against the pretty iconic voice performance of Robin Williams as Genie in the previous film. He makes the role his own and really gives a unique, colorful flair to it. Smith’s performance is charismatic, energetic and, above all – fun. Naomi Scott is very powerful as Princess Jasmine. She does a lot of this film’s emotionally heavy lifting and has amazing vocals. Mena Massoud is likable and relatable as Aladdin and has a strong, comedic rapport with the Genie.

Jafar is a weak antagonist in this film. I think the character’s motivations are well-executed, but Marwan Kenzari’s overdone performance lacks the qualities that make the character compelling.

This is one of those films made to be seen on the big screen. From the sprawling landscape of Agrabah, to the magical, magnificent Cave of Wonders, the visuals in the land are excellent. Director Guy Ritchie mixes in some of his familiar trademarks with a lot of really colorful set pieces. Every musical number feels huge and well-made. From costumes to sets to cinematography, on a visual level, Aladdin is astonishing.

I recommend Aladdin for ages 8 to 16, for some implied violence and scenes of peril and give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Aladdin is a feel-good summer movie and a magical ride well worth taking. I highly recommend you check it out when it swoops into theaters May 24, 2019.

Aladdin
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

This action filled movie is incredible. The acting is remarkable and the music is excellent. It will truly touch your heart.

Mena Massoud is Aladdin in Disney’s live-action ALADDIN, directed by Guy Ritchie.

The story is about a poor boy named Aladdin (Mena Massoud) who lives in Agrabah and falls in love with the Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). At the beginning of the movie Aladdin faces challenges when he is kidnapped by an evil sorcerer named Jafar (Marwan Kenzari). The sorcerer sends him into a dangerous, but treasure filled cave to retrieve a magical golden lamp. After getting trapped in the cave, Aladdin accidentally rubs the lamp and, voila – the Genie (Will Smith) appears.  Soon after, Aladdin sets out to impress Princess Jasmine and their adventure begins.

Disney has make so many spectacular movies from Snow White to Moana, and now this live action movie Aladdin, which is by far one of the best. Of course this is no surprise, because it

Naomi Scott is Jasmine and Mena Massoud is Aladdin in Disney’s live-action ALADDIN, directed by Guy Ritchie.

has many wonderful actors like Will Smith, Mina Massoud and Naomi Scott. The costumes are dazzling. Not one detail is missed. I absolutely love all the costumes. My favorite scene is when the Genie describes how he lives inside of the itty-bitty golden lamp for 1,000 years. It’s very cramped. My favorite characters are Dalia and the Genie.  Dalia is innocent, giddy and funny. The Genie is magical, entertaining and charismatic.

The message of Aladdin is to be yourself and don’t do anything to change that. It has some negative behavior and some risky things that kids might imitate, but that’s unlikely.

I give this movie a 5 out of 5 stars I recommend this for ages 6 to 15. Adults might like watching this with their kids. This movie is in theaters on May 22, 2019.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu – Funny With Lots of Twists To Keep You Guessing

May 13th, 2019

The story begins when ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City–a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world–they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “I love this movie so much. I couldn’t stop laughing and crying with tears of joy.  Even the adults in the movie theatre laughed and enjoyed this movie.” Damon F. adds, “Pokémon Detective Pikachu is a movie that takes place in a world where people live with Pokémon and catch them in poke balls and battle them. I enjoyed this movie because the storyline is a mystery with a lot of twists that keeps you guessing.” See their full reviews below.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu
By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, Age 10

I love this movie so much. I couldn’t stop laughing and crying with tears of joy.  Even the adults in the movie theatre laughed and enjoyed this movie.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu is about a city named Ryme City where people are living with Pokémon.  A young man named Tim Goodman travels to Ryme City to find out the reason for the mysterious disappearance of his father, Harry Goodman.  In the process, Tim finds a strange, purple substance or gas that makes all the Pokémon act weird. Tim also finds his father’s Pokémon Pikachu. For some reason, Tim can understand Pikachu.  Yes, Pikachu can talk in this movie!

The movie is hilarious because of Ryan Reynolds, even though there are some jokes not suitable for children.  Also, Justice Smith, who plays Tim Goodman, is so good. He is pretty funny, and he makes the audience feel emotional when he has sad moments.  The visual effects are incredible, which make this movie different and better than other Pokémon movies or Pokémon TV shows.

The moral of this film is not to give up. Tim wants to give up on his mission. Instead, he teams up with Pikachu, and together they make a great team. Pikachu saves Tim from going home.  The end has a very twisted mystery that leaves everyone in the audience with their mouths wide open.  If you want to find out why, you’ll need to watch this awesome film before your friends spoil it for you.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, but adults over 18 can enjoy it, too You can watch Pokémon Detective Pikachu in any theater near you starting Friday, May 10, 2019.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu
By Damon F., KIDS FIRST Film Critic, age 11

Pokémon Detective Pikachu is a movie that takes place in a world where people live with Pokémon and catch them in poke balls and battle them. I enjoyed this movie because the storyline is a mystery with a lot of twists that keeps you guessing.

This story is about a boy named Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) whose father, Harry Goodman (Ryan Reynolds) dies in a car crash. Tim goes to Ryme City and meets a Pikachu with a detective hat who says that he is Harry’s Pokémon, and a brilliant detective. Tim and Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) must find out who killed Tim’s father and why.

This movie is great, all the Pokémon in the movie look realistic and lifelike. I found it very fun to search the movie and spot all the different Pokémon that they have in the movie such as Bulbasaur, Jigglypuff, Lickitung, Charmander and many more.

There is also a video game version of the movie called Detective Pikachu where you play in the Pokémon world and join Detective Pikachu in Ryme City to solve mysteries and crimes that Pokémon cause. It has a similar plot to the movie, so it is fun to get to play what you see in the film.

My favorite scene in this movie is one where Pikachu is very sad and starts singing some short pieces of the Pokémon theme song as he walks away from Tim, acting depressed. I like this scene because the way that Pikachu sings it is hilarious. Another good scene is when Tim, Detective Pikachu, Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton) a journalist, and her Psyduck are running away from some Greninjas and Psyduck gets a headache. This is very dangerous because his head could explode. I like this scene because it is full of action and the way Pikachu gives Psyduck a headache is hilarious. My favorite character in this movie is Detective Pikachu because he makes a lot of great jokes about other Pokémon and his obsession with coffee. His humor is sarcastic and dry, but he is also cute and fluffy. This contrast is very amusing.

The message of this movie is that you should stay loyal to your friends and trust them. There is also a strong storyline about the relationships between father and son.

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to18 because younger children may not understand the storyline. It opens in theaters May 10, 2019 so look for it.

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