Parents' Guide to

A Wizard's Tale

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Chaotic fairy tale has dated stereotypes and messages.

Movie NR 2018 97 minutes
A Wizard's Tale Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 4+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 6+

Simple yet enjoyable for all the family

Simple and lovable old time style fairy tale movie. Nice to watch something that doesn't want to push any specific political agenda and just give entertainment
age 2+

This is the ripoff to A Christmas Story!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (2 ):

This animated fairy tale is an attack on the senses: wild, bright color schemes; fantastical characters constantly moving and bouncing; and abrasive voice acting. It's pretty annoying if you're an adult, but it's in line with programming for younger kids -- think Teletubbies meets Yo Gabba Gabba. If only the messaging were more appropriate for such young viewers. Saying that love is the key to happiness makes sense: There's love of family, love for yourself, a pet, neighbors, even enemies. But promoting the idea that romantic love is the key to happiness -- that unless you have a significant other, you're a "grump" who's trying to push frustration and misery on those around you -- isn't constructive, useful advice for children.

It's almost as if A Wizard's Tale was written in a different era -- and, in a sense, it was. The movie was inspired by a long-forgotten one-season cartoon series called Here Comes the Grump that ran on NBC in the fall of 1969; reportedly, it was canceled because it didn't fit in with the network's direction to be "socially conscious." A princess who prefers to be helpless and can only be talked into becoming queen before she's married because "the crown is pretty" is such an antiquated representation of women that it's hard to believe the movie's script was written recently. Why filmmakers thought it was a good idea to revive this story is as confusing as the film's plot. The events are hard to follow, and key moments are shrouded in such subtlety that kids may not understand what's going on or why. Some dialogue that could make the plot clearer is whispered, mumbled, or just hard to understand. Collins may have intended her take on Princess Dawn to be whimsical, but it doesn't work; conversely, Kebbell's warm sincerity as Terry is the soothing safe harbor among the chaos.

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