Ace Wonder

  • Review Date: August 8, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Painfully slow, often confusing mystery has some violence.
  • Review Date: August 8, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Encourages forgiveness and open communication between fathers and sons. Values helpfulness, hard work, and staying focused on the task at hand.

Positive role models

Two boys, one age 10, the other in his late teens, strive to unearth the truth despite the warnings from parents and other authority figures. Occasionally, they behave rashly and irresponsibly, putting themselves in danger (the youngest boy driving a jeep through the woods, the older boy breaking into a building), but they're ultimately successful in their quest. A father who is initially autocratic and demanding learns an important lesson about compassionate parenting. Female characters are used only in the background and rarely speak; they do not actively take part in any element of the story. No ethnic diversity.

Violence

Two action-suspense sequences with some violence: A gruff man attacks a young boy and pushes him down; a fight follows with fists and a tire iron, resulting in some minor scrapes and bruises. The climactic finale includes a chase, a grown man repeatedly shooting a gun at a boy, and a car overturning with the boy at the wheel. Edgy music, lightning and thunder, and spooky lighting accompany several scenes. 

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Coca-Cola, Gulf Oil, Google, Monaco Dynasty motor home.  

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In one scene, a peripheral character is seen smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Ace Wonder is part plodding mystery, part weak father-son estrangement story, and part comic book. The title character is a 10-year-old would-be detective with the requisite trench coat, hat, and "hard-boiled" repartee. However, with the exception of a few action sequences, Ace Wonder, aka Gator Moore, is rarely a key part of the story. He's on-screen briefly, usually for comic relief, searching for clues or recording his observations. Most of the film tells the story of a teen struggling with the death of his grandfather and ongoing friction with his own dad as they investigate the elderly man's secretive actions before his death. Two action-packed sequences with kids in danger include gunfire, a fight with fists and a tire iron, and a car overturning with a boy at the wheel. No serious injuries or deaths. When the mystery is the focus of the story, the music and lighting are eerie and dark. The Ace Wonder comic book sections are, by far, the most successful elements of what otherwise is a slow, confusing, and unoriginal venture.  

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

On a trip with his family in ACE WONDER, Gator Moore (aka Ace Moore) finds himself in the midst of his first real detective assignment. When their motor home breaks down on the road near a small town, the Moores meet and take refuge with the Morton family, who have come to the town to bury the Morton grandfather and dispose of his property. Dereck Morton, a teen, is angry at his father's estrangement from the older man and desperate to find out more about the bizarre notes, coded messages, and objects his grandfather left behind. Gator persuades Dereck to let him help -- he is just the "man" for the job. But Jim Morton, Dereck's dad, is much harder to convince. It's only when Dereck, with some help from Gator and friends, decodes the messages, unearths several crucial missing clues, and begins to suspect that Grandpa Morton was the victim of a conspiracy that Jim reconciles with Dereck and they all begin to investigate in earnest.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This movie is slow, with too many clues to unravel and an overabundance of relationships to sort through. Shifting tones (from comic mystery to overwrought family-dynamic drama and back again and again), glaringly awful writing and plot construction, and direction and acting that are consistently substandard make this a tough one to watch. The only slightly saving grace to this well-intentioned but wholly amateurish effort are the scenes that show the comic book version of the otherwise poorly executed story. Particularly appalling is the accumulation of scenes in which about a dozen assorted family members follow the principal kids from location to location and simply stand around wordlessly to watch them do their investigating. Definitely not recommended.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about movie genres. Find out what elements are essential to the mystery or detective genre. Which of these elements does Ace Wonder include? 

  • Both Gator Moore and Dereck Morton behave recklessly at some points in the movie (for example, driving off in the jeep and breaking into the library). What were their alternatives? To whom might they have turned for help? 

  • Dereck's grandfather's mystery is based on theft of scientific invention. Do you think the filmmakers made the science understandable? How might they have used Ace Wonder's comic book to help explain the mystery? Try to design a short comic book that illustrates a scientific theory.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 13, 2014
DVD release date:August 19, 2014
Cast:Gator Moore, Derek Moreland, Garrett Schenck
Director:John Moore
Studio:Heumoore Productions
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:mild action and brief smoking

This review of Ace Wonder was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byarmelladana November 16, 2014
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Kids need more movies like "Ace Wonder"!!

For people looking for a nice, fun, positive film for children 6 and over . . . all the way to 66, I highly recommend this film. I also recommend you never follow the advice of "Common Sense Media"!!!! I do not know who did the review of this movie for CSM, but they could not have had children or even been a child with positive life input. I think the MESSAGE IS GREAT because there are a lot of fathers out there who don't know how to develop a good, loving relationship with their children. I believe this movie could encourage a bond of this kind in some families needing to create better relationships. I believe the role models were excellent!! Two families that are so caring and supportive for one another are rare in today's society. When I was a kid, this was the norm, but I see little of it in this new age world of cell phones and computer games, which seem to absorb the time and interest of many young people (and adults, too, even me) . I do remember some of those families with fond memories. I believe it is very positive to see a member of law enforcement that is not shooting people with scenes of bloodly "bad guys", but one who tries to help a father and son build a well needed relationship!! The movie is not a lightening speed show such as kids get with their electronic equipment. Instead, it is a nice movie with good interaction. There is also a wonderful element of creativity that really does apply to children's wishful fantasy. Children who are encouraged to play-act the things that interest them, still want to be firemen, soldiers, dancers, "princesses", and DETECTIVES!! Many children also want to be writers and even cartoonists. At 9-years of age, my Matthew wrote his first book about 'heraldry' with photos of his puppets acting out the storyline!! The book with photos inserted was published, with "Shutterfly", into 12 copies for family, friends, and one for the school library!! I feel this movie, "Ace Wonder" could encourage some youth to do something creative. At least the movie plants some seeds of positive activties. CSM reviewer seems to have missed the most positive points of the film. See it with your kids, or grandkids, or great-grandkids, or all by yourself. It is a feel-good movie with positive input!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Educator and Parent Written byExtemporaneous7 September 28, 2014
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Great truly family-friendly movie

This movie was, hands down, the best, most appropriate family movie I have seen in a very long time. The mystery was no great psychological thriller, but it's not meant to be. It's meant to be kid friendly and entertaining for the whole family and it was that. It had plenty of comic relief, wisdom, and touching moments very well balanced throughout. The plot moved at a good pace, allowing the kids to keep up, but also keeping them guessing until the end. We watched it with kids ranging from 3 to 16 and all of them (and us adults!) truly enjoyed Ace Wonder. The characters used appropriate language and dressed modestly throughout. There was some mild violence and peril, but nothing over the top. The art in the comic sections was fantastic. The videography was very well done and the movie as a whole was quite well put together. The theme is the importance of winning your children's hearts and was well conveyed. Enthusiastic thumbs up! We will be recommending this to all our friends. :)
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written bydemarks51 November 2, 2014
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

one of the best i have seen lately

A very fun, engaging mystery with good humor throughout. Family production by Christian family who also did Widows Mite. Much improved over previous film. Little kids may have problem with corpse in coffin at the beginning. Kept interested for the whole movie. Follow the clues and don't jump to conclusions. Sequel should be forthcoming. I really liked this movie. Bought it from amazon instant.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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