A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that All Creatures Big and Small is a European animated film that's also been known as Oops! Noah Is Gone and Two by Two. This animal-centric kids' film is loosely based on the Noah's Ark story, though it's from the animals' perspective and has almost no mention of Noah or religion. Fart and poop jokes are prevalent, including the detail that some characters fart a dark gas when nervous. There's a lot of slapstick violence and many suspenseful scenes showing characters trying to escape the flood or villains, which may be too intense for sensitive young viewers. There are also some dark themes, including one character's musings that "maybe we're not all meant to survive" that seem out of place in a children's film. Parents may also be concerned about the bullying shown, as some animals aren't deemed worthy to board the Ark or are taught to be cruel to other animals, though (SPOILER ALERT) it's eventually revealed they wouldn't need the Ark to survive after all and the bullies learn to play nice. But by the time these caveats are given it feels too little, too late. There is also a large character named "Obesey," which seems in poor taste.
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What's the story?
Word begins to spread that a huge flood is coming, so Nestrians Dave and his son Finny head to the ark to be saved with the other animals. Unfortunately, Nestrians doesn't make the cut, and the duo are kicked off. With a little involuntary help from Grymps Hazel and Leah, who are determined only to look after themselves, father and son board the ark and are ready to be saved. But when Finny and Leah fall off, they must work together to get back to the boat and stay safe from two trailing griffins who are determined to make them their next meal while their parents try to turn the ark around.
Is it any good?
ALL CREATURES BIG AND SMALL is a weird film that mostly manages to leave a bad taste in your mouth. Many of the characters are unlikable (such as the Grymps), and the likable ones are so one-dimensional they get old fast (such as Finny). There also are a lot of strange details that at the very least are in poor taste (the character named "Obesey") and at most are disturbing (Dave puppeteering the unconscious king like a marionette). And though the end message is that everyone has a place, it's mostly lost in the plot points that emphasize discrimination and exclusion. Kids may love some of the imaginary animals, but with so many other fun animal and fantasy movies out there, this is one you can definitely skip.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the Noah's ark story. Do you know it? How is All Creatures Big and Small different from the traditional story? How is it the same?
Hazel tells her daughter Leah that Grymps need to look out for themselves to survive. How did that lesson backfire on Leah? Why do you think it was important for her to learn to trust Finny and others?
Why do you think the filmmakers chose to call a character "Obesey"? Do you think it's a funny name? Why, or why not?
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