A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Positive messages include the power and necessity of scientific discovery and innovation to better the world; that there's more that makes you attractive and extraordinary than your looks; the dangers of greed when it comes to technology; and the importance of family and friends to support you through crises.
Positive Role Models
April is intelligent, loyal, and determined to further her late parents' and grandfather's research. She's courageous and strong-willed. Julius redeems himself as he gets to know April and discovers he has feelings for her. Pops redeems himself for disappearing so long by truly caring for April and teaching her everything he can.
Violence & Scariness
A young girl is left an orphan after her parents are electrocuted (shown, but not graphic). Weapons injure, incapacitate, threaten, and kill characters. Sad moments when the main character thinks her dear friend has died/been killed. Chases/crashes. World destruction threatened. A group of scientists is kidnapped. A character kills his mate; their children then take up arms against one another in an intense battle. Comic pratfalls/injuries.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple of kisses. A man pees in a bucket while in the same room as a woman.
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Subtitled language includes "dang," "stupid," "butt," "shut up," and "dirty swine," but those who understand French may recognize the word "merde," which usually translates closer to "s--t" than to "dang."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that April and the Extraordinary World is a subtitled (or English dubbed, depending on which version you see) French animated adventure inspired by graphic artist Jacques Tardi. The steampunk alternative-history adventure takes place in a France overrun by pollution because the all energy is steam- and coal-powered. Some of the plot details may confuse really young viewers, and the peril, gun violence, threats, deaths, and intense climactic battle may frighten others. A young girl is orphaned early in the story after her parents are electrocuted (this is shown, but it's not graphic), and there are sad moments when she believes her dear friend has died. Expect a few mild insults like "dirty swine" and a couple of kisses. Kids who can follow the subtitles and the action will be rewarded with a sophisticated, riveting adventure about the power of scientific innovation in society. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Fabulously animated, this fascinating alternative history adventure may confound the youngest animation fans, but it's a mature and compelling story for older kids and teens. Once you buy into the premise, you'll root for April and Darwin no matter what obstacles they face. Tardi's work has been compared to that of Charles Dickens and Jules Verne, and the comparisons are obvious in the movie: April is the sort of melancholy but brilliant orphan worthy of a Dickens novel, and the story's adventure portion is reminiscent of Verne's famous tales.
The romance is slow and sweet (at first, Julius doesn't even think April is all that pretty, but as he gets to know her, he realizes how truly extraordinary she is), but it's obviously not the focus of the plot, which remains on April and her relatives. Darwin provides much-needed levity, as does the bumbling Pizoni, who pratfalls and injures himself comically throughout the film. There's a third-act twist that's a tad out there, but if you stick with it, you'll be satisfied with the future that April, Julius, Darwin, and the rest of their crew makes happen.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.