A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Good-guy characters model positive traits like courage, bravery, and sacrifice. Other messages include the importance of environmental preservation, cross-cultural awareness, and peaceful negotiation. The Terrians believe in being peaceful and close to nature, but they'll also defend themselves when attacked.
Violence & Scariness
An Earth Force general wants to wipe out the Terrians so that humans can have their planet. His actions lead to many, many casualties on both sides. Opposing forces shoot at each other from battleships, and there are several explosions that result in deaths, as well as deaths from poison in the air. One main character's death is presented as an act of "noble suicide" -- but it also kills many people.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Best friends flirt and embrace.
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Very infrequent; one use of "damn" and one "God."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that even though it's animated and targeted at kids, this sci-fi adventure deals with some very mature themes, including extinction, colonization, unprovoked war, and even a suicide bombing of sorts (the incident involves a main character and is presented as a noble sacrifice). The violence is more prominent than in most animated films and is similar to what you'd see in a movie like The Clone Wars -- animated, yes, but still disturbing. On the other hand, there are many positive lessons about environmental preservation, cross-cultural awareness, and peaceful negotiation, and there's no sex, language, or drinking to worry about. (Note: Some theaters are showing this movie in 3D, which adds an extra level of intensity.) To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
BATTLE FOR TERRA isn't your typical animated film. It's not full of double-entendre jokes, wink-wink pop-culture references, or catchy songs. Instead, it's a dramatic "message movie" aimed at older children (and adults) who could use a lesson in what could happen if the Earth becomes unsustainable because of us. That doesn't mean there's not a lot of action to entertain and engage viewers, but the mood is kind of dark -- it's difficult to root for the post-apocalyptic "Earth Force" when they're planning all-out war on Zen-like creatures.
Director Aristomenis Tsirbas shows a real knack for action-packed animation, and the 3D effects are enjoyable without being overwhelming. The story could have used a lighter touch to be more appropriate for slightly younger audiences -- who might be scared or confused by the heavy artillery of the second and third acts. But if Battle manages to draw in tweens rather than more oblivious lower-elementary kids, the eco-conscious story could take hold.
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.