Beethoven's Christmas Adventure
By Renee Longstreet,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Holiday canine hijinks, plus a few serious scenes.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Intended to entertain, however, there are some references to the plight of stray animals along with relevant information about the ASPCA.
This movie attempts to include positive messages about what's really important in life, generally, and at Christmas time specifically. A mother learns that time at work needs to be balanced with time at home; an elf realizes that being different can be "pretty cool"; a young boy comes to understand that even if you've been hurt in the past, it's still important to love again, and that the best gifts are often not from a store, but involve healing and love. Finally, the plight of homeless animals is shown and support for the ASPCA is recommended throughout the film and in a public service message that starts the DVD.
Positive Role Models
For the most part, kids and adults behave in responsible ways. Those that don't, particularly the elf from the North Pole, learn valuable lessons about or pay a price for their conduct. Both the heroic mom in the story and the local police officers are slow to listen to and believe the kids, but they eventually come around. The elf who propels the action complains about "being different," but it's about his job and not because he is African American, a fact that is never made an overt part of the story.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of cartoon action: pratfalls, chases, objects falling on people, sliding on ice, a runaway sleigh, a loose dog causing havoc in a marketplace. Two farcical villains steal an important object, threaten and capture one of the heroes. They are depicted as greedy, selfish, and, above all, bumbling. A small model of a parade float catches fire, but is put out efficiently by a boy using a fire extinguisher. Though there are lots of crashes, falls, and bumps, no one is ever hurt or in real danger.
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Some insults and rude language: "idiot," "dumb," "get your nose out of your butt," "creeps." An extended dog farting sequence.
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Products & Purchases
Branded toys, toys, toys throughout, with lots of scenes played in a toy store. Some featured are: Red Rover Game, Mind-Flex, Barbie, UNO, Stunt 'N Dunk, Kerplunk, Perplexus, Hot Wheels, Daredevil Stunt Set.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this Christmas entry in the popular Beethoven franchise is loaded with farcical comic action (falls, crashes, bumps, a runaway sleigh, lots of chases, and captures involving both dogs and humans). No one is hurt and everyone pops right up from what is usually snow-covered ground. Name brand toys line the shelves in an oft-visited toy store and are featured in numerous scenes. There's some rude language ("idiot," "dumb elf," "get your nose out of your butt") and one lengthy dog farting scene. The over-the-top, silly but not very scary villains will stop at nothing to exploit the Christmas season and separate customers from their cash. The movie includes some serious issues as well: the boy at the center of the story is dealing with the recent death of his father, as well as his mother's adjustment to that death; and the elf who flees from the North Pole is dejected because he feels "different" from the other elves. Both have to come to terms with the events in their lives.
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Beethoven's Christmas Adventure
Based on 4 parent reviews
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Dogs, death and there is no Santa
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What's the Story?
It's three days before Christmas. Henry (Kyle Massey), the elf assigned to the stable at the North Pole, has hurt feelings. He wants to be a toy-making elf like the rest of his friends. When he angrily rides off with the sleigh and Santa's magic toy bag, he crash lands in small town in Minnesota and he's in deep trouble. Two greedy toy store owners get their hands on the magic bag, and Henry realizes he's put the entire holiday in danger. No bag, no sleigh -- no Christmas! Lucky for the elf and kids everywhere, Henry meets Mason (Munro Chambers), a boy who needs to learn a lesson about dogs, and Beethoven, the lovable pet who's there to teach him. It takes a village and lots of comic action, but the three heroes save the day and learn some important lessons, too.
Is It Any Good?
BEETHOVEN'S CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE is bright, colorful, with a simply told story, engaging animal heroes, very silly comic villains, and plenty of slapstick action. For the first time, Beethoven talks (in the voice of Tom Arnold). And, just past the onslaught of branded toys and games, the film has a heart.
It takes a look at the healing nature of humans bonding with pets, and the value of adopting homeless animals, specifically from the ASPCA. It's not a classic, but most kids (and even some grownups) will laugh a bit and enjoy the happy endings.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about film's message that the best gifts don't always come from a bag. What was Mason's best Christmas gift? Can you think of some gifts you could give or have received that don't come from a bag or a store? How does this message go along with all the branded toys featured in the movie? Do you think the movie is trying to sell these toys?
What is the movie's message about pets?
There's a lot of make-believe or cartoon mischief and destruction in this movie. What are some of the ways you can tell that it's make-believe and not real? What might really happen if someone fell out of a tree?
- On DVD or streaming: November 8, 2011
- Cast: Kyle Massey, Munro Chambers, Tom Arnold
- Director: John Putch
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Holidays
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some mild rude humor
- Last updated: January 6, 2023
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