A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Beethoven's Treasure Tail is another adventure for Beethoven, the lovable St. Bernard who first appeared in theaters in 1992. The film is filled with silly characters, cartoon action of the dog trampling through one busy set piece after another, and multiple scenes of people reacting broadly to Beethoven's farts. It's standard, basically harmless entertainment. The story involves a young boy who's still grieving after his father's death and a budding romance between two likable adults. Meant for kids who understand "real" versus "cartoon" violence; the young hero encounters a wicked villain, a spider, bats, and a startling skeleton. Two fantasy sequences -- one a jewel robbery in a casino, the other a recreation of a pirate crew battling each other -- set the stage for the real-life Beethoven-induced farce that follows: falls, crashes, chases, and general mayhem.
What's the story?
When the beloved Beethoven (now a movie stunt dog) seems to lose his sparkle and is fired on the spot, his owner-manager Eddie (Jonathan Silverman) is distraught. To make matters worse, on the way back home, their car breaks down and they're stranded. In BEETHOVEN'S TREASURE TAIL Eddie and Beethoven take refuge in O'Malley's Cove, a picturesque but nearly bankrupt seaside town named for a pirate said to have buried a treasure there. When our two travelers meet Sam, a feisty young boy (Bretton Manley), and his widowed mom (Kristy Swanson), they can't help but get involved in the town's drama, where a bloodthirsty German developer seems to have the upper hand. It isn't long before Beethoven's devotion to his new buddy Sam and Sam's faith in the existence of the fabled pirate treasure get everyone in trouble. If only the treasure were real! If only finding it could save the town! If only Eddie and Sam's mom could get along ...
Is it any good?
Good-natured and silly, as well as predictable and one-dimensional, this hunt for pirate booty will appeal to kids who love to laugh at dog farts, bumbling villains, and farcical cartoon action. It isn't well-made (the poorly shot comic-book pratfalls are barely passable). The acting, especially by the featured players, is often over the top, and the story is fanciful to a fault. Even the youngest viewers will think they know what's coming next, and they'll be right. But it's harmless fun in which dreams come true, people learn lessons about what's important, and life with Beethoven goes on.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about (or look up) the words "slapstick" and "farce." How is slapstick or farcical action different from real or violent action? In what ways does this movie tell you the action is not to be taken seriously?
What did Sam's mom, Eddie, and the viewer learn about Sam when he decided what to do with the treasure he found?
Why was Beethoven fired from his "job?" What do you think caused his sadness? How did the events in this movie bring back his "spark?"
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