What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although the potential danger of stray dogs is discussed in this film, it gives the false impression that stray dogs are safe to play with. It may also raise a false hope that a miracle will keep children from having to make necessary sacrifices. While the two kids are kidnapped, the scene plays as non-violent and not very intense.
What's the story?
Told largely from the dog's point of view, BENJI is the story of a stray dog and the two children who adopt him. Cindy and Paul want to keep Benji, but their stern father (Peter Breck) won't let them. The first part of the movie follows Benji as he associates with locals, hides out in an abandoned house, and falls in love with a pooch named Tiffany. The movie takes a darker turn when Cindy and Paul are kidnapped. When Benji discovers that the kids are being held in the abandoned house, he reports back to the police, and eventually helps them track down the kidnappers.
Is it any good?
While this movie is billed as a family film, the kidnapping scenes may be troubling to young viewers. The reluctant kidnappers, who do not treat the children cruelly, are depicted in a frighteningly realistic manner. As long as parents make sure young children understand which aspects of this film are realistic and which are not (namely the super-intelligent behavior of Benji), this movie is okay for kids 6 and up.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about when it's appropriate to question the rules their parents set. If Benji wasn't such a remarkable dog, would it have been okay to keep him? What can kids do to avoid being kidnapped (not talking to strangers, etc)?