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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain and deliver messages, not inform.
Shows how difficult and yet important it is to come to terms with the loss of a loved one. Indicates that there are extreme consequences to upsetting the "balance of nature." Values determination, strong family bonds, and unselfishness.
Positive Role Models
Heroic bunny is willing to take great risks to reach a goal. He exhibits bravery, devotion, and resourcefulness. His mother and father are models of loving parenting.
Violence & Scariness
A heroic young bunny and other characters face danger in many scenes. In a fantastical place, buildings shake, collapse, explode. Creatures run for their lives. The bunny's boat is bashed and tossed against sharp rocks; the ship sinks, he struggles in the water. He's tossed overboard in a barrel. In a lengthy sequence, "disturbing the balance of nature" results in a serpent-like figure wreaking havoc all around it, grabbing, throwing, and entrapping everyone. Spooky sequences: fog banks, creaky buildings and boats, characters nearly drowning.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Beyond Beyond is a Scandinavian animated movie, re-voiced for English-speaking audiences. Danish director Esben Toft Jacobsen (The Great Bear) works to combine very serious, mature themes with a fantastical story. The topics are a child's grief at the loss of a parent and the very dire consequences of attempting to upset the natural and fundamental balance of life. Though the characters are humorous and quirky and some are lovable, there's not much comedy overall. Young bunny Johan embarks upon a perilous journey in an effort to bring his mother back to life. He encounters strange, often scary creatures (a blustering old dog, a powerful bird-rabbit, a fearless, destructive serpent) and life-threatening events (a boat capsizes; an entire town shatters and collapses, endangering all). In addition, the story and messages are often subtle and perhaps confusing; with few on-the-nose explanations, young audiences may well be scratching their collective heads to understand this movie's depiction of the afterlife as Jacobsen has envisioned it. Still, for many it will be engaging simply as a magical adventure in which a young bunny learns to accept his mother's death. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Ambitious, cryptic, and often dark, this inventive animated tale tackles big themes with a multilayered story that is both puzzling and provocative. Production values are terrific all around: Music, animation, sound, and so on are all first-rate. Filmmaker Johansen has created very engaging characters. In addition to Johan and his parents, Billy and Frog (voiced by Emily Deschanel) are especially artful. While Beyond Beyond succeeds in so many areas, the story is the film's weakest link. It loses its way somewhere in the middle, then intermittently lacks coherence and logic. Though kids are the film's target audience, subject matter, confusing events, and/or some life-and-death scariness may make it unsettling for some.
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.