Birds of Paradise

Movie review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
Birds of Paradise Movie Poster Image
Adventure focuses on self-confidence; some cartoon violence.
  • PG
  • 2014
  • 82 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kids learn what different types of birds look like (canary, sparrow, dove, pigeon, hummingbird, falcon) and a little about the characteristics of bats.

Positive Messages

It's what's inside that makes you special.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jack and his friends -- Vinnie, Skeeter, Rosie, and Aurora -- are loyal and never give up on each other.

Violence & Scariness

This animated film is not violent by big-kid standards, but there's some little-kid danger and violence. Birds fly into windows. A mean cat chases birds and attacks a human. The cat later chases the same bird that a falcon is chasing (and has threatened to eat). The cat and falcon bump into each other, and the falcon falls into traffic. Humans throw objects at birds and then shoot guns at them. A flock of seagulls threatens and chases a sparrow and corners him in a "bird graveyard" full of bones.

Sexy Stuff

The two main character birds, Jack and Aurora, kiss once.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The hummingbird, Skeeter, is said to have a "nectar problem." A parrot says that Skeeter once drank too much nectar and started a fight.
 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Birds of Paradise is an animated movie about a sparrow named Jack who wants to be "special." Some doves make him feel insignificant because of his plain appearance (saying he's "so whatever"), and he wants to change his appearance to stand out. The movie explores the idea of what truly makes someone special and the importance of self-confidence. There are some scary and violent scenes, with carnivorous creatures chasing small birds, humans shooting at birds who are trying to set free a captured bird, and danger to birds from fast-moving traffic. There's also one bird kiss and a hummingbird with a "nectar problem."

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What's the story?

In BIRDS OF PARADISE, a little sparrow named Jack (Drake Bell) flirts with some attractive doves, but they shame him and insult him by telling him he's not special enough for them. Jack gets the impression that he needs to look different to be special, and when he finds himself in a barn containing paint cans, he paints his wings to make himself look exotic. Meanwhile, the "seventh-richest man in the world" has purchased a valuable exotic canary named Aurora (Ashley Tisdale). After Aurora escapes, she meets Jack and his friends, a pigeon named Vinnie (Ken Jeong) and a hummingbird called Skeeter (Jon Lovitz). She also meets a helpful bat, Rosie (Jane Lynch), who debunks Aurora's mistaken ideas about bats being vampires. As the rich guy hunts Aurora to recapture her, she and Jack learn some important lessons about self-esteem and trusting their friends.

Is it any good?

Birds of Paradise is voiced by some very talented actors, so the performances are a bit more nuanced than some animated adventures are. Kids will be entertained by Jack's attempts to swagger, and they'll warm to Aurora's sweetness. There's plenty of suspense in this movie, and some nice lessons, too. But Birds of Paradise is generally pretty average, with a fairly predictable plot and characters. Overall, though, this is a fine choice for family movie night if you have grade-schoolers who love animated tales.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about self-confidence. Why does Jack paint his wings? How are his feelings similar to Aurora's?

  • What did you learn about bats from this movie?

  • Learn more about birds, bats, and other creatures in The Animal Book.

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love animals

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