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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bob the Builder: Mega Machines is a movie-length (63-minute) entry in the vast Bob the Builder franchise, which began as an animated British television series in 1998. Combining easy-to-understand stories and positive messages with funny, well-meaning leading characters (including humanlike construction vehicles) have made this a family-friendly brand. Each tale includes educational material as well; this one introduces reservoirs and dams, and shows how they're made using the earth's natural resources. Clear positive messages about working together, doing one's best, and dealing with bullies are plentiful. "Yes, We Can!" is the motto of the crew. This movie contains more mild suspense and peril than other shows in the series. A bullying villain causes trouble, threatening the heroes as well as an entire town. A dam bursts; flooding occurs, and there are some tumbles and close calls. It's important that the youngest viewers are clear about real versus imaginary danger.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Bob (Colin Murdock) and his exuberant team of construction vehicles are excited to get an important job in BOB THE BUILDER: MEGA MACHINES - THE MOVIE. Spring City has hired the crew to turn a local quarry into a reservoir to provide clear, fresh drinking water for everyone. And they'll build a dam to contain the reservoir. It's a massive job, so Bob has hired another contractor, Conrad (Brian Cox), and his team of Mega Machines to help. What Bob doesn't know is that Conrad is angry that he was passed over in favor of Bob. The mean-spirited man, who doesn't treat his crew well at all, decides to sabotage the job in secret. The work is hard, but the whole team contributes. When the dam is finished, Conrad's evil plan results in an unexpected near disaster and everyone, including the whole town, is in danger.
Is it any good?
As usual, Bob and his distinctive team of trucks bring solid messages, fundamental information about building, and an entertaining story to the fans of this popular franchise. Even the villain plays a part in the instructional nature of Bob the Builder: Mega Machines. Kids can see first-hand how bullying passes from one "generation" to the next. Because Conrad subjects his employees to threats and intimidation, those beleaguered vehicles start to behave as bullies, too -- but only until the heroes show them the error of their ways. It's a nice, and subtle, touch. The story seems just the right length, should hold the interest of young audiences, and measures up to the high standards that the Bob the Builder creative team demands of itself. Recommended for kids who are comfortable with pretend versus actual danger.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the characters of Bob and Conrad in Bob the Builder: Mega Machines. What are the differences in the way they treat their workers? Which one is the more successful boss?
In what ways is Conrad a bully? How does his treatment of his Mega Machines (Thug, Crunch, and Ace) almost turn them into bullies, too? What lesson did the Mega Machines learn about their own behavior?
At the end of this story, Thug, Crunch, and Ace become part of Bob's team. Do you expect to see these characters as part of Bob's (Fisher-Price) toy inventory? How do manufacturers and filmmakers help each other out when they create their products and movies?
- On DVD or streaming: November 21, 2017
- Cast: Colin Murdock, Brian Cox, Joanne Froggatt
- Director: Stuart Evans
- Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Adventures, Friendship
- Character strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 63 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: December 10, 2020
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