Bob's Broken Sleigh

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Bob's Broken Sleigh Movie Poster Image
Short but sweet holiday elf tale with cartoon action/peril.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 46 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Briefly introduces icebergs, some unfamiliar critters (puffins, narwhals). Generally intended to entertain, not educate.

Positive Messages

Strongly promotes finding your own specialness and being yourself. Santa's wisdom: "Today's failure is the first step toward tomorrow's triumph" and "Sometimes thinking and being different is its own kind of magic ... your magic." Shows that "[n]ice elves have friends who help out."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Several less-than-confident characters find their strengths and react positively: An elf works wonders without magic; a scared bear finds his courage; a cat learns to accept and appreciate her exceptional tail. Heroes bravely help each other despite risks to themselves.

Violence & Scariness

Cartoon action and mild jeopardy: falls (including plummets), chases, bonks on the head, vehicles crashing, cracking ice beneath feet, trees falling, creatures being captured and briefly caged, narrow escapes, climactic action finding heroes in air battle with flock of bad-guy birds. 

Sexy Stuff
Language

Job of hero described as "reindeer droppings specialist" or "poopervisor."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bob's Broken Sleigh is an animated tale about an elf without magic who has much to discover about himself. Just before Christmas, Bob takes an unexpected journey, meets some unexpected new friends, and has to use all the resources at hand to save Christmas Eve from a naughty bird with evil on its mind. Cartoon action and jeopardy in the snow-filled North Pole includes: spills, tumbles, chases, collisions, and some close calls, with an iceberg and with a small army of battling puffins. Bob's job at the film's opening is "reindeer-droppings specialist" or "poopervisor." The movie is filled with very direct messages about self-confidence, risk-taking, valuing individual specialness, and problem-solving. Streaming at 46 minutes, it aired originally as a holiday special on the Disney Channel.

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What's the story?

Ol' Fishface (voiced by Bruce Greenwood), the fierce puffin who loves being naughty, wants to spoil Christmas for everyone in BOB'S BROKEN SLEIGH. What he doesn't count on is Bob (Cole Howard), a little "magic-less" elf, and a whole bevy of Bob's new oddball critter friends, who are willing to risk it all to save the holiday. Bob may not have magic, and he may not have any self-confidence, but he does have imagination, and he is a pretty fine inventor. In fact, he almost has his streamlined technical wonder of an upgraded sleigh ready for Santa's Christmas Eve voyage. Almost ... except the sleigh has a mind of its own, and, suddenly, Bob finds himself on a runaway journey through the icy, treacherous North Pole terrain. It's there that Bob meets Fluffy (Victor Garber), a furry trout who can't swim; Blue (Michael Adamsthwaite), a 'fraidy-cat bear with horns; and Wupsy (Raini Rodriguez), a spirited cat with an outrageously unique tail. There are only two days to get that sleigh back to Santa, and Fishface and his army of puffins are out to stop Bob. Will the well-meaning crew of quirky critters be able to overcome their fears and bad habits to help Bob? Will Santa get his sleigh back in time to deliver presents to children everywhere? And, most important, will the Bobs of the world find their own magic?

Is it any good?

Some cute, wacky characters keep an otherwise conventional "saving Christmas" story lively. The movie has lots of kid-friendly messages about finding your own specialness and the value of perseverance. At only 46 minutes in length, it's OK for young kids but only those who are comfortable with cartoon action and jeopardy and who won't confuse it with real danger.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Santa's comment, "Today's failure is the first step toward tomorrow's triumph." Can you succeed in any activity, sport, or art without having some false starts or defeats? What can you do to turn failure into success (for example, practicing or rethinking goals?)

  • Some of the other elves tease Bob because he has no magic. What do those elves learn about Bob and their own behavior by the story's end?

  • This movie includes some lesser-known members of the animal kingdom in its cast. Find out about puffins and narwhals. Where do they live? What do they eat? Do they have enemies, and how do they protect themselves? Can you draw a puffin and a narwhal?

Movie details

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For kids who love the holidays

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