Bunyan and Babe
Legendary logger fights today's developers; some jeopardy.
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Bunyan and Babe
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bunyan and Babe is an animated feature film that finds a modern-day young brother and sister connecting with the American folkloric lumberjack Paul Bunyan and Babe, his blue ox. The two partnerships team up to help save a Minnesota town that is being taken over by an evil land developer (a comic but stereotyped businessman villain). The kids and the ox face assorted perils (chases, careening cars, falls, captures, a tranquilizing dart gun, fire), but there are no injuries or deaths. A few insults are delivered ("nincompoop," "nerdface," "ass") and expect some mild potty language ("poop," "puke"). It's OK for kids who are comfortable with real vs. pretend violence.
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What's the Story?
When BUNYAN AND BABE opens, Travis Barclay (voiced by Johnny Orlando) isn't very happy about spending two weeks with his little sister Whitney (Lola Wayne Villa) at his grandparents' farm. Do they have to go every year? No cell phone? No video games? Rediscovering nature??? But neither Travis nor Whitney could have foreseen the adventure upon which they were about to embark. Delbert, Minnesota, the small town in which Travis' grandparents live, is about to be demolished by the Blandfords, an unscrupulous land developer and his evil hypnotist twin (both played with gusto by Kelsey Grammer). Though the citizens have refused to sell to Blandford, a more devious plan is underfoot -- that is, until Travis makes an unexpected journey beneath the surface of the earth where the "real" Paul Bunyan (John Goodman) and his blue ox, Babe (Jeff Foxworthy), have been living for more than a century. Before you can say, "Look deep into my eyes," Travis, as well as his precocious sister and newest giant BFFs, are on the case. So just when it seems all of Delbert will fall into the Blandsfords' evil hands, the foursome work together to save the day.
Is It Any Good?
With conventional animation, a simple story, and a few intriguing characters, this modern twist on an old folk-hero story is pleasant enough but far from memorable. Made several years before its release, Bunyan and Babe will successfully introduce kids to an American legend. Some voice performances are noteworthy. Kelsey Grammer has a fine time with two stellar villains. Dorien Davies shares a wonderfully comic interpretation of a ditzy secretary with more to her than meets the eye. There's enough cartoon violence to make it iffy for kids who aren't able to separate real and pretend violence. Otherwise, the movie is fine for most kids.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the legend of Paul Bunyan and the Blue Ox. Look up the story. How do characters in Bunyan and Babe carry on the traditions of the legendary ones? Why is Paul Bunyan such a positive figure in American folklore?
Why do you think so many cartoon villains are greedy businessmen? Do movies like this one influence your attitude about the world of business and finance? Can you think of some people in the business world who make important contributions to our society?
What is meant by the statement: "You don't have to be big to do big things"? Think of some incidents in your life when you were able to accomplish something unexpected. Write about one big thing you did.
- On DVD or streaming: January 12, 2017
- Cast: John Goodman, Jeff Foxworthy, Kelsey Grammer
- Directors: Louis Ross, Tony Bancroft
- Studio: Cinedigm
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, History
- Character Strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild language, rude humor, and peril
- Last updated: March 24, 2023
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