A lot or a little?
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Can of Worms is a Disney kids' sci-fi comedy with mild peril, very little violence, and plenty of positive messages and role models. The animatronic alien creatures are mostly designed to be amusing, but one or two could bother younger children. The leader, Thoad (Brian Steele), in particular is sinister and intimidating with evil intentions and a long red tongue that he uses to capture children. The main characters are all likable nerds -- as well as an amusing dog called Barnabus (voiced by Malcolm McDowell) -- who display bravery, loyalty, and humor throughout. There are some instances of minor bullying between the kids, with language stretching as far as "jerk" and "shut up!" Themes include the value of friendship and teamwork while the main takeaway is the importance of appreciating what you've got.
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So i don't like because of the beginning of the movie it was absolutely boring but the only reason why i watched it because the puppets just make me laugh my head of as soon a i saw the green and orange alien i started laughing i had to drink about three cups of water just to make me stop laughing.
but do y'all way... Continue reading
What's the story?
In CAN OF WORMS, teenager Mike Pillsbury (Michael Shulman) is a computer-science nerd who has never felt he belongs on Earth and has built a satellite dish to communicate with the galaxy. When his blossoming friendship with cheerleader Katelyn (Erika Christensen) is sabotaged by the school's football star he reaches out to outer space for help, which comes in the shape of a talking dog, Barnabus (voiced by Malcolm McDowell). It turns out his message has served to tell the universe that Earth has reached a certain level of technological prowess and no longer falls under the Intergalactic Protection of Primitive Life. Cue the arrival of lots of opportunistic alien creatures, including the evil Thoad (Brian Steele) -- an intergalactic poacher who is abducting all life forms until he finds a perfect specimen. Now it's down to Mike and his friends to save planet Earth and free all of Thoad's alien -- and human -- hostages.
Is it any good?
From the kitschy opening credits to the garish animatronic aliens, this feels like a cult 1980s movie -- despite being made by the Disney Channel in 1999. But once you get beyond the dated synthesizer music and rubbery puppets, you'll find an entertaining coming-of-age sci-fi yarn. It's a combination of typical high school angst -- failing at football, liking the popular girl -- and preposterous space fantasy. Even the laughable special effects just add to the fun.
The extra-terrestrials who aren't trying to abduct everyone are witty and amusing (an intergalactic lawyer who offers to help Mike sue planet Earth; alien media agents in a bidding war to get Mike on their books) while Barnabus the talking dog -- brilliantly voiced by McDowell -- brings a comedic gravitas to the chaos. The teenage cast does a good job of balancing nerdiness with charm, and Mike has a couple of great scenes that bring to mind the manic energy of Doc Brown in Back to the Future. In many ways the overall message here is "be careful what you wish for." But dig beneath the kitschy surface and Can of Worms is also a lesson in appreciating what you've got, even when you feel like you don't belong.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Can of Worms explores the theme of feeling as if you don't belong. Mike thinks he might be from outer space, but in what ways can people experience these feelings in real life? How can you help people feel a part of something?
Did you find any of the alien creatures scary? How to choose a scary movie for your kid.
Are Mike and his friends good role models? If so, in what way? What character strengths do they display? Can you think of a time when you've had to demonstrate such traits?
Talk to your kids about the special effects in the movie. Did they feel dated? How did they compare to movies made today?
- On DVD or streaming: April 10, 1999
- Cast: Michael Shulman, Erika Christensen, Adam Wylie
- Director: Paul Schneider
- Studio: Disney Channel Original Movies
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Space and Aliens
- Character strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: October 6, 2020
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