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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Capture the Flag, a 2015 animated Spanish feature dubbed into English, highlights the glory of landing on the moon back in 1969 by sending kids there today as part of a mission to save the moon from a profiteering tycoon. A family rift plays a role in the drama as well. The science takes a back seat to adventure here, but the underlying creative feat of imagining and executing a moon flight is honored and celebrated by the young son and grandson of astronauts. Cartoon violence and peril make for scenes that can scare small kids, but elementary school-age kids will probably find it all compelling. Language includes "heck," "fart," "twerp," and "butt." A grade-school boy and girl kiss by mistake. Briefly, a boy finds a girlie magazine an adult has been looking at.
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What's the story?
The backstory in CAPTURE THE FLAG recalls 1969, when Commander Frank Goldwing (Paul Kelleher) was set to board the Saturn rocket and land on the moon with Neil Armstrong. But circumstances took him off the roster, and that led to a decades-long break with his wife and young son, Scott. Scott (Adam James) grows up to be an astronaut, too, and he's called into action when the president declares an emergency that requires immediate travel to the moon to thwart Carson (Sam Fink), an evil business helming his own moon launch. Old timers, including Frank, are called to work the mission. When Scott gets injured and scrubbed from the mission, his 12-year-old son, Mike (Lorraine Pilkington) -- who has been trying to reconcile his dad and granddad -- decides a Goldwing curse has kept the family from going to the moon, so he stows away with best friend Amy (Phillippa Alexander) and their friend Marty's (Rasmus Hardiker) pet Igor, a lizard equipped with electronic gizmos bound to come in handy. Grandpa Frank finds the stowaways, but the hatch locks them in when the ship is sabotaged to launch on its own by the villainous Carson. Instead of destroying the mission, the sabotage launches Frank, Mike, Amy, and Igor into the stratosphere. On the moon, they fight Carson for the flag planted in 1969 and the rights to lucrative energy mines, and then run for their lives as Carson tries to kill them and, yes, rule the world.
Is it any good?
This is an entertaining romp through space, complete with family conflicts, friendship, loyalty, a goofy pet, and a stock villain bent on making lots of money and bringing the world to its knees. In order to create the entertainment, sometimes facts are ignored regarding the space program, launch sequences, survivability by stowaways, etc. But Capture the Flag is a cartoon that seems more interested in the importance of family, bravery, and friendship than how many seconds it will take to run out of oxygen with a cracked helmet. Even the plucky lizard Igor, who flies and obeys orders without regard to the dictates of reality, gets to play a role in saving humanity from a greedy businessman who wants to control the limitless source of energy said to be buried in the moon. Vivid animation creates beautiful and compelling visuals. While scary moments may be too intense for small children, school-age kids may find it entertaining, especially if they like adventure and the mysteries of space.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why relatives sometimes fight with each other. Why do you think family members can hurt each other? Does it sometimes feel like love and hate are closely related? Why do you think that might be?
How does Capture the Flag explore the theme of forgiveness? Do you think it's important to forgive people, even when they do seemingly unforgivable things?
Do you think we should go back to the moon, and explore other planets as well? Why or why not?
- In theaters: August 28, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: March 1, 2016
- Cast: Lorraine Pilkington, Phillippa Alexander, Sam Fink, Paul Kelleher. Rasmus Hardiker, Adam James
- Director: Enrique Gato
- Studio: Paramount Home Media Distribution
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Character strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 94 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: for action, language and some thematic elements
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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