A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Condorito is a Spanish-language animated comedy about a human-like condor with a knack for causing trouble. Based on a beloved Chilean comic strip that's been popular throughout Latin America since 1949, the subtitled movie features a pan-Latino voice ensemble, including Mexican, Colombian, Peruvian, Argentinian, and Chilean actors. Although the screen adaptation isn't as chauvinistic as the comic, there's definitely still plenty of innuendo and sexual references (including cleavage-flaunting women) and many double-meaning jokes; they may go over the head of younger kids, but middle schoolers will likely understand. For example: A male alien commander says he has to "celebrate" with his human love interest but is told he has only 20 minutes -- to which he replies, "I only need four." Language includes insults ("bimbos," "birdbrain," "stupid," "idiot," etc.) as well as "hell," "donkey butt," "bum," and more. Men from Condorito's town are frequently found drinking in a bar, and one man is obviously a drunk who can't even walk in a straight line. As for the violence, it's mostly cartoonish pratfalls (accompanied by the comic's signature "plop"), but there are also a couple of explosions and near deaths.
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What's the story?
CONDORITO: THE MOVIE is an animated film based on a popular, decades-old Chilean comic strip about an anthropomorphic condor who lives in the fictional village of Pelotillehue. The opening prologue reveals that Condorito is, in fact, the descendant of a "featherless condor" who saved humanity from an alien overlord attack during pre-Columbian times. That original condor was able to steal and bury an alien amulet of unlimited power, thereby putting a stop to the aliens' ability to enslave humans -- or other galactic creatures. Fast-forward to the present, and the aliens have returned. They track down Condorito (voiced by Omar Chaparro), who's a laid-back soccer player with a serious girlfriend, Yayita (Jessica Cediel). When the aliens call Condorito and demand the amulet in exchange for anything he desires, Condorito assumes it's a wireless company's spam call and says he'll agree to the exchange if Yayita's overbearing mother, Tremebunda (Coco Legrand), is taken away. Later that day, during a birthday celebration for Treme, the aliens abduct her and instruct Condorito to find the amulet. Of course, this lands Condorito in hot water with a devastated Yayita, who breaks up with him. Condorito and his condor nephew, Cone, team up to find the amulet and rescue Treme without allowing the aliens to take over the universe.
Is it any good?
This adaptation isn't well served by its convoluted sci-fi narrative; ultimately, the movie's appeal is unlikely to cross over to audiences who aren't already established fans of the Chilean comic. Those who did grow up reading the Spanish-language comic will recognize most of the regulars from the strip: antihero Condorito; his girlfriend, Yayita; his nephew, Cone (a play on the phrase "with E" in Spanish); his football buddies; his rival on and off the pitch, Pepe Cortisona (Cristián de la Fuente); and Yayita's parents, who are both voiced by the same famous Chilean comedian, Coco Legrand. Even just understanding Spanish isn't enough to "get" the film; an actual working knowledge and appreciation of the original, often chauvinistic (and occasionally controversial) strip is necessary to fully enjoy the comedy -- although a few of the setups and sight gags are funny regardless.
Plus, the double entendres and risqué jokes that have entertained the comic's audiences since 1949 don't translate well into a seemingly family-friendly movie. Neither does the constantly drinking group of friends -- though, to be fair, it's not much different from Homer Simpson and his best friends, who are always at Moe's. The movie pokes fun at Pepe's machismo attitude (he's a burly, Gaston-like figure with a barrel chest but no sense of friendship or generosity), but it still celebrates the objectification of women in how it depicts Yayita and the other female characters. At least the big-screen Yayita runs an orphanage instead of being just eye candy as in the print original. Those who love the comic may be gentler critics of the film (although it might have been a misstep to cast a Mexican actor as an iconic Chilean character), but those who are unaware of it aren't likely to join the fan club.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the audience for Condorito. Do you need to be familiar with the comic to enjoy the film?
Are there stereotypes in the movie? What are they? Is that OK? Why or why not?
- In theaters: January 12, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: April 10, 2018
- Cast: Omar Chaparro, Cristian de la Fuente, Jessica Cediel
- Directors: Eduardo Schuldt, Alex Orrelle
- Studio: Pantelion Films
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: rude and suggestive humor, and some mild action
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