A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A little bit of accurate information about life under the sea -- for instance, two types of octopi, dumbo and vampire, are represented. But there's also a lot of incorrect info -- like that trains will operate underwater.
Messages about teamwork and cooperation are tempered by less palatable ones related to stereotyping (villains have Latin or English accents, etc., and humans are presented as evil and bumbling).
Positive Role Models
Deep is impulsive and makes lots of mistakes, but he does try to fix them and make amends. Evo is cowardly but there for his friends in a pinch. Alice is insecure and lets her emotions run away with her, yet she's also brave and supportive. Some characters are stereotypical, from their accents to their behavior.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of violence for a movie aimed at young kids: terrifying imagery of environmental disasters and garbage left behind by fleeing humans, big fish with sharp teeth threaten the main characters, and characters shoot instant-freeze guns at each other. Small fish are in constant mortal danger, such as in a sequence in which a lava flow turns small screaming fish black and smoky. Skeletons -- both fish and human -- inhabit spooky underwater caverns and sunken ships. Fish and other animals threaten to kill one another.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several notably mature jokes. A vampire octopus calls another fish "sailor" and "handsome"; "I'm afraid of commitment," he responds. Later, a (male) crab says to a (female) brine shrimp: "Rico hates to see you go, but he loves to watch you walk away."
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No cursing, but rude jokes involve words like "butt" and "fart"; characters insult each other in song (one calls the other a "crusty old crustacean").
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Deep is an animated movie about a young octopus named Deep who tries to save his friends after an environmental disaster. For a film seemingly aimed at young kids, some of the jokes are surprisingly suggestive/mature, and there's an awful lot of violence and scary stuff. The movie opens with a montage in which the world is destroyed (viewers see storms and mountains of garbage), and humans abandon a polluted ocean. Later, a lava spill caused by a missile fries several sets of young, screaming fish and puts everyone Deep knows and loves in danger. Spooky fish set upon Deep and his friends and threaten to eat them, with sharp teeth looming. There are also rude jokes about farts and butts, as well as a couple of characters who make veiled jokes about sex, like when a male crab tells a female shrimp that he hates to see her leave "but loves to watch her walk away." And some characters are stereotyped: villains speak in exaggerated accents, for example. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Crass, cliched, and too violent for the young audience it seems to be aimed at, this disappointing animated tale isn't completely devoid of appeal, but it's full of problems. There's a charming scene in the middle of Deep that hints at what it could have been but isn't: Deep and his friends come across the submerged New York City and poke around what looks to be an old FAO Schwarz toy store. Goofing around, Deep fits himself into several clay molds, taking advantage of his squishiness to become a star, a sea horse, a whale. It's a sweet moment, grounded in the real-life abilities of a real sea creature. Too bad the rest of the movie is dopey and full of stereotypes and predictable elements.
The main problem, though, is that it's hard to see which audience Deep was made for. The visuals are chunky and preschooler-y, sort of like Finding Nemo (but not as good). But the violence and scariness are far too much for young/sensitive viewers: Terrified baby fish are fried by a lava flow, fish with giant teeth repeatedly threaten to eat the main characters, and they're in near-constant mortal danger. Add to that some bummer imagery about the end of mankind, bawdy jokes, and racial stereotypes, and what you have is a movie that's just a confused mess. Kids might tolerate it, but parents won't like it.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.