A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Digimon Adventure tri: Reunion is the first in a series of Japanese animated movies that bring back the Digimon ("Digital Monsters") franchise, which first appeared in 1999 as virtual toys similar to the original Pokémon characters. Since that time, expanding from toys to television series (with scores of episodes) and movies released internationally, Digimon has focused upon a team of kids from summer camp who were the designated "Digi-destined," young people special enough to be recruited to fight evil in the form of Digital Monsters. Each of them was transported to the Digital World and partnered with a "digimon," a small animal-like creature who could transform itself into a powerful good monster to fight the evil. After an absence of several years, this DVD, released in English in 2017, revives the franchise with the Digi-Destined now-teens in a high school setting, still fighting the good fight and still partnered with their special digimon. Expect lots of monster-vs.-monster action and a Japanese city under attack, with explosions, one-on-one combat, and buildings, bridges, and infrastructure destroyed. While the teens and the city are in peril, the good digimon do battle on their behalf. This is clearly best for fans who are familiar with the premise, characters, and rules of the game. New viewers may be confused or even lost as the story includes little, if any, of the franchise history. This is not for little kids.
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What's the story?
After a years-long separation, the teen Digimon partners, known as "Digi-Destined," are reunited in DIGIMON ADVENTURE TRI: REUNION. Each of the seven members of the old team is partnered with a good digimon (a small talking virtual animal/pet) who can transform itself into a powerful creature when needed, and each has retained a "digi-vice" (a high-tech personal programming device) as a controller. After some frightening power surges and interruptions result in serious destruction in their town, Digi-Destined Tai (Joshua Seth) and his pet digimon Agumon face off against Kuwagamon, a ferocious digital monster who has suddenly attacked the city. Now all these resourceful high school kids are recruited by a mysterious official agency to rise up against an onslaught of powerful monsters who have gone berserk. Kuwagamon was only first to reveal itself. The evil digimon, dubbed "the infected," have been corrupted by an outside force and broken through a distortion in the universe to attack the city. In the midst of the challenges of their task, the team of Digi-Destined teens must reestablish old friendships, cope with some old hurts, accept one another's growing maturity, and deal with their changing relationships.
Is it any good?
Fans of Digimon may be over the moon about this release, but viewers who aren't acquainted with the critters and their teen handlers may be lost in a noisy, confusing world of monsters and mayhem. Digimon Adventure tri: Reunion isn't a bad movie; it's simply that the audience needs an assist. There are ongoing relationships, special powers, and a complex premise to understand. In addition, the adaptation from Japanese for English-speaking audiences is a slapdash affair. Some of the more important signage has been translated to English; most has not. A few of the song lyrics have been translated; others have not. On a positive note, lots of attention is paid to the teen characters, to their issues and ups and downs, giving the story a relatable emotional component to balance the action.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether viewers who were not familiar with the Digimon franchise would understand and/or enjoy Digimon Adventure tri: Reunion. Did the filmmakers make an effort to bring new audiences up to speed about characters, past history, or the logic and rules of the Digimon concept? Was it confusing? Where could you go to learn more about Digimon?
For those who were already fans of Digimon, did this new movie meet your expectations? Why, or why not?
Tai and Matt are longtime good friends who suddenly find themselves at odds. What do you think caused their problems, and how did they resolve them? Have you had such an experience with a friend? How do friendships change as people grow?
- On DVD or streaming: May 16, 2017
- Cast: Joshua Seth, Vic Mignogna, Colleen O'Shaughnessey
- Director: Keitaro Motonaga
- Studio: Shout! Factory
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Robots
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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