A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that viewers who are unfamiliar with the Don Quixote story may find themselves lost or baffled by the plot at first. Though Don Quixote makes a noble, if loony, effort to be a valiant knight, many characters he meets are sinister and scheming. Moreover, most of the females are portrayed as buxom hags who nag. Lots of swords clashing and teeth gnashing, but nothing scary or gory.
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What's the story?
In the town of La Mancha lives a crazy loon named Don Quixote (voiced by Steve Salazar). He is at odds with his friend Sancho (James Phillips) after having had many adventures together. Sancho's donkey, Rucio (Joe Lewis), wants to get the adventures going again so that he can prove that he is no mere beast of burden. With the urging of a jealous bad guy, the two old friends decide to get back on their horses (or donkey, in the case of Sancho's beast Rucio) and chase the dream of finding Don Quixote's true love, Dulcinea. With the help of Rucio, Don Quixote finds himself fighting for the lady's honor. But whether or not he finds her is for the viewer to discover.
Is it any good?
This is a noble effort to revive the legendary story of Don Quixote. However, the target viewers may find this tale too complicated to follow. The movie follows the format of the book, with chapter titles announcing parts of the journey. Yet the concepts of courtly love, justice versus law, and showing the world "how to live an exceptional life" are topics rather above the heads of most kids under ten.
However, this is an excellent example of CGI animation, with sensuous night skies and fine facial expressions illustrating the character's emotions. Fans of Cervantes can enjoy following the antics of the misfit Quixote and his loyal pal, Sancho. Moreover, the animal's-eye-view of the misadventure allows for some cartoonish fun. Plus, there's a happy ending that feels right, even if it is a tiny bit lost in translation. Rucio's final statement about living with Don Quixote: "I don't get paid much, but he does understand me."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the book on which this movie is based. Who was Don Quixote supposed to be a caricature of? Have we lost touch with the knightly precepts in this day and age? What does the word honor mean to you?
The women in this movie are portrayed as nagging or demanding. Why do you think that is?
Families may be inspired to read the book together after viewing the movie.
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