Firebreather Movie Poster Image

Firebreather

(i)

 

Comic-inspired movie has great messages for teens.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie celebrates family bonds, parents’ sacrificial love for their children, and the importance of not judging a book by its cover. Duncan strives to strike a balance between his parents’ opposing expectations of him and his separate ones; in the process, he learns a lot about his strength of character and teaches those around him the same. Other themes include trying to fit in with peers and self-esteem.

Positive role models

Margaret is a devoted mother who would sacrifice everything for her son, and she reminds him often that his appearance doesn’t define the person he is inside. Although Belloc isn’t a hands-on father figure, his influence helps Duncan discover his inner strength, which he then uses according to his value system, which preserves even the lives of his enemies.

Violence

Intense exchanges between monsters and humans and among monsters themselves. Some creatures threaten innocent teens, crumbling buildings around them and sending them flying across rooms. Machine guns, fire, and brute strength are the weapons of choice. In one scene, a monster breathes fire at soldiers trying to shoot him, and it’s assumed that they’re killed, though nothing is shown.

Sex

A developing relationship leads to some flirting and sweet moments between Duncan and Jenna. In one scene, Margaret offers to tell Duncan the logistics of how she and a 120-foot monster conceived him, but he declines.

Language

No cursing, but a few instances of stand-ins like “sphincters” in place of “asses,” “son of a buck,” and “dang” that sounded much like “damn.” Also lots of name-calling like “jerk,” “freak,” and “loser,” as well as some marginal language like “crap,” “up yours,” and “shut it.”

Consumerism

The movie is inspired by a comic book series of the same name.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this animated movie isn't intended for young kids. Its violent scenes show monsters and humans engaged in battles with weapons like fire breath, brute strength, and gunfire, and on a few occasions, human casualties are presumed. Expect plenty of iffy language as well, including name-calling (“jerk” and “idiot,” for instance), as well as some substitute cursing like “sphincter” and “son of a buck.” That said, the story has lots of positive content about self-image, friendship, and family bonds for older tweens and teens who can handle the content's more mature nature. Duncan’s struggles to define himself and fit in with his peers transcend his supernatural abilities, making him a relatable hero for teens experiencing similar social uncertainties.

What's the story?

At first glance, Duncan Rosenblatt (voiced by Jesse Head) is an average teen who struggles with relating to the opposite sex, wrestles with self-esteem uncertainties, and tries to balance his parents’ expectations of him with his own. Starting over in a new school complicates things even more, and between his crush on the class cutie and run-ins with the school bully, Duncan is always getting into one scrape or another. Even so, Duncan’s real problem is that his absentee dad is a 120-foot dragon named Belloc (Kevin Michael Richardson) who’s trying to draw him out to train him to succeed him as king of the monsters. When Belloc surfaces, it sets in motion a violent war between the humans and the monsters, and Duncan -- who’s both human and dragon -- is caught in the middle, trying to forge his own destiny.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

It’s not often that an animated movie manages to appeal to an older audience and treat that same audience to some worthwhile content at the same time, but FIREBREATHER pulls it off. Based on a comic book series, this story centers on a teen hero who -- despite his supernatural abilities -- is human to the core and suffers the same uncertainties that his target viewers do. The great news for parents is that this movie succeeds in pushing positive messages about self-image, family relationships, respecting differences, and adhering to a personal value system, all while maintaining tweens’ and teens' interest with fast-paced action and suspense.

Teens should be fine with the content as a whole, but tweens might be iffy on some of the suggestive language (including obvious replacements like “son of a buck" and a poor substitution of “dang” for “damn"). But violence is the main offender, with numerous tense exchanges between monsters and humans and the implied deaths of some humans on different occasions. Even so, the overriding message is that of anti-violence, since Duncan always opts to preserve his enemies’ lives rather than to end them.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie’s themes of positive self-image. Can you relate to Duncan’s social and inner struggles? When have you had similar feelings? How is your self-image affected by what others think of you? What do you like most about yourself?

  • Teens: How do you define a hero? What traits are essential to a hero? Who are some of your role models? Have you ever been disappointed in the behavior of someone you admire? How did their actions change your impression of them? Can heroes be flawed and still worthy of respect?

  • Duncan was stretched between his parents' opposing expectations, and his vision for his future differed from both of theirs. What do you think your parents expect of you? Do you feel you have freedom to choose your path? What are your hopes and dreams?

Movie details

DVD/Streaming release date:March 22, 2011
Cast:Dana Delany, Jesse Head, Kevin Michael Richardson
Director:Peter Chung
Studio:Cartoon Network
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, High school
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of Firebreather was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written byThe Fooshster December 7, 2010

Good Movie :)

When I was watching it, my mother walked passed and said "Turn it!" Because it had showed a scene of Duncan breathing fire... she's not the kind who likes violence. She hadn't seen any of the movie but she insisted that it wasn't good to watch. I disagree. I personally loved it. :) It might be too scary for younger kids, but otherwise they have great messages and alot of good animation.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Teen, 13 years old Written byEclipes December 19, 2010

y i like fire breather

I like it because it contains dragons and high skool and also dodgeball
Adult Written byZonoya November 30, 2011

Belloc

I THINK BELLOC IS HOT. I SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO LOVE KAIJUS. =] =O =P LOL
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?