Frozen in Time

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Frozen in Time Movie Poster Image
Fun, engaging holiday film with positive messages.
  • G
  • 2014
  • 46 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain, not educate.

Positive Messages

Promotes the importance of family and respect for parents. Reminds that life isn't all "fun and games"; it also feels good to help out. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Initial focus is on two kids who are disobedient, contrary, and driven by what they want, when they want it. Over the course of the story, Eric and Patty learn the value of listening, cooperating, and empathizing with loved ones. Always fun-loving and mischievous, they become solid role models who combine high spirits with responsibility and patience. Beleaguered parents yell a lot but are basically kind and caring. An inventor-grandfather is multifaceted; his eccentricity is modulated by good sense and a good heart. Older brother is portrayed as a constantly wired-in, self-absorbed tween. 

Violence & Scariness

Comic cartoon action in multiple sequences, including a crashing sled, a car careening to avoid a truck, and a kitchen in which appliances, food, and tools come to life and create chaos. 

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this short, funny, and inventive animated feature is all about "naughty versus nice." Two incorrigible kids cause a lot of trouble on Christmas Eve, not the least of which is stopping time completely so Christmas morning never arrives. It's lesson-learning time when Eric and Patty are forced to keep repeating the day until they finally get it right -- or do they? Cartoon action results in falls, collisions, a careening car, and a silly kitchen comes to life, sending food and equipment flying everywhere. No one is hurt, and nothing is scary.   

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What's the story?

It's Christmas Eve, and the Purtle family is off to spend the holiday with their ingenious-inventor Grandfather (Ed Asner) in FROZEN IN TIME. The two youngest Purtle kids -- Eric (wonderfully voiced by Valin Shinyei) and Patty (ditto by Alyssa Swales) -- are up to their usual mischief and can't seem to stop fibbing to their parents as they maneuver to outwit them. But the chaos they cause is minor until the moment they disobey the family's No. 1 rule: "Never go into Grandpa's workshop." One misstep and a collision with a very old clock send the kids into a time warp: They're doomed to live Christmas Eve over and over again! First efforts to make some "corrections" in the day are disastrous, and no matter how hard they try, nothing seems to help them start that clock again. It isn't until Eric and Patty begin to take responsibility for their behavior that there's a glimmer of hope; maybe they'll get to wake up on Christmas morning after all.

Is it any good?

There's more than one level of humor in this clever, imaginative offering. Little kids will like the characters, the playful mischief, and kooky inventions. Older kids and grown-ups will appreciate all that, as well as the winning combination of the familiar eccentric inventor and the popular time-loop story. Alex Leung and his collaborators were smart to keep the tale at a sprightly 46 minutes; any longer and it might have become repetitive. Good performances all around; colorful, bright, original animation; and lessons about honesty, listening to grown-ups, and the importance of family likely will inspire repeat viewings of this entertaining movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about and look up the terms "time warp" and "time loop." Why is it enjoyable to watch or imagine someone repeating a day over and over again? 

  • Big brother Brody is always "wired in" to an electronic device and misses some of the fun of Christmas. How do you determine when you're spending too much time on the phone, on the Internet, and in the virtual world? Do you think it's a good idea to have limits set for you, or do you think you should be allowed to set limits for yourself? 

  •  If you could pick one day as a do-over for yourself, what day would it be?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

Themes & Topics

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