A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hatched is an animated film featuring a generous assortment of comic animals on a mission to protect their farm from a sinister vulture and his rat accomplices. Each character has a well-defined, quirky personality and usually a very "punny" name (i.e., Cluck Norris, Meryl Cheeks, Hugh Heifer, Tiny SchwarzHENegger). Many scenes include cartoon action with firecrackers, falling melons, balloon aircraft crashes, and the vulture's cackling, menacing behavior. A weasel throws knives at a hero, but none lands its mark. No one is hurt or killed. Though meant for young kids, it's important that those who watch are clear about the differences between make-believe and real violence. Solid (and repetitive) messages about friendship and working together are promoted throughout. Though the main "save the farm" story is clear, there are several tangential plot lines that muddy the waters a bit -- electing a mayor, rats on the hunt for food, three young chick heroes who want to be the first chickens to fly, and an alien who works magic with technology.
What's the story?
Three little chickens are determined to be the first chickens to fly in HATCHED, even if it means sneaking out when their loving chick mom isn't looking. In a "spacecraft" designed by Magic, a super-smart little alien, the chicks almost make it. They're flying, but just when they think they've succeeded, they literally crash and burn. Luckily no one is hurt, but their troubles are far from over. The evil Vik Von Vulture, desperate to get his talons on Magic's super powers, comes after them. Using his accident-prone, goofy rat pals as accomplices, the vulture doesn't care who gets in his way. But the chicks are not alone in their efforts to keep the farm safe. A collection of wacky animals bands together to save the day, led by Hugh Heifer and Charlie Horse. Taking a sprightly duck, Mr. Waddlesworth, and a well-loved chicken, Angelina Poultrie, hostage, the vulture steps up the game. Just when it appears the heroes' mission may fail, a series of clever counterattacks may save the day after all.
Is it any good?
Though the farm in danger is overpopulated with oddball characters and multiple story lines, kids should enjoy the antics and adventures in the English-language version of this Chinese production. They'll root for the feisty heroes and boo the hard-beaked villain and his food-obsessed henchmen. Still, it's hard to believe that little ones will find the humor in the pun-fueled cast-of-character names (from Meryl Cheeks to Cluck Norris and all points in between), but that may be the only attraction for anyone over the age of 10. Some of the adult voice actors in this tale mistakenly think that shrill and hoarse work as child-like, but it's not always so. This film is OK for kids who are comfortable with pretend violence and some cackling baddies.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how important friendship is in this movie. What are some of the qualities that make a good friend?
This movie was made in China, with the voices later redone for English-speaking audiences. Do you think the movie's appeal is universal? What's funny in the movie to all kids? In what other ways do children everywhere share experiences and emotions?
Cluck Norris, the "Commander," wanted to be recognized as the chicks' leader. What does it take to be a good leader? Did Cluck behave as a leader should? Why, or why not?
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