A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hot Wheels: The Skills to Thrill is a 2015 short feature that is one long commercial for Hot Wheels cars and the tracks they ride on. Cars that don't require human drivers are powered by "Driverless Onboard Remote Controllers," or "DORCs." This joke is repeated in endless variations, including a woman who exclaims, "I can't seem to control my DORC." There also are jokes involving dog flatulence and nose picking, as well as use of the word "butts." Driverless cars aren't seen as something that would cut down on accidents and fatalities but instead are presented as a problem because now people can't drive fast. There are image of scary-looking snakes and piranhas. The puerile jokes and action are clearly targeted at younger viewers in the hopes of getting kids to nag their parents into buying Hot Wheels products.
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What's the story?
Gage, Wyatt, Brandon, and Rhett are the members of Team Hot Wheels, a group of drivers who try to be "good guys" but often seem to cause more harm than good in their city. Back at the lab run by mad scientist Larry, they meet Larry's "identical twin brother" (they look nothing alike) Gary, who has arrived with a new invention. This invention is the "Driverless Onboard Remote Controller," or "DORC." This allows people to ride in their cars without having to drive them. This poses a problem for Team Hot Wheels: How can you have fun driving fast if you can't drive at all? While these "DORCs" are initially seen as wonderful inventions, Team Hot Wheels discovers that Gary has evil plans, and it's up to them to stop him so they can continue to drive fast.
Is it any good?
HOT WHEELS: THE SKILLS TO THRILL only exists to get young kids to nag their parents into buying Hot Wheels cars and the tracks they ride on. The fast-driving, goofy action and puerile humor all serve this end. This goal also explains the satirical hostility to a future of cars that drive themselves. Sure, there would be far fewer fatalities and instances of fender benders, drunk driving, and road rage, but what happens to Hot Wheels products when kids see cars as passive modes of transportation rather than sports cars driven by humans at high speeds?
There really isn't anything of substance to this 45-minute animated feature. For parents savvy to the ways in which products are marketed to kids, watching this will prove an excruciating -- and perhaps depressing -- experience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way toys are marketed. Why would a company that manufactures a toy want to produce an animated feature about the toy?
How is humor used in this movie? Do you think it's funny?
Why are the Hot Wheels cars shown doing exciting things that could be copied by young kids who own toy versions of what they see on TV?
Themes & Topics
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