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Parents' Guide to


By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Tween-targeted fantasy adaptation is no Harry Potter.

Movie PG 2009 105 minutes
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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 19 parent reviews

age 13+

Only suitable for 12+! Violent and scary!

Common sense media says 9+ but it's much scarier and more violent than any Harry Potter or star wars which are 12+! Very nightmare inducing for any child younger! Good film for that age upwards though. Good story line and I like the books mentioned. Fab cast. Shame Common sense media have got the rating so wrong on this! So unlike them!
1 person found this helpful.
age 15+

Common sense missed the mark!

This movie is violent and scary - we turned off for our 11 and 9 year Commonsense media missed the !!! We turned it off after a very brutal kidnapping with knives and machine guns and a man being dragged by his collar while being beaten with a bat. NOT ok for kids under 12!!!

This title has:

Too much violence
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (19 ):
Kids say (33 ):

Condensing such a rich and vivid story into a 100-minute film is no easy task. Even with a remarkable cast (three Oscar winners!), cool special effects, Hollywood's go-to leading man for period family films (Fraser), and a built-in audience, an adaptation can fall flat. And this one, for all of its entertaining allusions and literary jokes, isn't awe-inspiring enough to please the series' many young fans. The film's more Lemony Snicket than Harry Potter. About halfway through, the story starts to feel bogged down -- and despite some effects-heavy action near the end, the promising premise just doesn't deliver. And the comic relief is limited to Farid (Rafi Gavron), a cute but horribly accented personification of one of the thieves from Arabian Nights, and a couple of the doltish bad guys.

Mature kids may appreciate the dark tone, and even younger children will pick up on at least a few of the many literary figures that appear in the story -- like Rapunzel or the flying monkeys from Oz. But it's easy to get lost with so many characters (some real, some fictional, some caught in between) clogging the screen. While the central figures are compelling (a father and daughter who can conjure up anything they read is pure genius) and the movie is certainly action packed, the mystery and magic are gone once the credits roll.

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