Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Battle for the Book!

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Battle for the Book! Movie Poster Image
Friendly themes abound when swashbucklers meet the Darlings.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 141 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

The focus here is on social interactions and relationships. The characters demonstrate the value of friendship and going the extra mile to help someone in need, and even seeming enemies find common ground when they express their feelings to each other. 

Positive Messages

Kids see that taking what's not yours has negative consequences for both the victim and the perpetrator and that talking about what's bothering you is a more productive method of handling problems. Strong reminders of the value of friendship and teamwork as the Darlings, Peter Pan, and Jake's crew work together to achieve their goal. The concept of forgiveness also is a positive theme.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jake and his mateys prove great friends to Peter Pan when they respond to his call for help. They're crafty and quick-thinking and refuse to give up even when it seems like hope is lost. Captain Hook's actions make him seem like a bad guy, but he shows that he has a softer side, too.   

Violence & Scariness

Cartoon spills are meant to be funny rather than scary. Some of the characters carry weapons such as swords (they are pirates, after all), but they never use them in a threatening way. Villains are more amusing that frightening. A misunderstanding with the law leads a policeman to tell the kids he's going to arrest them, but it gets sorted out in short order. 

Sexy Stuff

The story incorporates Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, both of whom are familiar faces to Disney productions and merchandise. Jake and his crew also grace plenty of branded merchandise. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Battle for the Book! brings together the characters from its parent TV show and those from the original Peter Pan story, including Tinker Bell and the Darling children. The story follows Jake and his now-extended crew of mateys on a quest to retrieve a special book that Captain Hook stole from the Darlings. To do so, they must work together, which facilitates new relationships among all the characters and teaches kids about getting along and solving problems. Kids will enjoy their interactions, the story's sense of adventure, and the music incorporated into the movie. 

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What's the story?

JAKE AND THE NEVER LAND PIRATES: BATTLE FOR THE BOOK! opens with the Darling children -- Wendy (voiced by Maia Mitchell), John (Elliot Reeve), and Michael (Colby Mulgrew) -- reminiscing about their magical adventures in Never Land, which they've recorded in a treasured collection of stories. But when the scheming Captain Hook (Corey Burton) shows up and steals their book, and Wendy's old friend Peter Pan (Adam Wylie) is too busy to help them, he enlists the help of Jake (Sean Ryan Fox), Izzy (Madison Pettis), and Cubby (Jadon Sand) instead. With a little assistance from Tinker Bell, Jake's crew sets sail for London to join forces with the Darlings and foil Captain Hook's destructive plans for their book. Unfortunately, the longer the kids are separated from it, the more their memories of the adventures they recorded inside it fade away. 

Is it any good?

Battle for the Book! marks the first meeting of Peter Pan's London friends and his Pirate Island pals, a mash-up that's sure to please kids familiar with both sets of characters in particular. Their adventures are lively and magical and complicated by mishaps that kids will find amusing, and the movie's soundtrack -- including a new original song performed by Mitchell -- strikes a positive chord as well. Attentive viewers will notice small differences between the movie and the series (there's nary a gold doubloon to be seen or pirate problem to be solved, for instance), but that won't turn them off the exciting story.

But, not surprisingly, the standout message from the cheerful characters' adventures has to do with friendship, as the young pirates and the Darlings forge new relationships with each other. By their example, kids see the joy of making new friends and the value of effective teamwork, not to mention the healing effect of showing kindness even to those whose actions don't necessarily warrant it. Such strong social themes help make this Never Land adventure a fun pick for kids. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about friendship. Kids: Is it always easy to be someone's friend? Is it possible to be a friend to everyone? What is the difference between being friendly and being a friend?

  • Kids: How do you feel when you do something you know is wrong? Why did Captain Hook steal the book from the Darlings? Were there any negative consequences for what he did? Did he learn a lesson?

  • What are some of your kids' favorite treasures? What special meaning do they hold for them? How do such special belongings tie us to our past? Why is it important to remember the things we've done?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fairy tales and fantasy

Themes & Topics

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