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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Attentive kids may have questions about the reason for the disaster that leads to evacuation and Masashi's father's death -- a catastrophe that's reminiscent of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
This is story of teamwork, childhood courage, and friendship. Kids save the day against seemingly uncontrollable forces.
Positive Role Models
Masashi is kind and selfless, as is the girl on whom he has a crush. Masashi's uncle tries to do the right thing to protect the town and the kids, even though he was originally helping a secret cabal.
Violence & Scariness
The boys fight with their assigned creatures and sometimes end up slightly bruised, too. The creatures can cause injury and even take out other creatures, and most of the kids are frightened by the climactic battle. A clone-like creature has a fist fight with the human he's built like. Creepy cloaked figures plan ways to keep the kids and one adult in line. Painful flashback to the fact that a father was swept away during a disaster.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirtation between two students who obviously like each other.
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Products & Purchases
Chee-Kama, a Japanese cheese and fish-cake stick, is prominently featured throughout the movie. The characters have spawned a line of rubber charms.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Jellyfish Eyes is a live-action family adventure directed by renowned Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, best known for his colorful drawings, sculptures, accessories, and even Louis Vuitton prints. The movie isn't dubbed in English and therefore requires younger viewers to read quickly enough to follow the subtitled dialogue. There's some violence as creatures fight each other -- and, in one case, a human. Creepy cloaked figures plan ways to keep the kids and one adult in line, and there's a painful flashback to the fact that the main character's father was swept away during a disaster. Expect a bit of mild flirting, too. Ultimately, kids save the day against seemingly uncontrollable forces, and there are messages about teamwork, childhood courage, and friendship. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
At best, this movie could have been a whimsical tale about a boy and his magical friend, like E.T., but unfortunately, it's a weird, forgettable adventure that's likely to confuse younger viewers. Although a couple of the creatures, particularly the Chee-kama-addicted Kurage-bo and his female friend's wooly giant pal, are sweet and helpful, there's no logic behind how the creatures can look or act. The visual effects are amateurish, as is the cheesy soundtrack, which features a lot of annoying noises and toddler-friendly tunes.
The story itself is predictable and filled with schoolyard conflicts that don't move the action forward. And despite the plot's familiar nature, audiences will find it difficult to truly invest in Masahi beyond a surface interest in what he's lost and in his unique connection with Kurage-bo. Skip this and rewatch E.T. instead.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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