Jester Till

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Jester Till Movie Poster Image
Entertaining folk tale, with some cartoon violence.
  • NR
  • 2011
  • 85 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

This film is intended to entertain, not educate.

Positive Messages

A kingdom's resources should be used towards the building of better schools, libraries, and hospitals, and not to fatten the coffers of royalty.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Beyond his comical facade, Jester Till cares about those around him, and will do whatever it takes to rescue his grandfather from harm. Princess Nele cares about the people of her kingdom, and wants to use the taxes and resources at the king's disposal towards caring for the poor, providing hospitals, libraries, and better schools. Two secondary characters have stereotypical characteristics (Arabic man in the mirror and effeminate owl).

Violence & Scariness

Cartoonish violence. Jester Till gets thrown around from high places, but never gets hurt. Characters use swords to fight weapon-wielding skeletons.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

During the opening credits, a medieval man is shown drinking beer from a large stein.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jester Till is an animated feature from Germany and Belgium with some cartoon violence and potty humor. There are two instances where the main character passes gas in the faces of his antagonists, leaving a cartoon brown cloud trailing behind him. Till gets tossed and thrown around, but always manages to emerge unscathed, and at one point, the protagonists fight dozens of skeletons armed with swords and spears. The story includes some interesting metaphorical discussions about how the resources and taxes of a government should be allocated.

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What's the story?

Till Eulenspiegel is a jester trying to enter the village of Boomstadt. The kingdom is burdened by high taxes at the hands of a boy king who is being manipulated by his advisors. Meanwhile, Till falls in love with Princes Nele, who wants to redistribute the king's taxes towards the building of schools, libraries, and hospitals. Till's grandfather Marcus disappears, too. With the help of a magic mirror, Till must find his grandfather, win the love of the princess, and show the boy king how he is being manipulated at the hands of his advisors and thus causing great suffering throughout the land.

Is it any good?

JESTER TILL is an entertaining folk tale, even if the character Till isn't all that funny. While Till's jokes about cell phones and references to George H.W. Bush's line "Read my lips: No new taxes!" feel forced, if not confusing (especially to kids born long after the first Bush was president), the quest and adventure aspects of the story are enough to keep families engaged.

The story can be confusing at times, as Till is trying to do three things at once -- win the love of a princess, rescue his missing grandfather, and save a boy king from the machinations of his heartless and greedy advisors -- and some of the voices feel unnecessarily parodic (i.e. the wise owl who talks like an effeminate male, and the stereotypical voicings of the Arabic man in the mirror), but the story does move at an engaging pace, and as it is a folk tale, this should inspire discussions amongst families about other folk tales they've seen or read, the elements of folk tales, and how Jester Till matches up.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Jester Till is a folk tale. What elements of the folk tale form do you see here? How does this similar and different to other folk tales?

  • Often in folk tales, things or events happen in threes. What are the moments of "threes" in this film?

  • How would this film be different had it been produced in America or other countries instead of Germany and Belgium?

Movie details

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