A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this animated adventure resuscitates an old-school character named Mr. Magoo, a near-blind grandpa-like figure whose inability to see is fodder for hijinks and jokes. Tweens and younger may find it interesting that Dylan and Cole Sprouse, of Disney’s TV show, The Suite Life, voiced some of the characters. There are moments of old-fashioned fun (Magoo limboing through a robotic spider’s legs), but some characters are stereotypical (Magoo himself as an addled elderly person). Cartoonish violence abounds.
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What's the story?
Quincy Magoo (voiced by Jim Conroy) starts off his teenage nephew Justin’s (Dylan Sprouse) first day at school by giving him an apple, and from there it’s downhill. The bus bully’s already on his game, and everyone else is laughing at Justin. Meanwhile, evil robots, bone-crushers, and criminal mastermind Tan Gu (Lloyd Floyd) are threatening to cause evil ear infections throughout the city. The Anti-Evil Task Force, mistaking Mr. Magoo as a crime-fighter, put him to work to take down Tan Gu in his Evilympics, where opponents are put through a series of increasingly dangerous challenges.
Is it any good?
The plot, as it were, is nearly nonsensical, but that has always been Mr. Magoo’s charm. Though he wreaks havoc with his obliviousness -- he often walks into a dangerous situation simply because he literally walks into one -- he successfully extricates himself and saves the world in the process. On the face of it, it’s a nostalgic trip to cartoon history -- Magoo first debuted in the late '40s, and the special effects are certainly pre-CGI -- and it's a welcome relief from the relentlessness and inanity of current fare. But if one must be a stickler, it's also kind of mean, what with all the jokes at an elderly person's expense. Many of the characters are caricatures, too: the smart boy who's constantly bullied wears, yes, a pair of glasses; his equally smart best friend is from India.The villain, also, is a stereotype, a Chinese man who wears robes and has a long beard, with gongs in the background of his home.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Mr. Magoo’s character and how he compares to those created more recently. How is he different? Is he still funny (i.e. stands the test of time)?
Does this modern-day update make sense? Is there anything about it that’s off-putting, like stereotypical characters?