Kung-Fu Magoo

 
(i)

 

Stereotypes, violence abound in classic cartoon remake.
  • Review Date: July 6, 2010
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 75 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Some mixed messages. Good triumphs over evil, and so does genial cluelessness. Whether this is a positive is up for debate. At the Evilympics, sometimes cheating pays, as does hair-pulling and punching.

Positive role models

Both positive and negative role models. Some stereotypes immediately come to play: A muscled bully makes fun of glasses-wearing Justin, who appears to be very smart; his best friend is an equally smart Indian boy. A man is bent on spreading evil, but his sweet teenage daughter defies his need to create chaos by befriending the good guys.

Violence & scariness

Cartoonish violence (a robot firing at humans; a truck careens off a cliff; knives nearly strike a man; torture as form of athleticism in the Evilympics).

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Kids say

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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?

QUALITY
 

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. 

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

DVD release date:May 11, 2010
Cast:Alyson Stoner, Dylan Sprouse, Jim Conroy
Studio:Classic Media
Genre:Family and Kids
Run time:75 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Kung-Fu Magoo was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

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  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 7 and 10 year old Written byFilmFather May 23, 2013
 

Maintains spirit of classic Magoo character in a contemporary, fast-paced, enjoyable film

Despite the film’s title, we don’t get a lot of kung fu fighting from Mr. Magoo. (He gets his moniker because someone thinks he’s striking a Karate Kid-like crane pose while tangled in fishing line.) However, the film makes up for this by providing non-stop action throughout, mostly thanks to the Evilympics events and several chase sequences involving Magoo, Justin, and various pursuants. And while not every one of Magoo’s myopic misunderstandings is laugh-out-loud funny, several are truly hilarious. *** VIOLENCE/SCARINESS: Cartoonish violence abounds (punching, knife-throwing, laser guns, rocket launchers, etc.); a boy bullies Justin on several occasions, mostly via water balloons. RUDE HUMOR: McBarker vomits over the side of a boat; a robot is kicked in the groin and self-destructs; a bird poops on Mr. Magoo’s head. Justin’s best friend in school is a poor Indian stereotype, with a thick accent and protruding teeth. LANGUAGE: “Jerk,” “freak,” “hotness,” “kicking butt” *** READ MY FULL REVIEW AT: filmfather (dot) blogspot (dot) com
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Adult Written bynduns December 28, 2011
 

Honestly, I expected worse...

I can't really say I'm particularly a fan of Mr. Magoo, but this film I thought was okay. It had a few good elements to it and while the animations aren't spectacular, for flash, it's okay. Everything about this movie is just okay and nothing more.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence

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