A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Incidental learning of soft skills. Main character Ella is able to communicate and take charge of situations, and she successfully negotiates help from another character by agreeing to help them first. And when one of the characters is ready to cause them harm, she diffuses the difficult situation.
Demonstrates the power of friendship and sacrifices made out of friendship to protect one another, as well as believing in yourself and in your friends.
Positive Role Models
Main character Ella shows compassion and cares deeply about her friends. She tries to talk and think things through before making decisions. She's determined to help her friends. Alex isn't a main character, but he's central to the story. He's a true friend who's willing to make personal sacrifices in the name of friendship and believes that as long as he and his friends are together, he'll be OK. Crystal is insecure about her abilities as an apprentice and doubts herself and her magic. Villain Olaf tries to turn friends against each other.
The majority of the human characters are White and female (two human characters are male, but one is a mouse for the majority of the film), and the rest of the characters are animals. There's some diversity in the voice cast, including Black actor Nisa Ward. The main character driving the story is a brave, determined girl who doesn't back down and tries to do what's right.
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Violence & Scariness
Two animal characters, Manny and Walter, dodge a giant mallet in a whack-a-mole-type scene. A cat drops a cage on Ella and tries to eat Manny and Walter. The cat chases them around, throwing a butcher knife at them. A bear attacks them and swipes a claw and smacks Manny. Ella, Crystal (the little sorcerer), Manny, and Walter are crossing a bridge when it starts to collapse and crumble -- they have to run and jump to safety in order to save themselves. Ella, Manny, and Walter fall off a ledge. Crystal is turned into a doll. Two characters fall off a mountainside. Arguments.
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One of the characters calls another a "wench." Several characters call others "liar" and "cheat."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Little Sorcerer (also known as Ella and the Little Sorcerer) is an animated fantasy about friends who embark on a journey to help turn a prince from a mouse back into human. The film has several tense moments, and there are several scenes in which main character Ella (voiced by Geri Courtney-Austein) and her friends' lives are in peril. Ella falls from high in the sky, a cat traps Ella in a cage and then chases her and her friends and throws knives at them (in order to eat them), and a character is turned into a doll. While the friends are exploring a cave, a bear with big claws tries to attack them. In another scene, an evil queen uses her magic to force one character to physically harm Ella, who stumbles off the ledge of a mountain. There are other falls and rescues, and it's suggested that villains have fallen to their death, which may be upsetting for young children. Ella crosses paths with a villain named Olaf (Billy Kametz), who drives a wedge between Ella and her friends. Characters argue, and Crystal (Ashley Bornancin), the sorcerer of the title, is insecure about her abilities and doubts herself. Language is limited to words like "idiot" and "wench," and there's no romance or substance use. Characters demonstrate compassion, and the film shows the power of 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?
This slow-paced movie uses many themes and plots from other more popular animated films. There's a sorcerer, a house with enchanted items, a magic carpet, a genie in a lamp, an evil queen, and talking animals, to mention just a few. The whole plot is basically explained in the storybook-themed opening segment, and the entire movie feels like a rehash of that two-minute sequence. It fails to genuinely engage viewers and keep their attention. Plus, the animation style is a bit choppy and stiff. While Little Sorcerer's message about friendship and sacrifice is clear, getting it across feels forced and muddled due to the weak storyline. There are other animated films about friendship and fantasy that are much more engaging and will better hold young viewers' attention.
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.