A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Monster High: Boo York, Boo York, billed as the first Monster High musical, is indeed filled with contemporary music -- rock and rap accompanied by the doe-eyed, curvaceous gang dancing up a storm. Though there are still some of the usual positive messages and observations about diversity, music takes center stage here, alongside a multi-threaded plot with some mild suspense and mustache-twirling villains. Cleo De Nile's dad and sister lead the ghouls into an adventure in Boo York, Boo York, which looks awfully like a New York City populated by comic monsters and pun-filled landmarks. And, of course, shopping and dressing for a gala event is a big-city must! This release is tied to a major marketing campaign introducing a profusion of new character dolls and toys, as well as brand-new looks for the regulars. In addition, a CD is for sale, described as "an original motion picture soundtrack."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
What an adventure the ghouls look forward to when Cleo (voiced by Celeste Henderson) and the DeNile family bring them to the big city in MONSTER HIGH: BOO YORK, BOO YORK. Not only will they be able to shop and see the sights, but they're also invited to a gala ball in honor of a crystal comet, which will pass over the earth as a "great comet gift from a race beyond the stars." Rock star Catty Noir (Karen Strassman) is hoping the trip will help her find her musical voice, which she fears she's lost. Cleo is hoping that Deuce Gorgon can finally impress Ramses, her dad, and Nefera, her sister, with some quality time together. But without Cleo's knowledge, the other DeNiles are plotting with their fellow countrywoman Lux Ptolemy to create a super powerful dynasty by uniting Lux's son, Seth, and Cleo under a spell cast by the comet when it passes over. And unbeknownst to any of the travelers, Ghoulia Yelps, back home at Monster High, has discovered that the comet's trajectory will actually collide with the earth. From then, it's a race against both time and treachery as the new "ghouls in town" make some fascinating new friends and save both the earth and Cleo from disaster.
Is it any good?
On the upside, it's a musical and fun dolls are introduced; on the other hand, the music is generic and the flood of new toys (plus a movie soundtrack) make it a marketing windfall for the brand. Cleverly "punning" its way through bustling "Boo York, Boo York" (standing in for New York City and its landmarks), the plot whirls along, managing to somehow capture a half-dozen plot elements along with an album's worth of songs and still stay fun for fans who love the fantastical monster parodies and original fashions. The movie is not as message-laden as other series titles, but most of the villains are redeemed by the end, and a number of the characters, both old and new, have learned at least something about being true to oneself and "finding your own music."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how making both the "Monster High Travel Series" and the "Monster High Monsterrific Musical" open up new marketing opportunities for the toy franchise. Does watching this movie make you want to buy the associated merchandise?
"Boo York" is meant to be a fun imitation of New York City. What are some of the landmarks and activities the movie spoofs? Which of the new dolls are designed as characters you might actually meet in New York City?
Think about the music in this film. Is it special? Which, if any, of the songs do you think would stand out even if it wasn't part of this movie?
- On DVD or streaming: September 29, 2015
- Cast: Karen Strassman, Celeste Henderson, T.J. Smith
- Director: William Lau
- Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Musical
- Topics: Friendship, High School, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 71 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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