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: Ghouls Rule is inspired by a toy line from Mattel, so there's a strong marketing tie-in to consider for kids. The movie's messages about diversity, battling stereotypes, and overcoming differences are unmistakable, and the colorful cast of monsters and ghouls reference lore about vampires, werewolves, and other creatures of the dark. Even so, there's nothing frightening about the movie or its friendly stars, so it's a viable option for kids who aren't quite ready for the scary stuff. Parents' biggest concern is likely to be what the female characters' twiggy, doe-eyed, made-up appearances say about body image, but if your kids (and you) can see past the exterior, they'll find a surprising diversity of personalities and positive traits like compassion, determination, and intelligence among the cast.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
As Halloween approaches, the students at Monster High receive their annual warning to steer clear of the "Normies" because of longstanding conflicts between the two groups. But when Frankie (voiced by Kate Higgins) learns that the two used to celebrate the holiday together peacefully, she sets out to reunite them. Unfortunately, though, the Normies want nothing to do with the ghouls, whom they blame for a prank against their school. It will take a monster-scale compromise to get these two sides on the same page, but the end result could be a good change for everyone.
Is it any good?
MONSTER HIGH: GHOULS RULE tackles the issues of prejudice and tolerance in a pretty clever way. It illustrates for kids the importance of celebrating their own individuality while still being respectful to the same in others. The colorful cast of ghouls boasts diversity of both ethnicity and heritage (monsters, vampires, and mythical creatures all have a home here), and the effect multiplies when they come to accept and welcome their human counterparts. Along the way, there are examples of responsible and not-so-responsible behavior (breaking into an off-limits room of the school, for instance), but it all has a role in putting an end to the longstanding feud.
Parents of girls will take immediate note of the female characters' appearances and may fear the messages they will send about beauty. Although they're all cloaked differently, the teens' lanky understructures are similar, as is the style of their minimalistic clothing and outrageous footwear. Happily, though, these aren't two-dimensional characters, and if kids pay attention, they'll take more notice of the strong examples of friendship and acceptance that overtake the visual messages they're getting from the movie.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about peer pressure. When do you notice instances of peer pressure in the story? Do you think you would have handled a similar situation in the same way? Why is it difficult to stand up for what you believe in when you're the only one?
Kids: How do the characters overcome their differences and forge new relationships? What roadblocks do they face in doing so? How do our patterns of behavior stand in the way of our reaching out to someone new?
Are you familiar with the Monster High characters? Where did you first see them? Do you like them? Do you have a favorite? If so, why? Does seeing them in a movie like this one make you more inclined to want the toys?
- On DVD or streaming: October 9, 2012
- Cast: Dee Dee Green, Erin Fitzgerald, Kate Higgins
- Directors: Mike Fetterly, Steve Sacks
- Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, High School, Holidays, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 72 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.