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 Halloween special is far less intense than the Monsters vs. Aliens movie. Violence is limited to the self-imposed implosion of mutant pumpkins from eating too much candy, and the only weapon in use is a machine gun that’s used to feed the “ammo” to them. Apart from a lone instance of mild language (“stupid") and some brief potty humor (it’s implied that aliens dump their urine on the pumpkins), there are no worries for most kids, though very young ones might be frightened by the somewht creepy-looking animated jack-o-lanterns.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In MONSTERS VS. ALIENS: MUTANT PUMPKINS FROM OUTER SPACE, those pesky space dwellers are back with a new evil plot for taking down the human race. It’s Halloween, and unsuspecting trick-or-treaters are out en force in Modesto, Calif., unaware that they’re surrounded by mutant pumpkins whose sights are set on their sugary loot, which causes them to grow. Once again it’s up to Susan (voiced by Reese Witherspoon), BOB (Seth Rogen), The Missing Link (Will Arnett), and Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie) to save the humans from the aliens’ wrath and restore order to the town.
Is it any good?
This movie's lackluster content isn’t likely to wow any but the youngest viewers. There’s no doubt that this holiday special is intended to capitalize on the success of its full-length predecessor rather than stand out on its own merit. The story is one-dimensional, the characters’ actions are predictable, and the outcome is hardly a shocker. For most of the show, the plot seems to build toward an exciting climax that never materializes, leaving older viewers (who may have loved the original movie) wondering what the point was.
That’s not to say the special is totally devoid of entertainment value. With the exception of classics like It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, holiday specials typically don’t boast great staying power anyway, and Mutant Pumpkins is just more of the same. And at least younger kids for whom the original movie was a tad too intense can tune in to this Halloween tale without parents worrying much about its very mild content.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why kids wanted to see this special -- was it because it was connected to the movie or because it looked good on its own? Did it live up to your expectations?
Kids: What other movie-related specials/sequels have you seen? Have you ever liked a sequel or follow-up special better than the original? Which movies do you wish had a sequel that don’t?
How does violence affect a show or movie? Does seeing violence in the media bother you? Which shows have you seen that have a lot of fighting? Does the realistic nature of the violence affect its impact on viewers?
- In theaters: October 28, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: September 13, 2011
- Cast: Hugh Laurie, Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen
- Director: Peter Ramsey
- Studio: DreamWorks Animation
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Space and Aliens
- Run time: 30 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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