A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie is a fantasy adventure in make-believe worlds. It is intended to entertain rather than educate.
Characters display teamwork and determination. Siblings learn to get along together.
Positive Role Models
Peter is a grumpy teenage boy whose father died during a space launch. He is mean to his sister, Anne, but tries to find her when she follows Mr. Zoomzeman to the moon. He also rallies his downtrodden friends to stand up for themselves and persevere. Anne is an inventive young girl who is brave and stands up for her brother. At one point she waits for her big brother to rescue her but then deals with the problem on her own. Nightfairy is a diplomatic and fair ruler. Lightning Witch is fiery and quick to draw her bow. She admits she's lonely and is helped to be friendlier and to believe in herself.
Non-White characters are portrayed as stereotypes. For example, an Indian character is dressed in middle-eastern genie garb and calls a woman "my lovely pretty little popadom" and his "mango lassie." Character calls a three-legged beetle "crippled" and an imaginative young girl "cuckoo."
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Violence & Scariness
A beetle loses an arm during a struggle. Bully shoves and intimidates a new kid at school. Kid says bullies "want to smash my face in." Some slapstick. Characters fight when an alcohol-like substance is poured away. Character zapped with lightning bolts. A pack of dog like creatures called "Moon Poodles" snarl and intimidate. Boss hits their minion on the head with a club. References to a deceased parent.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A female character is wolf-whistled. A character hits on a woman who tells him to go away; she later flirts with another character and kisses them.
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Infrequent language includes "loser," "idiots," "dork," "oh my god," and "freaks." Some potty humor, a character creates a gas tornado that knocks over cows. The derogatory term "crippled" is also used.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character drinks "forget-me-not juice" whenever they feel sad. It is carried in a hip flask like alcohol and they are addicted; they fight another character when it's poured away. A bug lands in a glass of red wine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Moonbound is a German animated adventure -- dubbed into English -- with cartoon violence, and some lazy and offensive stereotypes. The story centers around young Peter (Aleks Le), whose astronaut father died during a space launch, heading off to the moon in search of his missing sister, Anne (Lilian Gartner). The fantasy adventure elements are light-hearted and inventive. On Earth, Peter encounters bullies who shove him and use words such as "loser" and "dork." A drink called "forget-me-not" juice is used as an alcohol replacement, drunk by a talking bug whenever he feels sad. He carries it in a hip flask and fights another character when it is poured away. The handful of non-White characters are stereotypes such as an Indian character being dressed as a genie. There is also use of the derogatory term "crippled." A woman is wolf-whistled and hit on by another character, who she rejects. She later flirts with another man and kisses him. Characters display teamwork, courage, and perseverance. The film is based on the 1915 story Little Peter's Journey to the Moon by Gerdt Von Bassewitz. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
As an example of cutting edge digital animation, this German fantasy adventure is top tier. Moonbound boasts some incredible visual moments, real TV showroom stuff that would show off and sell the brightest and best models. Visually, there's no shortage of awe inspiring cosmic invention as the adventure kicks off into space, with dairy lands and giant bears. Which is why it's so miserable to see zero invention when it comes to the characters. Rather than use the flair it has in abundance in its world building, it instead slavishly copies Pixar with cookie-cutter mannerisms and overactive eyes.
With such visual flair and a flurry of fantasy inventions, it's a shame there are so few hooks to hold the viewer's attention. A couple of laughs are welcome along the way and the ending is gently uplifting. But for most of the runtime, there's little to engage with or care about. On top of that, the lame stereotypes and standard dead dad dealt to its central characters feel as tired as its character design. There's no denying Moonbound is visually spectacular. But as far as the story goes, there's little that's not been done before, and better.
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