Otto the Rhino

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Otto the Rhino Movie Poster Image
Sweet computer-animated feature has some iffy humor.
  • PG
  • 2014
  • 77 minutes

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational value

This film is intended to entertain, not educate.

Positive messages

Lessons on being true to yourself and the importance of friendship.
 

Positive role models & representations

Topper is a sweet and imaginative boy who cares about his friends and family. On the negative side, a bird is shown defecating on a man's head, and the rhino is shown belching long and loud.

Violence & scariness

Some cartoonish violence. Otto tears up an apartment building simply by being a rhinoceros who has come to life inside an apartment building.
 

Sexy stuff

A sweet first love subplot.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

An older character is often shown smoking a pipe. When the owner of a cafe calls the police to complain about an out-of-control rhinoceros, the chief of police calls the man a "drunken wacko" who is hallucinating "pink elephants" and needs to stop drinking immediately.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Otto the Rhino is a Danish computer-animated feature from 2013. While on the whole a sweet and imaginative story, there are some moments of inappropriate humor: a bird is shown defecating on a man's head, and the titular rhino is shown belching long and loud. Also, when the owner of a cafe calls the police to report a rhino wreaking havoc in his building, the chief of police calls the man a "drunken wacko" who is hallucinating "pink elephants" and needs to stop drinking. There is also an older character who is always shown lighting and smoking a pipe. Still, on the whole, this is an enjoyable (if slow-paced) story of imagination and young love.

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What's the story?

Topper is a kind boy with an active imagination and a father who he believes has been on adventures in Africa for the past year. He is starting to develop feelings for Silla, who seems to like him back. Topper's whole life turns upside down when he discovers a magical pencil, a pencil that brings to life anything he draws with it. One day, after drawing a rhinoceros on his bedroom wall, the rhino comes to life. Topper names the rhino Otto, and he must figure out how to take care of Otto while they live in the third floor of an apartment building. He also must keep Otto away from cranky adults and a chief of police who are determined to take him away.

Is it any good?

On the whole, OTTO THE RHINO is a sweet movie about an imaginative boy who is starting to come of age. It's slow-paced at times, and almost all of the adults are presented as buffoons, but in spite of this, the story of Topper and his relationship with his faraway father and his first love with Silla is charming.

Perhaps the biggest problem with the movie lies with the titular animal. Otto doesn't really have much personality. He's just big and oafish and eats books but doesn't really do anything to endear himself to the audience. Not that he should smile a lot and sing a song composed by Pharrell or Randy Newman, but a little more personality -- or any personality for that matter -- would have improved the movie. Still, this is an imaginative story that tweens should enjoy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about foreign movies. How is this Danish film different from animated features made in other countries?

  • How are adults portrayed in this movie?

  • If this movie was made in North America, how do you think it would be different? How would it be the same?

Movie details

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