A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Shows kids how animation works and teaches them about the art form.
Courage to pursue a career dream. Embrace the elements of change. Benefits of a job mentorship. Kids may want to consider work as an animator, filmmaker, and voice-over narrator.
Positive Role Models
Images include Seth MacFarlane, an Emmy-winning animator and creator of the TV series Family Guy, who shares his personal experiences and professional expertise about being in the cartoon industry; Clerks director Kevin Smith speaks about his passion for cartoons as a kid and how the evolving industry inspired his direction into filmmaking; and historian Mindy Johnson speaks about women in the field of animation and is the author of the book Ink & Paint: The Women of Disney Animation.
BIPOC and White young and older adults from the animation industry. Representations include award-winning Macau native actor Ming-Na Wen, who is the voice for the title character in Mulan; Floyd Norman is an award-winning African American veteran story artist who worked on Monsters, Inc.; award-winning Book of Life director Jose R. Gutierrez, who was born in Mexico City; and archival photos of mostly White women as animation apprentices in the United States during the mid-20th century.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Villainous animated characters, riding motorcycles without headgear, discussion about depression, and loss of employment. Guns.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some animated characters are scantily-clad; kissing.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Expression "the heck with," a substitution for "the hell with."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Social media platforms, apparel with logo and messages, desktop and laptop computers, camera equipment, and references to film production investments, box-office revenues, and movie company acquisitions.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cigarette smoking and what appear to be cans of beer.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pencils Vs Pixels is a documentary that offers a progressive look at the changes in animation filmmaking, from hand-drawn illustrations to computer-generated images. References and images include villainous animated characters, guns, depression, riding motorcycles without headgear, loss of employment, scantily-clad animated characters, kissing, cigarette smoking, and what appear to be cans of beer. The expression "the heck with" is a substitution for "the hell with." Having courage to pursue a career dream, embracing elements of change, and the possible benefits of a job-related mentorship are the documentary's dominant themes. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Directors Phil Earnest and Bay Dariz present a generous visual gem for kids to learn about the world of animation. The personal anecdotes shared in Pencils Vs Pixels may inspire the launch of future careers in the art form. For veteran animator Floyd Norman (Monsters, Inc.), it was the time "my mom took me to see Dumbo when I was a little boy, and I saw these moving images on screen," he recalls. "I fell in love with animation."
And notes Encanto story artist Natalie Nourigat, "my mom said when I was 4, I watched Bambi every single day and that's still one of my favorite movies." Pencil Vs Pixels narrator and Mulan star Ming-Na Wen believes that "animation lets us communicate and connect with each other in a unique way that is easy to take for granted, but to me it's pure magic."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.