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 made-for-TV movie combines live action and animation (it's the Cartoon Network's first original live-action film). Most of the goofy humor is based on characters' wacky personalities -- like the oddball dad who puts his pants on in the car, or the green-skinned sister who Mom brought home from her space travels. Peer pressure is an ongoing theme; the main character routinely succumbs to it from the "in" crowd at school, the cartoon characters, and even his best friend. (It's a problem he hastily resolves in the end.) Most violence is either of the "crash-bang" cartoon type or exaggerated live-action peril played for laughs, but it's prevalent enough to make this better for tweens than young kids. That said, the story's overall silliness might even have tweens rolling their eyes. If nothing else, adults will get a giggle out of the blatant spoofs on the Disney conglomerate.
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What's the story?
In RE-ANIMATED, seventh-grader Jimmy Roberts' (Dominic Janes) life is changed forever when an amusement park accident necessitates a brain transplant and he's given the one frozen after cartoon mogul Milt Appleday's death 30 years ago. Jimmy awakens from surgery able to see and communicate with the cartoon characters born in Milt's mind. When word gets out about Jimmy's newfound ability, the fledgling Appleday Studio board names him the new president, much to the chagrin of the newly ex-CEO, Appleday's son, Sonny. Severely lacking his father's talent, Sonny had spent years searching for Milt's brain. Now that he knows the brain's whereabouts, he sets his sites on stealing it from Jimmy. Meanwhile, Jimmy is enjoying the popularity perks that have accompanied his newfound fame. But once the novelty wears off, Jimmy realizes that the pressures of the job are making him lose touch with his friends and himself. Eventually he must choose between rebuilding the Appleday megastructure and being true to himself.
Is it any good?
The high point of Re-Animated is the seamless meshing of animation and live action. While this quality will grab viewers' attention for a while, it's not enough to overcome the movie's goofy plot, lackluster writing, and outright silly characters. There's too much violence (albeit mostly exaggerated for humor) here to make it an option for young viewers, and tweens may find the crazy story a bit too juvenile for their liking. But parents who sit through it will get some wry grins and giggles from the many likenesses to the Disney conglomerate (including the elaborate theme park) and the urban legend about the cryogenically preserved founder.
The main concern for parents likely will be the overwhelming presence of peer pressure -- from friends, acquaintances, and cartoon characters -- to which Jimmy succumbs time and time again. It does offer a good example of why it's important to trust your own judgment in such cases, though, as parents should remind their kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about peer pressure. Have kids ever been the victims of peer pressure? How did they handle the situation? How do they feel being drawn into something they're not comfortable with? Why is it difficult to say "no" to their friends? When they face tough choices, whom do they turn to for advice? Families can also discuss the fact that this live-action movie is being shown on the Cartoon Network -- does that make sense? Does the movie fit with the rest of their programming? Why do you think they decided to produce this movie?