Runaway Ralph

Movie review by
Grace Montgomery, Common Sense Media
Runaway Ralph Movie Poster Image
Sweet, squeaky-clean mouse tale based on children's book.
  • NR
  • 2010
  • 60 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

This movie is meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Ralph learns that sometimes it's better to accept help when it's offered.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ralph shows that although it's important to have a sense of adventure and to be independent, it's also important to value your friends, family, and home.

Violence & Scariness

There's a scary cat that tries to eat Ralph more than once, including playing with him and tossing him in the air.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Runaway Ralph is the second book in a series by popular children's author Beverly Cleary.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Runaway Ralph is a movie adaptation of the popular Beverly Cleary sequel to The Mouse and the Motorcycle. This squeaky-clean flick starring Fred Savage (The Wonder Years) combines live actors and stop-motion animation to portray the animal characters. Although there's a rather creepy cat who attempts to torment and eat Ralph (which might be a little scary for very young viewers), overall this film is perfect for a young audience.

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What's the story?

The adventurous mouse Ralph (voiced by John Matthews), who lives at the Mountain View Inn, decides he's sick of getting in trouble at home and takes off on an adventure on his motorcycle. Meanwhile, Garf (Fred Savage) reluctantly sets off for Happy Acres summer camp after a brief stop at the Mountain View Inn with his parents. The two meet at Happy Acres, where Garf rescues Ralph from being eaten by the camp cat. The two become fast friends, and the talking mouse keeps the socially shy Garf company while he hides out from other kids. But can Garf keep Ralph safe from the evil Catso? And can he convince camp counselor Aunt Jill (Conchata Ferrell), with a little help from Ralph, that he didn't steal a fellow camper's watch?

Is it any good?

RUNAWAY RALPH is a fun film that parents and kids alike will enjoy. Although the stop-motion animation looks pretty dated (and honestly a bit creepy since the animals almost look like taxidermy) and the mice are a bit hard to understand, the story is sweet and nicely captures the joys and awkwardness of adolescence. Both Ralph and Garf feel out of place, and their instant bond is heartwarming. And Ralph's adventures zipping around on his tiny motorcycle are silly and fun. It's not a very complicated story, but it nicely illustrates the sometimes odd friendships children form and how important they are. 

Parents will love the clean, simple plot and the wholesome messages. And young kids will like the tame thrills of watching Ralph narrowly escape from Catso, zip under cars on his motorcycle, and sneak around the camp.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about independence. Why is it important to learn how to do things on your own and take care of yourself? How do you know when you should ask for help?

  • How does Ralph's behavior change throughout the film?

  • What do Garf and Ralph learn from each other?

Movie details

For kids who love animal tales

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