A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sahara is a computer-animated 2017 Netflix original adventure story about two snakes from different tribes who fall for each other despite their different backgrounds. Sidekick Gary is a stereotypical stoner who always wants "pollen," accidentally snorts sand, and inhales "pollen" once. Cartoon violence includes kicking, slapping, punching, and choking. A few brief kisses and some sexual innuendo are likely to go over little kids' heads. Ajar is bullied by others of his tribe, and there's some verbal aggression and hostility from the bullies and the border patrol. Expect some name-calling and an iffy body-image message when Eva, the main love interest, is told several times that she's fat and should try Pilates. Weak positive messages are lost in the end.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In SAHARA, Ajar (Robert Naylor) is a desert snake and Eva (Angela Galuppo) is a jungle snake, each living with their own kind close enough to the border between the two. They're both fed up with the confines of their own world and want to escape to explore the larger world. After an accidental meeting being chased by the border patrol, they decide to head off together in search of adventure. Eva's promptly kidnapped and held captive by a snake charmer and forced to join the troop of performers. Ajar, his friend Pitt (Daniel Brochu), and Eva's brother Gary set out to find and rescue Eva. But the Sahara is vast and full of dangers. How will they ever find her?
Is it any good?
Interesting visuals and engaging characters aren't enough to save what could have been a fun, slightly romantic adventure. Sahara's downfall is the weak story. The plot clips along at a pretty good pace, but nothing's explored in any depth, the characters don't change or grow, and anything that needs to happen to move the story along appears conveniently from out of nowhere.
The abrupt ending doesn't reveal what becomes of the characters or provide any resolution or reinforcement of weak messages about friendship or perseverance, and using a funny character to acknowledge that doesn't help. Gary, the drug-seeking "stoner" character, makes this inappropriate for little kids, but it's also too juvenile and shallow to hold the interest of kids who can handle the no-big-deal attitude toward his "pollen" fixation.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what "pollen" is in Sahara. Is a "stoner"-type character OK in a kids movie? Does Gary make using drugs seem cool?
Are any other characters stereotypes? Which ones? Are they harmful?
Lots of characters use slapping and punching to solve their problems. Why doesn't that work in real life? Does it matter if it's done by cartoon characters?
- In theaters: February 1, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: May 12, 2017
- Cast: Robert Naylor, Angela Galuppo, Daniel Brochu
- Director: Pierre Coré
- Studio: Mandarin Films
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 86 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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