Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
SamSam Movie Poster Image
Sci-fi cartoon adventure has silly, child-hating villain.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 77 minutes

Parents say

age 3+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Offers a lesson in treating others without prejudice.

Positive Messages

Themes of friendship and anti-bullying. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

SamSam is honest, brave, and a good friend. Children use teamwork to foil a mean plot. A silly but clearly bad villain hates children and frequently calls them "brats."

Violence & Scariness

Silly villain uses a large, elephant-like creature to shoot children with globules of a sadness serum. Soldiers try to attack the monster with metal spears, but they're ineffective. A child is threatened with "stingers" to make him cry, but instead he sheds one tear because something mean is said to him.

Sexy Stuff

The villain looks and sounds ridiculous but frequently calls children "brats," "beasts," and "nasty." "Stupid" is used several times, once to refer to children. An army marches to a song about how if they catch children, they "smash them to smithereens" and "eat them for dessert."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that SamSam is an animated superhero space adventure based on a French cartoon series for preschoolers. The story is about finding friendship and the importance of inclusivity. The titular character, SamSam (voiced by Tucker Chandler for the English dub version), comes from a family of superheroes but hasn't yet discovered his powers and is dealing with issues like a clingy teddy bear and bedwetting. A child-hating dictator frequently calls kids "brats" and creates a sadness monster to stop them from laughing. The monster, which lumbers around spreading gloom, is big but not especially scary. When it's discovered that a new student at school is the daughter of the evil dictator, the other kids react with outrage and ostracize her, offering a teachable moment about bullying and prejudice. The movie's overall message is one of empathy and understanding that being mean to someone or leaving them out makes them feel sad, which can lead to anger and retaliation.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMYOS4 August 28, 2020

Fun film for preschoolers

Great for 3 to 5 year olds, funny, and oddly relatable (like the teddy bear who won't let go so SamSam HAS to keep him around...). Nothing objectionable, n... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Adapted from the global hit French TV series and comic book, SAMSAM is about the smallest superhero at Cosmic Hero School -- the only one who hasn't discovered his powers yet. Mega (voiced by Lily Sanfelippo) is the daughter of a despised dictator of a nearby planet that has a ban on children. When Mega observes the CHS classmates having fun together, she enrolls in the school under a fake identity and becomes friends with SamSam (Tucker Chandler).

Is it any good?

This French animated film isn't going to make any best-of lists, but its bright, colorful animation and SamSam's exciting life are likely to keep little ones engaged. SamSam is a sweetheart: He's kind, thoughtful, and dealing with issues that, we see, aren't really his fault. For instance, SamSam doesn't wet the bed; rather, an evil dictator bent against children releases wetting creatures under the covers while he sleeps. And it's the teddy bear that's not ready to let go of SamSam, not the other way around. Plus, our little hero -- which is exactly what he is, the littlest hero in the universe -- is desperate to find out his superpower (or, as adults might interpret it, what skill he's good at it). While that's definitely relatable, SamSam's life may also spark gasps of envy: He and his friends are allowed to zoom around the galaxy in their own saucers, with parental warnings but no supervision. 

While SamSam may well appeal to the very young, it'll be a bigger challenge to hold adults' interest. It does have some throwaway zingers -- the kind where you look at your kid, laughing, and they look back at you blankly. (Two minions talk in the back about how spinach gives them gas, and high-spirited parents give up after being zapped by the gloom gun, saying, "let's go home and eat taco chips.") The movie's themes may be a little sophisticated for the littlest viewers: It can be challenging to talk in an age-appropriate way about empathy and prejudice with kids who are still trying to learn their shapes and colors. But it's never too early to learn how to be a good friend, and SamSam may help lay the foundation for deeper conversations in the future.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it means to be a friend. How does SamSam convey that message?

  • The word "prejudice" is used in the movie. What does that mean? How did SamSam's classmates react to learning that Mega was the daughter of Marthial? How did that make her feel?

  • How does SamSam show that he is courageous? And how does he show that he has integrity -- or is honest? Why do you think Mega lies to her friends and family?

  • How does Mega follow her curiosity?

  • What can we do to help someone who's feeling sad?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love space and animation

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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