Slugterra: Into the Shadows

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Slugterra: Into the Shadows Movie Poster Image
Basically one long battle scene with toys and action figures
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 85 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

No positive messages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters too cartoonish to be seen as positive role models. 

Violence & Scariness

The last half of the movie is basically an extended battle scene involving slug-firing blasters, explosions, and characters narrowly avoiding getting shot and killed. 

Sexy Stuff
Language

Some potty humor.

Consumerism

In addition to the animated series, there are Slugterra action figures, blasters, t-shirts, and other merchandise on the market. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Slugterra: Into the Shadows is a 2016 feature from the Canadian animated series. The last half of the movie is pretty much a battle in which characters fire blasters that shoot out slugs that morph into various forms of destruction. These characters, blasters, and slugs are also all for sale as toys; this feature feels more like a commercial for those products and less like a stand-alone movie with a story to tell. There is frequent cartoon violence -- explosions from the blasters, explosions when the slugs hit near their intended targets, explosions basically all the time. There are also some moments of bathroom humor involving the mole character and his flatulence. 

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What's the story?

In SLUGTERRA: INTO THE SHADOWS, the Shane Gang have returned to the 99 Caverns only to find their world adrift in chaos after the Shadow Clan, who was put in charge in their absence, cared more for slugs than for the other citizens of the underground. Adding to this chaos is the arrival of Tad, a seemingly decent teen who has come down from the Surface with his slug Piper to lend a hand to restore order. Eli welcomes Tad to the team, and begins to train him in the ways of being an excellent "slugslinger." But instead, Tad betrays their trust and tries to hypnotize all the slugs into following him into the castle that once belonged to his father, Dr. Blakk. Now with Piper as a "megamorph" slug and a motley assemblage of bad guys eager to do his bidding, the only thing stopping Tad is The Shane Gang, who might be contending with more than they can handle. 

Is it any good?

This series feels like one long extended battle scene involving blasters that fire slugs that morph into various forms of destruction. For those who aren't fans of this franchise, the sound of the blaster gun, which eventually starts going off seemingly every five seconds, gets to be incredibly grating. Also, for those who aren't already fans of this franchise, Slugterra: Into the Shadows is not the easiest to follow, aside from the main narrative of the betrayal of one of the lead characters. The rest meanders into stories of too many slugs taking over Slugterra, slugs forced into captivity and forced to perform in a show called "Slugapalooza," and a highway robbery of some kind. 

The end result isn't very interesting. The characters are bland versions of cartoon characters seen so many times before in other cartoons. The action itself is confusing -- the Shadow Clan look evil and demonic, for instance, but they're on the same side as the Shane Gang? And these extended battle scenes provide a showcase for the blasters and action figures for sale wherever toys are sold.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about cartoons like Slugterra: Into the Shadows that feature characters and their weapons available for sale as toys. Do you have a problem with this kind of marketing? Why or why not? 

  • Does the violence in this movie seem appropriate to the story, or does it feel like it's forced in to add more action? 

  • How is this story similar to and different from other action-based cartoons in which "good guys" do battle with "bad guys?" 

Movie details

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