Slugterra: Slug Fu Showdown

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Slugterra: Slug Fu Showdown Movie Poster Image
More comic slug-slinging in action-packed toy and TV tie-in.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 44 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Meant to entertain, not educate.

Positive Messages

Values teamwork, courage, ingenuity. Believing in your abilities is essential, as is believing in your goals.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The multi-species heroes, both male and female (humans, slugs, "molenoids") are committed to good works, protecting the populace of Slugterra, and being reliable members of a team. The multi-species villains, some of them comedic, are evil, power-hungry, and greedy and will stop at nothing to reach their goals.

Violence & Scariness

Shoot-'em-up cartoon action from beginning to end. Blasters fire ammunition -- in this case, assorted slugs who generate explosions, fire, knockdowns, and so on at an assortment of villainous creatures: a spider with spider-like henchmen, a giant turtle, a hairy monster, and familiar Slugterra enemies: Locke & Lode, the HolliGang, Sedo. Characters are knocked senseless, explode, and are pulverized, chased, and damaged. Though the villains are defeated, none is severely injured, and most, if not all, will reappear in further Slugterra adventures.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Each new "feature-length" DVD released (in this case, 44 minutes long) introduces new characters that will be added to the growing Slugterra franchise product list. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Slugterra: Slug-Fu Showdown, at 44 minutes in length, is another animated direct-to-DVD entry marketed as a "feature-length adventure" by the folks who produce Slugterra, the television series. Fans who look forward to the usual comedy and near nonstop action -- heroes exploding blasters to defend their homeland; power-hungry villains who cackle at their armies and their enemies; adorable slugs who become mighty adversaries when, as ammunition, they blow up targets and vanquish their foes -- will enjoy the film. Fans who look forward to adding to their Slugterra collections with ever-new characters and toys will not be disappointed. This is best for kids who are comfortable with the difference between real and imaginary violence. No deaths occur; the villains live to fight another day (and reappear in other Slugterra stories). Note for viewers not familiar with the Slugterra characters, relationships, and story lines: So much has already been established in earlier adventures that new viewers will have no frame of reference when they're popped into what seems to be an ongoing story and quickly surrounded by an unidentified array of quirky good guys and bad guys: slugs, "molenoids," humans, spiders, and more. 

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What's the story?

In SLUGTERRA: SLUG FU SHOWDOWN, a scary encounter with a giant hungry turtle helps Eli Shane (Sam Vincent), human leader of the Shane Gang, realize  he has to have more control over the Elementals, the newest species of slugs in the caverns of Slugterra. Junjie (Vincent Tong) encourages him to learn Slug Fu, the martial art that, along with Eli's ability to bond with the slugs, will enable the boy to master these special creatures. Junjie will train Eli one-on-one, away from the distractions of his friends. While their leader is gone, the Shane Gang -- Trixie, Kord, and Pronto -- sets off to find the origin of rumors of a new villain on the brink of invading Slugterra. As Eli faces his own challenges, the others are attacked by a series of familiar villains, all who desperately want possession of the Elementals. The Gang must get past the Hooligang, Sedo, and Locke & Lode before they finally confront Spirex, a powerful spider and his army of Spiderlings. Spirex wants nothing less than to use the mighty Elementals to destroy Slugterra itself. When Eli and Junjie's adventure sets them in the path of Spirex as well as the Shane Gang, it's a battle royale with everything at stake. 

Is it any good?

It's hard to get past the sheer hubris of DVD packaging that announces a "feature-length adventure," only to find a 44-minute film inside. And that film, according to the company's website, is also designed as two 22-minute segments (which presumably means it will appear as upcoming series' episodes). When those factors are combined with the lack of backstory, character identification, or Slugterra history, it's clear that this offering is meant for kids already exposed to, and fans of, this lucrative toy-film franchise. Or secondarily, as a confusing introduction to new viewers who may be intrigued and want to venture further into the caverns of Slugterra. The movie is funny enough (a comedy runner about Pronto losing his pants surely will make kids laugh), busy enough (the onslaught of familiar comic villains is nonstop), and filled with enough blaster-action mayhem to satisfy those kids who appreciate their slugs as heroes. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about making movies and TV shows as a toy-company marketing strategy (and vice versa). How does the introduction of new characters help sales and keep the brand alive? Why is it important for families to understand the relationship between the two forms of entertainment?    

  • Four of the "Elementals" are slugs identified with what are considered classic "elements" in many mythologies and philosophies. All matter is said to be made of up those elements; name them. What is the identity of the fifth Elemental in Slugterra, and what is its purpose? 

  • Do you think the filmmakers of this DVD were successful in joining humor and action? How does this make your viewing experience more enjoyable? 

Movie details

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