Spark: A Space Tail

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Spark: A Space Tail Movie Poster Image
Sci-fi adventure isn't too scary but has lots of clichés.
  • PG
  • 2017
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Educational value

Intended to entertain rather than educate, but it does teach kids positive lessons about teamwork, friendship, and more.

Positive messages

Promotes teamwork, friendship, and communication. Shows that it's important to ask for -- and accept -- help to complete tasks. Jokes based on the stereotypical idea that someone small feels inadequate because of their height.

Positive role models & representations

Vix and Chunk aim to protect Spark from Zhong and his evil forces. Spark is brave but makes rash decisions, until he understands what's at stake. The queen is also courageous and is secretly trying to undermine the nefarious Zhong. The captain rises to the occasion to once again defend a member of Bana's true heir to the throne. Few female characters (only three).

Violence & scariness

Zhong forces the ancient beast, Kracken, to create a black hole that sucks in a lot of the people of Bana. Space-weapon battles and hand-to-hand combat between Spark, Vix, and their allies and Zhong and his minions. Explosions, peril. A group of violent space bugs threatens Spark, who kills the queen bug.

Sexy stuff

Zhong asks the Queen whether an heir will be "out of the question." Much later, in another scene, asks her for a kiss, which she doesn't give.

Language

Punny almost-cursing such: "Time to kick some as...teroid"; insult language like "banana breath," "who let you out of the zoo?" and "makeup-painted refrigerator"; also "failure," "loser," etc.

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Spark: A Space Tail is an animated adventure about a 13-year-old monkey named Spark (voiced by Jace Norman) who ends up having to save an entire space kingdom from an evil space lord. There's some peril and cartoonish violence that includes space weapons, explosions, and characters being sucked into a black/worm hole. A group of violent space bugs threaten Spark who kills the queen bug. But all ends well for the main characters, so younger kids shouldn't be too upset. There's a bit of rude/insult language ("loser," "time to kick some as...teroid," banana breath," etc.), and one character asks another for a kiss. The film promotes teamwork, friendship, and communication, though it also makes jokes around the idea that someone short/small might feel inadequate because of their height.

User Reviews

Adult Written bynduns July 11, 2017

Mediocre but not terrible

I guess after being pleasantly surprised twice, it was only a matter of time until I had one film this year that was as average as I thought it would be. The fu... Continue reading
Parent of a 2 and 5 year old Written bymin f. February 17, 2018

5 year old loved it and wanted to watch it again the very next day!

Fun movie! My 2.5 wanted to watch a movie with a monkey in it so we picked it at random based on that. She got bored with it (I mean, what 2 year old can sit th... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 15, 2017

This movie is easily the worst animated film of the year (at least before Emoji Movie comes)

A lot of the animated movies this year have just been mediocre. The only great ones were The Red Turtle and The Lego Batman Movie. I didn't like Boss Baby,... Continue reading

What's the story?

SPARK: A SPACE TAIL starts off with a sad prologue about how evil space monkey Zhong (voiced by A.C. Peterson) usurped his brother by trapping an ancient space beast called the Kracken, which destroyed part of the kingdom of Bana by sucking it into a black hole. Thirteen years later, one of that long-ago catastrophe's sole survivors, Spark (Jace Norman), turns 13 on an abandoned offshoot of Bana that's used for trash disposal. Spark lives with two guardians, a fox pilot named Vix (Jessica Biel) and a pig mechanic/engineer named Chunk (Rob deLeeuw). Spark wants to accompany Vix and Chunk on their mysterious missions to Bana, but they think he's too young. Trying to prove he's ready, Spark intercepts a secret plea to smuggle something off of Zhong's space warship, but he ends up making matters much worse. With Vix and Chunk's help, Spark must lead a group of allies to defeat Zhong if Bana is to have any chance at peace.

Is it any good?

Although kids will surely enjoy this harmless space adventure, adults will likely be bored, distracted by the many borrowed elements from far better stories about young heroes. Every aspect of Spark: A Space Tail is reminiscent of another movie. There's Spark's hidden identity and special mark, a la Harry Potter, as well as Zhong's inadequacy compared to his deceased brother, whose death he caused (think Scar from The Lion King). And there's a moment when Spark communicates with his dead father that seems straight out of Star Wars (or Harry Potter or The Lion King). Basically, everything here is something older viewers have seen before, likely in a movie that was far more memorable.

On the bright side, Spark: A Space Tail does have positive messages about teamwork and not doing something before you think about the possible consequences. It also conveys the empowering idea that even one teenager can make a difference. But, let's face it, those ideas are somewhat buried beneath a bunch of silly animal jokes, including an ongoing height gag about Napoleonic Zhong wanting to be seen as taller and more imposing. Still, if you don't mind overly familiar storylines, this comedy is generally appropriate for single-digit-aged kids.

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