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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tall Tales from the Magical Garden of Antoon Krings is a French animated tale based upon the children's book Droles de Petites Betes. Antoon Krings, the author of this and other books in a popular series, is one of the directors of this movie, which has been adapted from the French for English-speaking audiences. Adorable bees and bugs fight to save their hive and garden from an array of villains. Viewers can expect lots of cartoon action and jeopardy. Power-hungry (or just plain hungry) evil-doers cackle, menace, and threaten with bodily harm. There are chases, attacks, captures, sword battles, and a possible beheading, with the good guys trying to survive scary-looking creatures (including a vampire bat and wicked wasps). Some mild insults and name-calling include words like "idiot." Otherwise, the charmingly drawn heroes, along with the insect and bee population, are endearing and have distinctive personalities. Caution: Too many scares for kids who are not yet comfortable with real versus pretend violence.
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What's the story?
Traveling entertainer Apollo the Cricket (voiced by Justin Long) -- he sings, he juggles, he's a magician -- is down on his luck in TALL TALES FROM THE MAGICAL GARDEN OF ANTOON KRINGS. When he arrives in a beautiful garden, sees a wonderfully active beehive, and meets some of the insect folks who live there, especially the Queen Bee Marguerite (Kate Mara), Apollo thinks he may have stumbled into a wonderful life. But it's not to be. After a romantic nighttime outing with Marguerite, Apollo finds himself in the middle of a whole lot of trouble. A very jealous Wendy the Wasp (Laurie Hymes) has been waiting for the opportunity to seize the hive and take over the garden. Apollo becomes her innocent dupe, and along with a preening wasp army, a terrifying vampire bat, and a collection of mean and hungry pests, Wendy attempts her conquest. Queen Marguerite is kidnapped and life in the garden is disrupted, perhaps forever. Realizing his mistake and teaming up with a ragtag army of bees and insects, even some surprising ones, Apollo does the only thing he can do: Save the day, rescue the Queen, and give up life on the road.
Is it any good?
Sparkling animation and endearing characters live in this comic adventure that includes treachery, a palace coup, cackling villains, and a possible beheading among its many action sequences. The plot has twists and turns and a triumvirate of villains. It's not an original tale -- a power-grabbing "cousin," a far-too-trusting innocent, and a grand finale of derring-do and comeuppance -- but if the kids who watch are mature enough to understand the difference between real and imaginary violence, there's enough to recommend Tall Tales from the Magical Garden of Antoon Krings.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of media violence on kids. How does your family determine which films are OK for the kids in your household? Which scenes or characters in Tall Tales from the Magical Garden of Antoon Krings might be particularly disturbing for kids who aren't ready to distinguish between actual violence and imaginary violence?
Marguerite says, "We always have a choice to do the right thing." Why do you think that the "pests" became part of the Queen's team instead of Wendy's?
- On DVD or streaming: January 11, 2019
- Cast: Kate Mara, Justin Long, Laurie Hymes
- Directors: Arnaud Bouron, Antoon Krings
- Studio: PGS Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Book Characters, Bugs, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some thematic elements
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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