A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Team Hot Wheels: Build the Epic Race is a 2015 short animated feature that is nothing more than a Hot Wheels commercial marketed to kids. Parents with even a passing familiarity with the many ways products are directly marketed to kids will be amazed at the audacity of this Mattel-produced movie designed to show kids how "cool" Hot Wheels is. A member of Team Hot Wheels even says, "Seems only yesterday we were regular kids. Now, we're heroes!" while racing his car at top speed. Unsurprisingly, driving at excessive speed is shown to be a good thing, and there are plenty of car races, crashes, and accidents. Also, the naked top of a kids' bottom is briefly shown, and a reporter loses all his clothes except for his boxers when fast cars race by him. There is frequent cartoon violence -- pirates pull swords on passengers on a bus and hit characters in the head with wrenches. Overall, this movie is tailor-made to create in children what the advertising industry calls "the nag gactor," in which kids unrelentingly bug their parents into buying the products they see in media.
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What's the story?
The members of Team Hot Wheels are looking forward to winning the Epic Race in Hot Wheels City. But the Road Pirates have other plans. They want to win the race and take all the loot from Hot Wheels City and will stop at nothing to make this happen -- even going so far as to send a monkey to infiltrate Team Hot Wheels and kick out Wyatt for all his hotdogging ways. It's up to Team Hot Wheels to win the Epic Race, defeat the Road Pirates, and keep Hot Wheels City safe.
Is it any good?
This is nothing more than a 44-minute commercial targeted to kids. Early in the film, Gage (Grant George), the leader of Team Hot Wheels, exclaims, "Seems only yesterday, we were regular kids. Now, we're heroes!" The obvious message here is that if your child buys Hot Wheels products, he will be just as "cool" and heroic as the kids of Team Hot Wheels. The fact that there are no girls on Team Hot Wheels makes it even more obvious that this is marketed to boys between the ages of 4 and 9, to say nothing of the occasional forays into puerile humor and cartoon violence and the glamorization of driving at excessively fast speeds.
For parents who grew up with Hot Wheels cars, perhaps none of this is especially problematic. But for parents concerned about how the advertising industry uses methods such as "the nag factor" to market products directly to kids, bypassing any adult say in the matter, the cartoon is as blatant as it gets.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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