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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Terra Willy (also known as Astro Kid) is a French animated space-adventure (dubbed into English) that's full of positive messages with a bit of mild peril. After his family's ship is destroyed by asteroids, Willy (voiced by Landen Beattie) crash lands on an uncharted planet. Despite the fact that he's separated from his parents, the movie has a reassuring tone, with no significant danger or upsetting situations lingering or hindering the fun. When they crash, Willy's robot companion, Buck (Jason Anthony), calmly explains the situation, how they'll survive and how they'll be found, with Willy constantly learning and adapting to his new environment. Exciting action scenes include regular run-ins with big, dinosaur-like rock monsters. Friendship, teamwork, and empathy are key themes, with Willy forming strong bonds with Buck, an alien pet, and some giant alien beetles. There are two instances of potty humor, one with Willy and an alien urinating and another with a mention of "poop." There's some sadness with Willy missing his parents and having to say good bye to a friend. But overall this is a joyous adventure that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
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There's something about the reassuring tone that makes this movie a real joy to watch with children of all ages. There are big themes in Terra Willy (also known as Astro Kid), such as Willy being separated from his parents and forced to fend for himself. But these are emotionally eased through thanks to the smart script that ensures everything has a sense of wonder and adventure rather than peril and panic.
Naturally, Willy gets upset on a couple of occasions but his robot companion, Buck (Jason Anthony), is on hand to reassure him and help. The charming Buck learns more about compassion with each situation, including learning the value of pets when they meet the equally sweet Flash, an alien with dog-like tendencies. While it might sound saccharine sweet, there's no try-hard or forced feeling to the warm spirit of Terra Willy. It's just innate in the movie's DNA, baked in by the thoughtful direction of Eric Tosti (The Jungle Bunch). Tosti has created a fun adventure playground full of learning, teamwork, and empathy, on a gorgeous planet full of fascinating landscapes, plants, and animals.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Willy and Buck demonstrate great teamwork, curiosity, and empathy in Terra Willy. Why are these such good character strengths to have? Can you think of any examples in real life when you've shown these traits?
What does the movie teach us about science and nature? How does Willy adapt to his new surroundings? Why should we care about nature?
Talk about the differences between Willy's funny-automated life on the ship and the back-to-nature life he leads on the planet. Do you think you would adapt well to living in the wilderness?
Do you think aliens exist? What do you think they would make of our planet? What would you say to an alien if you met one?
- In theaters: April 3, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: October 27, 2020
- Cast: Landen Beattie, Jason Anthony, Keith Silverstein
- Director: Eric Tosti
- Studio: Viva Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Robots, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- Character strengths: Curiosity, Empathy, Teamwork
- Run time: 89 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some mild peril
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: March 11, 2021
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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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