A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Adventures of Petey and Friends is a 2014 Chinese animated Planes wannabe that will only be tolerable to the youngest children. Everyone else will find its sluggish and senseless plot too slow, dull, and confusing to care. Cartoon planes attempt a rescue in a cartoon storm, and the dramatic tension may cause some anxiety in younger or sensitive kids. A plane crashes. A helicopter runs out of fuel and falls to the ground without injury. A dead plane is spotted in the desert.
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What's the story?
In THE ADVENTURES OF PETEY AND FRIENDS, Drake, a jet carrying top-secret cargo, crashes in the desert near a local air force base. The downed plane's hotshot partner, Petey, finds the base and instantly rubs the planes there the wrong way with his irritating arrogance and snobbery. "I'm so great," he likes to say. "I'm the best. Larry," he tells another plane, "you're nothing to me." Headquarters assigns the base to recover the lost secret cargo. Petey wants to accomplish the mission, but the base's commanding Control Tower forces him to compete with Larry, another quick plane, for the assignment. Petey loses. Storms complicate matters and eventually all the base's aircraft team up to help bring the box back and save an injured Petey.
Is it any good?
The one-note plot barely makes sense. The dialogue is dubbed by English-speaking actors intoning hilariously robotic, non-idiomatic English, using constant, seemingly inadvertent repetition as a substitute for making characters' actions comprehensible. Kiley tells both Petey and his rival Larry that they are each "the best in our base." Grown-ups may think this sounds a little like a parody of a bad translation from Chinese. "He is not even a member of our base," a senior plane cautions when speaking of Petey. "But we can make him a member of us," Kiley replies to him. "General, you're great! You are so great!" And then, "Petey, you are great! I know you can surely make it!" And, "Our base is awarded a first-class award!" The script goes on and on obliviously in that vein. Perhaps this is best suited to preschoolers who are used to the kind of repetition, which helps them learn language. Everyone else should steer clear.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how confusing this movie is. What could the filmmakers have done to improve the plot and dialogue?
One character calls at least three planes "the best" flyers of all the planes on the base. Do you think the filmmakers made a mistake, or do you think the character was meant to be a liar?
The movie suggests that when planes work together as a team they do better. What do you like to do as part of a team?
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