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 Amazing Wizard of Paws, a live-action movie, is filled with magic and wizardry. A coveted Book of Incantations, a mysterious key, and a time-traveling dog create a spooky setting, and a stalking sorcerer puts both the hero and his dog in frequent danger. Bobby, a young magician-in-training, must deal with mature real-world issues -- the accidental death of his father, a gang of school bullies, and the possibility of being evicted from his home -- while at the same time he battles dark forces of evil from hundreds of years ago. Scary moments include chases, break-ins, and Bobby's escape from a flying bus. Bobby is subjected to insults from the bullies and tries to prevent a drunken man from driving a car. Though it has little impact on the story, Bobby's caring mom is passive and makes no effort to repair the family's money problems; she simply cries and worries. The many storylines and plot elements may overwhelm young viewers, and clarity is not a priority here.
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What's the story?
In The AMAZING WIZARD OF PAWS, Bobby is only 5 years old when his dad is killed in a car accident. Traumatized, the young boy suffers from anxiety and social problems. His only friend is Ozzie, a mysterious dog who turns up on the family doorstep with a key around his neck. What Bobby doesn't know is that Ozzie is 623 years old and has traveled through time to help him. Once Bobby is older (Will Spencer), the ancient past -- Ozzie's key, a jeweled Book of Incantations, and unwanted visits from the evil Lord Gargneon -- brings wizardry and magic into Bobby's life. Furthermore, the arrival of a spooky but kind apparition puts Bobby at the center of a centuries-old quest for power. Events now threaten both the boy and his dog. At the same time, Bobby's caring mom reveals that she's lost her job and the bank is soon going to take their beloved family home. Bobby takes his responsibilities seriously; he bravely commits himself to protecting the ancient possessions and to saving the house. The newly acquired magic seems to be the only resource Bobby has. Will the magic he needs come from his new special powers or from within himself?
Is it any good?
If only good intentions were enough to create a solid viewing experience for kids and families. In this case, there's nothing to recommend this very low-budget, amateurish effort. A slapdash plot, some very weak performances, lame special effects, and nonsensical events (scenes relating to a "Million Dollar Talent Show" are poorly executed, as is every scene in which the villainous Lord Gargneon appears) all contribute to this substandard effort. Usually, a lovable dog can save even the flimsiest of offerings, but in this case, scenes with Ozzie (played by Little Bear the dog and voiced by Robert Caspari) fail to satisfy. And (spoiler alert) the film's "magical ending" in which Bobby's father returns to life after five years simply because his son did "one good deed" feels like an irresponsible and confusing notion.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it meant when Bobby was described as "The Chosen One." Do you understand what he was chosen to do or who chose him?
Why did the filmmakers include the Million Dollar Talent Show? Did it affect the story? What was its purpose? Why is it important that every plot element have a purpose?
At the film's end, Bobby is told that he didn't need magic powers and that he created the magic from scratch and the ideas were his own. Was that statement true? When, if ever, did the filmmakers show Bobby creating magic from his own ideas?
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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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