The Aviators

Movie review by
Grace Montgomery, Common Sense Media
The Aviators Movie Poster Image
Animated WWI tale has war violence, potentially scary scenes
  • NR
  • 2009
  • 73 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

May teach kids a bit about WWI and the role of carrier pigeons.

Positive Messages

Stand up for your friends and country; don't give up.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Cher Ami and Lindbergh risk their lives to help their friends and village.

Violence & Scariness

Scary talk about war and possibility of dying in battle (missions referred to as "suicide missions"). Scenes of battle with machine guns and bombs, a few soldiers on stretchers. Falcon characters may scare some kids.

Sexy Stuff

One quick kiss.

Language

"Damn you! twice; insults such as "idiot," "cripple," and "white devil." "Shut up."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine from a flask.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Aviators is an animated film about WWI that was originally released in Spain under the title Cher Ami, then rereleased in the U.S. overdubbed in English. This historical kids' movie is loosely based on the story of real carrier pigeons used during WWI to relay messages. Some parents may not be comfortable with the movie's focus on war, which includes lots of talk of battle and the possibility of dying and some scenes (with humans and animals) of actual battle, which include gunfire, bombs, and some hand-to-hand combat. The falcons may be scary to some kids. There's also some language, including "damn you!" and mild insults such as "idiot." After drinking wine from a flask a character says, "It's better to die of the bottle than in battle." Young kids also may have trouble following the plot, as there are many WWI references they'll probably miss.

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What's the story?

The army has turned the characters' small village into a base, and Tourbillon the little sparrow (Pedro Torrabadella) is eager to help out the war effort as the pigeons are all recruited to carry secret messages for the soldiers. Even Lindbergh (Jeff Foxworthy), the inventor mouse, is ready to use his inventions to help the troops. But Cher Ami (Brad Garrett), the best flyer in the village, isn't in any rush to join the war, despite the whole town trying to convince him. But when it's discovered there's a traitor in their midst and the whole flock of carrier pigeons is in danger, Cher Ami must swoop in to rescue them from the evil falcons before it's too late and their important message is lost.

Is it any good?

Although THE AVIATORS has solid animation (using a combination of 2-D and 3-D graphics) and an interesting story idea that's based on real events, the plot is mostly a jumbled mess. Adults without a strong knowledge of WWI history will have trouble figuring out what exactly is going on, and most kids will probably find themselves pretty lost. The characters spend a lot of time discussing whether they should enter the war (including a totally bizarre song badly sung by Jeff Foxworthy about not wanting to surrender like Cher Ami), which is made especially confusing because the actors portraying the characters all have different accents (French, English, and American). It's impossible to tell where all the characters are supposed to be from, making it extremely difficult to figure out the characters' motives and whose side they're on. The lines between good guys and bad guys get a little vague at times, too, which no doubt will be confusing for small children.

Although kids may get a kick out of the crazy flying contraptions made by Lindbergh the mouse, the rest of the plot is muddled enough to probably lose most kids' interest. And sensitive younger kids may find the falcons and battle scenes too scary. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about WWI. What do you know about the war? Who fought in WWI, and why?

  • Many of the characters are based on real people. Do you know who Lindbergh the mouse is based on? What made him famous?

  • Do you think animals can be heroes, too? Why, or why not?

Movie details

For kids who love animal tales

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