A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Big Trip is a Russian animated film for kids, adapted for English-speaking audiences using American actors. It's an adventure in which a misguided stork delivers a baby panda to the wrong house in the wrong neighborhood. A group of kooky animals unite to take the little bundle a long distance to find its rightful parents. On their journey, they encounter lots of cartoon action. A python causes the mayhem. He's a scary adversary: cackling, threatening, and baring his fangs. There are chases, fights, treacherous falls, and the baby panda, as well as his five "godfathers," are in peril. No one is injured or killed. Messages about teamwork, finding courage, and getting along are included in the story. All of the characters are male except for one. Some mild insults (i.e., "tomato-face," "fang-face," "clown") are heard along the way. The movie isn't suitable for younger or sensitive kids who aren't comfortable with real versus pretend violence.
What's the story?
A peculiar bundle lands near the house of Mic-Mic Bear (Drake Bell) in THE BIG TRIP. When the big, brown bear discovers a baby panda and watches a soaring stork disappear in the sky, the awful truth comes to him -- this special delivery is a mistake! The baby panda is adorable, but he cries a lot, and he definitely doesn't belong in Mic-Mic's forest. Oscar (Pauly Shore), an annoying hare, appeals to Mic-Mic. He wants to come along on the trip the bear must make to find the baby's rightful home. As the journey begins, the two travelers and the little panda encounter very unusual companions -- a poetic tiger, a very frightened wolf, and a pelican who almost never stops talking. Unfortunately, distance isn't the only problem the well-meaning animals must conquer. They must also face the recurring appearances of a terrifying and powerful python who means them harm.
Is it any good?
The story is easy to understand, the characters cute, and the animation is fine; however, the movie is repetitious, uninspired, and its cartoon peril may be a bit too scary for the target audience. The Big Trip makes an earnest attempt to follow its purposefully quirky animal folks on an obstacle-filled journey with a happy ending; and it succeeds, in part. Younger kids (who are okay with cartoon violence) will appreciate the funny characters, but won't get some of the jokes (references to Shakespeare?), nor is there sufficient pace to keep them engaged. And, there's not enough inventiveness, wit, or energy to hold the attention of older ones.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the scary moments in The Big Trip. Even though it's a cartoon movie, which events might be disturbing for younger kids or more sensitive kids? Why is it importance to understand the impact of violence on kids? How do the adults in your home determine which movies are suitable for your family?
In this movie, the animals behave like humans ("anthropomorphism"). Why does telling a human story using animals as the characters work so well? How does it make the story both relatable and interesting for you? Find out more about anthropomorphism.
What helped the very frightened wolf find his courage? Have you ever behaved in a courageous way to help someone even when you were scared? How did it make you feel?
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