The Blue Elephant
By Tracy Moore,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Uplifting tale of courageous elephant is heavy on peril.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The Blue Elephant offers strongly positive messages about courage, trust, loyalty, and family bonds.
Positive Role Models
Most of the characters are sharply divided as either good or bad. Though overly simplistic and one-dimensional, there are numerous good characters who embody principles of fairness, loyalty, and kind-heartedness.
Violence & Scariness
The Blue Elephant presents a few key elements that create some scariness and peril. Khan Kluay's father is missing at battle; he becomes separated from his mother while searching for his missing father. The movie contains several battle scenes that involve spears, brute force, and scariness, though there is little or no bloodshed. Elsewhere, the film features the use of enslaved animals (tigers, weasels) in chains, and an overall sustained menace as the film ratchets up to the discovery of his father's whereabouts and a final battle scene.
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There is no profanity but sustained insults throughout the film, such as calling a character an idiot, or deaf, or ugly.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Blue Elephant involves a missing father who SPOILER ALERT is ultimately found to have died in battle. Along the way, it glorifies (and justifies the necessity of) war, with particular focus on dying in battle as an act of heroism, and a noble gift to one's own tribe/culture. While it's stated that war is never good, the film's main concern pits two warring cultures against each other in overly simplistic ways in which one is good and the other is evil. While some aspects of this could help a child process an absent or missing parent who is an enlisted soldier, the perilous battle scenes could complicate this effort for younger children.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
In an effort to track down his missing father, Khan Kluay (voiced by Jeremy Redleaf) is separated from his mother, makes new friends, and must learn to trust others in this coming-of-age tale about courage and war.
Is It Any Good?
THE BLUE ELEPHANT is a tricky one; it's part heartwarming coming-of-age tale of mother-son love, part head-scratcher of an oversimplification about the necessity of war. Though it offers some solid, admirable lessons about the importance of trusting people, not judging a book by its cover, and the greatness that may come from unlikely people, it does so through a tale that states multiple times that war is not good, but inevitable.
Kids will enjoy the story of this scrappy elephant who earns the respect of his peers, family, and elders with his great heart, kindness, and the courage of his father. Parents will appreciate the uplifting message. But your take on this as one for family movie night will depend on whether you see war as a terrible, preventable tragedy or a necessary sacrifice on the altar of humanity.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the necessity of war. How could wars be avoided by countries? What can we do to make war a rare tragedy instead of a fact of life?
Read about the use of elephants in battle and how they have aided humans over history.
- On DVD or streaming: February 22, 2011
- Cast: Carl Reiner, Jeremy Redleaf, Martin Short
- Director: Kompin Kemgumnird
- Studio: Weinstein Co.
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Wild Animals
- Run time: 79 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: Rated PG for thematic elements and some battle action
- Last updated: April 5, 2023
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