A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The main character learns lessons about taking responsibility, believing in himself, and recognizing the family members who really love him. Santa's reindeer are played as smug and macho.
Violence & Scariness
Intense and prolonged scenes of threatening wolves intent on eating reindeer, Santa's reindeer, and Santa himself. Much of the movie involves the main character's pursuit by the same bloodthirsty pack of wolves.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There's a subplot about figuring out which of them is Niko's father that could be considered perverted -- ALL of them remember having one night stands with pretty girl reindeer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while the movie features a cute baby reindeer and his forest friends, the story is about a pack of ravenous, evil wolves intent on eating Santa and his reindeer, and the main character is imperiled throughout. Non-standard family units like a single mom, son, and grandpa are featured, as is a surrogate father who is preferable to the real thing. No discussion of religious aspects of Christmas and hardly any of the secular aspects either; this is all about the reindeer. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This movie is beautifully animated and imagined, and that may be part of its problem. The wolves are truly scary, and the fact that they are chasing Niko and his herd is bad enough; then they decide to eat Santa. The subplot about Niko determining which of the Flying Force reindeer is his father borders on creepy, especially as his mother relays the tale of her one magical night with Daddy Reindeer and the arrival of Niko 10 months later.
As a singing and wisecracking weasel Wilma, Emma Roberts has a small part, although she's got top billing in the credits. MacDonald is much more affecting as the flying squirrel Julius, whose only family is Niko and whose bravery is much more compelling than that of the preening and silly Flying Forces. This is not a movie that embodies the Christmas spirit, but for kids who can withstand the wolves it's a quirky coming-of-age tale.
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Our Editors Recommend
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