A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
References to the Conquistadores, early adventurers from Spain and Portugal who attempted to conquer the Americas. Paintings depicting the era enrich the description.
Persistence and teamwork reap rewards in spite of the fact that things aren't always fair. A dad suggests that "you can't dwell on those things you can't control." The movie also dramatizes the negative effect that huge retail stores can have on small-town businesses and the people who depend upon them for their livelihood.
Positive Role Models
The young heroes disobey their parents, but have good intentions. The plot depends upon stereotypically bumbling villains, clueless law enforcement, and tween bullies, lead by a "mean girl." Parents are sometimes slow to respond, but well-meaning. The film lacks adult women characters (no moms) and ethnic diversity.
Violence & Scariness
Several mildly scary moments: one shot of a ferocious bear that's meant to be threatening; numerous skeletons pop up or are discovered; arrows shoot across the screen; animal traps are sprung on unsuspecting characters; and the heroes hang precariously over a ledge. The villains, accompanied by cartoony music, are inept, clueless, and accident-prone; they fall, are hit by rocks, caught in traps, get into fights (including sword play) and capture the heroes for a brief time. No one is injured or killed. The hero's dog gets lost, but is found without much suspense or difficulty.
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Infrequent insults: "loser," "moron," "numbskull."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Gold Retrievers is a relatively harmless adventure about a boy and a girl searching for long-lost treasure. The misleading DVD cover shows a cuddly puppy, but it's not a dog story. There are a few moments that might be scary for very young viewers: dusty skeletons startling the treasure hunters, a brief shot of a vicious bear primed to attack, and bumbling thieves who chase and haplessly fight with the heroes. The comic nature of the villains keeps them from being truly threatening and no one is hurt or killed. One baddie continually insults the other, calling him "moron," "numbskull," "loser," etc. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's a fair bet that lots of kids will like this movie. It's meant to appeal to youngsters who like to laugh at silly bad guys falling down, stepping into traps, calling each other names, and behaving moronically. (Steve Guttenberg and Curtis Armstrong couldn't get any broader or more ridiculous.) And the prospect of children finding a treasure and saving the family is always fun.
Despite that, it's hard to recommend this amateurish effort. The film has one-dimensional characters, a sketchy plot, and is missing three basic elements that make a family movie successful -- logic, wit, and charm.
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