The Hero of Color City

  • Review Date: October 3, 2014
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 77 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Gentle adventure is sweet, colorful but not very original.
  • Review Date: October 3, 2014
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 77 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn their colors and the value of friendship.

Positive messages

Overall themes of conquering your fears, believing in yourself, and trying new things. The crayons learn that they must help those who are helpful to them and not to judge someone by their appearance.

Positive role models

Yellow is afraid of everything, but after some inspiring words by Blue, she realizes that she needs to believe in herself. Blue, who doesn't get worked up when he's confronted, tells Yellow that he believes in her and it's time she starts believing in herself. The crayons help the misunderstood creatures in the Land of the Unfinished drawings, even though it might drain their color. 

Violence & scariness

A dinosaur wastebasket comes to life. Yellow is grabbed by the king and taken to the top of a tall building. He drops her; she's caught by a paper plane. The crayons are warned that if they don't get back to Ben's room before he wakes up, they'll be lost forever. The crayons take a boat down the "scary narrows." They encounter spooky fog and a voice that says, "go back." The characters in the Land of Unfinished Drawings seem aggressive at first but turn out to be misunderstood.

Language

A few insults, including "creep," "jerk," and "poopy pants."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Hero of Color City is similar to Toy Story, but instead of toys coming to life, it's crayons. The movie has lots of positive messages about overcoming your fears, believing in yourself, helping others, and working as a team. There are a few scenes in which the crayons are in peril -- a dinosaur wastebasket comes to life, a character is dropped off a tall building (and caught!), the crayons take a boat down the "scary narrows" and encounter a spooky fog and threatening voice -- but nothing overly scary. Younger kids will like the colors and the mild adventure, but the story might not be exciting for older kids or their parents. 

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Ben loves to draw, but what he doesn't know is that the figures he creates come to life, along with the crayons. After he goes to sleep, the crayons jump into their box to get home to the beautiful and bustling Color City. Two of Ben's creations, King Scrawl and his sidekick, Gnat, follow the crayons and start wreaking havoc in Color City. If crayon Yellow (voiced by Christina Ricci) and her friends don't stop King Scrawl from plugging up the town waterfall, all of the color will drain from their colorful metropolis.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

THE HERO OF COLOR CITY is similar to Toy Story, but without the groundbreaking animation or iconic characters. It's a cute movie with some nice songs and good lessons for little kids. But the main character, Yellow, isn't quite engaging enough to hold older audiences' attention as she inadvertently goes on an adventure and fights all of her fears.

There are some funny lines, mostly by the pessimistic crayon Black (David Kaye), and some pop culture references (plus a strange crayon who sounds like Jerry Lewis) scattered here and there, but the story -- while sweet -- is one we've seen before. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Yellow's fears. She's isn't very confident in her abilities and is afraid of new experiences. Kids: Do you ever feel afraid? What do you do to get past it?

  • Why do you think it was important for Yellow to help the creatures in the Land of the Unfinished Drawings? 

  • Kids: Do you ever pretend that the objects in your room come to life when you're sleeping? Is that idea exciting or scary? Why?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 3, 2014
DVD release date:December 2, 2014
Cast:Christina Ricci, Rosie Perez, Craig Ferguson
Director:Frank Gladstone
Studio:Magnolia Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Run time:77 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of The Hero of Color City was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 7 years old January 13, 2015
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

Great

JJ loves this movie me, kind of.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Educator and Parent Written byunderscorex March 5, 2015
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

Blandly pleasant fare with the usual messages, stereotypes, etc.

I'll be honest, 90% of my interest in this was due to Craig Ferguson voicing a character - he's the "villain's" henchman. Of course, as this is targeted VERY young, the "villain" is simply misunderstood and only wants to be appreciated and part of the community. Comparisons to Toy Story are correct in the broad strokes - after kids go to bed, their possessions have lives of their own, but otherwise inaccurate. It lacks the charm and warmth of that series, and the animation is decidedly inferior. Parents should be aware that there are some very broad jokes in the film - a brown crayon is called "Refried Beans" (is that an actual color?) and is a gaseous Hispanic stereotype. The gray crayon is a cranky old man who actually literally tells the other crayons to get off his lawn. The black crayon is a mopey goth. The pink crayon is a French fashion designer. That's about the level of thought put into this. There's some semi-scary stuff, mostly owing to the main character's main personality trait being "fraidy cat" - jump scares, mostly. Something falls down and she gets scared, the villains are presented as being semi-menacing until they're revealed to be secretly misunderstood, etc. etc. It's sweet and well-meaning, but there are far better options out there.
What other families should know
Great messages

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