By Renee Longstreet,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Cute animated bug movie has lots of peril.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
Promotes: helping others, being brave, and staying focused on goals.
Positive Role Models
Heroic ladybug is steadfast in her desire to help others, achieve objectives, and work as part of a team. Those who watch and join her are inspired by her constancy and bravery.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoon action finds the heroic bugs frequently in danger. They're running and fighting for their lives. The ladybug and her friends fall and are chased by menacing bees and a cackling, vicious lizard with a long tongue wielded as a weapon. They are held captive in glass jars, smashed on windshields, forced to dodge windshield wipers, caught in rain, lost, forced to jump from a plane.
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Some name-calling (i.e., "ugly bully," "pea brain"). A scene takes place on a "dung" hill.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A brief glimpse of a bug who appears to be drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Ladybug is an animated Chinese production adapted for English-speaking audiences. Ruby, the adorable title bug, is on a quest to find the Golden Canyon, advertised as a "bug Utopia." On her journey Ruby has adventures with assorted good creatures and some menacing bad guys (bees and a cackling, cruel lizard). Simple, clear messages about helping others, working hard to achieve goals, and teamwork are integrated from top to bottom. There's lots of cartoon violence; Ruby and other insects are in fear for their lives much of the time. Ruby is chased, caught, falls through the sky and on the ground, gets stuck on a windshield, dodges windshield wipers, and is held captive in a jar. Occasional name-calling includes "pea brain" and "ugly bully." A scene takes place on a "dung" hill. One bug briefly appears to be drunk. The movie is appropriate only for kids who understand the difference between real and pretend violence.
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What's the Story?
Ruby (voiced by Lisa Schwartz) THE LADYBUG is about to embark on a journey to the Golden Canyon, an absolutely perfect place for insects! Ruby's heard about it, even seen it on TV. Golden Canyon is beautiful, safe, warm, and filled with all the necessities for the survival of its inhabitants. It's just a matter of getting there. Ruby's a pretty good escape artist, and after she helps out Master Dan (voiced by Jon Heder), a very brash dragonfly, she has a traveling buddy. Master Dan isn't as brave as Ruby, but he's clever. The friends' journey is not an easy one, especially since Master Dan is the target of some pretty angry bees. Soon it's clear that Ruby and Master Dan are in danger from a whole assortment of folks. Bugs make pretty tasty meals for frogs and lizards, and the boy who collects insects to keep captive in little jars is no picnic either. It takes all the courage, unselfishness, and smarts that Ruby possesses to forge ahead when they arrive at the Golden Canyon to find that it's now a major construction site. Will the little ladybug ever find her true home?
Is It Any Good?
With charming animation, funny characters, and positive messages, it would seem that this film is intended for little kids, but menacing villains and bugs in peril may be too much for some. It isn't often that audiences meet likable and very humanized earwigs, dung beetles, and slugs, but The Ladybug has more than its share. It's nice for kids to see bugs that may have a decided "ewww" factor can be fun, too. Norm MacDonald, not known for subtlety, seems to relish his turn as a very bad boy -- in this case, a lizard, but a few of his cackles and threatening sounds go a long way. Other performances are solid. Generally, a pleasing entry in the anthropomorphic insect genre, but only for kids who are clear on real versus imaginary violence.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the messages in The Ladybug. What does this movie say about helping others? About staying focused on goals?
The Ladybug has lots of scenes that might frighten little kids or very sensitive ones. How does your family determine which members are ready for movies with imaginary danger and cartoon violence?
How was Ruby a role model for the other characters in this movie? What character strengths did she show that inspired her friends?
- On DVD or streaming: November 20, 2018
- Cast: Lisa Schwartz, Jon Heder, Haylie Duff
- Director: Ding Shi
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Bugs, Friendship
- Character Strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 76 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some action and mild rude humor
- Last updated: June 1, 2023
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