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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie depicts several New Testament stories (Jesus and the Money Changers, the crucifixion, the allegory of Jesus as sacrificial lamb, Peter's denial of Jesus, the resurrection) that would be educational for any family looking to teach their children biblical tales.
Many positive, Christian-themed messages about Jesus' life, death, and love. The animals learn the value of sacrifice and friendship as they try to save Judah.
Positive Role Models
All of the animals are willing to risk their safety to find and save Drake and Judah. Jesus' actions and sacrifices aren't too closely examined, but he is, of course, a divine role model to Christians.
Violence & Scariness
Two menacing ravens terrorize a few animals and try to catch a rat. The Gospel story of Jesus cleansing the temple (expelling the money changers) is depicted, as is Jesus being hit (briefly) and the crucifixion (but nothing bloody is shown). The death of Jesus and possible slaughter of Judah may upset young children, especially since the protagonist animals are so upset.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that since this animated drama follows animals that encounter Jesus right before the crucifixion, it will primarily appeal to Christian families who are looking to teach their children more about New Testament themes. Since Jesus (who is referred to as "the King" by the animals) is shown being jostled, hit, and eventually flogged and crucified, some very young children may be disturbed (although most of these scenes are brief and don't show any details). Judah the lamb is also nearly slaughtered (as the sacrificial lamb) but is saved at the last moment. While the film will be educational for Christian children, families of other faiths may be less comfortable with the movie's subject matter and overtly evangelical message. 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 feels a bit off to criticize a well-intentioned movie about animals witnessing Jesus' final days, but this isn't up to par with even Christian movies like Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie. The animation is reminiscent of video-game quality, with foreground characters moving around in front of static, undetailed backgrounds. Scenes of the animals in motion are particularly uninspired; at least most humans aren't shown in detail (usually viewers only see people's sandaled feet, arms, or faces in shadow).
Animation style aside, the story feels like an odd mix of Barnyard and The Passion of the Christ. Still, if an animated depiction of the crucifixion and resurrection from the perspective of stable animals is OK with your family, there's some good news. The best part of the movie is the soundtrack, which includes music by contemporary Christian artists Pearl, Lindell Cooley, Kari Jobe, and Klaus. Judah's faith in the fact that Jesus' love saved him from slaughter is sweetly handled, as is the donkey Jack's decision to return to Jerusalem to help the disciples left behind. Ultimately, though, this movie probably won't be a good fit for families who don't share the filmmakers' Christian faith.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.