A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Goldy III is a family-oriented movie focusing on a likeable young girl in the late-19th century mountain West. With positive messages about protecting vulnerable animals and honoring everyone's individuality, parents can feel OK about kids watching this otherwise mediocre movie. Characters shoot rifles, but it's almost always at targets in shooting competitions, though one scene includes shooting at the bear.
What's the story?
Jessie is a tomgirl who hates school but dreams of performing in a circus with her best friend -- a bear named Goldy. But Goldy is a wild animal, and her family -- as much as they too love Goldy -- know that the time is coming soon when Goldy must return to the wild. In the meantime, Goldy must avoid a trio of bumbling poachers (with the assistance of a man named Freedom [Mr. T] who is believed by townspeople to be a ghost spirit) and a conniving magician (Cheech Marin) who wants to swindle the bear away from Goldy's family and take it on the entertainment circuit. Jessie must work to protect Goldy, but must also realize that Goldy is a wild animal and not a pet.
Is it any good?
In some respects, THE MAGIC OF THE GOLDEN BEAR: GOLDY III is a run-of-the-mill film about a child bonding with a wild animal (and the third in a series of Goldy movies -- all with similar themes). The wild animal (in this case, a bear), is extraordinarily gifted at riding a bike and understanding human speech, behaves more like a tame dog, and loves its human family as if there are no differences between humans and animals. The two aspects that separate this movie from others like it are the actors Cheech Marin and Mr. T, who, all-in-all, turn in entertaining performances; the former as an over-the-top magician, and the latter as a man living in the wild who is rumored by the townspeople to be a ghost spirit and is frequently seen in the movie conversing with a raven.
The movie does drag at times, and the acting is generally not the best. Still, the movie does have enough presence of mind to make it clear to everyone that the bear Goldy is not a pet, but a wild animal who must eventually return to the wild. In spite of this movie's obvious flaws, this crucial distinction should get kids thinking.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about movies with children bonding with wild animals. Do you think the relationship between the girl Jessie and the bear Goldy is realistic? Why or why not?
What are the similarities and differences between this film and other films where kids love wild animals who act tame?
As a movie set in the late-19th century, what are some of the activities kids are shown doing for fun?
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