A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this tedious and confusing attempt at making a Harry Potter-type film features some bullying and mild insults. There are also some interactions between kids and a troll and a giant sword-wielding skeleton that might be scary to younger viewers, though the animation quality makes suspending disbelief difficult.
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What's the story?
On his birthday, on the eleventh month of the eleventh day, Billy Owens (Dalton Mugridge) discovers he has magical powers not unlike a wizard after he and his two friends -- the funfact-spouting Mandy (Ciara O'Hanlon) and the allergy-suffering Devon (Christopher Fazio) -- run away from the clutches of the school bully and find themselves in a second-hand shop owned by a man named Thurgood (Roddy Piper). Billy is given a magic wand, and he must use it not only to stand-up to the school bully, but to rescue his town from mysterious vines, a dragon, a skeleton, and his evil wizard schoolteacher.
Is it any good?
It says a lot when former professional wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper is the best actor in a movie, and that's exactly the case in THE MYSTICAL ADVENTURES OF BILLY OWENS. While the three kids themselves aren't necessarily unlikable, the film has such a slap-dash quality to it -- with unintentionally hilariously bad computer animation -- it is nearly impossible to care one way or the other what happens to Billy as he tries to save his town by using his recently discovered wizard capabilities.
Furthermore, the storyline is incredibly confusing. Best of luck trying to help your child understand what's happening, between the mysterious vines, the hunter's moon, the codex, the spirit river, the troll, the dragon, the skeleton, and something about an altar of destiny. To say nothing of who does and does not have magical powers. At the end of the day, this is a poorly filmed, poorly executed attempt to get on board the Harry Potter train.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the phrase oft-repeated in the film: "Friendship is the strongest bond." What does that mean? What are some examples in your own life of friends being there when you need them?
Why is Kurt's bullying behavior wrong, and besides magic wands, how else might Billy and his friends stand up to him?
What are the qualities that make films and TV shows "good" and "bad?" What is the difference between good and bad acting, special effects, and storytelling?
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