Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
References and briefly introduces some classic literature.
Sometimes you have to fight to make a wish come true. Reach deep inside and seize the courage to confront fears. Books open the door to great adventure and knowledge.
Positive Role Models
Parents are portrayed as loving, concerned, and responsible. Very cautious boy is able to overcome his fearful nature and begin to enjoy the world around him. A librarian is depicted as bizarre and less than helpful.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of pratfalls and cartoon action; no one is seriously hurt. In the live-action sections, Dad falls from a tree house; 10-year-old Richard first crashes his bike and then slips on a hard floor, losing consciousness momentarily. Animated sequences contain scene after scene of cartoon peril: more characters falling repeatedly, a scary hound, Dr. Jekyl's transformation into Mr. Hyde, ghosts, a dragon, a threatening electrical storm, and more. Spooky music and effects accompany some of the above, heightening the suspense.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's lots of cartoon action in this film but no one gets seriously hurt. Characters fall from great heights and immediately come back to fall again just moments later. The hero and others are captured, then escape and immediately come back to get captured again. With a mix of animation and live-action, there are swashbuckling pirates, threatening sharks, scary hounds, unhinged authority figures, and a fire-breathing dragon with ghostly accomplices. Ominous music and spooky colors and sound effects heighten the suspense, but except for the youngest or most sensitive kids there's no real sense of jeopardy. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The concepts behind this movie are admirable. A young boy who is fearful ultimately finds the courage to participate in life, and kids learn the joy to be found in various genres of literature and books. The execution, however, fails to illuminate the messages in either a clear or imaginative way. Fictional characters are introduced in a smattering of short action scenes, which neither make them appealing nor give them any purpose other than to battle and do harm. The scenes that are supposed to inspire Richard's courage are so badly constructed that the audience never experiences the boy's move past his fears to save himself or his friends. Worst of all, with the exception of one cleverly-drawn scene in which a painting deconstructs to wrap the library in brilliant color, the animation is unimaginative and ordinary at best.
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.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Excellent Adventure Movies for Family Fun
Best Fantasy Movies
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate