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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Intended to entertain, rather than educate, but there are lessons regarding teamwork and courage.
Demonstrates teamwork as method for overcoming a bully, whether of the schoolyard or corporate villain variety. Also shows that characteristics society may see as unattractive can hold a different kind of value. Message that parents sometimes try to protect their children by not telling them the complete truth, not due to lack of trust but because they're using their best judgment in a complicated situation. Argues that no matter what kind of "beast" a parent may be, a boy needs his father. Other macho-leaning views include declaration that powerful men have hair and that "every real man has a son."
Positive Role Models
Adam, his father are always concerned about others' safety. Adam acts bravely to rescue his father and their woodland friends. On the other hand, Adam runs away from home, hitchhikes, dismisses his parents' wishes; they act more like friends than parents, and Adam comes off as being wiser than they are. One scene reinforces stereotypes about hunters. Women are sidelined, and Adam's loving mother is largely irrelevant.
Violence & Scariness
Several times, characters fall off the edge of a cliff with the immediate suggestion being that they died (though all ultimately survive). Hunters use guns to shoot at a bear, but the animals prevent the bullets from working. An enormous laboratory complex is blown up. Guns are prevalent, but it's always clear that they're dart, flare, or taser guns. An intern's hair catches on fire. Bullying.
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Adam expresses surprise with exclamation "holy crap!" He's described by friendly raccoons as "a stupid idiot." Insults also include "freak," "snitch," and "jerk." A principal uses the words "spazoid" and "friendless loser."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Son of Bigfoot is a European-produced animated adventure that sets up the existence of Bigfoot as a DNA mutation that changes a man into a beast. Bigfoot's son, Adam, has been led to believe his father is dead; when he realizes that's not the case, he runs away from home and hitchhikes to find him. After they're reunited, they fight against an evil pharmaceutical company that plans to extract Bigfoot's DNA for genetic engineering. It's implied that the company unethically tests their products on animals, but the movie never shows animals being treated cruelly -- just a college intern (whose hair catches fire). One scene reinforces stereotypes about hunters, with talking woodland creatures calling them "rednecks" who relish "killing God's most magnificent creatures." Headstrong Adam consistently makes risky decisions that don't result in real-life consequences. There's also bullying, frequent use of guns (dart, flare, or taser), and several cases in which characters fall off the edge of a cliff, potentially to their deaths (though all ultimately survive). Being raised solo by his mother, Adam's life isn't shown as empty or missing something, but one of the story's core messages is that no matter what kind of "beast" a parent may be, a boy needs his father. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This movie doesn't offer much entertainment value to parents, but it will keep elementary-age children entertained. In the age of popular TV shows like Monster High and Finding Bigfoot, the film offers a clever conceit to explain Bigfoot and why he's in hiding, as well as what it would mean to be Bigfoot's child. Kids' imaginations will move into gear with this adventure that endows a tween with animal superpowers while putting him in the driver's seat to reunite his family and make them safe. But the story isn't particularly well written, the direction isn't smartly executed, the voice talent is unremarkable, and the computer animation is subpar.
The Son of Bigfoot touches on themes that would be interesting to explore further -- such as how Adam feels about the unusual changes going on in his body or how, the first time an estranged parent and child meet, it's often not an instant connection. And while the movie doesn't lay out a moral, some of the subtle messaging may not be a fit for every family. For instance, it presents macho-leaning opinions such as the declaration that powerful men have hair and that "every real man has a son" (young viewers may not pick up on the comedy surrounding these views). Women are sidelined, and Adam's loving mother (Lindsay Torrance) is largely irrelevant. In every aspect, The Son of Bigfoot isn't a terrible film, just outdated.
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.