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The Universal Force: The Seer Squad
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Universal Force: The Seer Squad is a 2014 computer-animated movie from China about a ragtag group of robots that joins forces with heroic futuristic fighters as well as medieval-looking warriors to save the universe. Though there are some "cutesy" voices and enough visual stimuli to keep younger viewers engaged on that alone, the movie itself is difficult to follow. There are characters who resemble the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, a character who looks like a Teletubby, and a lead character clearly alluding to WALL-E. There also are scary, demonic-looking monsters. In a scene set at a medieval feast, characters drink from beer steins and act drunk. Overall this movie is a confusing mess.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
A ragtag group of robots joins forces with a powerful group of futuristic heroes, as well as an army of medieval soldiers and pirates, to save the universe from destruction. This destruction comes at the hands of evil robots as well as a demonic monster named Koberto. These robots and Koberto will stop at nothing until they attain the sacred tree and the Aries Crystal. When it starts to appear that all hope is lost, these three groups of disparate protagonists learn the importance of working together as they learn the true meaning of heroism.
Is it any good?
Though the computer animation is not the worst, this is a confusing mess of too many "good guys" who mostly seem to bear striking resemblances to popular characters from movies and television. Though a sense of good vs. evil comes out of the chaos, there are so many different groups of protagonists linked together it's impossible to understand why or how they came to be where they are. It's almost as if the filmmakers were trying to appeal to kids who like medieval fantasy, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and Pixar movies by cramming them into the same movie.
References to a "sacred tree" and an "Aries Crystal" also are thrown in for no discernible reason. With the exception of the demonic-looking monster, this movie might be enjoyed by younger viewers on the basis of visual stimuli alone. But for everyone else, the unwieldy, multifaceted story and its sloppy execution make it excruciating to watch.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about computer-animated movies. How is this movie similar to and different from other computer-animated movies?
Why do you think some of the characters looked or acted similar to characters from popular movies and TV shows?
How important is plot when you watch a movie like this? Do you need to understand all of the story lines, or can you still enjoy it without following all the action?
- In theaters: January 1, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: January 22, 2015
- Cast: Yang Ou, Zhang Anqi, Fan Junhang
- Director: Wang Zhangjun
- Studio: Phase 4 Films
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Robots
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
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