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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Timber the Treasure Dog is an Indiana Jones-style feature that puts kids at center stage in a quest to find a grandfather's buried treasure on their Montana ranch just in time to prevent foreclosure on their home. They face mild peril as they negotiate the woods and a dark mine with the help of their fearless dogs, but most of the danger is played for comedy. Offscreen, a man is killed when a blast caves in a mine. The bad guys get shocked with the cattle prod they've used to threaten everyone else. Rocks fall from the mine ceiling. Bad guys dynamite a cave open. Bats swarm out of a cave. Although their intentions are good, children disobey their father and venture alone into dangerous areas. Someone passes gas.
What's the story?
All the animals talk in TIMBER THE TREASURE DOG, sometimes making fun of humans but mostly protecting and serving them. For generations, the Joneses and the Stonewalls have been archenemies. The current Stonewall leader threatens the Jones Montana ranch with foreclosure. With only days before Stonewall takes over the property, young Mikey Jones (J.D. Hoppe) sets out with his girl-pal Billie (Averie South) to find his grandfather's buried treasure and save the ranch. The intrepid husky Timber (voiced by Kix Brooks) leads the way with humor and a spirit of adventure. Bearing a cattle prod and a bad attitude, Stonewall and his comically idiot henchpeople follow the kids and threaten to kill them when led to the treasure. Caves rumble ominously, but things end up working out.
Is it any good?
This movie caters to children's dream of overcoming obstacles and acting heroically, especially when their risky behavior turns out to help their parents resolve real-world problems. Accompanied by a trusty friend and loyal dogs, with a treasure map in hand, a boy bravely travels to unknown territory to help his father save the ranch. A delightful ditz played by Erica Ibsen helps the kids in their quest and adds some comic zest. The humor in Timber the Treasure Dog targets the tweens-and-younger sensibility, cleverly poking fun at the adventure genre. The sleek and adventurous Timber announces, "Danger is my middle name." His stubby bulldog sidekick replies, "Mine is Norman."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way Timber the Treasure Dog depicts ranch animals as talking, thinking beings who can communicate with each other. We know dogs can't really talk, but do you think animals can communicate with each other?
Do you think movie depictions of kids doing brave but foolishly dangerous things encourage risky behavior? Why, or why not?
When bad guys are portrayed in movies as bumbling and silly, do you think it makes them less scary?
- On DVD or streaming: January 5, 2016
- Cast: Wilford Brimley, J.D. Hoppe, Kix Brooks, Averie South, Erica Ibsen
- Director: Ari Novak
- Studio: Archstone Distribution
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Horses and Farm Animals
- Character Strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 83 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: for mild action and language
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