A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
Themes of friendship, persistence, defying dangers for others or in pursuit of goals, seeking one's own identity, and holding onto personal freedoms.
Positive Role Models
Nathan and Timebot put themselves in harm's way to help each other and their friends. They're willing to risk their own lives to save their friends. This is in contrast to other toys and rodents who act selfishly or who purposefully hurt others. A gentle toymaker retires from his craft when his wife dies, but he rekindles the spirit when two lost toys reappear.
Violence & Scariness
Ceramic toys and a robot face myriad dangers and threats to their lives, surviving fire, being thrown through the air, plunged into deep or boiling waters, pounded, broken, deprogrammed, tied up, chased, and captured.
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"Fat piggy." "Wicked." "Stupid."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the Toy Story-èsque Toys & Pets is a relatively fast-paced animated film from China about friendship and freedom that has quite a bit of cartoon violence. Ceramic toys and a robot risk their lives, running in front of traffic, getting flung through the air and plunged into water, being locked into a furnace, and chased through a sewer underworld by evil rodents. Their toy friends are likewise threatened, tied up, and imprisoned. The elderly toymaker's wife appears to die in an early scene. The robot Timebot is lost and doesn't know where home is. When the robot discovers where it's from, it rebels against the controlled life of a robot. Mild language includes "fat piggy," "wicked" and "stupid." 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 Chinese animated adventure should appeal to grade-school kids. The animated toys of Toys & Pets will feel familiar, if not redundant, for fans of the Toy Story franchise, but the storylines and fantasy worlds invented for the dwellers of a Chinese tea shop and a sewage drain netherworld might feel less familiar. Unpredictability isn't necessarily a draw for younger viewers, but for animation enthusiasts the novelty could prove appealing. This is especially true for the film's imaginative sewer world, inhabited by evil rodents and a mystical, all-knowing figure (reminiscent in several ways of The Wizard of Oz) that draws all manner of toys seeking wisdom.
The musical score is used effectively to create moments of enchantment and magic, like an underwater scene with colorful fish and a slow-motion sequence of Nathan maneuvering across a boiling pond filled with menacing toads. There's also an intriguing subplot in Toys & Pets, especially considering the film was made in a country with strict censorship rules like China, that involves the robot Timebot refusing to be "controlled" or condemned to a life of following orders. The two main characters here learn the value of both individualism and being free from outside control.
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