A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this animated direct-to-DVD movie features those ubiquitous toy hamsters, the Zhu Zhu Pets. Although most of the movie is a harmless adventure for preschool-aged kids, the second half includes some frightening situations that might scare very young viewers, especially the parts with the "Yeti" Zhu, a trio of saber-toothed tigers, and the serpentine villain that shoots fire out of her tail. There's nothing to fear in the long run, since the Zhu pals are ultimately victorious, but some of the scenes might still be disturbing. Like most movies based on toys, the entire story seems like a big merchandising promo (the DVD even comes with two Zhu Zhu figurines).
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What's the story?
The lovable Pipsqueak feels unappreciated by her young owner and is magically transported into the Zhu-niverse, where every creature is a form of hamster. She meets fellow Zhus Num Nums, Chunk, and Mr. Squiggles, who are told by Stinker -- the resident trouble-making skunk -- that if they find their way to the Palace of Zhu, an Oz-like Zhu Fu will grant all their wishes. When they arrive at the Palace -- after some close calls with menacing Zhus -- the friends discover that it's run by an evil snake villain called Mezhula. If the Zhu pals can't stop Mezhula, she'll use their "Zhu power" to fuel her nefarious plans.
Is it any good?
Most young kids are so excited about the magic of the alternate universe they're being transported to that they don't tend to care whether a movie is "good" or not -- and this one really is not. Given the popularity of the Zhu Zhu pet toys, any child who owns one will likely enjoy this lackluster Wizard of Oz rip-off, but parents will secretly wish they were watching the actual Wizard of Oz (or even the Tom and Jerry version).
It's not just the hamsters' squeaky, high-pitched voices or the Confucius-like character with the ridiculous accent, or the off-putting Mezhula villain that make this quest so unsatisfying. There's just no real purpose to this movie other than to hook kids even further into the world of Zhu Zhu pets. If you are into the little fluff-ball hamsters, the movie will make for passable diversion, but those who aren't already die-hard fans will be underwhelmed.
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