A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Zombies is a Disney movie about a community where teens inspire positive change by resisting prejudice and finding common ground when their high school integrates humans and zombies. There's stereotyping on both sides of the divide for most of the story, as well as some mean-spirited exchanges between humans and zombies, often driven by adults. But the relationship that develops between a human girl (Meg Donnelly) and a zombie boy (Milo Manheim) has a big impact, inspiring their peers to set aside misconceptions and befriend each other. Parents will especially like the themes of self-esteem surrounding Addison's struggle to let her true self show, and kids will love the catchy soundtrack and dance scenes.
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What's the story?
In ZOMBIES, Seabrook is the perfect town with perfect neighborhoods, perfect residents, and a perfect record in high school cheerleading competitions, but all that uniformity comes under threat when students from neighboring Zombietown integrate Seabrook High School. While most of the humans bristle at the idea of coexisting with zombies, Addison (Meg Donnelly) feels an immediate connection to Zed (Milo Manheim), an optimist who hopes this change will be the start of full equality for his fellow zombies. As Addison and Zed's relationship evolves, tensions run high in this town, and people must decide where their loyalties lie.
Is it any good?
The fact that there are few surprises in this movie doesn't overshadow its appealing messages about tolerance and embracing individuality. It's obvious within the first minutes of Zombies exactly where the story's headed, and if you've seen Descendants, you'll notice similar evolutions of character and plot as the tale of unlikely friendship and broader social healing unfolds.
Beyond the most obvious struggle for Zed and Addison's relationship to be accepted lies the matter of Addison's inner turmoil over her own secret. As Addison wrestles with subjecting herself to judgment in an effort to do what's right, she reminds viewers of the importance of self-acceptance and positive self-esteem. Once again Disney hits a home run with the song-and-dance segments that engage viewers and reemphasize the strong themes about resisting peer pressure and respecting differences.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stereotypes in Zombies. Kids: In what ways does prejudice exist on both the zombie and the human side of this story? Does the media perpetuate stereotypes of certain groups? Are stereotypes always negative?
Kids: What accounts for Zed's unflappable optimism in this story? How do other people's opinions of us influence our self-esteem? Do you ever feel pressure to hide or change your true self? What other positive character traits do you see in the characters? How do they communicate with each other?
Is perfection an attainable goal? Who defines what's cool and what's not? Is being in the "in crowd" something that's important to you? Why or why not?
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