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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Adventure Time: Distant Lands - BMO is the first of four hour-long specials that are an extension of the popular animated series Adventure Time. It's set in the same universe as the original but focuses on the small robot character BMO (voiced by Niki Yang). The amount of mature content is similar to the original series, with sci-fi weaponry/violence and scenes of battles and conflicts that are softened by a light tone and surreal visuals. Some characters shoot a "lava blaster" that makes puddles of blue goo. Other characters are shot out into space, where they're shown floating. A backstory involves escaping an earth-like planet, which is destroyed with a mushroom cloud hovering over it. Language consists of one "heck" and the insult "You no good rootin' tootin' four-flusher!" Positive messages are frequent and concern courage, compassion for others, and the importance of even those who feel small and powerless. Characters team up for a heroic quest.
What's the story?
Set in the same universe as beloved animated series Adventure Time, ADVENTURE TIME: DISTANT LANDS - BMO is the first of four episodes set in places other than the Land of Ooo, and featuring characters other than Finn (Jeremy Shada) and Jake (John DiMaggio). BMO (Niki Yang) is the star of this adventure, and is floating in space when a little green bot hijacks the ship and takes it to The Drift, a space station at a crisis point. Evil forces are overwhelming the land, and it's up to BMO and her new friend Y-5 (Glory Curda) to save this space dystopia before it's too late.
Is it any good?
Adventure Time ended with a bang in 2018, but this first of four new specials in surreal lands other than Ooo shows that its creators have plenty of stories left to tell. Like its predecessor, Distant Lands - BMO blends surreal visuals, a whimsically heroic quest, and sharp jokes, veering away from Finn-and-Jake-centric storytelling to relate a side story about their sentient little robot pal. BMO was always a cutie, not the least because of Niki Yang's loopy line readings, which have an eccentric charm all their own. Careful listeners will also hear a host of guest stars along with returning voices: Stephen Root, Randall Park, John DiMaggio, and Tom Kenny, amongst others.
Distant Lands - BMO conjures up a Finn cognate in Y-5, a tween-aged hero with rabbit ears. Naturally, it's up to BMO and Y-5 to team up and defeat the evil forces plaguing Y-5's world, but what this demi-movie's really about is a young character learning to find her voice, and then finding a way to make the adults around her listen. It's a potent lesson for young viewers to absorb, and it goes down easily thanks to the abundant charm of the lovely animation with its subdued palette, and the positively kittenish cuteness of BMO. Mostly, Adventure Time fans will just feel grateful to be in the show's orbit again, steeped in its specific and wonderful blend of emotion, playfulness, and ironic sincerity. Welcome back. We've missed you.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss how Adventure Time: Distant Lands - BMO compares to the real world. What aspects of The Drift and the beings are rooted in fantasy? Is any of it relevant to the real world? What place does fantasy have in entertainment? Does entertainment always have to have a strong message, or can it just be fun?
Adventure Time has released many miniseries and specials. How are these different from seasons of the show?
Families can talk about how BMO and Y-5 show courage and compassion in Adventure Time: Distant Lands - BMO to rescue The Drift even when they themselves are in danger. How do they use teamwork to get through obstacles? Why are these important character strengths?
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