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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Beat Bugs: All Together Now is a movie add-on to the award-winning Netflix series Beat Bugs that sees the characters leaving their backyard home to compete in a singing contest in a faraway park. The characters experience emotions that will resonate with kids, including fear, worry, and homesickness, as well as some excitement over the prospect of a grand adventure. One character also wrestles with guilt over an incident that happened long ago but returns to the forefront because of the arrival of a newcomer to the group. Expect some tense moments as the tiny bugs set off in the human world, where dangers like rushing water, cars, and even wind can spell disaster. But there's also a lot of fun and several opportunities for the value of friendship to be reaffirmed.
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What's the story?
In BEAT BUGS: ALL TOGETHER NOW, the musical bugs -- Kumi (voiced by Erin Mathews), Crick (Lili Beaudoin), Walter (Charles Demers), Buzz (Rebecca Husain), and Jay (Ashleigh Ball) -- travel far from their home in Village Green to sing in The Bug Factor, a prestigious singing competition. While some among them are hesitant to leave home, Walter will let nothing stop him from getting there, and not just for the contest itself. So with him in the lead, his friends hop into action and vow to stick together at all costs. What awaits them is adventure unlike any they've had before, plus new friends to be made along the way.
Is it any good?
The award-winning series adds this delightful movie to its repertoire, replete with fun, adventure, and more modern renditions of Beatles songs. The Beat Bugs learn all over again the value of friendship and sticking together (insert "I Want to Hold Your Hand") as they brave new challenges and learn new things. They also discover that with perseverance and patience, even the darkest times will come to an end, and Yusuf Islam's beautiful rendition of "Here Comes the Sun" is the exclamation point on the story's hopeful message. This unique pairing of classic rock songs with the animated characters continues to impress in this movie.
All Together Now offers insightful content that's in tune with kids' experiences, particularly related to Walter's emotional struggle over an incident from his past. His initial reluctance to confide in his friends, his worry over feelings of guilt, and the relief he feels when he finally makes amends are teachable moments for parents and kids and invite discussions about dealing with difficult emotions. In contrast, the animation has so much fun with the characters' diminutive size in proportion to everyday objects like a kite, a tiara, and the condiment cup and bottle cap that double as boats for the bugs that there's never a shortage of lighthearted laughs.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about dealing with difficult emotions. How does Walter respond in Beat Bugs: All Together Now when he must face the guilt he's hidden for so long? Kids: What is the benefit of confiding in a trusted friend or family member when something weighs on you?
How does facing a new adventure bring both hopeful and worrisome feelings? What can we learn from these feelings? Is there any one "right" way to respond in a situation like this? How do you show that you are compassionate to others' feelings even when they're different from your own?
How does the music in this movie emphasize its themes of friendship and highlight character strengths like teamwork? Do you find that working with others helps you solve problems or complete tasks more effectively than you would on your own? On the other hand, what are the challenges of working with other people?
- Premiere date: November 21, 2017
- Cast: Ashleigh Ball, Charles Demers, Erin Mathews
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Kids Musical TV
- Topics: Adventures, Bugs, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Music and Sing-Along
- Character Strengths: Compassion, Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Available on: Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Seal
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