Motorcity

 
(i)

 

Action toon offers thought-provoking content for tweens.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Positive social themes are evident throughout the story as teens band together to stand up for their beliefs. Throughout their efforts, they're forced to work as a team, listening to each other's ideas and using problem-solving skills to create their plan of attack. The villain is a wealthy man, but it's his actions, rather than his wealth, that make people dislike him.

Positive role models

The teens forego comfort and personal safety to stand up for what they believe in, and they never cower under the influence of their nemesis. They're faced with daunting challenges in their rebellion, but they overcome each one using teamwork and creative problem-solving skills. That said, they're teens who operate mostly without supervision, and some of them fall victim to impulsiveness, egotism, and an unwillingness to compromise.

Violence

Teens are in near-constant peril, narrowly escaping cave-ins, floods, explosions, and robots aiming to kill. Laser blasts incinerate buildings and everything else in their path, and there are some physical exchanges. The villain talks about "eliminating" the rebels, and it's presumed that there are deaths in the battles, but no killing is shown.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

No cursing, but marginal stuff like "kick butt," as well as name-calling like "dimwit," "scum," and "stupid."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Motorcity is too dark and intense for young kids, but for tweens, it's a rare find: an action-adventure cartoon that illustrates underlying social messages promoting awareness and activism. The heroes are teens drawn together by their mutual determination to overthrow the controlling, self-appointed city leader who's taken away the residents' freedom, so it's a great jumping-off point for talking about everything from politics to current events and issues. Because this series is intended for a slightly older audience, name-calling ("stupid," "scum," "dimwit") and violence (teens in peril, laser blasts that take down buildings, etc.) are routine -- but so are examples of positive problem-solving and critical thinking.

What's the story?

MOTORCITY is set in the distant future in what used to be Detroit but is now the personal possession of billionaire Abraham Kane (voiced by Mark Hamill). "Detroit Deluxe," as it's now known, is an orderly, high-tech metropolis that runs like a well-oiled machine, thanks to Kane's tyrannical oversight and his elimination of most of the citizens' personal freedoms. But one small group of rebels led by fearless Mike Chilton (Reid Scott) and his buddy Chuck (Nate Torrence) bands together in a subterranean bunker that used to house parts of the original city to plot an uprising and take back their home -- and their freedom -- from Kane's iron grasp.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This action-packed cartoon is a rarity among its peers -- a political science lesson masquerading as entertainment, a commentary on government and social activism that's not a documentary or a satire. In a tween market that's overflowing with superheroes and the supernatural, Motorcity is something of an anomaly, and that's just the hook it might need to reel in this sought-after set of viewers. Once there, tweens will find a diverse and mostly appealing team of heroes drawn together by their common disdain for an autocratic establishment and their unwillingness to accept a system they don't believe in.

If all that sounds a little heady for tweens, you're not wrong. Granted, it's possible to watch Motorcity on a more superficial level, not looking beyond the high-octane car chases to analyze the power struggle that instigates them. But to do so is to miss out on Motorcity's most positive messages about social responsibility, self-expression, and personal empowerment. What's more, without relating these themes to the content, the show feels more like a one-dimensional fantasy ride than a story with any value. Bottom line? Content-wise, this show is passable for younger tweens, but it's much better suited for older ones who -- with parents' help -- can start to relate its themes to real-world issues.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Motorcity's messages. Do you think it intends to encourage critical thinking about government structures or social issues? How does it relate to current events?

  • Tweens: Do you think this is a realistic concept? Does entertainment always need to have a dose of reality to be worthwhile? What does this story have to say about heroism and the definition of a hero?

  • How does a show's style affect how it's received by viewers? Would this story be better served by a live-action format? How might that change its intended audience and the nature of its violence?

This review of Motorcity was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byBlue-Bunny May 9, 2012
 

Great new series! :D

The pilot episode was just fantastic and the animation was brilliant, especially considering this was done in Flash. The action and story lines are fast-paced and just full of excellent action with great characters and a menacing villain. The first episode draws you into the story immediately and just goes forward from there. It looks like 2012 is bringing in some excellent cartoons.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byGabiey October 20, 2012
 

Motorcity, Detroit whatever its all great

This show send a good message my age older or younger. It show good leadership and friendship. The main character Mike Chilton, who has a troubled past and a history with the tyrant leader of a futuristic version of Detroit, shows good leardership and cleverness. This show also gives a good sense of comedy and a good message. The message is to stand up for what you believe in. I absolutely adore this show in all of its greatness and would recommed it to everyone.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bysilent1 February 26, 2015
 

Greatest

I saw this series when it first came on air. It had very nice animation and cool graphics. I saw every episode except for the last one since it was sadly canceled for no reason. it had great morals and a great creator, Chris, who developed also MEGAS XLR. It was sad to see it die.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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