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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wizards: Tales of Arcadia is the third installment in Guillermo del Toro's CGI-animated Arcadia saga introduced in Trollhunters and continued in 3Below. This story brings forth a newish hero in a wizard named Douxie, who has played a minor role in the previous series. This exceptionally written and animated story is meant to be watched in sequence, so coming in to the plot where Wizards begins rather than after the first two shows is a recipe for frustration. Fast-paced and intense action sequences are integral to the storyline, and characters are shown hurting and being hurt by clubs and other weapons as well as by magic. There's some mild language, like "buttsnack" and "darn," as well as pseudo-cursing like "ship just got real." This intricate story with multidimensional characters, changing loyalties, and time travel will be over young kids' heads, but it's a joy for tweens, teens, and adults who have watched the story unfold through the two previous series.
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What's the story?
WIZARDS: TALES OF ARCADIA opens as Merlin's (voiced by David Bradley) assistant, Douxie (Colin O'Donoghue), is champing at the bit to practice magic in 12th century Camelot, but to no avail. Instead, Merlin issues stern but vague instructions for Douxie to "master life" before expecting magic to be a reliable tool for him. Fast-forward several millennia to modern day, and Douxie is working at a coffee shop in Arcadia, flanked by his feline familiar, Archie (Alfred Molina). When Merlin reaches out to him for help, Douxie gathers what forces he can before getting swept up in a time-traveling adventure that takes him back to Camelot, places him alongside long-standing Arcadia allies, and drops him into the raging conflict involving the magical and human worlds.
Is it any good?
Guillermo del Toro's acclaimed Arcadia trilogy continues to unfold in this fast-paced third installment that brings Douxie front and center. Like the two series before it, Wizards is a visual treat, and the masterful storytelling follows suit. As the Arcadia saga builds, the epic struggle between good and evil -- and the tenuous definition of each -- unfolds in the characters' loyalties and actions.
This sharply written story's complexities and its sometimes perilous action make it a heady watch and better suited for tweens and teens than for youngsters. Fans of the franchise can settle in for an engrossing continuation of the tale, but those who are new to it definitely won't want to jump in feet first with Wizards. This isn't a series that divulges much of its prequels' secrets, so you'll feel lost from the start and even more so as the story jumps millennia and drops in new (but familiar to those in the know) characters. Better to start from the beginning to fully appreciate all that del Toro's masterful work has to offer.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Douxie finds the courage to step up into a leadership role. Given how long Wizards: Tales of Arcadia suggests he's had to wait for his chance, does he make good use of it? What character strengths does he bring to the position?
Is Douxie's story that of a hero? If so, is it a role he relishes? What defines a hero in today's real world?
Why is the idea of there being magic in the world so, well, magical? Have you ever experienced something you couldn't explain that set your imagination running wild about magic? What other fantasy stories do you enjoy?
- Premiere date: August 7, 2020
- Cast: Colin O'Donoghue, David Bradley, Emile Hirsch
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Book Characters, Great Boy Role Models, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Character strengths: Courage
- TV rating: TV-Y7
- Available on: Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: October 23, 2020
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