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Movie Approval, Please Read


Our class is one piece away from earning their puzzle party reward! For anyone who does not know, the class collaborates to earn puzzle pieces for positive behavior choices throughout the school year. Once students earn all of the puzzle’s pieces, they work together to complete the puzzle; once the puzzle is complete, we have a class celebration.

This time around, students have elected to have a pajama day and watch a movie. I have asked students for suggestions to make a list of movie options, but before allowing students to vote on what movie to watch I want to check with you all that this list was okay. Please let me know if you feel it is best to remove any of these options, listed below in blue (I included quotes from the “What Parents Should Know” section of Common Sense Media, and have hyperlinked to each movies’ specific page, in case you would like more information). The options are Home, Zootopia, Robin Hood, The Little Prince, Brother Bear, The Water Horse:Legend of the Deep, and Spy Kids.

Students will likely be voting some time Thursday; please let me know prior to that time if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you so much! I will update you when students make a selection and we finalize when we will be having our celebration.

Home: “Parents need to know that Home is based on Adam Rex‘s children’s book The True Meaning of Smekday. This skillfully animated movie creates a believable world in which aliens known as The Boov, running from their enemies, must find a new planet to inhabit … so they take over Earth. Human families get broken up in the forced relocations that follow, and Tip (voiced by Rihanna) is separated from her mother — which could be upsetting for small children. She teams up with Oh (Jim Parsons), the most human-friendly of The Boov, and an adventure ensues. The invaders and their large ships could be a little scary, and at one point it looks as though a main character dies (though that’s not the case). There’s also a little bit of toilet humor, but not much in the way of strong language, inappropriately sexy stuff, or substance use.”

Zootopia: “Parents need to know that Zootopia is a clever, fast-paced animated Disney film set in a world of walking, talking, clothed animals that live peacefully together, having supposedly evolved past nature’s rules of predator versus prey. It’s a story about an eager young cop (Judy Hopps, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin), and her investigation involves chase scenes (one is prolonged and particularly intense) and jump-scare predator attacks, as well as an explosive crash, sneaking around in dark rooms, allusions to mob activity, kidnapping, threatened torture (a crime boss wants to “ice” key characters — i.e. throw them in frozen water to drown), and bullying. No one is seriously hurt, but there are times when it seems that they have been/will be. Expect regular use of insult language like “stupid,” “jerk,” “dumb,” “butt,” etc., humor related to “naturalist” animals who choose not to wear clothes, and some sexy, sparkly ensembles worn by Gazelle, a pop star voiced by Shakira. There are a lot of jokes for adults that will go way over kids’ head (references to The Godfather, the DMV, and Breaking Bad, for instance), but there’s plenty for younger audiences to laugh at, too, and it all comes wrapped in great messages about courage, empathy, tolerance, teamwork, and the dangers of reducing others to stereotypes.”

Robin Hood: “Parents need to know that this video is mostly tame but contains examples of bad behavior, such as greediness, gullibility and, in Robin’s case, stealing. But it’s also a heartwarming tale about having compassion for those who are less fortunate.”

The Little Prince: “Parents need to know that The Little Prince is based on the beloved book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, but it’s not a strictly faithful retelling of the story. Instead, it focuses on a young girl who befriends the old man next door, who’s actually the Aviator from the story. He tells her about how he met the Little Prince many years ago. The animated film takes plenty of liberties, but the basic message is the same as the book’s, and it’s an important one: Take time to enjoy life. That’s an important theme for people of all ages, though The Little Prince has always been a fable that has more resonance for adults than little kids. Plus, the latter part of the movie has some surprisingly dark moments that may be a bit much for younger viewers — for instance, when the Girl is trapped in a factory and threatened by the machinery (part of another character’s plan to shut down her yearning for independence). There are references to/implications of both death and suicide. And the Girl has a complicated relationship with her mother.”

Brother Bear: “Parents need to know that the movie has some tense scenes of peril, and two characters are killed. Some children may be disturbed by the way that those characters return as spirits, but some may be reassured that love never dies. There is a little potty humor. The movie’s multicultural range of voices and setting in prehistoric Inuit culture add a lot to the movie’s texture.”

The Water Horse:Legend of the Deep: “Parents need to know that aside from the Water Horse eating a swan, there is little to be concerned about here.”

Spy Kids: Parents need to know that Spy Kids is an action-packed adventure that includes a little bit of potty humor (which most kids will find hilarious) and one almost-swear word. Younger children might be scared by the mutant creatures, but most will find them more silly than frightening. Characters are frequently in peril (though it’s usually played for laughs), and there’s a certain amount of head-bonking violence. But no one even gets a scratch, except for one villain, whose encounter with flames leaves her having a very bad hair day.