Archives for November 2, 2021

Star Trek: Prodigy * An Enthralling And Unique Offering From A Franchise That Doesn’t Normally Cater To Kids

In 2383, five years after the USS Voyager returned to Earth, a motley crew of young aliens in the Delta Quadrant find an abandoned Starfleet ship, the USS Protostar. Taking control of the ship, they must learn to work together as they make their way towards the Alpha Quadrant. The series uses computer animation, differing from previous Star Trek animation. The series is intended for younger audiences than the rest of the franchise. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “An enthralling and unique offering from a franchise that doesn’t normally cater to a kid-specific audience, Star Trek: Prodigy is an action-packed CGI-animated series that kids will love!” See his full review below.

Star Trek: Prodigy

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

An enthralling and unique offering from a franchise that doesn’t normally cater to a kid-specific audience, Star Trek: Prodigy is an action-packed CGI-animated series that kids will love!

Star Trek: Prodigy follows a crew of six young aliens, all of whom are outcasts, tasked with navigating the galaxy searching for a better future. These six young outcasts know nothing about the ship they have commandeered – a first in the history of the Star Trek franchise and an element that certainly keeps the show approachable for newbies. It’s an entertaining and novel concept, and the sense of wonder the characters feel is contagious.

My favorite character has to be Dal (Brett Gray). He’s instantly likeable, seems to be up for any challenge, and has one heck of a personality! It’s characters like Dal who make this series the perfect way for Star Trek to introduce the franchise to younger audiences. Showrunners Dan and Kevin Hageman and director Ben Hibon evidently worked hard on the plot and overall look of the show. They came up with a whole new cast of protagonists and animation language, which I find perfectly fitting for the show’s intergalactic theme. The soft purples, oranges, yellows and blues work in tandem to produce a wonderful backdrop for the saga of the young misfits, played by Ella Purnell, Jason Mantzoukas, Brett Gray and Rylee Alazraqui. Kate Mulgrew’s reprisal of her role as Captain Kathryn Janeway is also especially exciting, and Mulgrew manages to phenomenally hit every beat.

Star Trek: Prodigy promotes teamwork, kindness and the idea of working hard to achieve your greater goals and dreams.  As Engadget puts it, “part of the franchise’s ethos is exploration,” and discovery is certainly a major theme in this show.

I give Star Trek: Prodigy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids age 8 to 18, plus adults. Star Trek: Prodigy premieres October 28, 2021 on the streaming service Paramount+ with its first 10-episode season. Go check it out!

Ron’s Gone Wrong * Challenges Of Being A Middle Schooler, Including Wanting To Fit In, Are Universal

Twentieth Century Studios and Locksmith Animation’s “Ron’s Gone Wrong” is the story of Barney, a socially awkward middle-schooler and Ron, his new walking, talking, digitally-connected device, which is supposed to be his ‘Best Friend out of the Box.’ Ron’s hilarious malfunctions set against the backdrop of the social media age launch them into an action-packed journey in which boy and robot come to terms with the wonderful messiness of true friendship.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Samantha B. comments, “Ron’s Gone Wrong is an outstanding animated film, written by Peter Baynham and Sarah Smith. It really connects with its audience through funny jokes and loveable characters, while also delivering the important message that no matter how kids present themselves, especially in middle school, they all are experiencing similar challenges and feelings.” See her full review below.

Ron’s Gone Wrong

Samantha B., Kids First! Film Critic, Age 11

Ron’s Gone Wrong is an outstanding animated film, written by Peter Baynham and Sarah Smith. It really connects with its audience through funny jokes and loveable characters, while also delivering the important message that no matter how kids present themselves, especially in middle school, they all are experiencing similar challenges and feelings. This message is very important, especially for young kids and teens to hear, and Ron’s Gone Wrong brings this theme to light.

The storyline follows a socially awkward middle schooler named Barney (Jack Dylan Grazer), who is ostracized because he does not own the hottest new piece of tech — a B-bot, or a digitally connected “Best Friend Out of the Box.”  That changes when his grandmother and father surprise him for his birthday with his very own B-bot, although this B-bot is a bit different than what he expected.

The film is critical of social media replacing friendships in real life and the potential of tech companies to violate people’s privacy. One of the characters has an embarrassing image of her go viral through her B-bot, resulting in her feeling embarrassed and being unable to take it down. Ron’s Gone Wrong has a very talented, all-star cast. Jack Dylan Grazer’s portrayal of Barney makes him believable and relatable as a middle school outcast. Another hilarious cast member is Zach Galifianakis, who voices the defective B-bot, Ron. He cracks me up and makes this movie so funny. Director Octavio Rodriguez creates a vibrant, colorful animation style that brings these characters to life – especially the B-bots, but also the goat and chicken that belong to Barney’s grandmother who is from “the old country.”

The primary message is that the challenges of being a middle schooler, including wanting to fit in and make friends, are universal. There is also a critical message about the danger of too much technology and its impact on kids and the world.  Parents should know there is some animated violence when Ron goes after Barney’s bullies, but overall, the film is very positive.

I give Ron’s Gone Wrong 5 out 5 stars and I highly recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults.  I love this movie and believe you will too. You can watch Ron’s Gone Wrong in theaters October 22, 2021.

Secret Agent Dingledorf And His Trusty Dog Splat * Relatable Message, Interesting Storyline, Shows The Importance Of Teamwork

Using quirky inventions from a spy backpack, young Bernie Dingledorf, his dog, and two best friends, are the only ones who can save the world by facing bullies, thwarting circus clowns and destroying Dr. Chuckles evil laugh generator. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Giana N. comments, “Secret Agent Dingledorf and His Trusty Dog Splat is a film that has a relatable message, an interesting storyline, and shows the importance of teamwork. There are some familiar faces in this film, making it one to watch.” See her full review below.

Secret Agent Dingledorf and His Trusty Dog Splat

By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

Secret Agent Dingledorf and His Trusty Dog Splat is a film that has a relatable message, an interesting storyline, and shows the importance of teamwork. There are some familiar faces in this film, making it one to watch.

The story follows a 10-year-old boy named Bernie Dingledorf (Zackary Arthur) who is living a normal life, until he and his friends eat a Gooey Chewy Bar. This makes the friends immune to the Laugh Generator, which is being used by Dr. Chuckles, a clown who is trying to take over the world through uncontrollable laughter. When a secret spy agency called T.W.I.T. forces Bernie and his friends to come together to save the world from Dr. Chuckles, it is up to them to step up to the plate.

The acting in this film is not great, but it’s acceptable. The sets are very colorful and creative. At some points you can tell they are using a green screen such as when we see the T.W.I.T. agency behind the characters – the setting looks like it has been edited. My favorite aspect is the storyline, which is entertaining and fun. Throughout the movie we see Berinie and his friends go on an adventure to figure out how to stop the clowns from creating world-wide havoc, which can be a fun, exciting, adventure for the audience.  My favorite character is IQ (Cooper J. Friedman) because he’s really funny. Although IQ is small, he is a big help in stopping the clowns. The others think that just because he is small, he doesn’t know much and is small-brained. But, I like the fact that he is really just as smart as the others.

The message of this film is that it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, God doesn’t make junk. This film is completely family friendly.

I rate Secret Agent Dingledorf and His Trusty Dog Splat 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 8. You can find this film on VOD starting October 23, 2021. Be sure to check it out.

Grayson, Nov. 4th Pet of the Week!

Grayson would prefer his tennis ball to just about anything except for a loving, forever home. Grayson’s a Lab mix with a beautiful gray coat and luminous brown eyes. His ideal adopter or foster would have experience with large-breed dogs and be able to keep up with his active self. Grayson’s very smart—he already knows several commands and is always down for a walk! He’s curious about other dogs but is easily distracted by a toy. In all, he’s a wonderful dog, but he’s been lingering at our shelter for eight months. He’s begun to lose weight because of the stress of being in a kennel for so long, with only periods of play with devoted volunteers. If you want the ideal big guy, please come meet Grayson! You can foster him, too! Adoptions are now conducted through appointment only, so call 562-570-PETS or email PetAdopt@longbeach.gov to meet Grayson. Ask for ID#A655196.

(This rescue was encouraged by the usual suspects.)