Velveteen Rabbit (2009)

Rated: G
Length: 88 minutes
Grade: CAB+C=C+
Budget: $? million
Box Office: Released directly to DVD

Written by: Margery Williams (Book)
Directed by: Michael Landon, Jr. (Saving Sarah Cain, The Last Sin Eater)
Starring: Matthew Harbour, Kevin Jubinville, Una Kay, and the voices of Jane Seymour, Tom Skerrit, and Ellen Burstyn.

A business-minded London man sends his son to his grandmother’s house for Christmas. While there, he discovers an attic with magical animals that spark his imagination and restore his family’s relationships.

Entertainment Value: C
This half-live action, half-animated film is moderately entertaining. It’s simple, and generally fine for younger kids. My boys were into it.

Superficial Content: A
Drugs/Alcohol A, Sex/Nudity A, Violence A, Language A, Illegality A
Michael Landon, Jr., rated G. What more do you want. There is one moment of slight peril in a cartoon scene with a fire and a boy has a really bad fever.

Significant Content: B+
Being loved makes us real, and loving makes us the most real. Everything that becomes real is first imagined. The heart is a great source of truth. Never let pragmatic concerns take away the fun of using your imagination. Toys help children process and deal with reality better.

Artistic/Thought Value: C
I liked the blended presentation concept, although I thought the animation was pretty weak (like Saturday morning stuff).

Discussion Questions:
~In the Bible, Paul talks about speaking as a child and playing as a child but then putting away childish things when he grew up. But Jesus teaches that we must become as children to enter the kingdom of God. In what ways is it good to be childlike and in what ways is it a bad thing?
~If it’s generally true that adults lose their flamboyance and imagination as they grow up, what causes this? Is a fertile imagination something we should nurture and protect? Which sort of person is more receptive to the Gospel: the imaginative or the pragmatic? Is a vivid imagination a help or a hindrance to accepting and serving God?
~How do grown-ups react when they are reminded of their youthful games and toys?
~Why are imaginary friends and giving toys personalities important elements of a healthy imagination? Can a child ever be too imaginative and not practical enough?
~What’s the difference between toys helping kids handle reality better and letting them escape from it? How is this distinction applicable to things like novels and movies?
Overall Grade: C+
This is probably one of those instances where the book is better off as a book rather than a movie, but if you want something safe for your kids to watch, here you go.

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