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Tales of the Riverbank Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 4+

Clever rodent romp resolves conflict with cartoonish action.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Tales of the Riverbank is a clever, family-friendly British tale of animal adventure and rescue with a soft spot for the underdog, but it resolves its essential conflict through violence, albeit slapstick, cartoonish violence that never feels scary or emotionally intense. The film mimics the blockbuster action of buddy war flicks such as Apocalypse Now -- but its grown-up reference points are likely to fly right over the heads of young children.

  • Families can talk about the environment. The characters in Tales of the Riverbank care a lot about their home environment. What can you do to help keep the rivers and lakes in your city clean?
  • The animals visit the circus in the film. Do you think animals are treated fairly in the circus? What might be a good way to help the animals who are not treated well?
  • With a parent, visit the web to discuss efforts by people or groups to reduce pollution in your neighborhood, town, or city.

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true1

    Educational value: Not specifically educational, but kids will learn a bit about environmentalism, plus some positive messages about friendship and bravery.

  • message true3

    Messages: Tales of the Riverbank reinforces multiple positive themes -- friendship, courage, environmentalism, and the triumph of the underdog, particularly against the forces of capitalism and pollution, but it solves its ultimate conflict through tongue-in-cheek violence in the style of a blockbuster action flick.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: The furry creatures featured throughout the film are largely a friendly and devoted, if squabbling, bunch.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and scariness: The film is full of animals in peril, but always to comic effect, devoid of scariness or emotional intensity. Scenes include dodging falling rock, avoiding crashing vehicles, engaging a band of enemy ferrets with explosives, and guerrilla warfare tactics. In one explicit scene, a ferret is killed by molten marmalade lava; in another, a central character crashes his plane into a lake, but survives.

  • sex false1

    Sexy stuff: A sassy, Southern-drawling damsel-in-distress of a mouse flirts with a rat, and drops a smidge of sexual innuendo when she asks him to show her how much chug he's got. Later, she pulls a Lauren Bacall and asks if her cohorts know how to blow up a hot air balloon? "Just put your lips together and..." A mouse and a rat nuzzle.

  • language false1

    Language: The owl narrator frequently refers to many of the animals in his tale as stupid, but said in a British accent, it almost sounds complimentary. There is the occasional punned curse, such as "that son of a fish."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: No drinking, drugs, or smoking appear, but there is alcohol present in one scene: The furry creatures are shown to an underground "Fun Room" designed as a bar, with mixed drinks on tables and a full bar as part of the setting.