C J 7

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +2

Content: +2

A Chinese film with subtitles.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A poor man lives in a walk-in closet-sized home with his little son. He desperately tries to provide for his child, sacrificing his own wants to provide the boy with a good education. His little one is smart, but picked on at the exclusive school by snobbish rich kids. But out of the sky comes a spaceship, leaving behind a computer-generated creature the boy thinks is a toy. An amazing genie-like toy that can do all his commands. As they forge their friendship, trouble looms. Each time CJ 7 magically handles the kids request, he loses a little of his, ahmm, heartlight. And when the beloved father is killed on the job, C J 7 makes the ultimate sacrifice to bring the man back to life.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Well, this one has to be a publicists nightmare. Its a foreign film with subtitles aimed at kids. To top that, it has not one, but two traumatizing incidents a beloved father is killed on the job, leaving the child parentless, and then his little E.T. buddy dies while magically bringing the father back to life. It has a lot of sadness, and a lot of injustice before the happy ending. What it doesnt have is the charm of, say, that other boy and his extraterrestrial movie. You know, the one by that Spielberg guy.

Usually, its American filmmakers ripping off the Chinese. Heres a little payback. The filmmaker attempts sensitive drama at times, while at others, mixing in CG anime action, making it a comic sci-fi kids actioneer. The filmmaking is less than the subtle, the humor forced, and the dramatic highlights unnerving for what I assume is the intended audience kids.

DVD Alternatives: For mature audiences, Together. This Chinese film from 2002 concerns a widowed father who sacrifices everything in order to support his teenage sons gifted musical abilities. The son cant see the sacrifices made on his behalf until the end. Beautifully filmed in the Forbidden City of China, full of humor, drama and insight, Together is a powerful morality tale with an ending that moved me to tears. This film reminded me of 1 Timothy 5:8, If anyone does not provide for his relatives, he has denied the faith.

For children, The Iron Giant. Animated kids adventure about an imaginative little boy who befriends a giant robot who doesn't seem to know how he came to be (something we never learn, although it appears in the beginning that he came from space). Highly entertaining, with humor aimed both at kids and adults. Set in the '50s, it's a little hard on the military and government secret agencies, but it also deals with spiritual issues, stating, "Souls don't die, they go on forever." Suggesting both filmmatic and thematic ideas from The Day The Earth Stood Still and King Kong, The Iron Giant is smart, funny, and exciting. However, parents should view with little ones, both to reassure and to explain certain messages.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Sony Pictures Classics

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None, but there area a couple of poop jokes.

Obscene Language: Three or four obscenities, mostly from the child the word for B S.

Profanity: Oh my God is uttered once.

Violence: The boy gets mad at the creature and treats it badly, others try to open it up, not realizing that it is a living being from space; bullies taunt the boy at school; he gets into a fight and is thrown around by a huge kid; there area a couple of karate battles, played for laughs; the father works in construction, on top of an uncompleted high rise; an accident occurs and he falls to his death its an unnerving scene; C J 7 becomes weaker after every magical showing of his love for the boy; he dies at one point, but comes back at the end of the film. Blood: A bloodied nose; we see the fathers dead body at the morgue.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time: 86 minutes
Intended Audience: Is a puzzlement

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.