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Four Kids and It Movie Review - Sweet Family Fantasy Film

A cute, magical tale focuses on building a combined family.

Reviewed by on Jun 29, 2020
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld reviews Four Kids and It. The family fantasy puts kids from two broken families together as their parents form a new couple. Add a magical wish-granting creature to make life interesting.

In Four Kids and It, new couple Alice and David take their less than enthusiastic kids on a family vacation at a Cornwall cottage to meet one another for the first time. The holiday takes an unexpected turn when the kids discover a magical Psammead, a sand-dwelling creature with the power to grant wishes, on a hidden beach. Enter local oddball Tristan Trent who wants to capture the Psammead for his own gain. The adventure brings the new siblings together and teaches them to accept their parents’ new-found happiness.

Four Kids and It Movie Trailer

 

 

Broken Families

In England, 13-year-old Ros (Teddie Malleson-Allen) visits a bookstore and finds the novel “Four Children and It”. The owner explains that it’s about a magical creature who grants wishes. Thinking it’s a bit young, Ros takes it anyway when the owner offers it for free. Ros’s dad David (Matthew Goode) picks her up and insists she hurry to pack for their seaside vacation. Meanwhile tomboy Smash (Ashley Aufderheide) is busy hanging with thugs and throwing rocks through windows. Her mom Alice (Paula Patton) grabs her, scolds her and tells her to get ready for their vacation. Smash had rather move in with her dad who now lives in the Seychelles islands.

Ros finds the original novelRos finds the original novelCourtesy of Lionsgate

At the Seashore

When both families, including Alice’s younger daughter Maudie (Ellie-Mae Siame) and David’s young son Robbie (Billy Jenkins) arrive at a rented beachside cottage, the siblings are all upset that David and Alice are now a “thing” and wanted the kids to meet. The girls fight over having to stay in the same room and the younger kids just seem upset. Next day, at a beach picnic, the two families meet local mansion owner Tristan Trent (Russell Brand) who is super strange and takes a photo of Ros.

The kids aren't thrilled with David and Alice's relationshipThe kids aren't thrilled with David and Alice's relationshipCourtesy of Lionsgate

Teasing and Trouble

After teasing Robbie by stealing his game, Smash falls through a hole and ends up in a tunnel. The other kids follow and they all emerge on an isolated beach where shoes and backpacks, etc. are literally pulled under the sand by…something! Finally, the kids pull back and up pops a strange-looking creature. They learn he is called a Psammead and he can grant one wish a day but, eventually find out that it will expire by sundown when Robbie, who had wished to be able to easily scale the cliffs above them, almost falls as the sun goes down. Smash tries to phone her dad with no luck as Ros watches an old video of her absent mother who left the family to “find herself”.

Robbie with ItRobbie with ItCourtesy of Lionsgate

More Wishes

The next morning, Smash sneaks to the beach alone, makes a secret wish and can’t be found. Later, a helicopter arrives on the beach, picks up the remaining kids and takes them to a huge pop star concert. Smash has wished to be a very popular singer. At her concert, the kids start having fun but poof! At sunset it all disappears and Smash is shattered. She was right in the middle of a song. Now the kids are without the magical helicopter and stuck in the city. At the cottage David and Alice have been looking for them. The kids sneak onto a train and call the parents who meet them at a station.

Smash gets her popstar wish!Smash gets her popstar wish!Courtesy of Lionsgate

Next Day

Ros and Smash argue when Smash tries to ask the Psammead to grant an extension to her wish. They are at odds when the family goes to Trent’s mansion at his invitation. While giving the kids a tour, he sneaks a tracking device onto the bottom of Ros’s shoe. Little Maudie wishes all the kids weightless and they float around. When Smash gets a text that her dad has no room for her, she freaks, starts flying dangerously and is saved by Ros. That night, Ros and Smash decide to wish for an App that will make their original parents fall back in love. Things will be as they were. But how do they make the wish permanent?

Trent shows the kids around his mansionTrent shows the kids around his mansionCourtesy of Lionsgate

Trip to the Past

Wishing to go back to meet the original kids who first found the creature only results in Ros tipping off Trent’s ancestor about the Psammead. He becomes obsessed with catching it and this “quest” has been passed down to the present-day Trent. It’s all her fault that he is now after the wish-granting creature. When the kids get home, Trent has followed Ros’s tracker and is digging up the secret beach with a steam shovel looking for the creature. The kids grab him, run home and hide him until they can re-home him. David and Alice become closer to the whole group of kids. When the family is at another beach, Trent grabs the creature out of their home.

The kids try to protect ItThe kids try to protect ItCourtesy of Lionsgate

Rescue and the Future

Can the kids rescue the Psammead? Will they ever be a combined family or will Ros make her wish that her original parents fall back in love thus keeping David and Alice from staying together?

Wrapping Up

Adapted from Jacqueline Wilson’s bestselling children’s 2012 novel “Four Children and It”, Four Kids and It overall is an entertaining film with a great heart. You might be able to identify with teens and kids who suddenly have to form one family when their parents decide to get married. Even if you can’t, you can probably get behind two teen girls slowly bonding or younger kids who become totally attached to a furry creature who grants wishes.

Will everyone be a happy combined family?Will everyone be a happy combined family?Courtesy of Lionsgate

The story falls apart a bit in the middle with kids going back in time for no great reason to visit children who evidently first discovered the creature and both sets of kids go wild, levitating and using super powers. The only point to the whole section of the film is so that Ros can reveal the creature to Trent’s ancestor thus launching a creature-capturing obsession that is passed down to the present Trent.

Trent gets his wish for gold!Trent gets his wish for gold!Courtesy of Lionsgate

Acting is very decent but Sir Michael Caine stands out as the voice of the Psammead giving us just the right mix of cranky, sweet and eccentric. Creature design is pleasing as he looks kind of like a dirty, furry E.T. combined with a strange bunny. Wacky Russell Brand probably ad-libbed some of his better lines as Trent and that’s fine. He’s a cliché villain but with a mostly entertaining result.

Smash's big concert wishSmash's big concert wishCourtesy of Lionsgate

With limited new fodder for the streaming site engines, Four Kids and It qualifies as a very watchable though flawed entry for an enjoyable evening. We award 3 stars.

Four Kids and It Movie Rating: 3

Four Kids and It Movie PosterCourtesy of Lionsgate
 

Four Kids and It is now available on Digital, Blu-ray, DVD, & On Demand!

Do You Believe in Magical Creatures?

Leave a comment below and/or blog about it on your Kidzworld profile page. Do you enjoy stories that include magical or other-worldly creatures? Do you wish one would grant you some wishes? If so, what would you wish for?