Calling all Moshi Monsters fans! Before you head out to the cinema, check out our Moshi Monsters movie review, official film trailer plus interviews from UK preview of this fun kids movie.
If you’ve been living under a rock and have never heard of it, Moshi Monsters is a free educational game played by over 70 million children – in fact, one in two children in the UK have adopted a pet Moshi Monster. The idea was to create a safe environment where children could indulge their creative, nurturing and social side while broadening their knowledge. Having adopted a monster, a child can earn points (called Rox) and spend them on decorations and accessories for their monster, and can even earn pets (moshlings) for their pets. They can share stories with their friends through a safe and closely monitored social network designed for young children, and progress through the game’s virtual world over the years in little 10 minute sessions.
For parents, the real beauty of the game is that in order to earn ‘Rox’ the children successfully solve puzzles and complete challenges designed to build their vocabulary, spatial skills, arithmetic, non-verbal reasoning and world knowledge – such as recognising which map goes with which country.
I’ve long been a fan of ‘education by stealth’ game for kids, so Moshi Monsters is up there as one of the few games I’d recommend for young children. I was looking forward to seeing how Poppet, Katsuma, Furi and their friends would be brought to life on the big screen…
The story begins with the discovery of a very rare Moshling egg, which in the wrong hands would spell disaster. The evil Dr Strangeglove steals the egg and demands a ransom. Our favourite Moshi Monsters (plus Poppet’s cute little moshling, Snoodle) haven’t quite heard the ‘we don’t negotiate with terrorists’ line, so they set out on an adventure to collect all of the items he’s demanded.
The script is fairly straightforward – as my 6 year old says, it’s the ‘problem-solution’ structure she’s been learning about at school. For parents, that means that it doesn’t have the same depth or emotional pull as some of the other animations you’ll be enjoying this winter. For young children, though, it’s perfect. Because the script is straightforward, and the language isn’t nuanced or peppered with too many in-jokes for the adults, the kids really got it.
Similarly the animation is exactly what you want for young children – the Moshi Monsters world looks just as it does in the game, and the children love that it feels familiar. We also loved how the baddies felt more like classic children’s TV characters from Inspector Gadget or Count Duckula – they are animated in an exaggerated style that makes it obvious they’re up to no good, but without leaving the kids with nightmares.
The kids thought Katsuma was really cool, but our favourite character by far was Zommer, a zombie rocker of a Moshi Monster. He’s hilarious (even by the mums’ and dads’ standards), and being a zombie he gets away with all the gross stuff that really tickles the children’s sense of humour.
Overall, it’s definitely one for the younger kids, say preschool up to about Year 3 – they will love it, and at the preview they were all shouting about it being a 10 out of 10. Over age 8 they will want something with more depth, but for our 5 and 6 year old it was perfect, and they’re looking forward to seeing it again. Here they are in a Fun Kids Live interview – my little ‘Danger Boy’ is the blondie in the Batman top grinning wildly and exlaiming ‘Brrrriliant’ into the mike.
Moshi Monsters: The Movie is in cinemas December 20th 2013. For more info and to meet the characters, visit http://www.moshimovie.com/
Sincere thanks to the Mind Candy team for inviting me to the event, for plying me with cups of tea, and for keeping the kids entertained with magicians, caricature artists and face painters. There was a great vibe, and the children were just buzzing with excitement. They were of course thrilled to meet Poppet and Katsuma, and looked at me in awe when Mr Moshi himself (Michael Acton Smith) swooped over and kissed me on the cheek, exclaiming “Lovely to see you again, I’m so glad you could make it!” Thanks, Mr Moshi, you’ve made me a superstar in my own home.