WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
McKenna Shoots for the Stars by Vince Marcello (Director)
Basic Plot: McKenna is an average ten year old girl, but soon finds that she has some academic problems. Wanting to drown herself in gymnastics, but prevented from doing so, she has to come to terms with having to get a tutor.
Plot: 3/5 Average: The plot had several things in it that taught the moral, though the story was not extremely interesting for everybody. Since the movie is about a yen year old girl, girls in that age group will probably be the ones that enjoy it most. The plot was predictable in some ways, but it was not full blown laziness. In a lot of ways, it could be seen as a chick flick for preteens, minus the romance.
Acting: 4/5 Well Done: The acting was good, as well as the script. Body movements, tones, and facial expressions were realistic and believable. Sometimes the script was a little predictable or the voice acting had small traces of fakeness, but overall it was believable and realistic.
Costumes and Scenery: 4/5 Well Done: The scenery and costumes were both done beautifully. Homes looked like real middle to upper class homes, and schools and businesses were also detailed. Costumes and regular clothing were detailed just enough to be neither overdone nor too plain. Though not pure eye candy, the movie was pleasant to watch.
Moral: 4/5 A Very Good Moral: The main moral of the movie was humility, though it was shown in many different ways. One way was in excepting help, as McKenna must learn to accept that she needs tutoring. Another was in not always putting yourself first, as McKenna learns that she needs to set aside time for others needs and wants. Lastly, McKenna learns the importance of apologizing and admitting she was wrong. All three of these are good examples of humility. When McKenna acts in pride early on in the movie, it immediately results in consequences. This movie not only shows humility is good, but that pride is bad.
Another moral aspect I liked was how the adults were portrayed. The adults were shown as intelligent and helpful. McKenna was occasionally overly dramatic and mouthy, though a lot less so than most movies show children.
Overall: 4/5 Well Done: Though the plot is a little cliché, overall, I recommend this movie for preteen girls when it comes to quality. It many ways it is better than the average movie for children.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Immodest Costumes: The girls wear tight and high gymnastics outfits that reveal the thigh and sometimes even a little more. Some of the outfits are low or short, though only by a few inches, and little cleavage is revealed.
Violence: ½/5 Injuries: A girl breaks her ankle after falling off of a balance beam. Several girls fall during gymnastics routines. It is mentioned that a girl broke her wrist.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 2/5 Light Misuse:“Geez” is said twice. God’s name is taken in vain at least once, though it may have been said twice.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Slightly Emotional Content: Two girls cry once each, though one more so tears up than cries. A girl mentions that she threw up from stress and that she wishes she would get an injury. Some girls talk about feeling sore from using a wheel chair.
Religious Issues: 0/5 None
Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention A girl reads a story that has a “magic looking glass” in it.
Others: Pop music, country pop, and light rock are played throughout the movie. It includes drums. It sometimes has a rebellious spirit. Girls dance for fun and for rhythmic gymnastics, and a girl mentions that she used to dance. A boy plays the drums against a desk. A man air plays a guitar as his family sings, and later they sing a heavy rock song in the credits. Earlier, they also talk mention his “grunge college rock band.” A rock band can be seen playing light rock in the background of a café. “DJ” is mentioned in a song. Girls wear pants.
Overall: 2/5 Child Appropriate: The biggest issues would probably be the clothing and the worldly music. I wouldn’t really recommend it to boys because of this, and for many families it may not work out at all. If someone did watch, I would say that it would be ok for all ages.