All kinds of films come across our desks here at the Film Threat “offices.” Yes, we’ll review anything. We try to be open to all genres, as, quite frankly, we’re just a bunch of crazy film nerds. All this to say that as I review The Bully Caterpillar, I’m a full-grown adult well past the half-century mark, and it may be just outside my or anyone else’s wheelhouse.
Let’s start by setting expectations. Dr. Jay Carter and Joanna Cassidy’s The Bully Caterpillar is an animated feature for little children; I would guess eight and younger. The animation is not exactly top-notch but may still appeal to the younger set. The story is full of lessons perfect for children heading off to school for the first time as they begin to make new, and hopefully, lifelong friends.
“…he will indefinitely put off advancing to the next stage of life and postpone becoming a butterfly…”
Harold (Craig Miles) is the titular caterpillar in our story. He’s decided that he will indefinitely put off advancing to the next stage of life and postpone becoming a butterfly, which is against the caterpillar bylaws. Harold is quite happy, never maturing, and finds bullying the other caterpillars is the perfect way to occupy his time. Word of Harold’s rule violations reaches the great Monarch Butterfly Council in Mexico City. Fearing the worst for Harold, the wise butterfly matriarch (Laurie Jean Britton) heads to Philadelphia to teach a lesson or two to Harold.
We’re only at the first act at this point, and there are more lessons for Harold and friends to learn, including Harold renouncing his bullying ways and prove himself worthy to others. There are also lessons about love, loyalty, and forgiveness. The Bully Caterpiller‘s overarching theme is that there is a butterfly in all of us just waiting to burst out.
So, is The Bully Caterpillar any good? Let me attempt to get inside the head of a small child (that didn’t sound weird). I could honestly see them liking the story. There’s fun music, crazy characters, an easy-to-understand tale to follow and challenge young minds at the same time. It may just make a great 90-minute babysitter for the toddler.
"…there's fun music, crazy characters, an easy-to-understand tale to follow and challenge young minds..."