Riverdance: The Animated Adventure parents guide

Riverdance: The Animated Adventure Parent Guide

The movie's animation is subpar, making it difficult for audiences to enjoy the movie's dance sequences.

Overall B

Netflix: A young Irish boy and Spanish girl enter a magical realm where they learn the life-giving power of dance.

Release date January 14, 2022

Violence B
Sexual Content A
Profanity A-
Substance Use A

Why is Riverdance: The Animated Adventure rated TV-G? The MPAA rated Riverdance: The Animated Adventure TV-G

Run Time: 90 minutes

Parent Movie Review

In Ireland, young Keegan (Sam Hardy) is the grandson of the lighthouse keeper (Pierce Brosnan), who claims that his lighthouse is the only thing keeping the world safe from the Huntsman (Brendan Gleeson). Were the Huntsman to make it to shore, he would bring darkness and destruction. But when tragedy strikes, Keegan enters a magical land, where he discovers the true nature of Riverdance and learns to face the darkness.

You know how 10-year-olds often acquire really obscure obsessions? Well, mine was Riverdance. I was a Riverdance fanatic for years, and still listen to the music on a regular basis. I have a soft spot in my heart for Bill Whelan’s songs and know many of them by heart. So, it seems like this movie was tailor made for me. The score incorporates original compositions with many of Whelan’s songs, which I found lovely because of my deep familiarity, but I imagine most viewers won’t recognize them. Also unlikely to inspire viewers are the dance sequences. Irish dance, although exciting in person, is quite possibly the worst type of dance to put to film. The beauty of it lies in its percussive footwork, not in large movements, which are more cinematic. And, unfortunately, this film’s cheap animation simply isn’t up to the task of capturing the subtleties of the footwork, which makes for some very boring dance sequences.

Outside of the music, which I loved, this animated adventure is nothing special. The pacing is jarringly weird. The villain is only in the story for about 10 minutes total, and he is defeated with hardly any effort. There is only about an hour’s worth of story here, so directors Dave Rosenbaum and Eamonn Butler have added some extended sequences and unrelated side plots to pad the runtime. Even so, the climax of the movie happens a full 30 minutes before the actual conclusion. I know I sat there for 93 minutes, but I honestly couldn’t tell you how that time was filled. There are also some extremely annoying side characters and a few juvenile fart jokes, which didn’t exactly endear the film to me.

That all said, I didn’t hate my viewing experience. Buried inside the film is some genuine charm and Irish magic, though perhaps only the Riverdance-obsessed like myself will see it. There’s hardly any negative content to speak of, which makes this safe for pretty much all ages, but I imagine only very young audiences will enjoy themselves. My 5-year-old thought the movie was funny and he seemed to have a good time, so I’d say this is a good “turn it on so you can have a moment to empty the dishwasher and check Instagram” choice for parents. It might not be brimming with enchantment, but at least it’s useful.

Directed by Eamonn Butler, Dave Rosenbaum. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Brendan Gleeson, Lilly Singh. Running time: 90 minutes. Theatrical release January 14, 2022. Updated

Watch the trailer for Riverdance: The Animated Adventure

Riverdance: The Animated Adventure
Rating & Content Info

Why is Riverdance: The Animated Adventure rated TV-G? Riverdance: The Animated Adventure is rated TV-G by the MPAA

Violence: There are scenes of peril. Characters fall from considerable heights. A hunter is seen carrying a gun. He shoots the antlers off one deer and kills another, though the death is not shown, only the sound is heard. A boy is knocked unconscious. Sexual Content: None. Profanity: The film contains one mild insult and four terms of deity. Alcohol / Drug Use: None.

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Riverdance: The Animated Adventure Parents' Guide

Why does Keegan not want to turn on the lighthouse? What changes his mind?

For a glimpse of Irish dancing, you can watch these clips:

YouTube: Riverdance at the Eurovision Song Contest

YouTube: Innova Irish Dance Company are the belles of Britain’s Got Talent

YouTube: A Brief History of Irish Step Dancing

Loved this movie? Try these books…

If your child is fascinated by fairy stories and wants some Irish tales, there are plenty of books out there that fit the bill. Fiona’s Luck by Teresa Bateman is the story of a clever girl who outsmarts the Leprechaun King. In O’Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbott, Kate gets the best of a witch. A young lad is the hero of The Irish Cinderlad by Shirley Climo, rescuing a princess and slaying dragons. For a broader look at Irish lore, you can turn to Tales from Old Ireland by Malachy Doyle. (This book also comes with CDs and can be listened to on Audible.) Older kids looking for story collections will enjoy The O’Brien Book of Irish Fairy Tales and Legends by Una Leavy.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

A much better animated film steeped in Irish lore is Wolfwalkers which tells a tale of Irish history and legend with distinctive visual design. Irish legends are also animated in The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea.

Young viewers who can’t get enough dance sequences can watch Leap!, the story of an orphan who runs away to follow her dram of becoming a ballerina. Ballet takes center stage in Barbie in the Nutcracker. Somewhat older children will appreciate the visual design of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Apparently, dancing isn’t just a human art form – at least in the animated world of make believe. Happy Feet stars a young penguin who dreams of dancing.