Xico’s Journey Parent Guide
A pooch pic that's out to save the world.
Parent Movie Review
The sleepy little Mexican village of San Jaime de las Jaibas exists in the shadows of a mountain that is being eyed covetously by a large corporation. Its executives are determined to blow up the mountain for its stores of gold and diamonds and to frack the surrounding area for natural gas. When the company receives the go-ahead, the heavy equipment and armed troops move in.
Luckily for the villagers, the wise Nana Petra (voiced by Lila Downs) is one of the three guardians of the mystical mount and is determined to save it and the town from the environmental destruction to come. As she gathers with the other guardians, her granddaughter, Copi (Verónica Alva), learns that her mother isn’t dead but living inside the mountain. Determined to find her, the spunky little girl runs heedlessly out of town. She’s accompanied only by her dog Xico (Pablo Gama Iturrarán), and soon by her best friend Gus (Luis Angel Jaramillo), who carries a magical stone and instructions from Nan Petra to “find the messenger”.
Xico’s Journey is a disappointing film, primarily because it’s clumsy and heavy-handed. Its environmental message feels more like propaganda than education. The villainous CEO laughs evilly and does a little dance whenever he uses the word “fracking”, which sends a thrill of terror over everyone in the story. Whatever your views on fracking, there’s no doubt that a fact-based, rational discussion is more educational than a film that demonizes a particular type of fuel extraction without discussing how the fuel is used and what the alternatives are.
The production values are no better than the script, with animation that’s as stiff as the dialogue. This is particularly frustrating because the animated retellings of Mexican mythology are visually enchanting. They are brightly colored and highly stylized and are fascinating to watch. It’s not that the animators can’t do good work; it’s that they were instructed to do boring Saturday morning animation for the bulk of the movie. The only bright spot is that the dubbing is well done, at least in English, so you don’t have to resort to subtitles unless you prefer them.
As with most kid-focused films, Xico’s Journey is pretty innocuous. There are a few terms of deity and some moments of peril and plot-related violence, but the average child isn’t going to be frightened. Religious viewers might be unhappy about scenes of ancient gods creating magical beings or modern people praying to a mountain, but this will not trouble other audiences. What will annoy most viewers is simple – the movie is boring. And that’s too bad because there are some positive messages here. Copi consistently demonstrates courage and loyalty. Nana Petra’s counsel, “There are other paths, if we pave them,” is a great mantra for resilience. If only these themes were found in a better film.Directed by Eric Cabello. Starring Veronica Alva, Luis Angel Jaramillo, Pablo Gama Ituraran. Running time: 85 minutes. Theatrical release February 12, 2021. Updated February 12, 2021
Watch the trailer for Xico’s Journey
Rating & Content Info
Why is Xico’s Journey rated PG? Xico’s Journey is rated PG by the MPAA
Violence: Trees are so frightened they turn to stone. Equipment is shown destroying the natural world. A creature pretends to be dead when frightened. Explosions are heard. A woman slaps a man, leaving a red mark on his face. A giant stone scorpion attacks some children on a couple of occasions, stinging one of them. A main character falls from a height. Soldiers are heard hitting people with batons. A dangerous creature is crushed by rocks. A monster made of dirt destroys equipment. Two people are transformed into insects. A man is swept away by dirt.
Profanity: There are three terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Page last updated February 12, 2021
Xico’s Journey Parents' Guide
Over the course of the movie, Cuca changes her mind. Why? How can you do the right thing even when it isn’t in your interest?
Is fracking an environmental issue that you care about? Do you think fracking is ever an appropriate strategy?
Yale Climate Connections: Pros and cons of fracking: 5 key issues
Alternative Energies: 12 Pros and Cons of Fracking
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Kids can help save the environment too, without going on big adventures. In George Save the World by Lunchtime, Jo Readman and Ley Honor Roberts help kids understand the benefits of recycling. The topic gets a comic twist in Lauren Child’s We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers, featuring the irrepressible Charlie and Lola.
A woman in Kenya is shocked when she returns to her home town and discovers that the forests have been cut down. Her reforestation efforts are the subject of Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeanette Winter.
A young girl finds an unusually creative way to clean up pollution and fulfill her own dreams in Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del Arcoiris. This bilingual picture book is the product of the combined efforts of Linda Elovitz Marshall and Elisa Chavarri.
Newberry Award winning author Patricia MacLachlan has written a lyrical tribute to our home planet in My Friend Earth, which has been illustrated by Francesca Sanna.
For a broad perspective on benefiting the environment, you can read Fantastically Great Women Who Saved the Planet. Kate Pankhurst has provided an inspiring look at the ecological efforts of women around the world. If your youngsters want to follow this example of activism, they can check out The New 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth, written by The EarthWorks Group and Sophie Javna. Stories of real kids who have helped the planet can be found in It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going by Chelsea Clinton.
Related home video titles:
If you want to inspire your family with movies that focus on saving the environment, there’s plenty to choose from.
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax reminds us that every person has a role to play in degrading or saving the world around us. (We also recommend reading the book.)
In Wall-E, the earth has been devastated by humanity’s constant consumption and the trash it has produced. When two robots discover that there’s hope for the earth, they begin an adventure that will take them to outer space and back.
Loggers are coming to destroy the rain forest, but not if the fairies can stop them in Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest.
Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind is an animated Japanese film focused on a princess trying to prevent war in an environmentally devastated world without enough resources.
Three youngsters fight to save the habitat of burrowing owls from the bulldozers of a giant corporation in Hoot. (This is another book that’s worth reading.)
For a real life look at ecological recovery, try the documentary, The Biggest Little Farm.