I expected to watch about 5 minutes, get something to eat, and go to bed. The description looked pretty lame, but I figured, "check it out for free on Prime, see a few minutues of it, then do something else". When I noticed it was a Nickelodeon movie, I started thinking, "oh, it's a kids movie, not a weird indie film or an odd horror flick. I liked Nacho Libre. Okay, let's give it ten minutes, then I'll go do something else."
I don't want to give any spoilers, so I'll just say this: Good movie for kids, kind of follows an E.T./Black Stallion/Free Willy styled theme of 'troubled kid with no friends befriends exotic creature and vows to save it from the bad guys'. Nothing altogether new here, just an old story done a different way.
Some random thoughts:
1. Main character high school kid is a little too overly clean (no scrapes, bruises, or burns on arms, or face, etc...) and un-scarred to be a skilled mechanic or welder. Mechanics and welders ALWAYS have plenty of scars, scrapes, and bruises. He's a little too young and unskilled to know how to build the things he does in such a short amount of time. He's a little too buff to be an outcast, and looks like he would be at home on a high school football team. I mean, the kid is pretty stocky and barrel chested for never being seen lifting weights.
2. The leading lady would probably lose interest in a kid like that in real life, though the 'tutor' angle makes it work so she 'has' to be around him. She would likely, in real life, get sick of his crap pretty quickly unless she was a mistreated (daddy issues or something) and obsessed teenager with low self esteem.
But these points have more to do with the writing and direction than with the actual actors themselves. And it's a kid's movie, so I'm not keeping a high standard here. The film works in its own way, and over-analyzing it like this only serves to ruin the magic of cinema. It's good for what it was intended to be.
One of the bad guys reminded me of Jeremy Renner, and I think the movie would have been more fun if they had gotten Jeremy Renner to do the part (because I like Jeremy Renner), but that's just a meaningless random thought.
There was not a lot of depth to the characters, but the character transformations that needed to occur for the film to work did happen. I did not think the acting was overall bad like some reviewers said, but then again, I'm no actor so who am I to tell them how to do their jobs? I mean, basically, the film was what it needed to be for a fun family movie, but not everyone is going to like it. I doubt I would watch it again just for the sake of watching it again, but I don't regret having seen it. The kid actors have potential if they stick to their craft.
There is a market for 'straight to DVD' movies. To the best of my knowledge, guys like Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone don't direct those kind of movies. I think some of the 1-star reviewers had their expectations a little too high for this one.
I didn't turn it off and go do something else.