What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this animated classic sends many positive messages about preserving our natural resources. But it does have some questionable language choices, some on-the-racy-side innuendos, and regular cartoon battles.
What's the story?
CAPTAIN PLANET AND THE PLANETEERS, which was created in the early '90s by media mogul Ted Turner, chronicles the adventures of an environmental superhero who saves the world from eco-villains trying to destroy the planet. The superhero (voiced by David Coburn) depends on his teenage Planeteers (Kwame for earth, Wheeler for fire, Linka for wind, Gi for water, and Ma-Ti for heart) who set up the initial groundwork for the missions. Captain Planet can only be summoned to finish the job when the Planeteers combine their powers. None of the characters can do their best without each other.
Is it any good?
The show offers plenty of factual information to digest. For example, one episode features the eco-villains attempting to destroy a manatee's habitat with a motor boat. The Planeteers provide in-depth background on manatees' natural environment and behavior toward humans. The educational segments offer a nice counterpoint to the action that dominates the rest of the show. But there's also a lot of mainstream garbage littering the show. The motor boat in the episode about the manatees is used for a Baywatch party, and the male Planeteers talk about wanting to give Baywatch star "Mrs. Bubblebutt" mouth to mouth as the camera moves in for a close-up on her rear end. The female Planeteers, meanwhile, label the Baywatch star with colorful words like "stupid" and "bimbo," all while the eco-villains dress in drag to look like the star and use a machine gun to shoot one of the Planeteers into the ocean. For a series that's aimed at kids, the show sometimes has a PG-13 feel to it -- especially when the protagonists are setting such bad examples.
As the first animated series to teach kids about key environmental concerns, in many ways Captain Planet -- which offers plenty of valuable lessons -- was ahead of its time. Expect to walk away with a better understanding of environmental issues like the ozone layer and animal rights. Addressing these issues with such clarity is admirable. However, you can also expect your fair share of violence, language mishaps, and sexual innuendos (which is the largest repeat offender). Captain Planet and the Planeteers is fun and retro, but it's not your best bet for younger grade-schoolers.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about the importance of preserving our natural resources. Why is it important to take care of the planet? What is pollution, and why is it harmful to the environment? How can you contribute to taking better care of the planet -- both in the big picture and every day?