A Beautiful Planet

Movie review by
Yvonne Condes, Common Sense Media
A Beautiful Planet Movie Poster Image
Stunning look at Earth -- and man's sobering impact on it.
  • G
  • 2016
  • 45 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Viewers get an inside look at life inside the International Space Station, seeing how the astronauts eat, sleep, exercise, and do their jobs. Also shows what all parts of the globe look like and what man has done to the environment. Looks beyond our galaxy to explore the idea that there might be a planet like ours somewhere else in the universe.

Positive Messages

The message throughout is that it's our responsibility to take care of our planet. If we work together (like the astronauts on the International Space Station), some of the Earth's damage can be repaired. Challenges viewers to think about the consequences of human action -- from deforestation to dictatorship -- and to take action to do something positive. Promotes the importance of communication and teamwork between people from different nations.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The astronauts are incredible role models; the movie clearly illustrates the discipline, organization, and character it takes to live in space. The astronauts are all very kind and respectful to one another, communicating well and showing what can be achieved when countries work together. 

Violence & Scariness

One astronaut struggles to get into his space suit to venture outside the space station; he talks about how he's attached by a cable that get tangled up and how one tiny hole in the suit could kill him. Potentially upsetting images of forests on fire, drought-ravaged land, melting glaciers, and the consequences of global warming.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Beautiful Planet is a stunning IMAX documentary (presented in 3-D when available) that takes viewers onto the International Space Station to get a glimpse of Earth from space. There's no shortage of incredible views, some of which are sobering -- including a massive typhoon in the South Pacific, the drought-stricken California landscape, and the melting Greenland ice sheet. Kids will learn about life on the space station (including a slightly tense sequence in which an astronaut struggles to get into his suit and talks about how even a tiny hole could kill him) and see humanity's huge impact on our planet, from deforestation to greenhouse gas emissions. The images (especially in IMAX scale) might be a little overwhelming for younger kids, but anyone interested in science, space, or the environment will be blown away, and the astronauts are great role models who demonstrate the importance of communication and cooperation.

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What's the story?

Jennifer Lawrence narrates A BEAUTIFUL PLANET, an IMAX documentary that delivers breathtaking views of Earth from space. Viewers see all parts of the the planet -- the beautiful and the tragically transformed -- from the vantage of the International Space Station. The film also takes viewers inside the ISS to see how astronauts live and work. Directed by Toni Myers (Hubble 3D) and made in partnership with IMAX and NASA, A Beautiful Planet provides a never-before-seen look at the Earth ... and what humanity has done to the planet.

Is it any good?

This incredible documentary features breathtaking views of Earth from the International Space Station. The astronauts spent their free time filming it, and what they captured is astonishing -- from the nighttime lights of Paris to the sparkling turquoise ocean of the Caribbean during the day. And it's not just that the images are beautiful and never-before-seen; Lawrence's vioce-over gives context to what we're seeing: a world that's changing at the hands of humanity. Dead forests, dry rivers, and melting glaciers are startling to see, and viewers are told how it could get worse. One of the most poignant contrasts is the difference between North and South Korea at night. South Korea is lit up and vibrant, while across the border the land is covered in darkness.

But it's not all dire. There are also stories of how the damage from climate change has been reversed, and the film encourages people to care more about the planet. We also get a real idea of what it's like to live on a space station. Italian astronaut Samantha Crisoforetti and the rest of the crew answer questions we all have about how astronauts eat, bathe, exercise, and sleep (Crisoforetti sleeps floating, not strapped to the wall) in space. We watch as an astronaut struggles to get into his space suit, then goes outside for maintenance, with only a cord keeping him attached. There's a lot to learn about and be fascinated by for both kids and parents in A Beautiful Planet.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about A Beautiful Planet's take on humanity's impact on Earth. What was your reaction to seeing melting glaciers, forests on fire, and miles of drought-stricken land? How could you take action?

  • How do the astronauts demonstrate cooperation, communication, and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

  • Two of the astronauts lived on the International Space Station for one year. Can you imagine being away from family, friends, and the Earth for that long? 

  • A Beautiful Planet explores the possibility of another planet like Earth and another star like the sun in our galaxy. Do you think there's life on other planets?

Movie details

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