Adventure Planet

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Adventure Planet Movie Poster Image
Pro-earth animated tale with strong messages and some peril.
  • PG
  • 2014
  • 81 minutes

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

Educational Value

Reaffirms scientific concepts of global warming and technology's impact on the environment. Offers multiple examples of the necessity of harmony between man and nature, as well as scenes that clearly depict negative effects of humankind's desire for ease, comfort, and vast communication networks.

Positive Messages

Strongly advocates for human responsibility in the face of climate change and growing disregard for nature and the environment. Attempts to inform kids of the increasing dangers to the planet and to inspire them to take an active part in finding and implementing solutions. Repeated messages are delivered in simple terms, such as, "There's a power in you to turn mankind's heart and make it beat in harmony with the world"; "All it takes is one small voice to make a change"; "Man and Nature together are a whole; take only what you need"; "Listen to Mother Earth"; and "Harmony is only achieved when the heart of man and the heart of Earth beat as one."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Young female heroine is wise, resourceful, brave, and ultimately indestructible. Her partner-heroes are her toddler brother, with a magical gift of communicating with nature, and a Boy Scout who's introduced as arrogant, selfish, and spoiled but is transformed by the events of the story. Peace-loving, spiritual Asian characters must triumph over the leaders of the present-day world (the Capital State) who put modernism and technology ahead of nature. The Capital State is clearly the U.S., with much of the action set in New York City. Those leaders and their contemporaries (portrayed in an organization very like the United Nations, as it's multicultural and multi-ethnic) learn valuable lessons from the three young heroes.

Violence & Scariness

Frequent cartoon jeopardy and suspense, involving both individual characters and the planet. Kids plummet from mountain tops and buildings and through an opening in the earth's surface. A toddler falls and is unconscious and appears to be dead for a short time. A giant fireball races through the sky in many scenes, careening toward the earth and destroying everything in its path. There are massive fires, explosions, crashes, chases, and moments in which the three children are in great danger from nature, man, and technology. The movie takes extensive cartoon license with reality; although whole cities and the countryside are under siege, there are no depictions of serious injury or death.

Sexy Stuff

Some mild insults: "idiot," "metal neck," "jerk," "I screwed up."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Adventure Planet is an animated feature film made in Thailand that combines a suspense-filled adventure story with a cautionary tale about the impending danger of climate change and humankind's delay in responding to the crisis. The adventure places three young children, as well as the entire planet, in a series of perilous situations: cities under siege from giant fireballs, explosions, quakes, and crashes. The kids plummet great distances, are trapped, are lost, and are knocked unconscious. No specific injuries or deaths are seen. Although the only "villains" in the story are environmental catastrophes, those events are shown to be a result of much of the earth's population's dependence on technology at the expense of the natural world. Capital State, clearly the leader of planet Earth (and very obviously a stand-in for the United States), is initially depicted as wrongheaded and arrogant but without malice. Indeed, its president is transformed by developments and learns hard lessons along with the rest of the world's leaders .

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What's the story?

We meet Norva, a wise young girl, and Jorpe, her toddler brother, in a quiet, rural village in Asia. The high-tech lifestyle hasn't reached the two orphans yet; their world is still a place of communion between the spiritual villagers and their beautiful natural environment. Unfortunately, in ADVENTURE PLANET, the world catches up with them very quickly: first when Sam, an obnoxious Scout Jamboree castaway from Capital State (think U.S.A.), shows up on their mountainside, and then when unexplained bolts of fire start appearing in the sky. Jorpe, who is blessed with the ability to communicate with nature, is immediately told of the danger. There are big problems on Earth, but the people who matter are ignoring them, he warns the other kids. With the help of Sam’s mom, the three make their way to Capital State, the hub of the Western World, where they find that, because most of Earth's population loves their cell phones, their high-speed everything, and all the gadgets and machines that make life easy, comfortable, and fun, the planet is about to turn into a giant fireball. And young Sam's dad (who just happens to be the President of Capital State and the international organization that runs the world -- think the UN) is making everything worse because he refuses to believe his scientists can't fix it. Unable to convince the president, Norva, Jorpe, and Sam realize it's up to them, and they embark on a perilous journey to save the planet.

Is it any good?

Very engaging characters, strong messages, inventive animation, and some clever parody of our high-tech world combine to make this "a little child will lead them" story entertaining and relevant. There are, however, some confusing plot elements and a few too many twists and turns in the resolution. For example, the scientific community's invention to save the planet turns out to be an even bigger threat than the original one. "Fire beasts" and "cool bombs" and an anomaly called "the snake" all bombard the planet at different times, in different places, and in conflict with one another. Simplifying the action and the science would have made the film easier to follow. Kids, however, will probably see all of it as one giant enemy to be destroyed, and the message will definitely be delivered.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's statement: "Man and Nature together are whole. Take only what you need." How does this relate to you personally? To your family? To your community? 

  • What does the very first scene with Norva, Jorpe, and the bird tell you about who these children are? Why do you think the filmmakers included this scene? 

  • Norva and Jorpe came from a peaceful, rural village in Asia; Sam came from the bustling, high-tech world of Capital State. We know there were great differences between them, but what were some of the qualities they had in common? How did those qualities help them work together to resolve the story?

  • Some of the children from Capital State made fun of Norva when they met her because she was different. How did Norva handle the hurt she felt? Why does teasing and/or bullying sometimes come from being uncomfortable with or afraid of people who are different?  

Movie details

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For kids who love environment-friendly entertainment

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