What parents need to know
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 .
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.
Families can talk 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?
|DVD release date:||August 26, 2014|
|Cast:||Brooke Shields, Bailee Madison, J.K. Simmons|
|Genre:||Family and Kids|
|Topics:||Brothers and sisters, Great girl role models, Science and nature|
|Run time:||81 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||mature theme, some peril, and some language|