A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that though Arctic Tale is basically kid-friendly and introduces kids to the idea of environmentalism with a light, engaging touch, there are parts that may be disturbing, especially for kids six and under. For example, a male polar bear nearly captures (and eats) one of the cuddly baby bears with which viewers may identify. In another scene, while trying to save Seela the walrus from a predator, her sweet "aunt" dies and her carcass is eaten in full view.
What's the story?
ARCTIC TALE (from husband-and-wife filmmakers Sarah Robertson and Adam Ravetch) documents the lives of Arctic creatures at a time when their habitat is increasingly endangered. (It's not a strict documentary, as a fictionalized narrative has been attached to the visuals.) By focusing on Nanu, a polar bear, and Seela, a walrus, Robertson and Ravetch have made the doom-and-gloom global warming discussion that much more approachable for children. It's equally potent for grown-ups, too: The inconvenient truth is made more inconvenient by seeing how it affects Arctic wildlife.
Is it any good?
In many ways, it's great not to be hammered over the head with this lesson -- we've heard it a lot lately. (It also helps that the movie's decidedly laid-back; in once scene where walruses are described as a tight bunch, the song "We Are Family" comes on loudly.) But Arctic Tale may be a little too subtle for young kids to truly learn. Older kids, though, will get the hint, especially when the credits roll and kids like them are shown onscreen doling out advice on how to make a difference.
By now, few remain unaware of Al Gore's inconvenient truth: that the planet, as we know it, is threatened and suffering, a distressing situation partly caused by the choices we make and the way we live. But how to drive home that message to young kids? By telling a story, and telling it well.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how walruses and polar bears are like human beings. How do the "families" in Arctic Tale act like yours, and how are they different?
Has the media ever depicted animal life in this way before? What about the changing Arctic environment? What is causing all the change? Is it unstoppable? How can humans help?
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