Barney: Jungle Friends
By Joly Herman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Barney's jungle journey has an eco-message.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Youngest viewers will be exposed to some new animals and their habitats, such as: tegu lizards, sloths, howler monkeys, anaconda snakes, toucans, parrots, ocelots and so on. Plants and trees are also named: jasmine, honeysuckle, lavender, and an imaginary tree called the Higgelty Piggelty Pear tree.
Save the planet is the message of the day. And Barney does give some tips about recycling, taking care of plants and animals, and speaking up about saving trees. Of course, some of the material is simplistic, but nevertheless it's a good start.
Positive Role Models
Barney is a grinning purple dinosaur, yes, but he also knows how to set boundaries with his peers. He motivates kids to "pick up your part of the world," and he admonishes a character who knocks down a precious tree.
Violence & Scariness
BJ knocks down a very precious tree, making Mother Nature cry. He apologizes and the group plants a seed, in hopes that the tree will grow again.
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Products & Purchases
The Barney franchise is apparent -- Barney has a travel book that the group uses to transport themselves into the rainforest. BJ eats chips as a snack (why not fruit, or crackers?) and leaves the bag in the forest, prompting a reprimand from other characters.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this Barney movie focuses on saving the Earth. It's a heavy theme dealt with lightly, by singing and dancing and getting busy cleaning things up. Series fans are sure to enjoy all of the animals that the group encounters in the rain forest. True environmentalists may cringe, especially since Mother Nature is portrayed as a ditsy hippie with a child's voice. But teaching kids the names of animals and plants is a good start on the critical journey of eco-awareness.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
It's Earth Day in Barney's musical world, and the kids are preparing for the big parade. The kids also learn that the tree that's in their play yard is host to a family of birds. When B.J. and Baby Bop come on the scene, Barney decides to "use his imagination," to travel to the rain forest. There, the group meets Mother Nature (Holly Franklin), a ditsy, squeaky lady who helps them to learn about the plants and animals in the rain forest. But B.J. and Ben (Austin Lux) have not learned their lesson about how to care for the planet; when they kick down the only Higgelty Piggelty Pear tree in the world, it makes Mother Nature very sad. She perks up, however, and plants a seed in order to grow another tree. Back in "real-life," the kids hear that a playground might be built on the land where their favorite tree lives. They gently persuade the playground planner to build on the other side of the park, where there are no trees. And then they sing and dance some more. Whew!
Is It Any Good?
It's a little annoying to the refined ear to hear the tuneless songs in this movie cycled over and over again. But there is a redeeming quality to the content of the songs, since they successfully introduce kids to a host of different animals and plants. Songs about monkeys show visuals of dozens of monkeys, orangutans, gorillas and chimpanzees, while kids sing their names. A song about plants lists a host of flowers, while it shows kids planting seeds, tending gardens, and smiling among the jasmine. Such exposure to the world's bounty is never a bad thing, even if this lesson is presented by a grinning purple dinosaur who can barely move his arms.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about saving the Earth. What do you do to help the environment? Do you recycle? Do you reuse the things that you can use again, like Ben does when he makes his Earth Day costume? What else can you do to help save our planet?
Youngest kids are the most vulnerable targets as far as advertising is concerned. Though this Barney movie concerns itself with saving the planet, there is a lot of Barney stuff out there for families to buy. Here are some tips about ad-proofing your youngest family members so that they can make Earth-friendly choices.
What does consumption mean? How does consumption lead to waste? How does waste affect our planet? How can we break this cycle?
- On DVD or streaming: September 15, 2009
- Cast: Austin Lux, Dean Went, Victoria Lennox
- Director: Steven Feldman
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Dinosaurs, Friendship, Music and Sing-Along, Wild Animals
- Run time: 51 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 25, 2022
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