Bill Nye: Science Guy

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Bill Nye: Science Guy Movie Poster Image
More mature, still kid-friendly Bill Nye inspires.
  • NR
  • 2017
  • 101 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Though the movie's messages aren't crystal-clear, and Nye is shown to be flawed, it does offer strong takeaways: Science can be fun; a responsible, mature person should be prepared to change his or her mind if sufficient evidence or facts are presented; and, above all, "leave the world better than you found it."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nye is already a role model to many young scientists, and he will remain so after this movie. But he's not perfect here. He's shown as someone who sought fame (and is perhaps a little vain) and someone who's avoided romantic commitments (mainly because of his family's genetic disease, ataxia, which can be passed to kids). He's shown to have doubts and regrets, and he's shown as exasperated and difficult in some scenes, but he also tries hard.

Violence

Mild tension during arguments/debates. Some disturbing discussion and footage of global warming/climate crisis. Rocket explosion. Violent images in "Ark" museum ("Cain murders Abel," etc.).

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Some brands shown in background: Starbucks, Nike, etc. Science-related YouTube channels shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking by adults, sharing of wine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bill Nye: Science Guy is a documentary about the star of the beloved 1990s kids' show Bill Nye the Science Guy and his attempts to "leave the world better than he found it" after the show has run its course. The movie isn't specifically aimed at kids, but there's very little iffy content. Aside from some self-reflection that could be a little bit boring for younger viewers, it should be fine -- and hopefully inspiring -- for older elementary school-aged viewers and up. Expect some tense conversations, debates, and arguments, as well as troubling images and discussions about global warming and the climate crisis; an exploding rocket; and violent images in a religious museum ("Cain murders Abel," etc.). There's a bit of social drinking by adults. Nye is portrayed as a realistically flawed human being, but he's still a positive role model for viewers of all ages.

User Reviews

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 13 years old Written byLucas F. April 24, 2018

Great way to get your kid into scence.

I think 10+ is a little much. they say the global warming episode can be a little disturbing for younger ones. They can handle it. they need to see whats going... Continue reading

What's the story?

Bill Nye ended his much-loved kids' TV show Bill Nye the Science Guy in 1995 and has been working on what to do next. BILL NYE: SCIENCE GUY follows him as he talks to adoring fans, but a problem catches his eye: The facts of climate change are real, but many people in power deny them. Nye tries to debate people like meteorologist Joe Bastardi on Fox News, or, in the case of well-known Christian speaker Ken Ham (who says he believes Earth is only 6,000 years old"), in person. Despite the fact that Nye seems to win their debate, Ham opens a Noah's Ark museum dedicated to keeping kids from learning science. Nye also confesses some of his personal troubles, like the fact that his family carries the disease ataxia, which attacks muscle movement. But then his friend Neil deGrasse Tyson has an idea and appoints Nye CEO of the Planetary Society, where Nye begins working to realize the dream of his one-time mentor Carl Sagan: to launch a lightweight, inexpensive "solar sailor" into space.

Is it any good?

This documentary gets the best of both worlds, building a personal story of the likable, trustworthy Nye, as well as offering a serious, hopeful love letter to science itself. Though it's not specifically aimed at kids like his beloved Bill Nye the Science Guy TV show, David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg's Bill Nye: Science Guy doesn't have too much mature material. So if kids are old enough to grapple with the concept of climate change or a disease that can affect the motor skills of an entire family, then this movie could imbue them with both hope for the future and a love of science.

The movie does a terrific job of painting Nye as a normal guy, a man who loved being famous and influential for kids and who frequently wonders whether he'll "leave the world better than he found it," a lesson he was taught as a child. It also manages to be an effective documentary about climate change: It's realistic but not completely grim. Perhaps the most troubling part of the movie is the rhetoric of the featured climate change deniers (even Donald Trump is shown, briefly). But perhaps it's all a learning tool. Bottom line? This is a movie that has the power to unite Nye's fans once more behind the power of science.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it means to "leave the world better than you found it." How can you go about achieving this? How does Nye want to do that, according to Bill Nye: Science Guy?

  • Is Nye a positive role model for kids? What are his attributes? What are his failings?

  • In the debate, Nye says that if he were presented with facts, he would change his mind in an instant, whereas Ken Ham says he'd never change his beliefs. What is the significance of these two points of view?

  • After seeing this movie, does science seem more appealing or exciting than it did before? Have you seen any of the science-related YouTube channels featured in the movie?

  • Does Nye's fame make him seem more interesting or more troubled? Is seeking fame portrayed as a healthy goal?

Movie details

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