Choose Your Own Adventure: The Abominable Snowman
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Benjamin, Crista, and Marco's parents have died and that they get into tough scrapes, depending on how kids choose for the story to go. They almost die when a bridge collapses; they get buried by an avalanche, and they must run to avoid shifting glaciers all around them. The action is exciting but not disturbing, and is handled in a way not to jangle small nerves too much. Along the way, the kids -- and the viewer -- get an opportunity to learn from mistakes and practice critical thinking skills. The message of fidelity, love, and respect for other cultures is woven throughout the DVD, but there is some blatant product promotion.
What's the story?
In CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE: THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN, animal-loving Crista (Lacey Chabert), brainiac adventurer Benjamin (Frankie Muniz), and fun-loving Marco (Daryl Sabara) are summoned to Nepal to help their Uncle Rudy (William H. Macy) track down the legend of the Yeti. When they head out to find their adventure, and so does the viewer. Using the DVD player remote, they choose what they want the kids to do at critical points in the story. Should they parachute out of a failing plane or hold on and hope it lands? Should they go with the man who says he was sent by Uncle Rudy to help them or stay with their sherpa guide? Should they stay the night at the wizened old yak herder's home or try their luck on the cold snow-blown slopes? What would you do? In the end, the DVD has its own moral: If Benjamin, Crista, and Marco stay on course and don't let themselves be distracted, they accomplish their goals and discover a secret about themselves and their parents. If they don't, they have perilous adventures but always end up safe.
Is it any good?
The characters are engaging, the animation fluid, the kids are strong but smart, and the adventure is rousing without being too scary for kids. Many parents will remember the Choose Your Own Adventure those jigsaw-puzzle stories that let you determine what to do next; some found the books laborious and gimmicky, but that's not the case with the DVD version of this concept. Choosing the characters' next move and getting the opportunity to try different approaches to the same situation helps kids learn critical thinking skills.
And parents can talk to kids about what's safe: When, if ever, should you go with someone you don't know but says he was sent by your parents? How do you take care of your siblings when you're in a difficult situation? It's a real shame that this well-done DVD is marred by shockingly blatant product placement. In one version of the story, Marco offers Life Cereal to an injured Yeti, and exclaims, "She likes it!" Not only is it egregious product placement, but it takes the viewer out of the moment and distracts from the fun and storyline.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how to make the decisions posed to them by this DVD: When should you talk to a stranger? Should you go with someone who claims to have been sent by your family? How do you protect loved ones? How does each child contribute his or her own unique skills to the adventure? The DVD may also spur an interest in Nepal and its culture. It's a great opportunity to borrow some books on the country from the library and explore its myths, climate, and history.
|Theatrical release date:||January 9, 2006|
|DVD release date:||July 25, 2006|
|Cast:||Felicity Huffman, Frankie Muniz, Lacey Chabert, William H. Macy|
|Studio:||Goldhil Home Media|
|Genre:||Family and Kids|
|Topics:||Adventures, Book characters, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires|
|Run time:||30 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||mild peril and adventure|