A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The documentary is richly educational, providing a slew of fascinating facts about these desert dwellers. For example, meerkats can fight fiercely with each other, even to the death, when the social order of their family is threatened. In addition, a porcupine's needles are actually defensive, not offensive as one might expect. Lastly, the Namib Desert in southern Africa is incredibly harsh, recieving as little as 2 mm of rainfall per year.
Step outside yourself and marvel at the eye-opening wonder of the natural world that's larger than just the realm of daily human activities.
Violence & Scariness
There is a small amount of scuffling shown between meerkats, such as when the main character meerkat accidentally steps onto the territory of another family. In addition, there's one scene where meerkats are shown chewing on an unidentifiable dead carcass, and then on scorpions. There's some peril from a jackal stalking a meerkat at night. No human violence or peril whatsoever is shown or discussed.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Meet the Meerkats is a half-hour long nature documentary about one Namib Desert meerkat's journey to find a new family after she has been banished from her former family by that family's alpha female (who viewed her as a mating competitor). Taking the usual Curiositystream mainstays of excellent video and audio footage, Meet the Meerkats takes an original approach in that it follows one meerkat's story instead of providing a listlike succession of video and audio about meerkats generally. Violence-wise, there are some scenes showing: a non-fatal scuffle between meerkats, one baby meerkat learning how to crack and eat a scorpion, and slight peril arising from a jackal's continued stalking of a meerkat family. However, there's no human violence discussed or shown whatsoever, and there are no discussions about either meerkats' or humans' sex. In the end, Meet the Meerkats remains another excellent addition to the high-quality Curiositystream nature documentaries. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This film provides a slew of excellent video and audio footage capturing the Namib Desert's vibrant and comprehensive daily life. Plus, Meet the Meerkats also offers something rare for nature documentaries: a narrative. All throughout its half hour runtime, the documentary follows one female meerkat's journey to find a new family after her former family banished her because of the mating compteition she posed to the alpha female. Along the way, she encounters hunger, thirst, other antagonistic meerkat factions, and night predators all by herself.
What this does is make the documentary into a swirl of educational information, narrative, and audiovisual finesse that should engage any viewer on some level. However, the perennial problem remains that many potential viewers simply won't find the nature documentary interesting unless they're already interested in the subject matter, especially because of the meerkats' total lack of charisma. In the end, the documentary is a superifically and educationally enriching glimpse into a species whose individuals are so small against the larger background of their elements that they must band together against adversity.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.