A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Molecules to the MAX! is an animated movie that was originally released on IMAX 3-D by the Molecularium Project, an initiative by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Nanotechnology Center to teach kids about science in an entertaining way. Along with the movie, the Molecularium Project also has resources to go with the film for educators. The short DVD teaches kids about atoms and molecules through different molecular characters and is full of science facts. It's squeaky-clean content (there's only one use of slightly iffy language when one character shouts, "What the helium!") makes it appropriate for young kids and up, though very young kids may find much of the subject matter and the science jokes over their heads.
What's the story?
Oxy (Rachel Brod), an oxygen atom, and the computer MEL (David Last) are sent by the Unified Field of Atoms to discover the secret of life on Earth. Along with hydrogen atoms Hydra (Heather Hewitt) and Hydro (Dennis Delzoto), the crew explores Earth's atmosphere, learning about water molecules, snowflakes, and more on their journey. But when they find themselves lost in outer space, they must seek help from Carbón (Ignatius Platas) and the other carbon atoms to find their way back to Earth.
Is it any good?
It's not the most entertaining movie out there -- if you weren't trying to learn more about science, it probably wouldn't be most kids' first choice. But it does an admirable job of making learning about atoms somewhat fun and even sometimes funny. The characters are cute (especially Carbón the carbon atom), and there are some clever jokes that will be amusing to the adults watching and to kids with a little more science or pop-culture background. In the classroom or as a way to help a struggling student learn more about molecules, Molecules to the MAX! would be a great tool.
But the plot and characters are a bit juvenile for the level of the subject matter. Older kids may be a bit bored with the plot, but younger kids may struggle to follow some of the complex facts thrown around about the structure of atoms, molecules, and DNA. But no doubt it will make it easier for kids of all ages to retain at least some interesting science facts.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about making science entertaining. Do you think the movie did a good job of making learning about science fun? How was it successful? How was it unsuccessful?
What did you learn about molecules and atoms from the film?
Do you like watching films about science and nature? Why, or why not?
For kids who love science
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.