A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this episode offers two concurrent stories with compelling plots and wonderful visuals in the form of vivid historical settings and costumes. Frightening moments are softened -- Joan is shown being burned at the stake, but not for very long. A note at the end of the video shows how movie makers shot Joan with an arrow but did not hurt her, assuaging kids' fears. Grade-school kids are sure to enjoy the action centering around the imaginative dog. But older kids and preteens will better understand the parallel plots and the dilemma behind them. They may also be interested finding out more about Joan of Arc through the Wishbone book, Joan of Arc, or the book the video is based on, Mark Twain's Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.
What's the story?
This episode of the PBS television series begins with Samantha's friends David and Joe convincing their soccer coach (David's Dad), to let Samantha on the team to save them from defeat. Samantha's situation turns canine clown Wishbone's mind to Mark Twain's book about Joan of Arc. While Samantha struggles to kick the winning goals for the soccer team, Joan of Arc, with trusty pal Louis, played by Wishbone, marshals troops to defend France from invading England. While each wins her battle, both lose the larger war. In Joan's case, those who accused her of heresy demand her execution and in Samantha's case, the opposing coach's crying foul on a technicality costs her the game and her place on the team.
Is it any good?
What's nice in this episode is the emphasis on present-day girl hero Samantha's supportive friends and family, a congenial mix of old and young, male and female, African-American and white. The creators also demonstrate their thoughtfulness by revealing the trick of how the actress Joan of Arc is "shot" with an arrow at the end, thus relieving fears of younger viewers.
Bone of Arc reminds us of the original super role model for women, Joan of Arc. In Wishbone's trademark two tales, this episode shifts between Joan of Arc's fight to free France, and present day hero Samantha's fight to join friends Joe and David's soccer team. Both plots tick along quickly and in perfectly timed parallel action. While Joan and Samantha both win at first, they are still both brought down by evil outside forces.