A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wonders of the Sea is a documentary that captures some of Earth's most wondrous creatures in extraordinarily intimate detail. Members of historic ocean-going family the Cousteaus, along with Arnold Schwarzenegger, narrate the film, which covers four different ocean habitats. Significant messages about the fragility of life on our planet underscore the majesty of the footage. The narration is kid friendly, and while the 102-minute running time may be too much for the littlest viewers, it's thoroughly recommended for family viewing.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In WONDERS OF THE SEA, the descendants of Jacques Cousteau, eminent undersea explorer and filmmaker, travel the world to capture on film the fragility the planet's intricate ocean ecosystems. Beginning in Fiji, coral reefs amaze and inspire. In cooler waters off the coast of California, kelp forests are home to a remarkable variety of life forms. The Sea of Cortez and its surrounding island desert oceans harbor more than more than 6,000 miraculous species. Finally, oceans around the Bahamas are filled with thrilling events like the migration of the great hammersharks and the awesome behavior of the unstoppable predator, the lionfish.
Is it any good?
The magnificence of the oceans' creatures and the awe-inspiring intricacies of their behavior are beautifully displayed in this documentary designed to enlighten and inspire, especially young viewers. The narration is sometimes off-putting, but that doesn't lessen the impact of the photography and the underlying messages. Cousteau and company are hoping that viewers of Wonders of the Sea will "fall in love with nature" and be moved to share concern for its survival. First released on one night in limited theaters from Fathom Events in January 2019, the movie's DVD and streaming release is a welcome pleasure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the purposes of documentary filmmaking: to entertain, inform, persuade, and inspire. Which category(ies) best describe Wonders of the Sea? Is this a rare instance in which all four categories may apply? Explain.
Evolving technology has both positive and negative effects on the world around us. The movie shows some of the negative consequences, but it does reveal some positives as well. Could this film have been made without advanced technology? How did that technology serve the filmmakers and raise awareness of important issues?
The movie states: "The oceans can survive without us; we cannot survive without the ocean." How does that one sentence capture the substance and spirit of Wonders of the Sea?
- In theaters: January 17, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: June 4, 2019
- Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Celine Cousteau
- Directors: Jean-Michel Cousteau, Jean-Jacques Mantello
- Studio: Mixed Bag
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: STEM, Ocean Creatures, Science and Nature
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: September 26, 2019
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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.
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