Over the weekend, I took my two girls (ages 4 and 7) to see Disneynature's new movie Oceans. Both of my girls are fascinated by ocean life and will grab any excuse to go see a real movie on the big screen, so I figured this would be a good choice for them. Oceans dives deep into the waters that sustain humanity. It offers exotic views of the wondrous creatures that inhabit the oceans and chronicles the mysteries that lie beneath. But is this movie right for kids? Here's my review:
MPAA rating: G
Runtime: 84 minutes
Age recommendation: Appropriate for all ages, but some "circle of life" scenes may be traumatic for sensitive kids.
A mom's review: Kids who love movies and love animals will go wild over the up-close footage of ocean animals in Oceans. But don't expect much in the way of a plot or storyline. The movie's narration, by Pierce Brosnan, seems to bounce between information about sea creatures and their environment, tidbits about the effects of global warming and pollution on ocean life, and a few philosophical statements and musings about evolution and the origins of life.
So you and your kids won't really learn a lot of new information about ocean life, but you will have your fill of gorgeous ocean eye candy with amazing footage of everything from rare sea creatures like the blanket octopus, to the well-known and beloved marine mammals, like the blue whale.
But one thing for parents to keep in mind is that Oceans includes "circle of life" footage of animals eating each other. It's bound to happen, and kids who are used to these scenes from Discovery or National Geographic specials probably won't blink an eye. But sensitive kids may be disturbed by these scenes, in particular, one in which baby turtles crawl out of their nests and run for all their worth to the sea while bird after bird swoops down and scoops up them up for dinner.
There was a bit of environmental education in the film, such as the scene showing sea life swimming through piles of trash and pollution. I wish there had been more scenes like this one, but overall, I have to say that my girls and I loved this movie. According to my 7-year-old, watching Oceans was like scuba diving, but we didn't have to get wet. And my 4-year-old was thrilled to see footage of some of her favorite animals, like penguins and whales, as well as some new favorites, like baby belugas. It made us all think a little more about the world's oceans and how the things we do affect the animals and plants that live there. You can't ask for more than that.
Also on MNN: Oceans: Maybe the best environmental movie ever (says our tech blogger)