2009 23/10

Friday Films – We’re visiting Africa & New York this week

Elephants by Animal Planet

    I was surprised at how excited my daughter was to watch Elephants and how engaged she was while watching it!  She’s never really seen an elephant in person.  She hasn’t been to the circus yet and there haven’t been any elephants at the zoos we’ve visited.  So I wasn’t really sure what she’d think of the film.
    Elephants documents the life circumstances of two very different groups of animals: the African Elephant and the Indian (Asian) Elephant.  I was amazed at how different the lives of these two very similar creatures really are.
    Africa’s Elephant Kingdom follows an extended family of African elephants being led by an old bull through the African plains.  The elephants battle everything from predators to a severe drought.
    The first thing that struck my daughter was that these elephants were a family.  She was naming them — daddy, mommy, Abbi, Zoe, and even Jasper (our dog).  She thought it was so cool that they helped the other elephants who had fallen down (in exhaustion from the drought) and that they loved to play in the water!
    Queen of the Elephants tells a very different story.  The elephants of India are also fighting to survive, but they aren’t fighting against hungry lions or droughts.  They are fighting the advancement of men.  As the human population increases and the elephant’s natural habitat disappears, the elephants must find a way to live with humans.  And, for the safety of the humans, they must find a way to live with the elephants.
    Conservationist Mark Shand travels with Parbarti Barua, female mahout (elephant trainer/handler) as they travel across India on the back of elephants.  The mahouts are not training these elephants to do tricks though.  They are teaching the elephants and humans to work together.  The amount of care, love, and respect they give the elephants is amazing!
    My daughter thought it was so cool that they painted on the elephants and that they got to ride on the elephants! “Mom, they are riding on the elephants.  Like horses!  I want to ride on an elephant!!  Can we get an elephant so I can ride him to school?  PLEASE!  I’ll take care of him!  Can we mom? Huh?”
    I would definitely recommend Elephants!  However, the topic of death does come up in both stories so use your own judgement on whether or not your child is old enough to watch it.

Little Spirit: Christmas in New York

    This is the story (told through a cabbie — Danny DeVito — to two young sisters) about a boy named Leo who accidentally loses his dog, Ramona, in Central Park.  Devastated, of course, Leo encounters a magical little creature named Little Spirit.  Leo and Little Spirit venture through the city, searching for Ramona and meeting all sorts of people along their way.
    Although Little Spirit: Christmas in New York isn’t rated I would recommend it for older kids (ages 6+).  My daughter thought the Little Spirit was really cute but there were quite a few scenes that kind of scared her (she’s almost 4).  And the thought of her own puppy going missing did not sit well with her.
    The story itself, however, has a good theme and is a fun movie for the holiday season.

*Disclaimer: I did receive a complimentary copy of these DVDs.  However, receiving the complimentary product in no way affects my opinions stated here.

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