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Arctic Tale (Documentary, 2007) - Review for Parents

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Arctic Tale
Photo © Paramount Vantage

MPAA Rating: G
Genre: Documentary/Family
Age range: Ages 5 and up
Runtime: Approx. 84 minutes
Starring: Queen Latifah as narrator
Studio: Paramount Vantage
Release Date: August 17, 2007

Arctic Tale - Plot Summary

Exploring the world outside her comfy cave for the first time, little polar bear cub Nanu bravely follows her mother out into the white world of snow and ice. Nanu has a lot to learn. Finding and catching food is no easy task in the Arctic, and it is time for her to begin practicing.

Elsewhere, in the Arctic waters, Seela the Walrus cub enjoys swimming around with her mother and protective Aunty. She too must learn to find food, but her greater survival skills will center around avoiding predators. Thankfully for her, walrus families stick together and protect each other.

Nanu and Seela may be different links in the long and connected food chain, but as they grow, they will both face challenges that are new and difficult for all Arctic creatures. The changing global climate is greatly effecting life in the icy kingdom, making it more difficult to find food and places to live. Survival will be more difficult for Nanu and Seela than it was for their parents, and it will require them to sacrifice and adapt in astounding ways.

Arctic Tale - Guide Review for Parents

Arctic Tale is very similar to March of the Penguins in that it is a very well done, educational documentary that provides enough entertainment through footage and narration to keep it interesting. Small children will love the animals, but they will probably grow restless and need a lot of extra popcorn to make it all the way through. Also, there are some scenes that will likely be concerning or unsettling to little children.

Polar bears are shown eating other animals a couple of times. Generally, the view of the eating bears is from a good distance away, so the half eaten bodies and blood are not very detailed. Parts of the story are told from the point of view of the prey, such as the story of Seela, thus putting some main characters in great peril at times. The movie also shows the aggression of male polar bears against mother bears and their young, and the film explains that polar bears are also in peril because of the harsh hunting conditions. These conditions, which have arisen because of the changing Arctic climate, cause one animal mother to chase her child away and abandon her.

Parents should also be forewarned that the film has a strong environmental message, with a montage of children at the end of the movie offering green suggestions such as, "If your mom and dad buy a hybrid car, it'll be easier for polar bears to get around." These comments can provide a great basis for family discussion on many levels.

Arctic Tale - Content Overview

The following lists some of the most prominent examples of possibly offensive content in the movie:

Violence (Moderate)
- A polar bear eats a seal. Polar bears are also shown eating a couple of other animals. Other predator/prey relationships are also shown and discussed.
- A male polar bear tries to run off a female who is trying to eat its food.
- A mother polar bear chases her cub away slightly earlier than normal, and the cub is left to fend for itself.

Sex/Nudity (None)

Profanity (None)

Alcohol/Drugs (None)

Bad/Disrespectful Behavior (Mild)
- Several scenes involve humor over the bodily noises of walruses.

Scary Scenes (Moderate)
-The scenes involving predators may be scary or disturbing to young children.

Sad/Distressing Scenes (Moderate)
- The message that Arctic animals are struggling due to the climate changes will probably be distressing to children, especially the notion that humans are causing these disastrous changes.
- Seela's protective aunty is killed while trying to protect her.

Arctic Tale - Topics to Talk About

  • How do our own actions effect our immediate surroundings, the environment, and other people and animals? What responsibility do we have as humans to preserve and protect the environment?
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