Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for May, 2020

Octonauts: Ocean Adventures * Cute Animated Characters Exploring and Protecting the Ocean

Sunday, May 10th, 2020

The Octonauts are a team of adventurers who explore the world s oceans, rescue aquatic creatures and protect their habitats – from the bustling eco-system along the Amazon River to the deepest depths of the Mariana Trench. Deploying a set of aquatic vehicles, Captain Barnacles, daredevil ex-pirate, Kwazii, medic Peso and the rest of the crew embark on missions around the globe before returning safely to their home base, the Octopod. On this exciting DVD, join the Octonauts as they journey to the Midnight Zone to rescue a bomber worm! Enjoy these adventures and more with the Octonauts! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Cadence G. comments, “This DVD has different episodes about specific animals that live in the ocean. The Octonauts include Captain Barnacles, ex-pirate Kwazii (a cat) and medic Peso (a penguin) that go on a bunch of adventures under the ocean.” Allison B. says, “I was absolutely thrilled with the stories told in the DVD Octonauts: Ocean Adventures. This series of tales is full of twists and turns that will keep you engaged throughout the six action packed episodes. You will have tons of fun and learn valuable lessons along with the Octonauts, Captain Barnacles, ex-pirate Kwazii and medic Peso.” Katherine S. adds, “I am a big fan of the Octonauts series and this DVD is one of my favorites. It never gets boring and kept me looking forward to the next episode. Octonauts: Ocean Adventures is about a team of under-the-sea adventurers. They explore, rescue and protect everything in the ocean. We follow them along many expeditions like cleaning the ocean and helping a lonely whale.” KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer Eli B. concludes, “Octonauts Ocean Adventures is an exciting educational DVD that follows the adventures of a team of friends that explore the world’s oceans… The team is lead by Captain Barnacles, the bravest polar bear you will ever meet and always the first to rush in and help whenever there is a problem to be solved…From their underwater Octopod, they are always ready for excitement and the challenges that await them in the deep blue sea.” See their full reviews below about this charming DVD that will teach your preschoolers and early elementary viewers the ins and outs of marine life and oceans.

Octonauts: Ocean Adventures
By Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I like the Octonauts: Ocean Adventures because the animation is so cute and the characters are super funny. It can get a little repetitive for older kids when you watch more than a couple episodes, but I think little kids would want to watch all six episodes on the DVD. I really like how each episode shows the actual animal, and not just the animated one. It allows viewers to get a better idea of what the animals looks like in real life.

This DVD has different episodes about specific animals that live in the ocean. The Octonauts include Captain Barnacles, ex-pirate Kwazii (a cat) and medic Peso (a penguin) that go on a bunch of adventures under the ocean. In one episode, the Octonauts help two very competitive shrimp that are fighting, become best friends. In another one, a confident polar bear goes underwater with Kwazii and Peso to talk to little worms they meet and look for one worm that sank to the bottom of the ocean. Other characters, like an otter, help Kwazii search for parts after their ship crashes to the bottom of the ocean. It’s a very fun DVD because there is a lot of action and you always want to know what will happen next.

All of the characters have their own personality, such as the penguin, named Peso. Peso is very scared, but Kwazii (the cat) is not afraid of anything. I love how all of the characters are so different from one another. It reminds me of some of my friends who like different things than I do, or have a shy personality. Even though we are different, we still have fun together. My favorite part about this DVD is when Peso gets so scared of the huge “monster,” but it’s not quite a monster. You’ll have to watch the DVD to find out what the creature actually is. I also like the blobfish who always wants food—especially worms—but is so slow he often misses out on a snack. That character is probably the funniest part of the DVD.

The message of this show is: if you work together, you can even save people’s lives. It’s amazing what you can do when you work together. Even if you different from one another, you can still use the strengths of each person in the group to be successful.

I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 9. This DVD is out now, so go look for it.

Octonauts: Ocean Adventures
By Allison B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

I was absolutely thrilled with the stories told in the DVD Octonauts: Ocean Adventures. This series of tales is full of twists and turns that will keep you engaged throughout the six action packed episodes. You will have tons of fun and learn valuable lessons along with the Octonauts, Captain Barnacles, ex-pirate Kwazii and medic Peso.

Octonauts: Ocean Adventures follows a team of underwater explorers that save ocean life and protect their habitats. The Octonauts help all animals and sea life ranging from the predatory mantis shrimp to the wiggly bomber worms. While doing this, the gang faces troubles such as transportation breaking down and fights between other animals. Even though the troubles seem tough, the Octonauts always manage to come through and learn skills to help them in life. 

In this DVD, we are introduced to six episodes: Mantis Shrimp, Kelp Monster Mystery, Bomber Worms, Loneliest Whale, Operation Cooperation, and Spinner Dolphins. Each episode tells a unique story. I truly enjoyed each episode and did not get bored with any of them. The fun ocean setting captivated me, since there are so many things that are unknown about the ocean habitat. I was happily surprised when I heard the voices of all the characters. Instead of having high, cartoonish voices, the Octonauts voices are deep, and some even have accents. I particularly liked Captain Barnacles’ English accent voiced by Ross Breen. That isn’t the only audible thing I enjoyed. I was very entertained by the music. It sets a tone and makes situations seem much more relaxed, dire or whatever the mood may be. The clever theme music composer Darren Hendly is to thank for the catchy intro. Lastly, I really appreciate the animation style in this show. It is funny and adorable, without giving a fake impression of how these animals truly look.

The message behind these episodes is that, even when there are problems that seem tough and unsolvable, you can count on teamwork and kindness to always help you out. If we all help each other out, the problems can be fixed and you can gain important lessons from them.

I give Octonauts: Ocean Adventures 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to ages 5 to 12. This collection can be found on DVD and Digital now.

Octonauts: Ocean Adventures
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I am a big fan of the Octonauts series and this DVD is one of my favorites. It never gets boring and kept me looking forward to the next episode.

Octonauts: Ocean Adventures is about a team of under-the-sea adventurers. They explore, rescue and protect everything in the ocean. We follow them along many expeditions like cleaning the ocean and helping a lonely whale. Episodes include Mantis Shrimp, Operation Cooperation, Kelp Monster Mystery and more. The DVD runs about an hour, so it is the perfect amount of entertainment for a younger audience.

This is such an educational, yet fun DVD. I learned about animals that I had no idea even existed! Children will enjoy it, and so will others! It is great for the whole family to watch. The animation is simple, yet adorable, and the sea animals are darling. There are a lot of episodes in the Octonauts series and, just when you think that you have learned it all, NCircle Entertainment always throws more stuff at you to learn, and you’re having a blast doing it. The characters’ voices in Octonauts fit their personalities perfectly. Simon Greenall has a flawless, bold polar bear voice, Paul Panting plays a wonderful, gentle penguin and Bob Rackstraw voices a magnificent, dare-devil cat. My favorite episode is Bomber Worms because I learned about this animal for the first time and how interesting and unique they are.

There are many positive messages throughout the DVD including teamwork, friendship, being adventurous, and loving animals. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 through 9. This DVD is currently available.

Octonauts Ocean Adventures
By Eli B., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer

Octonauts Ocean Adventures is an exciting educational DVD that follows the adventures of a team of friends that explore the world’s oceans. It is comprised of six colorful and fun episodes including titles such as Kelp Monster Mystery, The Loneliest Whale and Operation Cooperation. Follow the crew in this action-packed series as they explore mysterious ocean life, learn about and rescue curious sea creatures and teach us how to protect their environments and habitats. The team is lead by Captain Barnacles, the bravest polar bear you will ever meet and always the first to rush in and help whenever there is a problem to be solved. Other characters include Kwazii – the daredevil cat, Dr. Shellington – the coolest marine biologist sea otter around, Dash dog – a sweet natured IT officer and Tweak – a bunny who’s ready to lend a helping hand. From their underwater Octopod, they are always ready for excitement and the challenges that await them in the deep blue sea. The DVD’s run time is 66 minutes and includes menu options such as episode selection and comes with a colorful booklet with information about The Octonauts and other shows from NCircle Entertainment. This series is highly recommended for any child that enjoys colorful characters, fun songs, adventure and learning about the ocean and its creatures. 

I give Octonauts Ocean Adventures 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 4 to 10. It’s available on DVD now, so check it out. Reviewed by Eli B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer

Share this page on:

Ray Nutt, CEO, Fathom Events – A Leader That Brings Us H.O.P.E.

Friday, May 8th, 2020

From everyone at KIDS FIRST! we want to send you our love and support. These are challenging times as we deal with the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want you to know that our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics have continued doing what they do best, which is reviewing films and interviewing the talent behind them. Of course, there are no live event during this time, so we are reviewing films via online screeners and interviewing via Zoom. We’ve also added a webinar component to many of our interviews, adding a Q&A from our audience after the original interview. It’s been sort of cool to do that and more kids get to participate. This is a reminder that if you want to join our team, visit our website (www.kidsfirst.org) and click on the banner “Join Us.”

Today, we have an amazing conversation to share with you with the uber talented CEO of Fathom Events, Ray Nutt.  The eloquent Nathalia J. interviews Mr. Nutt and is joined by Katherine S., Tiana S. and Joshitha B. for the Q&A.

How familiar are you with Fathom Events?  It is one of the largest distributors of content to movie theaters in North America. Ray Nutt brings more than three decades of experience in the entertainment business as former SVP at Regal Entertainment Group, former EVP at United Artists Entertainment and more.  Jump on in and enjoy this interview and webinar. Find out how cinemas are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, when and how they will re-open and what you might expect. And learn how Mr. Nutt has developed the H.O.P.E. campaign for Fathom Events to guide his team and customers through this challenging time.

Share this page on:

Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind * Wonderful! Truly Honoring The Spirit of a Remarkable Woman

Monday, May 4th, 2020

Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind explores actor Natalie Wood’s life and career through the unique perspective of her daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, and others who knew her best. The film features previously unseen home movies, photographs, diaries, letters and artifacts, as well as intimate interviews with her friends, family, co-stars and colleagues; re-examining her personal and professional triumphs and challenges, which have often been overshadowed by her tragic death at age 43. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jolleen M. comments, “The purpose of this documentary is to honor Natalie Wood and show people how great a life she lived. Some people focus more on the tragedy of her death and overlook her legacy in the film industry.” See her full review below.

Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind
By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind is a wonderful biography telling the story of Natalie Wood’s life in a raw way from the perspectives of multiple people. The film gets into lots of details and aspects of her life. By the end, the audience knows all about who Natalie Wood was.

The film is composed of old video and audio clips of Natalie Wood as well as multiple interviews, some of which are conducted by Wood’s daughter, Natasha. The clips follow in somewhat of a chronological order, but the film doesn’t start off at the beginning of her life. It covers details and facts about her entire life, but skips around, going to different parts. It focuses on her success as a child, her family’s struggles, her love life, and the drama surrounding her death. The documentary also highlights all of her achievements in her film career.

The people featured in the documentary represent Natalie Wood’s extensive circle of family and friends. Their interviews tell their perspectives of Natalie and her life. Included are her daughters, the family nanny, her husband and people who worked with her.

I thought it was interesting the way that they decided to skip around to different phases in her life. Normally documentaries pursue a chronological order, starting from the beginning and following through to the end. In contrast, this documentary is really effective in the way it skips around, because it gives the audience a bit of background information before returning to explain some aspect in deeper detail. I liked this because it allowed me to get a general idea first of what Natalie Wood was like and then what she experienced. I could see how people viewed her from the outside and then, the film delves deeper into a closer perspective by her friends and family.

My favorite parts are the home videos of Natalie Wood with her children. These clips make you realize that, even though she was under the pressure of the spotlight all the time and looks perfect, she is a human being with a life too.

The purpose of this documentary is to honor Natalie Wood and show people how great a life she lived. Some people focus more on the tragedy of her death and overlook her legacy in the film industry.

I loved watching and learning more about Natalie Wood’s wonderful story. I give Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. Even adults will enjoy learning from this documentary. Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind premieres on HBO May 5, 2020 so be sure to look for it!

Share this page on:

Critical Thinking * Incredible, fleshed out Characters, Emotional Story

Friday, May 1st, 2020

The true story of the Miami Jackson High School chess team which was the first inner city team to win the U.S. National Chess Championship. Directed by John Leguizamo, starring John Leguizamo, Rachel Bay Jones, Michael Kenneth Williams and more. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Rohan F. comments, “Critical Thinking is a film with incredible, fleshed out characters in an emotional story, which surprises you at every turn. It gets you to connect with the characters quickly and made me actually feel bad for them when things went wrong.” See his full review below.

Critical Thinking
Reviewed by Rohan F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Critical Thinking is a film with incredible, fleshed out characters in an emotional story, which surprises you at every turn. It gets you to connect with the characters quickly and made me actually feel bad for them when things went wrong.

Critical Thinking tells the true story of the lives of members of the Miami Jackson High School chess team during the U.S. National Chess Championship. It goes into the motivations behind the members and their team supervisor, Mr. Martinez, as they struggle to get out of a system that doesn’t value them via the chess tournament. It follows the journey of them starting out, raising money to get to the tournaments, and the events that occur during the tournaments, As well as all the problems throughout. The film also goes into the specific details of the members personal lives to show their daily struggle.

The characters are developed incredibly. The film makes you feel like you know the characters. It makes even the most insignificant characters interesting. They are all real people who make real choices about their lives for better or worse. I really enjoy the way they showed the players develop during the competitions. They play like real people and make mistakes like them too. There are very complicated relationships between characters that help them develop their abilities and personalities.

The score is subtle and matches the film. There was never a point where I noticed that the score was practically good or bad, but it fit the themes and changed when necessary.

My favorite scene was the final chess match. Marcel took risks which made sense for his character. The other members of his team appear genuinely nervous because they don’t know who is going to win. They put Marcel under a lot of pressure, and it is unclear if he is going to break because of it. There is one point where an offer is made to him and it is unclear if he would be willing to abandon his team for personal gain.

The film has a message that people who come from different places can still accomplish incredible things. As well as the problems with the school systems view on people of color.

Overall, I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 13- to 18, plus adults because it covers some very mature topics.

Share this page on:
Kid movie news & Free DVDs:
Join KIDS FIRST! on Twitter Join KIDS FIRST! on YouTube Join KIDS FIRST! on Instagram Join KIDS FIRST! on Facebook Join KIDS FIRST! on Pinterest