Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Octonauts: Season 4 * Fun, Educational – Lots Of Good Information About The Animal Kingdom

July 16th, 2021

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.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Avalon N. comments, “Octonauts: Season 4 is a very fun and educational show to watch. It allows viewers to have entertainment while learning learn more about animals and become more educated.” Kyla C. adds, “The DVD Octonauts: Season 4 is collection of episodes from the colorful, animated series with unique storylines and cleverly imbedded educational information. I would watch a cute scene, go back over it in my head, and realize that I just learned something!”

Maica N. adds, “This collection of episodes has new creatures, new lessons and new adventures. If you watched this show when you were younger, the nostalgia will come to you immediately. However, if you are a new fan of Octonauts, you’re sure to be entertained because Octonauts Season Four is both educational and engaging.” Adult reviewer Tor F wraps it up with, “The Octonauts is educational, adventurous and appealing to younger audiences due to its fun characters and missions. Additionally, the musical score that accompany the action are terrific and help heighten tension when necessary. The educational aspects are hidden well within the adventurous missions.” See their full reviews below.

Octonauts: Season 4 
Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Octonauts: Season 4 is a very fun and educational show to watch. It allows viewers to have entertainment while learning learn more about animals and become more educated.

This DVD centers around Captain Barnacles (Ross Breen), Kwazii (Rob Rackstraw) and Peso (Paul Pattington), as well as other Octonauts in the series. They go on various adventures exploring the animal kingdom such as saving baby walruses and sea turtles.

Octonauts: Season 4 has a lot of cool things to talk about. First, this show is educational, especially about the animal kingdom. You learn things throughout the show and, at the end; there is a creature report where they teach you more. Second, the creature report. The creature report is a fun part of the show where they sing out facts about an animal and, at the end; they show pictures of that animal in real life to show you what they look like since they don’t always look the same when they are animated.

Third, the theme songs are another really fun part of the show; there is a theme song playing in the background at the beginning when we first see the Octonauts. There is also a theme song to accompany the Octo Alert. Fourth, the show shows kids how to be kind and caring and help others. In the DVD the Octonauts often help other animals do lots of things; they help them find their moms or get to the ocean safely. This can teach kids how to help each other and how to be kind to others and how to care for the environment.

The message of this show is to always help others when they need it. If you can help, do it and make the world a better place. 

Octonauts: Season 4 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 2 to 10. Adults will also enjoy watching it with their little ones. Octonauts: Season 4 is available now on DVD. 

Octonauts: Season 4
By Kyla C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

The DVD Octonauts: Season 4 is collection of episodes from the colorful, animated series with unique storylines and cleverly imbedded educational information. I would watch a cute scene, go back over it in my head, and realize that I just learned something!

This show, in Season 4, follows Captain Barnacles (Ross Breen) as he teaches some young Octonauts to get their badges, which are earned by completing certain tasks. Some of the episodes revolve around these missions, while others are based on specific characters or events introduced solely for that episode.

Octonauts: Season 4 is similar in quality to previous seasons. It mostly keeps the themes, educational values and entertainment from the past seasons alive. The animation is colorful and bright, which makes the screen an interesting sight and compels you to keep watching. Although the animation and acting may not be quite the level of other animated TV shows, the bright colors, educational aspects and themes are important for young kids and make for an interesting show. One shortcoming is the unrealistic way the characters’ mouths move when they talk, with mouths moving differently than the words they are speaking. Some of the more suspenseful parts are less intense because their speech doesn’t quite seem real. Besides that, important educational impressions are seamlessly imbedded in the entertaining storylines. In one episode, I learned some interesting facts about sea creatures and their young pups. Whether it is facts about animals, environments, habits or anything else, education is the best part about this show.

The message of Octonauts: Season 4 varies, depending on the theme of each episode. However, the overall themes are about teamwork and kindness. 

Octonauts: Season 4 gets 3 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 3 to 6. It is available on DVD now, so go look for it!

Octonauts: Season 4
Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Age 13

The beloved children’s show, Octonauts is back for its fourth season, now on DVD. This collection of episodes has new creatures, new lessons and new adventures. If you watched this show when you were younger, the nostalgia will come to you immediately. However, if you are a new fan of Octonauts, you’re sure to be entertained because Octonauts Season Four is both educational and engaging.

The DVD Octonauts: Season 4 follows Captain Barnacles (Ross Breen) and his crew of sailors who live in an Octopod in the ocean. This team’s purpose is to find and save ocean animals in need. Each member of the team has a different and unique duty to ensure that everything is in place for their rescue missions and their working together makes each mission successful.

Something that stands out in this show is the approach taken towards its educational aspect. Young children don’t want to sit down and watch a show that just states facts about animals. Octonauts Season Four uses a predictable format for each episode that keeps young viewers entertained, while learning new things. For example, “Creature Report” is an upbeat and fun song that plays at the end of each episode and summarizes the events of that rescue mission. During the song, viewers get to see a realistic picture of the animal the storyline is written about. Kids will be learning about these marine animals without even realizing it. This show also has a lot of diversity with the animals on the team, as well as the roles they play. For example, the three leading animals on the team are Captain Barnacles, who is a bear; Kwazzi, who is a kitten; and Peso, who is a penguin. With these characters alone, kids are introduced to three different animals. Additionally, the creators and writers of the show give each of the characters different positions for the missions. Barnacles is the leader; Kwazii is the daredevil who always goes on the quests; Peso is the medic; Dashi is the photographer and overseer at headquarters; Shellington is the scientist; Tweak is the engineer; Inkling is the oceanographer; and Tunip (along with many other Vegimals) is the helper in the Octopod. This showcases the idea that, even in real life, we have different roles to play as we learn to live and work together.

The message of Octonauts: Season 4 is stated in their motto – explore, rescue, protect. The Octonauts work together, committing their lives to exploring the sea and different environments so that they can help all of the other creatures. This might inspire kids to get creative, stay curious and explore.

Octonauts: Season 4 gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 2 to 8. Octonauts Season Four is the perfect DVD for parents to watch along with their kids. Even I enjoyed watching the team going on new quests. The DVD is available now so look for it. Make sure you check it out!

Octonauts: Season 4
Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer

The Octonauts is educational, adventurous and appealing to younger audiences due to its fun characters and missions. Additionally, the musical score that accompany the action are terrific and help heighten tension when necessary. The educational aspects are hidden well within the adventurous missions. So, while children may think they are watching a fun adventure, they are actually learning. All the episodes are colorful and vibrant, which children will also enjoy. Octonauts is a great series for children that love adventures and helping animals.

The Octonauts are a group of animals that help protect creatures in the ocean or other bodies of water. Their adventures begin with reading or seeing the creatures, and then, if the creatures need help, the whole group of Octonauts assembles to create a plan. They go on adventures all over the world to save creatures.

The structure of the show makes sense and flows well. Each episode begins with Captain Barnacles and other members reading or seeing something associated with the creature they are going to save. Then, the Octonauts assemble and venture off to see that creature and help them resolve their problems. The episodes drew me in since the action occurs fairly quickly. I felt empathy towards the creatures that need help, but also the Octonauts when they struggle during their mission.

The vocabulary and concepts are suitable for the intended audiences. Even if the concept may be challenging to grasp, the Octonauts explain multiple times in different ways exactly what they are doing. For example, they explain what a tidal wave is with graphics on their TV and then other Octonauts join in and explain to one another what a tidal wave is. Repetition is excellent for learning, as is incorporating different learning styles. Visually, the show is vibrant and colorful. The images are definitely easy to identify; the animation is very crisp and clear. The DVD cover design is appropriate and matches with the episodic adventures within.

The viewer can click on individual episodes to watch specific ones, or play them all. Also, it keeps your place and remembers where you left off so you can pick up from there. It is also subtitled in English, which makes it useful for those wanting to learn to read or speak better English. After each episode, Captain Barnacles talks about Creature Reports, which you can find in the main menu. The Creature Reports are adorable; they give a little update on the creatures the Octonauts saved.

One big value to the show is that it involves the viewer in problem-solving. Since all the episodes are based around problem solving and devising plans to help creatures, it definitely encourages children to do the same in their own lives. It also teaches the viewer about different environments. Lastly, is the emphasis to work as a team, which helps you gain insight on problem-solving from another viewpoint.

Octonauts: Season 4 gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 3 to 9, perhaps older. Children may find this appealing because the educational aspects are hidden well within the adventurous missions. Not only will this appeal to the younger audience, but Octonauts will also appeal to the parents/guardians that are viewing it as well. Even adults can learn something new about aquatic creatures in each episode. Octonauts is appropriate for ages 3 to 9. The concepts and vocabulary are suitable for younger viewers; even if some concepts or terms may be difficult to comprehend, the team explains them thoroughly.

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Black Widow * Everything A Classic Marvel Fan Would Enjoy, Yet Is Easily Understood By Newcomers

July 10th, 2021

Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy, and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.

Black Widow is a 2021 American superhero film based on Marvel Comics featuring the character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Cate Shortland from a screenplay by Eric Pearson, and stars Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow alongside Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, Olga Kurylenko, William Hurt, Ray Winstone and Rachel Weisz. Set after the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), the film sees Romanoff on the run and forced to confront a conspiracy tied to her past.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jude A. comments, “Black Widow! Black Widow has everything a classic Marvel fan would enjoy, yet is easily understood by viewers with no prior knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Behind all the superhero cowls is fantastic character development.” See his full review below.

Black Widow
By Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Yelena (Florence Pugh) in Marvel Studios’ BLACK WIDOW, in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

After multiple delays, Marvel Studios finally delivers on their promise to bring forth the new action-packed superhero blockbuster, Black Widow! Black Widow has everything a classic Marvel fan would enjoy, yet is easily understood by viewers with no prior knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Behind all the superhero cowls is fantastic character development. Each character experiences a different emotional journey, finding themselves in an extremely different emotional place compared to the beginning of the film.

Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) in Marvel Studios’ BLACK WIDOW, in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Black Widow serves as a prequel to Avengers: Infinity War, shining light on plot lines we had no clue occurred. The film picks up right after the events of Captain America: Civil War where Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is on the run from the U.S. government. When Natasha is attacked by the iconic villain Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), she is led to confront her past. When she learns the Red Room is still functioning (kidnapping and training widows), she must team up with unlikely allies to defeat the organization once and for all.

For comic book junkies there is always a worry that superhero movies will sometimes be a bore, because you already know the story so well. Black Widow abolishes this worry with multiple twists and turns that are new to comic book fans, yet are very respectful to classic superhero origins.

Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) in Marvel Studios’ BLACK WIDOW, in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access. Photo by Jay Maidment. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

When people think of the character Black Widow, they extremely undermine the grittiness of her backstory. Director Cate Shortland is marvelous at mixing in Natasha’s dark past to boost her character development and show what drives her day today.

Black Widow is one of the darkest Marvel movies to date. Throughout the film, rough and sensitive topics present themselves such as child trafficking, drug use and suicide. The film also includes multiple curse words and many different instances of intense action. Despite the gloomy tone, the film explores themes of family and reminiscence. Morals are taught to younger viewers demonstrating the message that people can change; you just need to give them a chance.

I give Black Widow 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can stream Black Widow on Disney+ with premiere access or watch it in your local theater on July 9, 2021. Make sure to check it out!

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Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain * A Personal, Honest Look Into The Life Of Anthony Bourdain

July 8th, 2021

It’s not where you go. It’s what you leave behind…. Chef, writer, adventurer, and provocateur: Anthony Bourdain lived his life unabashedly. Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at how an anonymous chef became a world-renowned cultural icon. From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?), this unflinching look at Bourdain reverberates with his presence, in his own voice and in the way he indelibly impacted the world around him.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain offers an incisive look into the life and times of an enigma who raced through life with ferocity, grit, and a truly remarkable nonchalant attitude. A tale of a man who continued to barrel through life like a steam locomotive, picking up emotional baggage, shattering relationships, and joking about darkness all along the way.”

Benjamin P. adds, “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is a personal, honest—albeit loving—look at and into the life of Anthony Bourdain and all the various detours it took.  This documentary charts his journey from chef to writer to acclaimed TV host, as told by his closest friends, the people he worked with, and his family.” See their full reviews below.

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain
By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Anthony Bourdain (left) and Ottavia Busia-Bourdain (right) star in Morgan Neville’s documentary, ROADRUNNER, a Focus Features release. Courtesy of Discovery Access / Focus Features

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain offers an incisive look into the life and times of an enigma who raced through life with ferocity, grit, and a truly remarkable nonchalant attitude. A tale of a man who continued to barrel through life like a steam locomotive, picking up emotional baggage, shattering relationships, and joking about darkness all along the way. A great story of one of the greatest raconteurs whose story ended too quickly. This is Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain.

Renowned chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain seduced New Yorkers’ stomachs years before he enraptured audiences with shows like A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations, and of course, the famous Parts Unknown. And even before his culinary career, Bourdain hit one of the lowest lows of his life, with a destructive heroin and cocaine addiction that he attributes to a visceral, angry response to the love and affection of his parents. Roadrunner largely summarizes Tony Bourdain’s adolescence, skipping to the publication of his bestselling memoir Kitchen Confidential which first launched him overnight into the show-biz. The film chronicles Bourdain and his crew’s adventures, getting caught up in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in Beirut, eating exotic items in the far reaches of East Asia, and making deep and long-lasting friendships all along the way. Bourdain forsook his home life for these travels. The film also documents the later chapter of Anthony Bourdain’s life, wherein he was betrayed by love, struggled to cope with his emotions, his agoraphobia, and his growing sense of insecurity about fatherhood. In a heart wrenching sequence, the film documents Bourdain’s suicide and the responses of his loved ones to this event.

Anthony Bourdain stars in Morgan Neville’s documentary, ROADRUNNER, a Focus Features release. Credit Courtesy of CNN / Focus Features

It’s an incredible film, a journalistic undertaking by award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville that won my heart. The magical voice of Bourdain guides the film. Scenes from his shows, archival footage, Bourdain’s Instagram stories, and interviews with his close circle of friends and family, including his second wife Ottavia Busia-Bourdain and his friend Chef Eric Ripert, are tied together to tell an enchanting story that genuinely is not depressing or dark. To paraphrase Busia-Bourdain’s quote in the film, Anthony Bourdain was more than the acts he committed near the end of his 61 years of life, and much like him, Roadrunner brings much light into the viewers’ hearts. The editing and musical score, especially the careful inclusion of the title song from the 1970 film “Violent City,” about a man who takes revenge on his unfaithful lover, help move the story forward and provide a deeper meaning to an already superb film.

Anthony Bourdain stars in Morgan Neville’s documentary, ROADRUNNER, a Focus Features release. Courtesy of CNN / Focus Features

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is a reminder to all of us that we have someone we can reach out to, we have a reason to live, we have a reason to enjoy every moment of our lives, and we have a reason to be the best version of ourselves. Given Bourdain’s colorful personality, one wouldn’t be surprised to learn that there is cursing throughout the film and mentions of suicide and taking drugs also pop up over the course of the 2-hour piece.

I give Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 11, 2021. It is scheduled to be released on July 16, 2021, by Focus Features, after which it will air on CNN and HBO Max on an unspecified date.

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain
By Benjamin P., Kids First! Film Critic, age 15

Anthony Bourdain stars in Morgan Neville’s documentary, ROADRUNNER, a Focus Features release. Courtesy of Dmitri Kasterine / Focus Features

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is a personal, honest—albeit loving—look at and into the life of Anthony Bourdain and all the various detours it took.  This documentary charts his journey from chef to writer to acclaimed TV host, as told by his closest friends, the people he worked with, and his family.

After an opening credits sequence that runs through the years leading up to Bourdain’s career as a chef, Roadrunner begins its sprint in 1999 after he’s secured a deal to write a book about his experiences in the restaurant world, Kitchen Confidential, the New York Times bestseller that would put Bourdain on the talk show circuit, and kickstart his ascent towards celebrity. In preparation for writing his second memoir, A Chef’s Tour, he was approached by TV producers who pitched an ongoing series in tandem with the upcoming book, thus forming a partnership that would spawn multiple shows, win several Emmys and begin Bourdain’s long tenure on television screens and secure his status as a world-famous traveler.

Anthony Bourdain stars in Morgan Neville’s documentary, ROADRUNNER, a Focus Features release. Courtesy of CNN / Focus Features

This film is a challenge on many levels.  For starters, Bourdain’s suicide is still a recent event in the public eye, and, I’m certain, a fresh wound for those who knew him. It’s difficult to watch a feature-length story of someone’s whole life, knowing that it’s going to end so inevitably, suddenly, and sadly; however, Roadrunner succeeds by showing us Bourdain in his totality which balances the sadness of his inevitable end. And yet, audiences may find it unavoidable to wonder who he really was, along with his loved ones striving to answer the question: Who was Anthony Bourdain off-screen?

Roadrunner mirrors Bourdain’s own frequent departures from home and journeys to parts unknown, taking us back and forth from his television world and his home life with his daughter. We see a conversation between Bourdain and a friend, where they discuss the paradox of wanting to return home when they’re away, but immediately wanting to get back on the road when they get home. This tragic conversation gets right to the heart of the movie’s title, Roadrunner, and just how reflective it was of Bourdain’s own everyday life.

Anthony Bourdain stars in Morgan Neville’s documentary, ROADRUNNER, a Focus Features release. Courtesy of Focus Features, in association with Zero Point Zero

After a TV episode goes awry, Bourdain talks about his faltering belief in the power of the table at which we eat and share, yet Roadrunner becomes a testament to that power. Nearly every interview in the film is organized across a table, where deeply personal details and anecdotes from those who knew Bourdain are exchanged. Director Neville operates with a wealth of outtakes from his TV shows and all the excess footage of Bourdain’s 20 years on screen, but it’s these genuine moments with Bourdain’s tribe that cut the deepest.

I give Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults, for mild language and strong themes throughout. Roadrunner lands in theaters on July 16, 2021.

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We the People * Innovative Way To Teach Civics And Citizenship With Lots Of Music And Animation

July 6th, 2021

Learn the basics of rights and citizenship with upbeat songs by popular artists like Janelle Monáe, H.E.R., Adam Lambert, Brandi Carlile and more.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Nathalia J. comments, “I love the catchy tunes, the perfectly rhyming lyrics, the animation and the lessons of the new ten episode series, We the People. I love how it includes animations such as women and men united, jumping above the clouds, almost like collecting all the facts as they jump in the air.”

Zoe C. adds, “We The People is a very innovative way to learn about history and social studies. Most importantly, it helps us understand things that are part of our everyday lives that we either take for granted or don’t fully understand or appreciate. These things help us to live better in our community and society. I also love that the show also explores a new way to incorporate music videos and listen to music with a purpose.” See their full reviews below and Nathalia’s interview with creator/director Chris Nee.

We the People
By Nathalia J, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I love the catchy tunes, the perfectly rhyming lyrics, the animation and the lessons of the new ten episode series, We the People. I love how it includes animations such as women and men united, jumping above the clouds, almost like collecting all the facts as they jump in the air.

Created by Chris Nee, the award-winning creator of Doc McStuffins and Vampirina, and executive produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, We the People takes civics lessons to a whole new level for kids like me. This series is a call to action to rethink civics as a living, breathing thing as it reframes the understanding of what government and citizenship mean in the modern world.

WE THE PEOPLE Episode 101 of WE THE PEOPLE. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

The opening minutes of each episode give you a preview of what’s to come, sharing minor facts about the topic the episode addresses before it plunges into the specifics. Each topic is covered thoroughly, which helps young viewers grasp the importance of each topic and not simply focus on the catchy tune that accompanies it. For example, instead of just talking about the federal vs. state power, a song explains how choices by the feds or the state affect our daily lives and how we have a choice in who holds positions of power.

The songs included are all upbeat original songs performed by popular contemporary artists such as H.E.R., Janelle Monáe, Brandi Carlile, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Adam Lambert, Cordae, Bebe Rexha, KYLE, Andra Day and poet Amanda Gorman. A huge part of this series is the animation which, as a visual person, attracts and holds my attention. When the facts are played out in powerful pictures with great colors and cool designs, I’m immediately hooked!

WE THE PEOPLE Episode 102 of WE THE PEOPLE. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

Ten of the world’s leading animation directors contributed to this show – men and women, LGBTQ+ and various ethnicities, including Oscar winner Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Jorge R. Gutierrez (Netflix’s Maya and the Three), Trisha Gum (The Lego Batman Movie), Jorge R. Gutierrez (The Book of Life), Victoria Vincent (A Dog That Smokes Weed), Benjy Brooke (Teen Titans Go! To The Movies), Mabel Ye (Kid Cosmic), Tim Rauch (Mushroom Park), Daron Nefcy (Star vs. the Forces of Evil), Everett Downing (My Dad the Bounty Hunter) and Kendra Ryan (We the People). I love that this film practices its message of inclusivity behind the scenes as well as on-screen. My favorite episode is most definitely episode three, “Taxes.”

The message of this film is that we are the future and we have a voice! Let’s continue to educate ourselves and our peers and speak up for the right, against the wrong. Let’s make a difference and help one another. We are the people. 

I give We the People 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It releases July 4, 2021, on Netflix. Look for it!

We The People
By Zoë C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

WE THE PEOPLE Episode 101 of WE THE PEOPLE. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

We The People is a very innovative way to learn about history and social studies. Most importantly, it helps us understand things that are part of our everyday lives that we either take for granted or don’t fully understand or appreciate. These things help us to live better in our community and society. I also love that the show also explores a new way to incorporate music videos and listen to music with a purpose.

I didn’t know what to expect from this ten part series; I love that the episodes are very short, because they are just the length of a song. Each composition has a different style in terms of animation and color palette; all according to the story. We the People consists of ten eye-candy episodes with captivating lyrics, contemporary rhythms, lots of creativity and fundamental storytelling.

We The People is produced by accomplished children’s television writer Chris Nee who began her career at Sesame Street International and has been honored with a Peabody, Humanitas, NAACP and Emmy awards. In this project she teamed up with Barack and Michelle Obama with whom she previously worked pm other educational and fun projects. This is the content we need and our generation should appreciate it. The production company Higher Ground which produced the series was created with the purpose of creating not only entertaining programming, but informative and inspirational as well.

WE THE PEOPLE Episode 101 of WE THE PEOPLE. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

I can affirm that this content positively impacted me and I am happy to spread the word and recommend it. The series proves the great power of music in establishing strong and effective connections with audience. The inclusion of the artists that participate is brilliant and includes some of the top music artist such as H.E.R, Cordae, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Janelle Monae. The powerful poet, Amanda Gorman, is also an important voice in this series. Each episode has a different director and the topics range from “Active Citizenship,” to “Taxes,” “Immigration” and more.

I give We The People 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. Although the themes are more appropriate for late elementary and middle school kids, really everyone in the family will love the music, the message and the beautiful images.

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Wolfgang * Chef Wolfgang Puck Talks About How Food Is Family And Food Is Love

July 6th, 2021

An intimate portrait of the life and work of the original “celebrity chef,” Wolfgang Puck.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Selene W. comments, “The documentary Wolfgang talks about how that food is family and food is love. This film depicts the culinary development of Chef Wolfgang Puck and I was delighted to learn more about his upbringing and journey to become the chef and businessman that he is.”

Nathalia J. adds, “This film highlights Wolfgang’s childhood trauma – how it affected him as a young boy who aspired to become a great chef; how he became arguably one of the best chefs in the world; the process of opening numerous dining spots; how fame and success affected him and his family.”

Mikella G. wraps it up with, “I really like the new documentary Wolfgang because it’s a fascinating, intimate film about world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck. It taught me a lot about the food industry, and how much it could impact someone’s life.” See their full reviews below.

Wolfgang
By Nathalia J, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Wolfgang, a documentary film directed and produced by David Gelb (Chef’s Table: France and Chef’s Table BBQ), follows the life and career of Chef Wolfgang Puck. This film highlights Wolfgang’s childhood trauma – how it affected him as a young boy who aspired to become a great chef; how he became arguably one of the best chefs in the world; the process of opening numerous dining spots; how fame and success affected him and his family. 

The opening minutes follow Wolfgang greeting a farm owner, a close friend of his, as he cuts fresh fruits and rides through the corn field. This scene is important because it allows viewers to see how active Puck really is – daily – even when he is not at work. He enjoys visiting the farm to pick and choose fresh fruits and vegetables. Wolfgang even justifies how involved he is, stating, “At my age, I should probably slow down, and take it easy, but it’s quite the opposite.” 

This film also includes statements from friends, family, former colleagues and current workers of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. throughout the film.  Nancy Silverton, a pastry chef who worked at Spago (1982-85) (one of Wolfgang’s many restaurants) states, “Wolfgang, without a doubt, was the first celebrity chef. He had so many restaurants, and so many different types of restaurants, all the products that he has on the shelves. I can’t even keep up with him anymore to tell you the truth.” This film shows Wolfgang cooking alongside his young cooks, watching over them and mentoring them.  Evan Funke, a cook who worked at Spago (2000-06) states, “The biggest misconception about Wolf is that he is just a celebrity chef and can’t cook, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The Mount Rushmore of California cuisine; Wolf’s right there, in the middle. He’s the founding father of the way we eat in this country.”

This film also focuses on the uprising of Wolfgang Puck’s first restaurant, Spago. Ruth Reichil, a food writer stating, “When wolf opened Spago, he changed the way Americans eat, even including pizza on the menu. Who knew pizza can be fancy?!” This leads me to my favorite part in the film, which is about the fancy pizza. Wolfgang shares the story of how he created his legendary smoked salmon and caviar pizza, unpredicted. It all started one night when it was extremely busy at Spago and suddenly Joan Collins (English actress); the biggest star on television at the time comes in. They had run out of an important ingredient that was needed to create the dish Joan Collins regularly ordered. They also ran out of baguettes or any other bread. Wolfgang got to work and started spreading out pizza dough, added some finely chopped onions, and baked it for a few minutes. Then, he put some milk cream on it, added some smoked salmon thinly cut, a few dollops of caviar, and served it to Joan. Wow! He truly is an incredible chef to come up with such a delicious pizza, out of nowhere. The most interesting part of this pizza is – it has no cheese, nor tomato sauce. This film also shares stories, from the perspective of Wolfgang, as well as his sister, as he visits his hometown of Sankt Veit an der Glan, Carinthia, Austria. He shared the unfortunate events he experiences with his stepfather; how he endured years of verbal abuse and being shut down daily as a young child; and how he overcame that.

The message I took away from this film is to never give up and stay committed. No matter your circumstances or where you came from, never give up on yourself. Wolfgang grew up extremely poor, but never let that define him or influence his courage to make his dream come true. 

I give Wolfgang 5 out of 5 stars and recommend for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It releases June 25, 2021, by Disney+.

Wolfgang
By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13 

The documentary Wolfgang talks about how food is family and food is love. This film depicts the culinary development of Chef Wolfgang Puck and I was delighted to learn more about his upbringing and journey to become the chef and businessman that he is.  Wolfgang is celebrated in my home every day as I use his cookware and my family incorporates cooking tips that my mom learned from watching him on various television shows.  He made her feel more comfortable in the kitchen and in trying new concepts with his easy style and engaging personality, which have also influenced my love of cooking.

The film starts showing Wolfgang’s early family life and the reasons behind his joy in the kitchen and love of cooking. We follow Wolfgang’s culinary training until he becomes the first “celebrity chef” and really defines “California Cuisine,” putting the gardens of California on a plate. After all, as Wolfgang says, “The right ingredients make all the difference.”  His incredible work ethic had leads to great monetary rewards, but at the expense of disrupting his family life.  At the end of the documentary, as he looks back on his life, it seems that he has now found the right balance in his personal life as well as in the kitchen.

The documentary is an emotional journey guided by Director David Gelb. I love the beautiful cinematography and the use of archival footage.  Brian McGinn’s script makes you really feel that the movie is in Wolfgang’s voice as he discovers that his purpose in life has been to make people happy through food as a conduit to love.  The interviews throughout the film are meaningful and highlight the importance that Wolfgang Puck has made on the food industry.

There are so many important messages in this film such as following Wolfgang’s work ethic and how it’s important to believe in yourself and not be afraid to take chances.  Giving up is not an option if you want to pursue your dreams, as nothing comes easy.  Wolfgang says a lot of inspiring things in this film; his sentiment I love most is that “the grass is greener where it’s watered the most.” Where to put in the effort applies to life as well as to your garden.

I give Wolfgang 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. The documentary will be available on Disney+ June 25, 2021 so don’t miss this inspiring story.

Wolfgang
By Mikella G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

I really like the new documentary Wolfgang because it’s a fascinating, intimate film about world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck. It taught me a lot about the food industry, and how much it could impact someone’s life.

This documentary starts off telling Wolfgang Puck’s life story. We learn about his culture as well as his family life. As the film goes on, we see his struggles, as well as successes, throughout his life. Wolfgang Puck is an extremely hardworking, determined person, and uses his childhood trauma as a way to never give up, and to keep going. Although he makes many mistakes, we learn that he is just a normal person like everyone else.  And, Puck learns from his mistakes, and becomes a better person in the end.

I enjoy that this film shows us the raw aspects of Wolfgang’s life. There aren’t a lot of production and special effects. Instead, everything is very real, and you can get a strong sense into what his life truly is like. Another thing that works very well is how they incorporate many videos from his past. This gives the audience a deeper look at how he works, and the type of person he is. It also contributes to the authenticity of the film. Lastly the interviews with important people in his life are a great addition to the whole documentary, telling Wolfgang’s story from other perspectives.

The message of this documentary film is to never give up on yourself, and your dreams. This film does deal with a sensitive topic – suicide.

I give Wolfgang 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. You can watch Wolfgang starting June 25, 2021 on Disney+

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