In the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, there is a paradise unlike any other: the Galapagos. Amongst these remote volcanic islands, life has played out over millions of years in relative isolation. The result is a wonderland of nature.
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Before we watched this movie, we did a mini-unit on the Galapagos Islands. I'm homeschooling my six-year-old and two-year-old, and so our botanical and zoological studies didn't get much past "This is a Cormorant" and "Look, the cacti look like trees," and a vague understanding of natural selection. My son knows the name Charles Darwin, but does he know he lived 150 years ago? Probably not.
In spite of their young age and their tenuous grasp on the subject matter, this movie commanded the attention of both children, immediately. The storyline follows a young marine biologist as she investigates the various features -- and animals and plants -- of the archipelago. My son went running for paper to make sketches of what he was seeing, copying what she was doing. The narrative, read by the scientist herself, was very engaging, simple, and kind of sweet. A little too much on the "this magical place" for me, but for the little 'uns, you know, they like that "magical place" talk. They had fun at Disney World tool. That's just the kind of kids they are.
ANYWAY, it was a GOOD movie, and it afforded me a very warm happy feeling, when my little kids were jumping up and down watching a documentary, yelling, "MARINE IGUANA! MARINE IGUANA!" It got a little detached from the Galapagos Islands themselves (no blue-footed booby, darn) and more into the under the sea stuff. There were a few too many shots of many schools of fish, and scuba bubbles, which were probably great in an IMAX theater -- not that great on a small screen.
All in all, though, it was very satisfying. I could have used more land iguanas eating cacti with the spines and all, but the kids liked it. And that's something. They especially enjoyed the part where the scientist went down 3000 feet and used a vacuum to suck specimens up off the ocean floor. That was, I must admit, pretty sweet.
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