Making the Grades
An animated movie from the age old studios of Hanna-Barbera, Once Upon A Forest offers a story that tries to teach kids the importance of taking care of the woods of the world.
The tale revolves around a little mouse, a mole, and a hedgehog who are compelled to trek across a dangerous part of their forest to retrieve a rare herb required by their dying friend. The illness is the result of a tanker truck running off the road and spilling a poisonous gas that floods over the forest floor. The three set off, and even manage to build their own aircraft to shorten the trip home, and to save having to repeat the adventure over in reverse.
This movie teaches children some good things, but not necessarily about the environment. I felt that there was more emphasis placed on working together and sacrificing to help others. That's not bad, but with all of the environmental emphasis, it is unfortunate the message is not clearer. The film shows what can happen if man is not careful, but it doesn't spend much time showing what can be done to help the problem.
The bland script holds no shocking surprises to scare even the youngest audience, but the movie does suffer from a dark view of the world. In the opening, the sick little hedgehog's parents are killed, and there just doesn't seem to be much hope in the world.
Thanks to Disney, our expectations of animation have risen. Although this film exceeds Saturday morning offerings, even the voices of Ben Vereen and Michael Crawford cannot put this movie into Disney's class.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Once Upon A Forest.
After your children view the film, you might want to emphasize what can be done in your own family to help the environment, so that children can see a positive trend.