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BMZ Review: Molecules to the MAX!
By Ross Anthony

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H20 etc.
Written by: Ross Anthony
Source: Ross Anthony's Hollywood Report Card
Date: March 8, 2010
Rating:  

     

Category: Reviews

Wow, Oxygen can sing! This element has some voice! The songs have nice punch, and a bluesy swing. However, despite the cartoony fun, there's a great deal of talking -- especially in the front end. I still think it's a neat production, but some hot action at the outset would have helped to win over little minds.

Basically, you've got a handful of atoms as characters: Carbon, Oxygen, and not surprisingly, a couple of frisky Hydrogens. They're all more or less bouncing balls that talk while zipping around the universe in a space ship looking for "The secret to life." The ship has the ability to get micro-small in order to view molecular structures of things, and then get big again to see the actual object. This is a cool idea, but it could have been realized better. I'm not sure it's clear enough to kids that the ship is "going micro." I would have liked to see the size lever on the control panel be labeled with + and - zoom symbols common on computer applications (most notably maps). Secondly, before ever using this zoom-lever for real, the atoms should play with it slowly, so kids could see the objects slowly getting bigger or smaller. Then they'd get it.

There's a similar problem with the balloon scene. It's a cool idea that our friendly atoms glide into a helium filled balloon. But, I don't think it's clear to kids that that's where we are as viewers (inside the balloon).

Also, when the two hydro's join the silver-throated Oxy -- there needed to be some visual indication that water was formed. Perhaps make that molecule sweaty, droplets falling to the floor -- something.

Technically, the 3-D was tight enough, but not all that spectacular. I was impressed with no visually compelling reason to see it in 3-D. As for the sound, there were times, especially with the Carbon character, when the dialogue became ununderstandable.

Lastly, I'm sure this production will be criticized for inconsistent age level content. The visuals look as though they'd appeal to young kids 4 to 7 or 8. But the dialogue has lots of big words, feels aimed at the older than 9 crowd. This could be a problem. Still, I happen to think challenging kids is a good thing. Yes, they'll miss a lot, but the picture does have it's reoccurring themes: oxygen and hydrogen make water, etc.

Overall, it's a quirky piece with lots of room for improvement. However, I really appreciate the effort and were I teaching third grade science, I'd want my kids to see it. As it is, I'd be very curious to see the stats on classrooms that have seen it. Did the young kids stay engaged? What did they learn? Did old kids tune out because of the kiddy visuals? What did they learn?

Molecules to the Max 3D. Copyright © 2010.
Produced by Nanotoon.
Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)



Copyright © 1998-2010. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: www.RossAnthony.com. For Adult & Teen Novels written by Ross Anthony visit: www.RossAnthony.com/books.

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