Pros: Nice animation, entertaining, children love mice
Cons: Not exactly historically accurate
You are reading a contribution to the Disney ~*~ When You Wish Upon A Star Write-Off!
Emily Rose, the young daughter (15 months old) of fellow Epinion member: ImAmes (http://imames.epinions.com/user-imames) is battling Retniblastoma (a form of cancer, which is found in the eye).
Special thanks to hosts: Lisa_J (http://npreciouscare.epinions.com/user-lisa_j) and Opalman (http://www.epinions.com/user-opalman).
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Children love to learn. From the day they are born they are exploring their environment. Using every experience to fill their little minds. As a parent you try to give them as many learning experiences as possible. And, the more fun children have learning the more interested they are in learning.
While I don't feel children should be subjected to large amounts of television viewing, I don't believe that all television viewing is bad. So, I try to select shows for my children to watch. Mainly shows that have some sort of educational value.
When I saw the Disney Ben & Me tape it looked like an interesting way to introduce Ben Franklin to my young sons. It was sure to catch their attention seeing how it was a cartoon, included animals, and hey, it had Disney on it. So, off the store shelf and into a shopping cart it went.
We didn't watch it immediately, it was "saved for a rainy day". Or, in the end, for the day we read a book that included information of Benjamin Franklin. Since we read about him, and the children seemed interested in his kite flying escapades, we pulled out Ben & Me, popped some popcorn and sat down to watch.
Rating: Rated G
Duration: 25 minutes
There aren't any! No need to fast forward through previews to get to the movie. Just push play.
The movie starts in current times with a group of school children visiting a statue of Benjamin Franklin. The camera then 'ans up to the top of Ben's hat where there is a small statue of Amos mouse, being toured by a group of young mice. We are then told the story of Benjamin Franklin through the eyes of Amos mouse, rather than another human. Amos Mouse narrates the movie.
Amos begins by telling his family history, from relatives who studied under master artists to his great grandfather Jason Mouse who fought for the rights of mice against cats. It was Jason who brought his family from England, to America, aboard the Mayflower. Amos' large family live in Philadelphia. They were a poor church mouse family. Amos sets off on his own to make it in America.
While wandering the town, Amos enters Benjamin Franklin's house and the two become friends. Amos then proceeds to help Ben invent some of his greatest inventions. Who fixed Ben's broken spectacles, thus creating bifocals? Why Amos of course! Who came up with the Franklin stove (and vent tubing)? Why Amos of course! Who was there to get all of the news stories a young Ben needed for his paper (The Pennsylvania Gazette)? Why Amos of course!
Amos proceeds to help Ben Franklin with his many inventions, discoveries, and ideas as Ben builds his reputation. Throughout the show we watch as Amos helps a smart, but somewhat absentminded, Benjamin Franklin perfect his ideas. Events of Benjamin Franklin's life are shown in a humorous manner that will make a person giggle, from the operating of the printing press, to the flying of the kite with a key, that was struck by lightening.
But as with every good story line, there must be some conflict. As Ben's reputation grows, Amos begins to feel less and less appreciated. Eventually, Amos decides to leave Ben. While apart Ben continues his work in Colonial America, including his trip to England to visit with the King. Amos meanwhile, returns to his church mouse family, but keeps up on current events.
Ben then goes to the church looking for Amos. The two decide to try to come to terms. Amos writes up a contract, regarding the two of them working together again. As Ben Franklin is reading the contract, Thomas Jefferson stops by bemoaning the difficulty in writing up an effective document to send to England. Ben reads part of Amos' contract out loud, and Thomas Jefferson is inspired by it. "When in the course of human events...." written by Amos, becomes the introduction to the Declaration of Independence.
Simple and sweet. That is the best way to describe the animation in Disney's Ben and Me. The animation flows smoothly, with no fancy computerized effects to draw attention away from the story line.
*Nice Animation: Easy to watch. Adds instead of detracts from the story.
*Nice Music: Upbeat, and adds to the plot.
*A lot of Information: Covers many of Benjamin Franklin's inventions & contribution, including Ben Franklin stove, bifocals, the "discovery" of electricity,
*Knowledge is Power: When my sons started studying American History in school, their teachers were surprised at how much they knew about certain historical figures, including Benjamin Franklin.
*No violence, no sex, no inappropriate language
*Historical Inaccuracy: Amos the mouse did not exist.
*Ben's an Air head: Benjamin Franklin is portrayed as being not very bright, even a bit scatterbrained. This is not how Benjamin Franklin is known. It's more for helping the story line of show.
While Amos the mouse did not, of course, invent these things, it does introduce children to the vast amount of work Benjamin Franklin did. And in a way that captures their attention. After watching the show we discussed the amazing things Benjamin Franklin accomplished in his life. My children were introduced to Benjamin Franklin and became interested in learning more about him. We also discussed that Amos the mouse was a fictional character designed to make the show more entertaining.
I do recommend Disney's Ben & Me as a method of introducing historical figures to children. Children love to learn, and with encouragement will learn.
All money received from this review will be donated to LisaJ and her family to help with medical expenses.