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Newton: A Tale of Two Isaacs [VHS]
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"This intelligent screenplay about Sir Isaac Newton's battle to convince skeptics of the value of his scientific discoveries emphasizes the importance of perseverance and hard work, although kids may first get drawn into the story by a fictional subplot about a lab assistant more interested in romance than science." -- Parenting, February 1999
We are a homeschooling family studying early American History time period and Sir Isaac Newton was within this time period. I wanted to help cement in my kids' minds who he was and videos always seem to help. The story held their attention easily and I appreciated the fact that somebody spent money and effort trying to develop a storyline about a scientist/mathematician . It's probably hard to come up with an interesting, engaging story about math!
However, I had 2 issues with the movie. One, was that a 12 year old looking boy (the younger looking boy on the video cover, who is the narrator of the story and clearly hasn't even gone through puberty since he sounds like a 10-12 year old boy- "girly" voice our kids have prior to puberty) develops a relationship (and kisses) another 12 year old looking girl. The two end up marrying, but it just seemed ridiculous to have such young characters kissing and "falling in love". In todays day of "sex sells everything", I don't see why the makers of this film needed to set before children's eyes the idea of young children kissing and supposedly marrying. As if they don't see enough inadvertent messages everywhere from commercials, magazine covers, etc telling them about the physical aspects of relationships. Granted, we are a conservative family, but I think any reputable child psychologist would agree that at 12 yrs, or even 17 yrs for that matter, (which that boy was definitely not!), children are not emotionally mature enough to handle marriage and the natural responsibilities that come with it of raising little ones themselves.
For those families with like-minded views, I wanted to make you aware of this aspect in the movie.Read more ›
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I debated giving this 2 stars or 3 -- I really didn't like it and only gave it 3 stars because it's supposedly for encouraging kids to study science. I'm in favor of that; I'm in favor of them studying in general.
But the content is not very good at all in my opinion. My objections are that the characters -- real people, not fictional -- are all made out to be buffoons. I can see that if it's aimed at 5 year olds, but somewhere I read it was intended for 8-13 year olds. 13 year olds should certainly be able to handle a more serious treatment. There is a lot of interesting story hinted at here, but most of it never really makes it onto the screen because the nonsense takes center stage. The story of how Edmond Halley approached Newton and asked him what kind of orbit the planets used is really interesting -- I won't tell it here, but that encounter led to the creation of the Principia, one of the most important works in the history of science, (in history of any kind!).
I'm certainly happy that they took the time and effort to tell kids about Newton (and other scientists like Galileo, Leonardo -- those done in other episodes of the same series), but it could have been done better.
I suggest, if they need to lighten up the content a little to keep the kids' interest they might used a narrator to do that and tell the story better than it was. The potential for an interesting, educational telling is there, they just failed to find it.
I'm not a professional educator and that's why I cut them some slack and went with 3 stars, but I cannot in good conscience say they did a good job. Sorry! Wish it could have been otherwise.
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The VHS was fine. I had paid extra for next day delivery. It stated that it would be delivered on Friday. I did not receive the VHS until at least five days later. Which at that time I no longer needed it. I will save the VHS for future use, but was disappointed in the delivery.