Movies in Nature: Captain Fantastic

Can “Philosopher Kings” make it in the “real world”?

What if you could live in an idyllic setting far from other people and raise kids without technology or the typical pressures and influences of the “civilized world”? What knowledge and skills should they develop to survive and thrive? How would you teach them? In this 2016 movie written and directed by Matt Ross, Viggo Mortenson plays a devoted father raising six children “off the grid”. A tragedy forces the family to journey into the outside world and tests the values and bonds the family has worked to create. The movie weaves drama and humor into a story of a parent facing judgement for their choices, but facing the inevitable: children growing up and having to make their own choices.

Warning: while the movie features the beauty and wonders of nature, the opening scene is filled with tension and brief violence that is not present for the rest of the movie.

Movies in Nature: The Lorax

Teaching Kids the Importance of Nature

Movies that portray nature in an important and key aspect to the plots and that I believe have impact in our society are those targeted to kids, for example The Lorax. In the Lorax, we are introduced to a little creature who’s whole mission is to “speak for the trees.” In that universe people lack the understanding that when there is greed when it comes to nature, no one ends up winning. The main character, the Once-ller tells the story of how trees disappeared due to his greed of cutting down as many as he can see in order to make sweaters. Movies like these that place emphasis on the environment and on preserving it are important as they encourage kids to care for nature and everything that encompasses it. For example its animals and its flora. Movies like these are important as they portray nature in a mysterious, astonishing and overall important way to the youth.

Movie in Nature: Life of Pi

Life of Pi (2012) is an inspirational movie involving a man, Pi Patel, being stranded on a boat with a large Bengal tiger named Richard parker. The movie starts off with Pi living in India with his family at their zoo. The family decides to sell their zoo and move to Canada. During the move, a large storm strikes their boat resulting in many lives lost. Pi, with the tiger, are the only survivors. As you watch this movie, you will see Pi develop a relationship with this tiger, who at first Pi feared. This movie is eye opening, dramatic, and influential. Pi goes through a spiritual awakening while stranded at sea. This move incorporates the importance of humans, animals and nature in life.

Movies in Nature: The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings (2001) movies are known for their amazing use of nature to enhance the storyline. These movies follow a young hobbit named Frodo Baggins as he journeys to destroy a magic ring he inherited from his older cousin Bilbo Baggins. It is a race against time to destroy the ring as dark forces who know the true powers of the ring are on a mission to reclaim it. Hobbits live in a fictional land called the Shire and are known to have a green thumb which is represented by the lush greenery that fills every inch of the Shire. We see their positive relationship with nature in the way they care for their land and it is contrasted by scenes of the dark and barren lands where the dark forces dwell. It is interesting to see how the “villains” of the story are characterized to have a poor relationship with nature while the “good guys” live in a flourishing, green garden. All three of the movies were filmed in New Zealand and feature spectacular landscapes. If you’re someone with an interest in films that feature nature, check out these films!

Movies in Nature: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

How does a movie about a thrilling daydreaming exploration sound?

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) is a movie about Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) and him changing his life, which occurred through adventures in nature. Walter Mitty is an employee at the Life magazine, and he spends his days developing photos. His days consist of repetitive tasks, so Walter inhabits a world of thrilling daydreams in which he is the hero. After many troubles with the magazine, he gets a chance to have a real adventure when Life’s new owners send him on a journey to obtain the perfect photo for the final print issue. Throughout the movie, Walter explores some gorgeous, rugged landscapes in search of Sean Penn’s photographer character. It is a tour of different parts of nature, which has Iceland stand in for both Greenland and the Himalayas. It has scenes from the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the Skogafoss waterfall, and the mountainous Vatnajökull National Park. The nature around him plays a critical role in his journey and shapes the person he becomes. If you are interested in various nature scenes, adventures, and a thrilling daydreaming exploration, then this is the movie for you!