Now here is a delightful story about a young girl who becomes lonely during the winter months in Vermont, and longs for adventure — and finds it! When Emma’s dad is given a vacation to St. Thomas and the wonderful waters there, Emma is busting with excitement. She and her mom and dad travel there and the trip exceeds Emma’s expectations. For she is about to meet and make life-long friends in Steve, the star fish, and Oliver the octopus. Steve feels like an outcast because of his bright orange color, and Oliver is in trouble with his older sister who watches him because, frankly, he doesn’t always follow the rules. Emma and Steve and Oliver all connect and find they share a kindred spirit.
Despite the beautiful hotel room they are given, it is at the ocean and in the water that Emma feels most at home. However, there are dangers lurking in the water, including a hungry barracuda that hopes to add Steve and Oliver to his dinner plans.
The animation is vivid, bright, and colorful and adds a nice ambience to this sea-life adventure. And then there are the peppy and enjoyable songs, which add an upbeat flavor to the adventures on screen. One song has a jazzy tempo while another one is more of a sea rap! The songs feature important messages and themes, such as remaining upbeat and positive when everything is going wrong.
Emma is small for her age but has big blue eyes and is described as having a smile that could melt any Scrooge. The movie is based on the book by Kim Cameron and she even produced and directed the film.
This movie will connect with anyone who has ever experienced loneliness or feel as if they don’t fit in. It also speaks of dreams and the importance of reaching for one’s aspirations and goals. Although intended for kids, this is one the entire family can enjoy together. It’s also G-rated, something you don’t see every day in today’s world of media and movies.
Another fascinating element of the movie is that it shows a shipwreck below the water and there are even family photos remaining in a cabin, which brings a certain haunting element to the story. Emma is interested in shipwrecks. But the story is also dotted with humorous moments from time to time, such as when we see a horsefish teaching a “school” of fish! Everything from clams to the barracuda with big teeth are featured in the film.
Emma’s experiences range from flying on a plane with her family, to going underwater and becoming friends with Steve and Oliver. When Emma sees the fish, she is so grateful for her dad bringing them to this place, that she exclaims, “Oh, daddy, you’re the best!” It’s nice to see a young girl portrayed who has a good and solid relationship with her parents. In fact, when her dad gets the call to return home and to work, she is sad but he encourages Emma to write a song for her “best friends” Steve and Oliver, and to sing it to them before they leave.
Yet typical teen issues are also briefly illustrated in the movie, with Steve trying to get out of doing some chores and lying in one scene. But he makes things right and explains it wasn’t so much wanting to get out of doing chores but helping others and making friends. In another one of the comedic scenes when Emma’s mom kisses her dad, her response is, “Ewww!”
Emma is especially grateful for Oliver’s friendship when the captain of a ship tells her that an octopus only shows itself to someone it deems worthy. Also featured in the story is the mention of a legendary treasure, and some pirates that felt an island was a sanctuary. She also learns of the “Seaper Powers”, or mystic powers. And do the waters have eternal life in them? The stories and legends are all around Emma. And she learns of the legend of Bleu Jay, a notorious burgler, who stole from the wealthiest travelers. Emma wants Steve and Oliver to help her find the lost treasure and she even draws up her own treasure map based on various facts she has learned.
This fantastic story is filled with sea life, adventures, and also concentrates on the importance of love and of having good friends in one’s life. It has procured our Dove seal for All Ages, due to its wholesome family viewpoint.
The Dove Take:
Featuring a remarkable mixture of sea life, characters, peppy songs, and the importance of friendship, this wonderful animated film is a sheer delight to watch.