Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Adoption Movie Guide: Choose Your Own Adventure Abominable Snowman

Did you ever read Choose Your Own Adventure books? A few pages into the story, an unseen narrator asks you to make a decision – if you choose to go with the stranger, turn to page 6; if you run away, turn to page 10. The choices you make lead to more choices, and each book usually had a dozen or more endings, some pleasant, and some unpleasant.

“The Abominable Snowman” is a Choose Your Own Adventure movie. Three siblings are called by Uncle Rudy, who is an adventurer. He asks them to join him in Nepal to hunt for the Abominable Snowman, and the kids go. Periodically throughout the film, the viewer is asked to decide between two courses of action, registering their selection on the DVD remote. (The first choice happens when, en route to Nepal, we learn that the plane may have a fuel leak. Do you jump out with a parachute, or stay in the plane, hoping for a safe landing?) There are eleven possible endings. The DVD case lists the movie as being 80 minutes long, but my two stories averaged around 21 minutes. The first story ended when I got swarmed by killer bees. The second story ended when I rescued my uncle.

How is this Relevant to Adoption?

The three North children, Crista, Benjamin, and Marco, have a strong familial bond. They travel across the world to help their uncle. We do not know where their parents are, and it’s easy to assume that their parents are deceased, as the children ask in one ending whether their parents “would have been proud” of what they accomplished? Also, it’s revealed early in the movie that Marco was adopted from Guatemala. His adoption does not play into the storyline, but it’s obvious that his siblings view him as fully part of the family.

Strong Points

Time-limited choices require kids to be decisive. A mix of positive and negative endings seems likely to reward wise choices and show the consequences of foolish ones.

Marco, like his older siblings, has strengths and weaknesses. Even though he is the youngest, his siblings recognize his wisdom and affirm, “We should listen to you more often.”

I was surprised to see such a positive portrayal of adoption. It’s part of life, he’s part of the family, and it’s not the only thing that defines the Norths as a family, or Marco as a person.

Kids might be surprised the first time they get a negative ending, but the DVD does put a question mark after “The End” and encourages you to try again. For what it’s worth, I got chased by bees after foolishly wandering out of a safe building into the jungle, without waiting for Uncle Rudy to meet up with us.

Parents might want to help kids understand that not every choice is fully good or fully bad. Prior to making a decision, the viewer gets to listen to characters giving their reasons for each choice. A choice may be both wise and timid, both foolish and courageous.

Weak Points

Some parents might not appreciate their very young children being exposed to some of the juvenile humor in the movie. Marco laughs at the phrase “penguin butt.”


Most of the kids are quite young, and Marco is probably around 6 years old. The film will probably appeal most to children around the ages of 5-8, who will enjoy the novelty of deciding what the characters do.  Because this is a mix of active and passive entertainment, it’s a great opportunity for parents to sit with their kids, watch their kid make choices, affirm them, and talk about it afterwards. Why not use this for a bedtime story? Eleven different endings means you could do it once a week for a few months. Not a bad value for $4.89 new on Amazon.

I only saw two endings, so there might be some more positives or negatives…

Questions for Discussion After the Movie

When you made your choices, did you make up your own mind, or listen to the other kids’ advice?

How could you tell whether someone was giving you good advice or bad advice?

Of all the choices you made, which one was your best choice?

Which choice do you wish you could do over? 

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Also think about checking out Adoption at the Movies on Facebook.

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