The Geeky Parent Guide aims to highlight media that both kids AND their grown-ups will be able to enjoy. This year, the GPG is focusing not only on the joy of the content itself, but on digging deeper to determine *why* media is of interest to various members of the family, as well as the valuable (and challenging) aspects of its messaging. As families grow and evolve, so, too, do their interests, and we hope to provide fun and thoughtful ways for families to sit back, relax, and enjoy new books, movies, comics, TV, and more.
Today, we explore Disney’s Crater, a futuristic space adventure following Caleb and his four friends who must navigate the moon’s terrain while dealing with several hardships. On top of an amazing adventure story, the onscreen chemistry from its cast represents heartfelt bonds where love and friendship stand the test of time.
If you have not watched Crater yet, please consider this your spoiler warning.
Release Date: 2023
Where to Stream: Disney+
What Is Crater About?
The year is 2257 and Caleb is about to move to a new home after his father’s death. After living on a lunar mining colony where resources are mined, he is being sent to the far-away planet Omega, where life is greener on the other side of the galaxy. Unfortunately, Caleb will leave behind his best friends, but not before going on an out-of-this-world adventure.
Caleb, Dylan, Marcus, Borney, and Addison (played by Isaiah Russell-Bailey, Billy Barratt, Thomas Boyce, Orson Hong, and Mckenna Grace) plan to steal a rover and find a secret crater Caleb’s dad told him about long ago. Despite never being outside of the lunar colony’s station, they decide to risk everything to have one last incredible journey together.
Crater is a science fiction adventure film lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes. Think about Goonies but in outer space, where all five characters must navigate their own personal struggles, while coming to terms with the upcoming loss of a dear friend. Whether dealing with the death of a parent, having a serious medical condition, or being separated from a sibling due to a divorce, Crater delivers a believable tale of friends who will do anything for each other, while making viewers realize life’s best moments will always be just a memory away – and nothing can take that away.
Why It’s Amazing for Parents
Being a parent can mean making difficult decisions while trying to do the right thing for your kid(s), even if we’re not sure what we’re doing is the right thing. Caleb’s father had to raise him from a young age after his wife, Caleb’s mother, died. As someone (me) who wants to see his kids succeed and find everlasting joy, friendship, and a place where they can be happy, Crater provides hope that there are people out there who will be dedicated to them as much as my wife and I are to them.
Stories are exceedingly valuable when they are meaningful, the characters are significantly believable, and we get lost in their fictional worlds. That is what Crater and its cast does; it is a homerun. Not only do these wonderful characters deal with difficult problems in what is supposed to be a futuristic utopia, Caleb and his friends find a way to be there for each other – even if that means one of them must leave and go far, far away.
On a complete side note, as someone who has struggled to deal with personal issues over the course of many months, Crater allowed me to get sucked into its wonderful world because the cast – and the incredible effects and landscapes – gave me something to root for in a way that makes everything seem alright, even when things are not always alright. That is what makes Crater wondrous and a beautifully told story, and I believe parents should watch this movie.
Why It’s Amazing for Kids
No, parents should not encourage their kids to break the rules in order to go on adventures. Yes, parents should hope their kids have fun watching other kids have the time of their lives. They will also see friends be incredibly supportive. They will see how characters lash out or cry when everything isn’t right in the world. Maybe your kids will also understand that it’s okay to feel this way, but still know you (their parents) will always be their support system, much like these characters are for each other.
Marcus has a heart condition where pills are prolonging his life, and Borney consistently hounds him to take his medicine. The concern is palpable; he wants his friend to live a long life. Dylan and Addison deal with being separated from parents or siblings. These insights of how different a kid’s life can be are valuable ways for younger viewers to feel compassion for others, because there aren’t always ways to know the struggles of another person until you get to know them and they let you into their worlds.
It’s also important for kids to see other kids say “stupid” stuff. Sometimes, kids can be mean and say terrible things. Crater shows kids how friends can make mistakes, but they recognize their faults and own up to those mistakes. Sometimes, words can never be taken back, but the ones who learn from their mistakes are possibly the ones who regret what was said and understand they would never do anything to hurt their friends.
The relationships in this story are genuine, and I can’t imagine young viewers not loving the time they spend watching these five as they explore the moon.
Parental Concerns or Limitations
I honestly cannot think of anything severe enough to say, “Maybe the PG-rating is a little off.” Crater is fun, emotionally gripping, and gives kids some real-life circumstances many deal with day in and day out.
If your child has a concern with seeing someone faint due to a medical condition, perhaps this brief sequence could be viewed ahead of time or skipped. If your kid lands in the G-rated age range, there is an intense sequence of the group trying to outrun a meteor shower where several characters have very close contact – and one impact – so perhaps that might scare too young of an audience.
Crater does so many things well that I think kids and adults can take away something different from it and come out on top.
Death of a Parent
Caleb loses his father after already having lost his mother seven years earlier. Not only is it heartbreaking to think of our kids being left without us one day, but Crater flashes back to different moments where his father talks to him. Whether he’s giving Caleb a valuable lesson, talking about the crater, or telling him how much he loves him, these scenes help to solidify how painful a loss like this can be for Caleb.
As the film progresses, there comes the realization that Caleb’s father’s death might not be what it seems. Without giving away too much, Caleb wrestles with stress or doubts compounded on top of an already devastating situation. This moment provides a breaking point where he needs his friends to help right his way. It’s a perfect sequence to show that people are not perfect, life can be overwhelming, and sometimes we need help from others to see the brighter side.*
Moving on Can Be Crippling to Think About
Caleb will be sent to Omega after a three-day lockdown due to a pending meteor storm. Instead of having two months with his friends, he realizes his will be put in a deep sleep for 75 years on his long journey to a new home.
*When it comes to facing such a drastic change in his life, he questions whether he should go through with it.
Life in the real world is full of big changes, and it is not always easy to cope with those changes. It is important for viewers of all ages to see how difficult it can be to process life-altering moments. It’s important because it is 100% normal to feel nervous, question, or be afraid of what lies ahead. Having wonderful people who support you is equally important to see, because those people want the best for you. Caleb has incredible friends who will miss him dearly, but understand the scope of this opportunity for him. Not only does Caleb deal with the death of his father, he must find a way to cope with leaving his friends behind who might be dead after his 75-year journey to Omega.
Additional Recommendations Beyond Crater
I adore Crater. It hits all the right points like a great movie should. Perhaps you grew up with adventures like The Goonies, The NeverEnding Story, or Flight of the Navigator. In today’s world, Raya and the Last Dragon is another fantastic adventure story where a character deals with loss, while going on a marvelous quest. Raya picks up new friends along the way, and she has to learn to trust them, while a movie like The Goonies represents that close-knit group from the beginning.
Still, Crater feels unique in a way where finding something exactly like it seems to fall short. It’s that great and I cannot stop thinking about it.
What do you think of Crater? Did you find it emotionally compelling and wonderfully adventurous? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Plus, if you would like more movie and TV content like this on the GPG, make sure to like this and share it with all of your friends over on Facebook and Twitter.
Until next time, happy parenting and happy geeking!