In 1999, an animated edutainment film called, “Our Friend Martin” was released on VHS to teach young students at school, the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK for short) and how he successfully abolished segregation in the first place. The Plot is about two friends who accidentally travel back in time to MLK’s life, as they learn about his past and racism at the time.
This review contains SPOILERS. Let’s be honest, we all learned about MLK’s life at school and how he managed to abolish segregation by changing the way we view a person’s race. Does Our Friend Martin still holds up to this day? Well let’s find out shall we?
Positive & Negative Elements
Positive: Many celebs including Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones, Whoopi Goldberg, Susan Sarandon, John Travolta, Oprah, among many others, participated in this project for a very good reason on why they want to show this to their kids and grandkids.
Fun Fact: Oprah went on to co-star in Selma, a film related to MLK’s march by traveling on foot with a large crowd walking from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, the capital of Alabama.
The Concept for this edutainment film, was interesting to show two boys traveling in time to visit MLK, which makes the viewer understand the history of The Civil Rights Movement and the dark age of segregation.
The Animation reminded me of HBO’s Spawn. Spawn himself, is black and he’s the most popular superhero outside of Marvel and DC Comics. If it weren’t for MLK, Spawn would’ve never existed in the first place.
Archive Footage and photographs of MLK, are featured during pivotal moments of his life.
In The Third Act, there’s an alternate timeline in which MLK never delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech. This is a cautionary reminder on what not to do if you’re gonna go back to the past to hang out with a historical figure, think twice before you take him/her to your own time.
The Ending is heartwarming as it features a montage of people with different races working and getting along together as equals.
Negative: The running time is about an hour long. They could’ve stretched out more space to fill in the blanks. An hour long film is pretty unusual, it’s sort of like the equivalent of an hour long episode of a television series.
The Final Verdict: A-
If you’re a teacher, you should definitely show this to your students to help them understand MLK’s impact on why he changed the way we view racism and why we’re all created equal. This was the film that helped me understand the true meaning of equality and many of us will continue to honor MLK’s legacy for future generations as a reminder on why we’re all in this together as one.
Thank you MLK for helping individuals get along with one race after another. We will always remember you as the one that helped us put away prejudice in the trash.
R.I.P. Martin Luther King Jr.