The show follows the fictional adventures of animal experts Chris and Martin Kratt. Each episode is introduced by a live action segment where the brothers interact with an animal before transforming into cartoons.
The animated Kratts and their crew fly around the world on a giant turtle-shaped aircraft called the Tortuga. Their adventures usually center around the use of their creature power suits which allow the wearer to mimic the behavior of any animal they come into contact with.
Of all the shows the Cutlet could choose to watch, this is actually a pretty good one. It’s educational – She will often share animal facts with us, and we’ll ask if she learned that in school. “No, I learned it on Wild Kratts!” Also, the Kratts travel with a scientist named Aviva who is a pretty good role model for girls.
Sadly, the other two supporting characters are not such good role models. Jimmy seems to be somewhat of an homage to Shaggy from Scooby Doo. He has long hair, is always hungry, and is favorite activity is “chillaxing.” The final member of the crew is named Koki, and her main role seems to be “sassy black sidekick.”
Their main antagonist is Zach Varmitech, an emo inventor who often tries to use animals for selfish means and to make himself rich, regardless of the harm it might cause. He’s basically an animated version of Martin Shkreli.
The Kratts have been touring the country with a live show, and this weekend, they came to Washington DC. Naturally, the Cutlet and I were in attendance.
As we waited for the show to begin, the Cutlet began excitedly comparing notes with the boy sitting next to her. They were talking about the various episodes, their favorite animals, and which Wild Kratts apps they had on their respective tablets. They also kept counting down until the start of the show, but unfortunately couldn’t seem to grasp the difference between minutes and seconds.
Finally, the Kratt brothers appeared on the giant video screen in animated form, and then “jumped” into real life from behind a curtain. (The Cutlet was amazed by this.) They proceeded to ask the audience a few questions about the show and animals in general. (It was amusing to watch all of the kids excitedly raising their hands and shouting out answers.)
Next they brought out the creature power suits, and I was legitimately curious how they were going to “activate their creature powers.” They basically turned down the lights and showed the animated Martin and Chris transforming into the creatures while they got changed offstage. They then demonstrated their “creature” powers with the help of stage props. The caracal’s leaping ability was mimicked with a springboard, while the “cement” wall that the rhino suit charged through appeared to be made of cardboard.
The second act had the Wild Kratts’ miniaturizer (yes, they have a shrinking device) “stolen” by Zach’s robots, and they had to use new creature powers which would help them get it back. This time around, they went with woodpecker and orangutan.
It was a little cheesy, but it seemed to go over quite well with the intended audience. The Cutlet certainly had a good time.
I have a couple of questions about the show:
- Why do the Kratt brothers appear to become about ten years younger in animated form?
- How do they pay for all of their equipment? I’m sure those creature power suits aren’t cheap, but they don’t seem to have any source of income.
Perhaps the scariest thing about this show is that I’ve already imagined the inevitable “gritty” remake movie that we’ll probably get in 20 years or so:
The Kratts – working on a government contract to study and develop advanced animal-based technology – learn that a rogue faction within the government wants to steal their technology for military use. Meanwhile, the Kratts have growing concerns that the use of the power suits is altering their DNA, causing them to lose touch with their humanity. Ultimately, the Kratts have to prove that they don’t need to rely on their technology to save the day.
Look for it in theaters in the summer of 2036!