Saturday, November 25, 2006

"Happy Feet" Stumbles

Well, I just returned home from watching the movie, "Happy Feet," with my wonderful wife and Daughter #3.

For the first half of the movie I enjoyed a slightly off-beat, but familiar romp about themes such as "being different," "intolerance" and the need to "loosen up" and "embrace diversity." Even though I am a Christian Pastor I could overcome the negative stereotypes of all things spiritual or religious (all such figures were intolerant of diversity, frauds, liars, stick-in-the-muds or outright debauches). In any case, to mid-point the movie was entertaining and amusing.

The second half of the movie seemed to have been written by a very dull and boring member of Greenpeace. The humor dried up, the dialogue became preachy, and the theme switched to saving the world from the "alien" humans who were killing the whales, polluting the earth, overfishing the oceans and being little more than "anti-Johnny Appleseeds," planting toxic waste and environmental disasters wherever they set foot.

But never fear, scientific technology (the hero penguin saves the day by being tagged with a radio-transmitter), "happy" scientists in orange jump suits and (I'm being serious here) the United Nations manage to save the day for the penguins.

The plot is so disconnected that I do not believe that any child under the age of fifth grade would be able to follow it or even care about it. There is a scene with a Sea Lion that is so frightening that many of the littlest ones in the theater were screaming and crying. It appears to be a movie that somehow lost its way and wound up wandering around until it decided to just come home and end.

By the time it ended I was very glad it did.

I am amazed at how many positive reviews "Happy Feet" has received at Rotten Tomatoes. It is currently showing a 79% positive rating. Two of the negative reviews there actually summarized my own feelings about the movie quite well:
(Writer/director) Miller has tried to make three or four different movies at once, the result occasionally lapsing into a state of noisy incoherence--Jason Anderson, "Globe and Mail"
Even the wee ones may start to notice something's amiss when the movie's theme goes from "be yourself" to "we must regulate the overfishing of the Antarctic oeacns." No, for real--Jordan harper, "Village Voice"
I really wish I had enjoyed it. I had actually planned on it . . . sigh . . .