I know it has been months since I have posted regular updates on the films I have seen. But now I am going to try and keep up, though the reviews may be shorter.
You can visit http://americancatholic.org/movies/default.asp for the films I reviewed for the December issue of St. Anthony Messenger; for previously reviewed films between June and November, search for titles using the alphabetical list on the bottom of the page on the magazine’s site.
Happy Feet is quite a mixture of story themes played out as an animated musical version of last year’s Oscar Award-winning documentary film: March of the Penguins. (It also reminded me of the CRM motivational film that came out a few years ago, A Peacock in the Land of Penguins; see http://www.crmlearning.com/a-peacock-in-the-land-of-penguins). These themes are: being different (Mumble – voice of Elijah Wood – is a baby Emperor penguin who cannot sing to search for a mate, but is born late and his only talent is tap dancing), tolerance, cultural diversity, family, community vis-à-vis individuality, tribalism, the environment and the food chain, and being willing to make sacrifices for the common, greater, good.
I also thought the penguin’s elder leader, with the Scottish brogue and his invitation that Mumble “repent”, along with the church on the hill with the graveyard that was near the oil or fishprocessing plant was an interesting “religious” gloss. How can you change who you are if you are born that way? Is one of the writer’s commenting from an evangelical or Calvinist background that questions its tenets? No matter; the question is valid but perhaps lost by trying to do to much with this anthropomorphic tale.
The animated penguins are delightfulto look at, the science and effects of humankind on nature well-presented. It is directed by the noted Australian George Miller who also has Babe, Pig in the City, Lorenzo’s Oil, and the Mad Max trilogy to his credit. I think the film provides a fine platform to talk about the themes its four-member writing team introduced into the little-bit too long of a film.
Entertaining and thoughtful.