[quote=“Vay”]Well, to each his own, I guess, but I think all the criticisms of “heaviness” are kind of sad. First of all, the issue IS that heavy – actually far MORESO but this isn’t the politics forum so I won’t get into it. Second, that heaviness makes for great drama. Once they find out Lovelace is being choked by the can-holder it starts to build, and gets heavier and heavier until it culminates in a moment of down-right despair when Mumble bangs his head on the wall at the penguin pen.
That kind of despair is what creates such a touching moment when the little girl and Mumble connect and things spiral back to a happy ending. Humans aren’t just heartless, mass-fish-consuming “annihilators” – we are also empathetic and able to change for selfless reasons.
You may say, “Hey, I don’t go to a cartoon to see that kind of thing” - but maybe you should. What is it you want - a movie like “Cars” that gives you a nice comfortable little jerk-off and then you forget about it the next day? A movie that allows you to leave your heart and brain in the car when you walk in the theater. In that case, you really ought to see Tray Parker’s new movie “Idiopolis” to see where our culture is headed.
For me, I want drama. I want movies to engage my brain and my emotions, animated or no. And as for this being a kids’ movie, I don’t really think it exactly was – and if kids see it and based on that decide not to eat seafood because the fishing industry is EVIL, what the heck is wrong with that? It’s true!!! God forbid we actually get a little education with our all-important ENTERTAINMENT.[/quote]
First, I admit that I liked HF, just as I liked Miller’s earlier movies. The animation in HF was spectacular, the soundtrack catchy, and at times I felt like getting up and dancing. But as a movie, there were definite flaws that prevent me from giving better than perhaps a 75.
For one, there were too many stories that didn’t mesh and some of which were never resolved. There was the theme of mumble’s independence and non-conformity, which seems a little odd in such a harsh environment where harmony and cooperation is crucial in so many ways for mere survival. There was the love story that abruptly ended 2/3 of the way through the movie, when he simply walked away from her. There was the story of father-son alienation and acceptance, which was miraculously resolved when the son comes home, converts everyone to dancing, and the dad suddenly gets boogie fever too. There was the multi-cultural aspect, with the homeboy rock carrying penguins, thrown in for kicks. There was the take on superstition and religious fundamentalism, as seen in mumble’s elders’ absurd belief that a shortage of fish was caused by his dancing and in the line of followers seeking wisdom from the Robin Williams’ guru penguin.
And of course there was the environmental message, which came across as overly blunt, simplistic and preachy. Unless I’m going to a flick like Al Gore’s movie (which I haven’t seen yet but would like to) I generally go the movies for entertainment – for good plot, character development, dialogue, humor, scenery, music, etc., and even theme, which can be positive, uplifting and inspirational, or dark and morbid. In a good movie those elements all work together subtly and seamlessly, so the viewer is carried along through the experience, entertained, moved, saddened, gladdened, educated, enlightened or whatever, without feeling that the writers, producers, directors, etc. have gone out of their way to manipulate his emotions.
There’s nothing wrong with heavy issues in a movie. I enjoyed Apocalypse Now, Psycho, Fargo, Dr. Strangelove, Blue Velvet, etc. But the environmental message in Happy Feet rose up suddenly like a giant GreenPeace billboard midway through the movie. I suspect even my 3 year-old girl sensed that suddenly something was different – not different in that a heavy theme had developed, but different in that the movie suddenly changed from entertainment to preachy indoctrination. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for protecting the environment, I’ve seen firsthand how quickly the world’s fish supplies are being depleted and it concerns me greatly, I believe the word should go out to all, so people can act for the good of the planet, BUT, I don’t want someone to rise up suddenly in the middle of a perfectly entertaining movie to hit me over the head with that.