Sunday, December 07, 2008

Not So Happy Feet

So I finally got around to watching Happy Feet. I know, it's been about two years since it came out. I was busy. My boss lent some movies to me over the weekend, warning me of their stupidity. But like a naive blossoming starry-eyed animator I said, "Surely they aren't that bad. Something can be gleaned from them."

Tonight I left a message for him, which read as follows:

Happy Feet just killed 89% of my remaining brain cells. I didn't think it was possible for me to get any more cynical about story artists for children's entertainment...


It really doesn't matter that the movie kind of started slow, or that it was largely a musical sung by penguins. A plot actually DID start, and yes it was about the time-honored struggle of a child who doesn't fit in, blah blah blah, dancing instead of singing like the other penguins, blamed for causing a youth revolution and a simultaneous fish shortage... and it all actually WAS going somewhere...

...until a bunch of suits at an American zoo see that he can dance, and do they put him on Broadway, or in commercials? No! They send him back into the wild with a transmitter. They follow him out there to find more dancing, singing penguins. Do they put them into showbusiness? No! They relay the video back to the suits at their comfortable corporate headquarters, where they instantly decide that all the dancing MUST mean that the penguins are trying to tell them something, and it MUST be that the humans are destroying the penguins' food supply! (DUH! How could you conclude anything different???)

Lesson learned - for those of us 80s kids who grew up watching Savion Glover tap dancing on Sesame Street, we should have only known his family in Africa was starving due to America stealing away all the plantains!!!

4 comments:

Kevin Barber said...

I just read your synopsis of this movie. I haven't seen it. Can this be right? It sounds absurd. Not that getting the Penguinsinto show biz woulda been a better solution,...that's cliche.The story they did arrive at sounds too obviously preachy. Well,..i wasn't gonna watch it any way,..but now i definitely won't. Thanks for saving me 2 hours of my life that i could spend ,..well,...maybe actually tap dancing.
(I work with your hubby Naveen. Good man.Congrats on scoring a dynamite first gig.What a dream project eh? Hope it gets better from there. My daughter and i are anxiously awaiting the fruits of your current project.)

-Kevin

Laura "Sko" said...

Oh showbusiness definitely would have been cliche. But he never should have chased the boat to America. I get that they were going for a Finding Nemo moment, an epic journey across the ocean, but they would have done better without it.

My suggestion for a better ending would have entailed a more sensitive approach - still involving Mumble (main penguin) appealing to the humans' better nature (a theme across the movie). When the Robin Williams penguin is choking because of a plastic 6-pack can holder is caught around his neck, and they journey to the Forbidden Shore, I would have been much happier if they had found some conservationists who would feel sorry for the bird and remove the burden from its neck... and then possibly follow them back to their families and through their natural concern for wildlife, discover that they were short on fish.

I'm not even a professional writer, and I can come up with that.

Raj Nattam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Raj Nattam said...

Oh it wasnt that bad. Yes the plot was insane. But...eh, I watched it with my mom and I think her laid back sensibilities lulled me into acceptance of the movies madness. Or insanity. Or whatevah.