Sunday, December 17, 2006

Happy Feet

Took the kids to see Happy Feet yesterday. It was the first cinema experience for the wee one and she enjoyed it, but didn't manage to endure to the end of the film. Indeed, my elder daughter found it quite hard to maintain interest until the end, as the film is simply too long; 1hr 49mins to be precise. Which is fully half an hour longer than it should be.

This film gets it right for kids and adults alike on some levels - the penguins are cute and the way they sing to each other using (reasonably) contemporary songs is fun. But the plot doesn't really get going until about 20 minutes into the film and it is fairly slow going in bits - the kids lost interest on a few occasions.

Where the film started going wrong was that even the characters that weren't voiced by Robin Williams sounded as if they were. And then there's the last 30 minutes and the 'in your face' ecological message which is just too much. If I may paraphrase, the message of the film is this:

It would be OK if we over-fished the Antarctic ocean and deprived the penguins of their only food source if penguins were just ordinary penguins. But as it is, some penguins can tap-dance and so they are worth saving. Let's not steal their fish.

Can anyone spot the flaw in logic in that message?

Things they got right: Penguins singing, penguins dancing, penguins sliding on their tummies down exciting ice slopes, Elvis, going on a quest for food, South American penguins, synchronised swimming, nasty grey seals, elephant seals, killer whales.

Things they got wrong: Robin Williams, Robin Williams, the whole zoo bit, the eco message rammed down your throat, too many dull moments.

But the kids enjoyed the first 2/3 of it, so I can't really complain. We'll probably end up with the DVD eventually.

So 6/10 for kids (probably 7/10 for the DVD, when it comes, as you can simply switch off the end) but only 5/10 for adults.



At 2:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) Don't go an see Happy Feet. Listen to Mark Kermode (3pm, Fridays, Five Live - or podcast) and obey. He agrees with you, by the way.
2) Stop rating films out of 10. You're a wonderful person but, really, stop it.
3) Go and see "Pan's Labryinth". It's magnificent (but don't take the kids). If you don't love it I'll reimburse you the price of the ticket.

There; says it all about my priorities - of all the profound and not so profund (but always entertaining!) stuff you blog on here and elsehwere, the only thing I can rouse myself to comment on is a film!

Dave Meldrum

At 2:41 pm, Blogger Ricky Carvel said...


Hi. Sorry for the lack of well, um, any communications for, like, erm, pure ages. Oops.

As it happens I do listen to the Kermode podcast on a weekly basis. So I did know his opinion of the film before setting out to see it. But, if anything, he didn't rant enough about the ecological message of the film. However, he didn't say 'don't go to see happy feet' and both he and Simon Mayo had reasonably positive things to say about it, except for the eco-message.

I'll stop rating things out of ten if you start commenting on my more serious blog posts... maybe. ;o)

Would you rather I gave them a 1-5 star rating like Empire?


At 2:46 pm, Blogger Ricky Carvel said...

Forgot to say. I have every intention of going to see Pan's Labyrinth. It didn't get to Edinburgh very quickly, but is now here. I'll try and find the time over the Christmas holiday...

At 3:22 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, now there's an offer...! Aplogies from me, etc....

Glad to hear you listen to Kermode & Mayo. Anyway, my personal view is that films (or anything else for that matter) shouldn't be rated "out of something" at all - we should just (and here I adopt a Kermode style rant) READ THE REVIEW AND STOP LOOKING FOR EXCUSES TO BE LAZY!

There. Ratings are sypmtomatic of the death of culture (get the reference?). Sunday papers even do it for sports. I hate it! It's an easy way out and you're far too intellingent for that...

Does flattery work? Can you tell I'm work avoiding at the busiest time of my year?
You really must see Pan's Labryinth.

Dave M

At 3:37 pm, Blogger Ricky Carvel said...

BUT... Depending on my mood at the time, any review I (as a non-professional reviewer) make will either focus on the highlights or the low points and is not likely to give a totally ballanced view of the film. However, forcing myself to rate something according to a scale (see my review of X-men: Last Stand for the definitions of that scale) means that I can give a review full of highlights to a quite mundane film or I can pick out all the bad points in a film but still give it a high score because, despite them, it was entertaining.

My personal scale doesn't work for all films, however. Take Memento for example. I think it is probably 8/10, but it doesn't merit a second viewing (hence it should be 6/10 or less on my scale) as your enjoyment of the film is more-or-less dependent on not knowing the ending and figuring it all out as it goes along.

At 3:49 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do see your point (sort of), but rating is still highly arbitrary. However rigorous and consistent one tries to be, the difference between a score of 7 or 8 will inevitably be somewhat random in much the same way that my reaction to any film or music etc. will vary depending on the mood I am in and what is going on in my life.
A score can't reflect that, but your lucid comments can! A score doesn't do justice to the detail of what you have written before; trust your ability to write a good comment on the film/music etc; we enjoy reading it. The rank out of 10 just gives an excuse to skim to the end.

Dave M

At 4:27 pm, Blogger Ricky Carvel said...

Yes, the ratings are highly arbitrary and, indeed, are subject to change (see my review of X-men: Last Stand again), and, furthermore, the ratings only mean anything to the reader if they either (a) know me personally, or (b) have read sufficient numbers of previous film reviews to see how my previous comments correlate to their own opinions of some of the previously reviewed films.

Anyway, isn't there some work we should both be doing this afternoon? Do look us up next time you're in Edinburgh - we've moved across the road from where we lived last time you visited, but we're still easy to find. And I might even try and drop in on you sometime in 2007 - I'm spending a lot of time working with the Dartford Tunnel people, so will have to visit your part of the world several times in the coming months. If I get a free evening down there I'll try and drop in...

At 5:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds good - would love to see you. Back to work then...

Dave M


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