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Why 4 Stars for a cheapie film?
on December 18, 2013
Entertainment Value for Intended Audience: My daughter watched this film repeatedly each day for several weeks when she was 4. It drove me crazy. If it drives you crazy, be less lazy than me and take your kid to a park. She still watches and enjoys it on occassion at the age of 6. But my friend, the 42 year old arthouse movie fan was disappointed by its total lack of family reunion dinner scenes set in Europe. Be warned.
Animation: Yes, not everyone has access to a $100 million plus budget like Pixar or Disney. Who'd a thunk? I grew up on Spiderman cartoons where static pictures were slid across the screen, and clips were reused repeatedly on every episode. I think you could condense 13 episodes of that series into 3 if you edited them to show each piece of animation only once. Did I care? Heck, no. And at least it wasn't that Eskimo cartoon where they use human lips instead of animation either. The animation in Dolphin is serviceable, and kids the age it is made for won't care. Or if they do, they're way too cynical for their age. Shame shame. Frankly the weird animation sort of fits the weird storyline.
Story: Remember those weird cartoons and kids shows you grew up on? Puff the Magic Dragon? That surreal Raggedy Anne and Andy cartoon with the floppy blue donkey? The Magic Railroad? Dr Snuggles? Anything with the name Krofft attached? Re-edited imported Japanese cartoons? They were like bad trips half the time. And they never insulted your intelligence. Remember all the scary themes they had? Well, to quote Maurice Sendak: "I remember my own childhood vividly...I knew terrible things. But I knew I mustn't let adults know I knew. It would scare them" That's something sorely lacking with kids programming these days, much as I love Yo Gabba Gabba. Teletubbies, Night Garden, etc, are way too minimalist and cutesy to compare. Yes, this film has a scary barricuda in it. It also has deep philosophical themes and positive messages. And it doesn't always make the greatest sense. But at least it isn't some shallow toy tie-in or a pre-teen soap opera or a quasi videogame. And it has fewer fart jokes (one) than any crappy remakes Disney has been making of its own films since the 90s, usually with Eddie Murphy.
Adding to Dolphin's cache: The family in Raising Hope have a copy.