Customer Review

24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrifically Tender, but Slightly Tainted 'Tale', December 5, 2007
This review is from: Arctic Tale (DVD)
(3 1/2 *'s) `An Arctic Tale' is not exactly woven as neatly as `March of the Penguins'. Playful and at times cutesy-pie like the walrus pups and polar bear cubs presented, narrator Queen Latifah gives a comic edge to what might have been just another polar survivor adventure. Personification is a key component to the charm of her presentation, but this gets extended into the ending, which fails to stay with the story and becomes a springboard to a soapbox lecture at the end.

As with any National Geographic special, some of the cinematography ("principal" [their spelling] cinematographer, Adam Raveld) is awesome. Without a widescreen TV, I was thoroughly satisfied. The story is the tender and terrific rendition of one mother polar bear and her cub, Nanu, and one mother walrus and her pup, Selah. We see the lifecycle go from each of their births and follow their community adventures until each is old enough to become a mother herself.

As a G-rated venue, meant to enlighten and entertain, I think discerning information is needed for its potential audience. Just as the ice splits into two during an arctic summer solstice, the movie can have that kind of "polarizing" [sorry!] effect. Walking on thin ice, I'll try to be as fair as possible, nonetheless. Seeing the arctic creatures fend for themselves as their domain is melting more than previously, I knew one could discern an environmental message in layers just below the surface.

At the end we get children pleading for the audience to amend their lives to help save the characters in the movie. Now, I am split with a verdict of the ending. Part of me, having grown up in the seventies, likes the idea of conserving and sharing resources. Pollution and hording are not okay, and the specter of another energy crisis with garbage looming on the horizon is not part and parcel of my beliefs for a better future. On the other hand, I start to lose my sympathies when prodigy children lecture me that if I take two minutes less to shower, I will save the life of one of the polar bears. I think this is when everyone has a right to a claim of disservice. Conservatives get angry when they have been robbed of their "G" rated entertainment in favor of what they say is silly propaganda. Liberals also have a right to be equally offended for having their causes being brought to ineffective levels, bringing incredulity to the masses.

I think if you take the movie as it is, you will be well served by a beautiful and benign film. Just like people sometimes find it nauseating when you have a highlighter pen lecture like at the end of 'The Ultimate Gift,' people will find it more effective to let the story and stunning cinematography do all the work for them and let the adults do their own lecturing to their children. Maybe they could have taken their cues from 'Happy Feet' before them. Just as they seemed to emulate them with an environmental tale set to music, 'Arctic Tale' should have ended with its graphic "Green.nationalgeographic.org." In movies with the tug-of-war between show and tell, show should always win over tell.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 7, 2007 4:02:50 AM PST
KerrLines says:
Hey JP, I reviewed this one when it was a theatrical release....ehhh! I was not so generous in the star department!
Brian

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2007 5:05:31 AM PST
You got to see this adventure in the full splendour of the big screen. I only gave it half a star more than you did. It was beautiful and entertaining, but some things weren't all that spectacular. JP

Posted on Dec 7, 2007 12:09:26 PM PST
A good, honest review, JP,

The way you describe it in such detail I just HAVE to see this film. I'm partial to good graphics and cinematography, so this fits my "bill."

Keep your pen hot, my friend,

Betty

Posted on Dec 7, 2007 12:11:03 PM PST
Oops, forgot to tell you, you may like a new book I'm reading by a best-selling Canadian author; it's WHALE SONG and I'm loving it so far.

C U around Amazon! :)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2007 3:30:52 PM PST
Thanks Betty for your positive comments and for your recommendation. I hope you like the movie. JP

Posted on Feb 12, 2008 10:36:22 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 9, 2008 7:27:42 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 13, 2008 1:58:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Apr 15, 2008 3:55:52 PM PDT
You bring a lot of discussion to the table. I was entertained by those cute pups and the story, but I also felt that the ending got a little silly. I like to show good stewardship with the earth because it's a gift, one at our disposal, but not meant to be abused. I'm people first, though, about the environment. I hope you found my review to be discerning with content. JP :>)
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