26 of 39 people found the following review helpful
New-age Rudolph Re-done: 75% Fuzzy, 25% family safe
, November 26, 2006
Well, I know the film will be far more popular than this review, but I try to call them as they are. The film starts out with narration, but does not end with narration - which makes you wonder how well thought out the story was and how much went on the cutting room floor - so to speak. Memphis has the golden throat of Elvis and his wife Norma Jean has the buxom penguin chest of Marilyn Monroe, replete with "mole" marking on her shoulder.
The couple breaks into song, frequently professing their love for one another. Unlike other 3D animation hits like "Toy Story" and "Shrek," this story does not have original songs written for the story - instead they re-do popular hits... and the lyrics are frankly not appropriate for children. Here are some snippets:
You don't have to be beautiful,
to turn me on.
I just need your body, baby,
from dusk 'til dawn.
You don't need experience,
to turn me on.
You just leave it all up to me
Tell Me Something Good:
Problem is you ain't been loved like you should
What i got will sure 'nuff do you good
It'll do you good
Is this what you want your kids singing to all day long? What happened to Chim-Chimery Charoo? What happened to even nonsensical, but at least innocent lyrics for innocent ears? Why are we in such a rush to sex up our kids in this society?
The penguins pray to their "Great Gwynne" (I think that's what they were saying - but I don't read beaks well and there was no closed captioning on the big screen) - a diety in the sky that is the likeness of a giant penguin that they summon with their heart song. I was sitting there in the theater with my gaping maw hanging open. "What am I looking at?" I kept asking myself. While all the females have waddled out to the ocean to fish, the men stay back with their eggs tucked warmly between their legs. While everyone else is praying to their penguin diety, Memphis is doing his own mantra, summoning what appears to be an image of his wife, Norma Jean. I don't think parents realize what they're taking their kids to go see, quite frankly - this stuff is just weird.
All the penguins look basically the same (except for blue-eyed Mumbles, mole-bespeckled Norma Jean and a theological patriarch that has a hunched neck like a vulture), so their big moment of individuality is their heart song. Mumbles practically dances his way out of his egg, but this society where everyone wears the same tuxedo is intolerant of differences, even with a baby. He is shunned by not only classmates, but by adults as well. Even Mumbles' father is unsettled by his son's talent and lack of singing ability.
In almost sociopathic fashion, Mumbles entertains himself when he's alone - dancing to a song that is apparently in his head. While charming, it's also kinda weird. Children have an innate desire to belong - yet he'd rather be alone with his own music - and is content to be this way as he dances with fervor.
There is some violence as gulls attempt to eat Mumbles alive and he is then persued, bitten and permanently maimed by one of the most vicious renderings of a seal I have ever seen. The folks that club baby seals to death will want this vicious-looking seal as their poster child to advocate further clubbing. The noises this critter makes are akin to the T-Rex in "Jurassic Park."
As Mumbles escapes death, he encounters another breed of penguis - that all speak Spanish. Kids are just going to be confused - this is Antartica, but everyone here is multilingual. The accents are adorable, but the Spanish flavor is simply not explained... it's not like he travelled to another continent. Another violent scene in which killer whales attempt to eat a group of penguins and nearly drown then choke a penguin to death are painfully uncomfortable to watch - the violence is over the top.
Too many movies aimed at children include violence against beloved characters to get emotional involvement, then pepper the movie with cute animals, songs and merriment - so the child is very involved emotionally, but doesn't even realize why. The violence is just too much for the little kids that are going to want to see this movie the most.
Mumbles appears to also be a late-bloomer. He's not only a dancer, not a singer - but he is the only penguin that has a child-like lack of development into adolescence. When the other animals have clearly gone through a normal development cycle with the seasons, Mumbles retains his downy coat way beyond a normal period - yet goes swimming. If a real penguin that still had the down on it were to get into the icy Antarctic waters, it would quickly freeze to death or drown. He's also got blue eyes which no one seems to notice or comment on - but he's clearly the only blue-eyed penguin on the entire continent. Mumbles almost has this Michael Jackson-esque quality about him. He's child-like, optimistic, hangs out with much shorter male penguins, and is a great choreographer. Hmm.
A-la Rudolph, this misfit ends up being the salvation of the penguins. They are all quickly singing the penguin's praises after shunning him since he was practically an egg... and join him in a string of dance moves that is reminiscent of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video.
Penguins are adorable, so kids are going to flock to this movie in droves - but it's not all about being cute and fuzzy. The movie is violent and over-sexed for kids. Not only would I not take my own kids to see this video, this is one I don't care to see again. I love kids' films and am partial to the well-done 3D animation, but without a good story line, the best animation in the world does not a good movie make.
This film had lots of good potential, but it was not edited properly. Narration opens the film, but then is not heard from again. The songs are not original, but 'sexy' songs redone for a kids' film. As an adult, I enjoyed the film and laughed in spots, but was not won over. It lacks the innocence it purports to embrace.
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