So on my walk yesterday afternoon, out in heat and humidity that had already passed the "utterly ridiculous" mark, I stopped by a DVD store over on Wusheng Lu. I haven't been DVD shopping for ages. One problem with buying DVDs is that some films I like lzh can't stand. We have a lot of favourite films in common, but still, sometimes I'll watch something that is too weird or violent or horrific (recent films on the conflicts in Africa in the 90s are good examples of "horrific", you know, films like Shooting Dogs or Blood Diamond). Anyways, so I made a point of picking out one or two lzh-friendly films. One of them was Happy Feet.
Actually, I remember seeing the ads for it back when it came out, and I remember thinking it looked pretty cool. I'm not normally a fan of animation, but still, sometimes a good one comes out.
But Happy Feet isn't all so happy. In fact, it carries two messages that it pushes quite strongly, almost to the point of preachiness. Fortunately it doesn't cross the line, and it remains a cool film to watch, but I would not describe it as "subtle".
The first message is rebellion. The film makes it very, very clear that the old, traditional order, traditional beliefs and assumptions, are in fact holding us back and keeping us stuck on the road to oblivion.
The second message is that human over-fishing of the oceans is destroying the food stocks of other species. I guess you could then extend that to other environmental concerns (and pollution and whaling and sealing do get a look-in), but I found it a bit odd that global warming wasn't mentioned.
There were other odd little hints dropped in, again not particularly subtle: The scene where Mumble ends up in the zoo is very disconcerting, and it's tempting to interpret that as a call to let wildlife be wild out in the wilderness where wildlife belongs. And Lovelace's role is a clear stab at charismatic, charlatan preachers who prey on people's gullibility- I guess he's the penguin equivalent of a TV evangelist.
Or maybe I'm just reading to much into what should be just a fun movie. Children: Never take literature classes at university. You'll never be able to read a book or watch a movie again without dissecting it and analysing the author's or director's methods and motives and message. You'll never be able to even read a newspaper article again without analysing the journalist's motives and the editorial bias, but that's ok, you should do that with every newspaper article (and everything on the TV news- especially everything on the TV news).Actually, one aspect of the film I was really impressed with was the almost perfectly seamless blending of live action and animation. Brilliantly done.