The people behind “March of the Penguins” have put together another endearing story of life in the coldest place on earth. This time, it is the story of two newborns, a polar bear called Nanu and a walrus named Seela. “What seems forbidding to us is home to them,” says narrator Queen Latifah, whose affectionate tone brings warmth to the frozen landscape. The story is not as linear or involving as “Penguins,” and it is overcast with more forboding, as the effects of climate change pose a greater threat to these new lives than temperature or predators.
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Judy Barber wrote a wonderful comment about this neglected gem:
One of THE sweetest movie or video is Emmet Otter Jugband Christmas, a muppet video. I make everyone watch it at Christmas. And the funnest thing about it is the bloopers with these muppets. You swear you are watching little people in costume. Hard to find the video to buy but soooo worth it. The “sell the hair to buy the watch” to “sell the watch to buy the hair ornament” theme.
The movie is available on Amazon — to find out more, click on the picture above.
It often happens that movies seem to overlap or collide with each other. All of a sudden, there are two or three movies at the same time about earthquakes, or farm foreclosures, or asteroids hitting the earth, or CGI films about insects. “Antz” came out just before “A Bug’s Life.” It could be copycats. Or it could be just a reflection of some societal zeitgeist. Maybe both.
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One of the best movie critics around is Slate’s Dana Stevens, and this week she has an excellent column about the adorable “Enchanted,” pointing out that there is one very un-enchanting element to the movie. She enjoyed the movie and was a fan of Amy Adam’s performance as Giselle.
But there was something that depressed me about “Enchanted,” a grim reality that occasionally peeped through the whimsy like New York City glimpsed from the animated fields of Andalasia. This sinking feeling had little to do with what could be seen as the movie’s retrograde affirmation of true love and happy endings—after all, if you’re going to start complaining about marriage as a plot resolution device, you have to throw out every comedy from Shakespeare on down. No, that intermittent sense of yuckiness sprang from the movie’s solemn celebration of a ritual even more sacred than holy matrimony: shopping.
I was also disappointed by the shopping montage. Couldn’t they have bonded over reading a book together? Cooking something special? Going to a museum or concert or the theater? Playing dress-up?
Of course, “shopping with your mother,” specifically for femininity-enhancing, wallet-reducing princess clothes, is precisely the activity that propels the global Disney empire forward. The scene between Morgan and Giselle in the spa isn’t played for irony; these two are truly bonding over the manicure counter, and Morgan’s mission to save the day via retail proves successful…I couldn’t suppress that yuck factor: Does these little girls’ happily-ever-after consist only in getting Mommy to buy the right dress?