A Film Review by Michael Brody M. D.
While you are enjoying the fantastic graphics especially the swimming and snow soaring scenes, you have to bear in mind that the director of this film also did the Mad Max trilogy. George Miller is dark and usually has a message of doom. Here he is preaching for us to stop spoiling the food chain with pollution and over-fishing. His apoplectic view is hidden in the excellent penguin choreography and musical score and adorable penguin character, more adorable than Al Gore could ever be.
Most of the film centers on Mumble (Elijah Wood), different from the other emperor penguins because his sense of joy comes from his feet not his throat. Robin Williams is great as a Barry White type of penguin (whatever that is), as are Hugh Jackman as Memphis, Mumble’s clumsy dad and Nicole Kidman as his supportive mom.
The movie has many adult themes from problems of conformity to the power of religion. Why animation must have ethnic stereotypes dating back to the crows in Dumbo and the Hyenas in Lion King, I have no idea, but here is Robin Williams doing his “Hispanic” routine of Ramon an Adelie (shorter and stubbier) penguin. It is also a problem that the film seems to turn on a dime, as we are suddenly taken from the beauty of the South Pole to the hell of a zoo, as seen through the eyes of our star. Psychologically, the movie focuses on parental (or penguin) guilt, individuation, community, and separation.
For kids, although rated PG, the scenes with the sea monsters and killer whales are truly frightening as is the talk about eating the cute little birds. But the true horror is the message of eco-disaster, which the adults in the audience will comprehend and the children, in the future, will suffer.
Review written by Michael Brody M.D.
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