So Happy Feet (Full Screen Edition) was recently released on DVD and I pre-ordered it, so it came right away. I hadn't seen it in theatres, but my sister had and she recommended it. The funny thing about Happy Feet is that it's really not that entertaining and it doesn't make alot of sense. And yet, we love it. It's strange. Robin Williams is fantastic in it. He plays a number of characters. Steve Irwin is in it too.
So I wanted to see Happy Feet because there was a controversy. For one thing, the Christian Right had had a brief rant about what a terrible thing it was. Check out the Rooftop Blog and True Believers out of Kansas for some of these views. I had also read on another blog that it had too many heavy issues for kids to deal with, (but alas, I forgot where) that kids should be kids and not have to worry about things like global warming and over fishing. So I watched it, to see why it was so bad. And, let me tell you. Happy Feet is all about Pagan family values. There were some rants about sexual inuendos out there too, and, while there was definately flirting... the whole point was to find a mate and make an egg... the idea of penguins trying to get laid just doesn't offend me that much. Isn't that what penguins do, after all?
It's about accepting people for who they are, about not blindly following the crowd, about seeking truth for yourself and following your own path and it's about the inter-connectedness of things. It illustrates in a somewhat silly way how the actions of humans can affect the lives of other living things. It's very Anthropomorphic, and alot of people don't like that, but I do. I want my kids to see animals as people, because they are our brothers and sisters, all children of Gaia and should be respected as such. Humans are no less animals than penguins. They are no better, no worse and because we feel things differently and so can't understand how penguins feel does not mean that they DON'T feel. The same is true for all living things, even plants.
Last night I went and got my hair cut (all off totally short. Somehow I felt like it was the thing to do since I'm about to embark on a new phase of my life. Going to meet the future in-laws next week, going to sign a joint lease with the boyfriend soon. I like to mark these major changes, and getting my hair cut all off seemed like the right way to do it)
So I went to get my hair cut and the hairdresser asked me if I had only two children (they got their hair cut too) and I said, yes, just these two, and my son corrected me and said, "We have a dog and a cat too." and I said "Oh yes, just these two human children." I like that my children understand that animals have feelings and emotions and are an important part of our family. They will extend that beyond our family into the world at large so that they will care about our eco-system, our food chain, and all those things that are going to be so important to the future of our Earth.
Someone had also commented in a blog that they didn't agree with the way the skua and the leapard seal were portrayed- as villians. But I don't agree that they were portrayed as villians. Certainly not the killer whales ("What are they doing?" asked my daughter "They play with their food, like cats." I replied, and when the penguins got away she said, "That's why Fidget doesn't get to keep her mice very often.") who had boat scars on their backs. They were just animals being animals and animals have to eat. Of course, if they had the fish screaming "No, please don't eat me!" when the penguins caught them it would perhaps have been more balanced!
In the end, the humans weren't really villians either. They were simply ignorant. They didn't understand. And it was a little child who was first able to open the lines of communication. And that is the gift of little children, that they can see things that grown ups have learned to ignore. They anthropomorphise naturally, and that is a gift to a Pagan, since the root of so many Pagan beliefs is animism.
One another note, if you saw March of the Penguins (Widescreen Edition), Happy feet pretty much parallels it for the first half of the movie, except, of course, the Penguins are talking (singing) instead of just making penguin noises. And the narrator mimics the March of the Penguins' narrator through the whole movie. I loved March of the Penguins. But it's the kind of thing you can only watch once.
The end of Happy Feet was very anti-climactic and they all lived happily ever after. I was disappointed there. But what can you do?