Saturday, January 5, 2013
Catching Up: Movies for Maybe Kids ?
But despite my cynicism I rather liked this Happy Happy story about a man who buys a failing small California zoo and decides to reopen it. He believes it will help his grieving / emo kid recover from the death of his mother and give his daughter another perspective on which to focus. Given that the source material is British, and I am always rather fond of these British flicks where people overcome insurmountable barriers to achieve a Happy Happy goal, it was expected I would be fond of this. Yes, he depletes his bank account, yes he fights with his kids and yes he runs into more trouble than he is due, but with the hard work of the motley crew and a very fresh looking Scarlett Johansson, they succeed at opening the zoo (to Kevin Costner & baseball style crowds) and healing his family. I wonder how the real zoo is doing?
The movie, you might think, is going to be a journey of discovery for a boy who still understands whimsy, in a setting full of incredible sets, over the top characters and brilliant costuming (just my allusion to Jeunet) and, well, it is. But that is not what the movie is about. It is really about Scorsese's love of film and cinema. It is a love story, in truth and in metaphor, for the golden age of film making before the rules were made, when everything was silent and the special effects were hand made. Which is kind of odd, considering the grand amount of CGI used in the movie.
I expected a movie where we focus on her being at odds with the obligations but end up with her understanding why she had these obligations while still retaining her own self-direction, all wrapped in a pseudo Celtic mythos in Hollywood Scotland / Ireland. What we got instead was a slapstick comedy of transmogrification hi-jinx with rambunctious baby broth... bears. Most of the magic was replaced by chase scenes and a movie that mostly left me feeling flat. Maybe a second watch will improve my impression?
Oh, at least I enjoyed catching the Pizza Planet truck. And Kent's somewhat similar view.... darn, we don't disagree much more these days :)