340 meters per second

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

&mdash Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Animated? It's barely moving.

Put off by the hype, we resisted watching Happy Feet until just recently; we should have given it a pass entirely. Although the animation is excellent, the story is more of the same regurgitated tripe found in every other kids' movie out there. Crassly capitalizing on the success of La marche de l'empereur, this saccharine cash grab is poorly-edited, sloppily-scored and ultimately nothing more than a product tie-in waiting to happen. A boring hodgepodge of lazy cultural references, predictable conflicts (and inevitable resolutions) and tired ethnic stereotypes, Happy Feet left me stone cold and I stopped watching halfway through.

For the record, why is Rosie O'Donnell's over-the-top caricature of Chinese mannerisms correctly identified as racist idiocy while Robin Williams' over-the-top caricature of Latino mannerisms given a prominent role in a children's movie? Anyone?

Hoodwinked! stands head and shoulders above Happy Feet, though that isn't saying much. This clever and amusing take on a familiar story suffers from uneven pacing and a somewhat anticlimactic ending, but didn't leave me feeling like I'd wasted my time after watching it.

Steering clear of many hackneyed children's-movie tropes, Hoodwinked! features a fun story, interesting characters and excellent voice acting. Put together outside the mainstream studio system on a shoestring budget, the movie has real heart and endeared itself to me despite its flaws. Recommended.


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