A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.


July 14, 2010


Amanda needed this movie for an event she’s holding at her library tomorrow, so she wanted to re-watch it before showing it to the kids. Naturally this means that we added it to our collection and we’re reviewing it tonight. I haven’t read the book this is based on, so I’ll leave the comparison to Amanda. In the mean time, how do I feel about the movie?

I’m not blown away. But then again, I am not the target demographic. The movie is very solidly positioned for a middle school crowd, and I don’t really know what appeals to the kids today (with their iPhones and their baggy pants…) I’m not fond of the heavy-handed voice overs that very explicitly describe the plot for the viewer. I’ve always felt that children are perfectly capable of reasoning things out for themselves. You don’t need to dumb things down quite so much. I’m also not too fond of the soft country soundtrack, but that’s more a matter of personal preference than anything else.

I do quite like Tim Blake Nelson as the put upon surveyor who can’t seem to catch the vandals who are for mysterious reasons wreaking havoc on his construction site every night. He’s doing pretty much the same country bumpkin he performed in O Brother Where Art Thou, but it’s such a fun performance that I don’t mind. Then there’s Luke Wilson as the painfully earnest officer Delinko, who’s out to catch the vandals. Of course both of them are really the supporting cast, since the real heroes of the movie are the kids.

The story here is that of young Roy Eberhardt, who is sick and tired of having to change schools as his dad moves constantly from state to state. His latest move is to Coconut Cove, Florida, a little coastal town that seems to be situates somewhere in the keys. When he arrives he is assaulted by a local bully, and intrigued by a mysterious boy who he spots running around town with no shoes. It transpires that the peculiar running boy is a homeless environmental activist who goes only by the moniker “Mullet Fingers.” Mullet, his badass step-sister Beatrice, and Roy all team up together to try and save a colony of protected burrowing owls that have their homes on a lot that is destined to become a pancake house.

I appreciate the somewhat overdone environmental message of protecting weak and endangered animals. And the whole “spirited youths overcome nasty bumbling adults” theme is always fun. But I just don’t know how I feel about the movie as a whole. To my eyes it seems like a blunt instrument. It feels too contrived and simplistic. But then again, I’m not ten or twelve years old. Maybe I would enjoy the movie a lot more if I were. Maybe I’d be all “Ha! Take that, stupid grown ups!” I know that I’d have very much enjoyed the character of Mullet Fingers, who lives all on his own with no school and no parents. He’s like an environmentally minded Pippi Longstocking.

I’m inclined to say I would probably have liked the book more, but as I said, I have no basis for comparison. I just feel like these larger than life characters might have been more believable on the page than they are realized in the flesh.


July 14, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , ,

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