No Steenking Penguins, But What’s Left?

…Matt, who is raising twin girls and trying not to screw that up, replies:

“I’ve been thinking to bring my girls (they’re 4) to this flick [March]. It would be their first theater experience. But my folks, both regular film-goers and two of my most trusted movie critics, refused to recommend it even for kids. So I hesitated, and now with your input will look for another venue for my kids’ debut.

“I have long since given up hope to find some popular entertainment to further the worldview I’ve been trying to instill in my girls. A feature-length documentary on real animals would seem to have a better chance than anything animated (which they adore), but after narration and editing and adding music, I don’t guess there is much difference.

“Where are even the moderately realistic nature shows of my own youth? Our cable TV has a whole channel devoted to animal-related programming, and yet I can’t remember seeing so much as flash of tooth or claw. An entire sequence of a predator’s kill from start to finish? Not since the National Geographic Specials I watched as a kid myself.

“It’s too much to ask of Hollywood to raise my children, I know it. But I also know that if I did not regularly drag home carcasses of dead animals and dissect them in view of my kids, they would have no direct evidence that:

(A) Meat comes from dead animals, right off the bone (and it tastes good!)
(B) All living things die
(C) Some animals kill other animals
(D) We are animals

“That the twins would not otherwise know the correct physical proportions of a rabbit or a bird almost goes without saying. As a witness to children’s television, I can testify that the creatures representing small animals therein look imagined by artists two or three generations removed from any who’ve held real animals in hand. That might even be the case!”

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