I realize this post comes late. I know that I’m behind on my pop culture and what is being declared cute and popular at any given moment by People Magazine or The Oprah, but there’s something I just don’t get and I have to get it off my chest because it’s been bugging the hell out of me for some time now. That thing is penguins. Seriously? Penguins? I can suspend belief enough to watch an animated Disney film about talking mice or cats or dogs; a Warner Brothers cartoon about homicidal coyotes, talking rabbits and singing ducks; even a Pixar movie about sociable toys or talking fish; but penguins? Birds are filthy creatures to begin with what with their pecking and their constant scratching and pooping wherever they may be standing or sitting at the moment. But penguins aren’t even like real birds with their fake little flipper wings and that stupid waddling. My kids just received Happy Feet on DVD from the Easter Bunny (cute, huggable anthropomorphic bunny), which is what brings all of this on. This is one unwatchable cartoon. And what could make a film about dancing penguins worse? Other than Robin Williams? R&B music. God help me, I hate the R&B, and I’m beginning to hate penguins, and I know that tonight’s viewing was just one of many, many viewings to come. Some time back I rented that other penguin movie, La Marche de l’empereur, thinking the kids might get a kick out of it. I had heard nothing but good about it, too, and looked forward to it. The kids stayed in the room for the first six minutes. I managed eight.
Is there something I’m missing? Are these animals actually cute and I just don’t see it, or has Disney or whoever, run out of animals and pixies and evil stepmothers and whatnot? I know this penguin picture is for the kids, and they seem to enjoy it. And I’m sure it brings a smile to Al Gore’s face and a small tear to his eye, so that’s nice for him. But I just don’t get it. All I can do is gaze in wonder at their skinny faces and pointy beaks, their stumpy, flightless wings and that inane waddle and wonder what The Saucier could do with a penguin, a few pounds of charcoal and the element of surprise.