Friday, April 30, 2010

“But I shall see/ The wingéd vengeance overtake such” movies! - Furry Vengeance

The quotation is from King Lear. But my thought for the day is about the existence of such movies as Furry Vengeance, with Brendan Fraser and Brooke Shields, opening today in a theater near you. How does something so ridiculous get made?

I haven't seen it, but I've seen the preview. Vengeful CGI animals band together to stop a housing development from destroying their habitat in Oregon. The emphasis seems to be on excrement: bird poop used as a weapon and Brendan Fraser covered with the contents of a porto-potty. Fun.

Actually, this kind of thing has been done before, a number of times, most similarly in Dr. Doolittle 2 with Eddie Murphy. (I've seen it.) Same thing: animals, with raccoons and a grizzly bear as key figures, lead a resistance against the bad humans. Birds bombard the bad guys with poop.

I'm not averse to a fun kids' movie with CGI talking animals acting like humans or banding together for a common cause. Movies like The Incredible Journy: Homeward Bound (1993)and Air Bud: Golden Receiver have some imagination and heart. But Furry Vengeance (bad title!) seems so tiredly put together: talking animals, bird poop, skunk spray, loads of excrement. I know the wingéd vengeance will not overtake such sad concepts, but I just had to rail uselessly like Lear raging at the inexorable storm.


The Film Doctor said...

I can see what you mean. Perhaps Furry Vengeance will one day serve as an exact calibration as to how much modern-day Americans have no idea about nature or our relation to it. Perhaps we can look forward to Increasing Acidification: Ocean's Vengeance, or You Thought You Had a Beach: Revenge of Global Warming or Extinction: Revenge of the Zombie Species, but those films probably wouldn't be cute and furry enough.

Richard Bellamy said...

FilmDr - I guess what's fascinating to me is that the backers of this film see a market for a film about cute talking animals kicking butt. Also, as you imply, they assume most audience members have such a simplistic view of animals and the environment.

Of course, I prefer a scarier look at nature getting back at humans; your titles are great, and they remind me of a very serious 80s movie called Prophecy - in which chemicals from a lumber mill cause mutations on an Indian reservation: giant fish - and a mutated giant bear that wreaks havoc Jaws-style. The movie is scary (even though the monster effects are cheesy), violent, and dead-serious, and there's a certain sympathy for the mutated beast. Ever see it?

Simon said...

God, this looks awful.

The Film Doctor said...

No, I haven't seen Prophecy. I am about to teach Jaws this week. We will see how the special effects hold up with today's youth.

Richard Bellamy said...

FilmDr -

Just recently watched Jaws again, followed by Jurassic Park, Minority Report, and War of the Worlds. Though I love War, I think Jaws is the best of the four, if not Spielberg's best film of all time. Once the story establishes the shark with some Hitchcockian suspense scenes - and moves out to sea - the film takes on elements of Moby Dick and becomes one of the best depictions of man versus nature.

I don't think your students will pay much attention to the cheesiness of the shark because the film is so tautly edited. If they say, "Ah, a shark couldn't leap into a boat like that," tell them to go see Oceans which shows Great Whites leaping totally out of the water.