Happy Feet: A Film about Organised Religion...and Penguins

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Jescissa
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Happy Feet: A Film about Organised Religion...and Penguins

Post by Jescissa » Thu Dec 14, 2006 6:51 am

Has anyone been to see Happy Feet yet? What did you think about the Penguin 'religion'? I went to see it last night with my boyfriend and at the end, the first thing he said to me was "Did you get the message that organised religion is bad?!"

A little overview: The Emperor Penguins living in Antarctica worship the Great Guin and believe that by being good Penguins he brings back the sun in the spring and provides them with food and takes care of them throughout the winter. The film shows a desperate Penguin nation who are suffering from a fish shortage which we, the viewers, know to be from human intervention and over-fishing in the Antarctic area, but the Penguins believe to be the Great Guin withholding fish from them because they have not been serving him well. In particular they pick on one Penguin, Mumble, who cannot sing like the other Penguins but dances beautifully, and the dogmatic elders send Mumble away so that the Great Guin will not be offended by Mumble and send fish to the other Penguins.

As well as this display of 'Guinism', we see a Rockhopper Penguin called Lovelace, who styles himself as a guru, speaks to spirits, answers spiritual questions and wears six-pack can rings over his neck as a 'spiritual talisman'. The other Penguins go to him for advice.

Overall the film was about conservation and the need to take care of all species on the planet, not just be bothered about Homo Sapiens...but I'm wondering whether there was a secondary meaning to the film and that is...organised religion can be limiting and misleading. Happy Feet is ultimately a children's film and while we were there, there were a lot of children watching and feeling very sad that the nasty elders sent Mumble away and blamed him for the shortage of fish. Is Hollywood secretly telling children that to be an individual is just as good as working together? I hope so!
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy. Goodbye." - Miss Tick, Terry Pratchett's Wee Free Men

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Post by morgana » Thu Dec 14, 2006 8:50 pm

You know, I saw the movie and never saw it that way, but it's true. It does seem to have that underlying message to it, which makes me like it even more! :-D
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Post by Jescissa » Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:22 am

:-D I loved the film, just wondered if anyone else noticed the alternate message!

Hopefully kids will be able relate Mumble's persecution by the fundie Penguins to the persecution of other people by fundie humans and point them in the way of open-mindedness!
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy. Goodbye." - Miss Tick, Terry Pratchett's Wee Free Men

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Post by Lotus » Fri Dec 22, 2006 3:25 pm

I absolutely have to go see it now.

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Post by Jescissa » Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:39 am

I might actually go and see it again :-D It's a really good film even without the anti-organised religion theme, but that's what's made me love it!!
"If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy. Goodbye." - Miss Tick, Terry Pratchett's Wee Free Men

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