You won’t find many movie reviews on this blog. As much as I do enjoy vegging out at the end of a day, and my girl watches something almost every afternoon, it’s just not a subject I feel merits much time or attention.
But, there are some exceptions. And one of them is Never Cry Wolf. It’s based on the book by Farley Mowat. In Alaska, everyone knows who he is, and everyone saw the movie when it came out, back in the 80s. Here, no one knows who he is, nor have they ever heard of the movie. And maybe the appeal is all Alaskan too, I’m not sure.
All I know is that we got it from Netfl*x three weeks ago, and my little girl still won’t let me send it back. We watched it the first time together, and she’s watched it by herself at least half a dozen times since. It’s a simple story about a man who goes out into the Canadian arctic to study wolves, completely unprepared for the vast wilderness he is suddenly dropped into. It is at turns humblingly profound and bust-a-gut hilarious. I think it’s about as wholesome a family movie as has ever been made (though there is a long scene of him naked, running with a herd of caribou, in case anyone cares). It’s a very slow movie, lots of long scenes of mountain tundra and, not surprisingly, wolves. But there is some death defying adventure as well, and as I said, some uproarious humor.
I feel there are very few movies really suited for families. Disney “family movies” generally make me sick. If I am not outright offended, I am just plain bored. The movie industry plays down to kids like they’re stupid. They’re not. They are attracted to black vs. white stories and loud, obnoxious voices, that much I can’t deny. But it doesn’t mean they are not capable of enjoying much greater depth.
Never Cry Wolf is, to me, an epic family movie. Absolutely good enough to watch as plain old adults, and yet apparently compelling enough to hold my 4yo’s attention and adoration. Though I will say, she is obsessed with camping and Eskimos, both of which the movie provides in full measure. But even the little guy was interested for a while, a bush plane and animals did it for him.
After a few times round with the movie, my girl said one night, “Oooo, I know. Let’s make a tent! Like in Never Cry Wolf!” And so we did. Then she instructed me to crawl under with her so we could “watch the wolves and take notes.”
Two of my other top favorite movies are the Gods’ Must Be Crazy I and II. Also old, also both serious and hilarious, though the humor is incredibly slapstick. Right up my alley, but too silly for some. They are simple stories with lots of animals and kids seem to enjoy them. Probably best for older kids though, they are set in the Kalahari Desert on the edge of a war zone. They portray the ridiculousness of war, a very anti-war message I think, but nevertheless…
That’s it. Probably the only movie review I’ll ever do. Anyone want to share their family faves?