Opening 21 Dec 2006
As I looked through the press materials given to journalists, I noticed that this so-called children’s film had a start of August 24 here in Germany. So, why were we invited to another screening in December? Maybe because of bad attendance? Well, I do not know but I do know that I cannot recommend this film to families, especially with small children. I took my five-year-old twin boys. They gave it a thumbs up (which made me dislike the film even more) but then again, give them popcorn and let them watch a big-screen TV and they will like anything!
Based on the original fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, the message in the end is rather sweet. The methods of getting there is what disturbs me for a children’s film. The twist on the original fairy tale is a rat that finds the ugly duckling and needs this duckling to escape from the bad rats. Ratso (the rat) uses the duckling to make him look good and to earn money. His dastardly deeds and conniving ways are not understood by small children. Lots of fighting between rat packs ensue and my boys were excited about all the fighting and hitting. Not good for a couple of cute young ‘uns who are already at that wild age. After a long journey, Ratso’s enemies finally catch up to him and then you see why the bad guys were after him: he had run away from their very bossy sister at the alter. The expected “shot-gun” wedding occurs. Is this not the 21 st century?! I believe filmmakers have to be aware of the message they are sending out to children, just as in other media. The short of it: a boring film with lackluster animation and poor message. Shame on Warner Brothers! (Vicki Filer Mensing)