Friday, April 10, 2009

Snow Buddies (2008)

Apparently one generation of talking dogs isn’t enough. In “Snow Buddies,” we meet Air Bud’s children. Interesting concept, there. I wonder if we’ll eventually meet his grandchildren?

Five puppies have been born to Air Bud and his doggie woman, Molly. One morning while playing hide and go seek, the puppies wander onto an ice cream truck and find themselves transported to Alaska, where they meet Shasta, a Husky pup who belongs to a boy named Adam. Adam’s father was a dog sled racer, and Adam harbors the dream of having a sled team of his own, but his father forbids it. You see, his father was in an accident some time before which killed his two best dogs, Shasta’s parents. Now Adam’s father wants to protect him from facing something like that himself.

Adam is not to be dissuaded, however, and prays for a miracle. Next thing he knows, he’s got five puppies in his shed, and they all want to be sled dogs. (He can tell this because they line up in formation in front of the sled.) Going behind his parents’ back and against his father’s wishes, Adam signs up for the race and trains the dogs.

Air Bud and Molly hunt down their children, Adam’s parents hunt him down, Adam wins the race, and of course, because he won, everything comes out all right in the end.

You know what – I hate movies with this premise. Parents don’t know anything, parents are only out to spoil our fun, and if we don’t go behind their backs, we’ll never achieve our dreams. Only children are smart enough to determine what they should do, and if they have to lie to their parents to get what they want, well, then, lying is fine. What’s up with that? There is so much garbage being circulated to our kids every day to make them think that parents are dumb and shouldn’t be obeyed. For this reason alone, I don’t recommend this film. Sure, the humor is fun, the dogs are cute, but if a movie is going to teach my kids that they have to disobey me in order to get where they want to get in life, that movie doesn’t belong in my house. This is one reason why I appreciate James Dashner’s young adult books so much. The parents of his characters are deeply involved and there’s no subterfuge on the part of the children—they work together as a family to save the world. A little bit of a tangent, I know, but I have to draw the comparison.

This movie is rated G. But that doesn’t really matter, because I’m encouraging you not to watch it. Your choice, of course, but that’s my recommendation.

Now, because that was so depressing, how about some mini-reviews?

Wives and Daughters (1999) Yes, my dear readers, I have watched this and loved it (but thanks for the repeated recommendations in my comment trail. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it.) Molly Gibson is a beautiful, unselfish girl who goes to live at the nearby squire’s house to act as a companion for his wife. She makes good friends with the squire’s son Roger, and also comes to know the other son, Osborne, upon whom all the family hopes reside. As the older brother, he’s supposed to make a brilliant marriage, but Molly becomes his confidante when his secret is revealed, and she learns he can never be what his parents want.

In the meantime, Molly’s father remarries, and this breaks Molly’s heart, as he has chosen a woman who can’t understand how deeply Molly loves her father. Throughout the film, we see Molly as a caring, generous girl who spends her time taking care of others, and then we finally see her receiving happiness in her own life. I really enjoyed this film, although I must say, I was very disappointed that we weren’t treated to a kiss at the end. I mean, come on, folks – make us wait all that time and then we don’t even get a kiss? It was almost as bad as “Pride and Prejudice” that way.

Adam Bede (1991) I came across “Adam Bede” as a result of enjoying “Middlemarch,” as they were written by the same author, George Eliot. “Adam Bede,” however, is a little more of a melodrama than a romance. Adam works in a small village as a carpenter, and it’s his desire in life to marry Hetty, a beautiful young woman who works in her aunt’s dairy. Hetty, on the other hand, has engaged in a torrid affair with the son of the squire who owns the land on which they live, and she’s stringing Adam along the whole time. Hetty’s lover leaves, and she soon learns she’s pregnant. She accepts Adam’s offer of marriage, and then decides she needs to go find the father of her child. She gives birth while away, and allows the child to die of exposure. The next time Adam sees her, she’s on trial for murder.

It’s all very tragic, but the worst tragedy of all is the bad hairdo on Adam, and the totally fake scream Hetty lets out when she’s sentenced to death. I would like to see this film remade with better actors (and different people in charge of the hair and makeup). The seduction scene between Hetty and the man who done her wrong is also a little more detailed than I would recommend. However, I did think there were enough positive elements to the story that should it be remade, I would recommend it. Adam is a man of integrity throughout and sets an example of strength and courage, despite everything that goes on around him. And despite his bad hair.

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