Film Reviews

Arctic Tale

A smarmy score, some orgiastic farting from a herd of walruses, and a modicum of cutesy anthropomorphism from narrator Queen Latifah prove a small price to pay for this stunningly photographed narrative documentary about a year in the endangered life of Arctic ice floe. With 15 years of experience in the area, Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robertson shoot around, inside, and underneath the compromised habitat of Nanu, a polar bear cub, and Seela, an enchanting walrus calf weighing several hundred pounds, as they try to survive in hunting grounds that might lose all ice by the year 2040 if we don't mend our anti-green ways. The movie's bracing account of animal domestic life — altruistic and predatory in equal measure — and the sheer diversity of family forms (bear cubs are raised by single mothers, walruses by mothers and self-sacrificing "aunts") might be enough to place it on the evangelical right's shit-list. The most heartbreaking moment comes when, two years ahead of developmental schedule, Nanu's hitherto protective mother has to scare her underprepared daughter into self-sufficiency because she can't feed them both. As agitprop alone, Arctic Tale must be doing something right: Coming out of the theater, my child threatened me with "Shorter showers, Mom, okay?"

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ella Taylor
Contact: Ella Taylor