THERE ARE TWO SCENARIOS WHEN I am in a car that scare me. One is driving in a desolate area and the other is driving during frigid, icy conditions. I was vacationing in both South and North Dakota one summer. The landscape was startling beautiful; I was based in Sioux Falls, SD. My plans were set to drive up and visit sites in North Dakota. Once on the road out of the city I could not get over how far I could see down the road. Literally, the road went all the way to the horizon. That was the cool part; however, what soon made me uncomfortable was the lack of civilization. I was the only car on the road; there were no buildings, gas stations or rest stops even. My mind was brewing with fear as I wondered what would happen if the car broke down and I could not get any cell phone service. All around me were these magnificent monoliths of stone and rock, looking like bulked up defenders frozen in time. The further I drove away from Sioux Falls the more anxious I became. Out of fear I drove faster, figuring the quicker I could get to ND the less chance of getting stuck somewhere. It may not make sense, but I significantly cut down my travel time by going 102 miles per hour. AS FOR DRIVING IN WINTERY WEATHER, I actually do fine in snow; however, when I have to be out late at night when there is less activity, my fear is something could happen, and I will be stuck somewhere without any help. Because I am hyper-sensitive to the cold I worry I could freeze to death (I know, so dramatic) or lose my outer extremities to frostbite. My hands go numb when I am shoveling the sidewalk around my house; think about what if my car skids on ice and into a tree? Without help around or far away, I could get into a serious situation. This is the reason why I always keep a flashlight, a couple of blankets, a large bag of cat litter and water in the car. My body already gets a reaction whenever I first get into a car that has been sitting out in the cold; so, you can imagine what would happen to me if I was stuck for hours in a dead car. In the scheme of things, I know there are many other predicaments that are far worse; for example, the one that took place in this film festival nominated dramatic adventure. THE CHOICES LOOKED BLEAK FOR OVERGARD, played by Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story); either stay within the confines of his crashed airplane or venture across the frozen tundra in the hopes of finding help. Neither decision would be a sure bet. With Maria Thelma Smaradottir (Black’s Game, Fangar-TV mini-series) as the young woman, this movie was tough to watch at times. Most of the story was told through visuals since there was maybe a dozen or so words spoken. However, it was those visuals that kept the viewers’ attention. Mads was quite good in the role and I must tell you, there were times where it was painful to watch him; that was the level of intensity that got generated with the directing. I will admit there were times where I felt it was enough already; I would lose interest from time to time. Then there were other times where I cringed in my seat. It took work to sit through this picture and the ending did not satisfy me as much as I would have liked, but I enjoyed this film and only hope I never find myself in the same predicament out in the cold.
The human race has created many beautiful things throughout the centuries. Some of them remain standing today while others over time were demolished, either for something newer or in the name of progress. What I find hideous is when the people in power decide to placate the local residents by saving the facade of a structure they are tearing down only to paste it onto the building they are constructing in the same spot. It does not matter that there is not architectural connection between the two. For me a more lasting beauty is what nature creates all around us. I have been extremely lucky to have visited some of the national parks across the United States. From a geyser to a canyon to a mountain peak, I have seen places that have not been touched by a human hand. Can you imagine if there comes a time where, let us say, an electronic billboard is erected in a national park? Or how about if a hotel or gift shop is constructed next to natural stone arches or powerful waterfalls? I for one would consider it a crime to spoil such natural, pristine beauty that is here on this planet. Not everything has to be new and fresh to be considered a natural beauty (good advice for some celebrities); I do not know when our values changed to discard old objects or look at a place and determine how it can generate money. It is this type of message that was the focus of this animated film. WHEN real estate developer Mr. Greene, voiced by Ken Jeong (Ride Along 2, Community-TV), commits to building condos in the Arctic home of Norm, voiced by Rob Schneider (50 First Dates, The Hot Chick), the talking polar bear decides to travel to American to change Mr. Greene’s mind. I have to be blunt and right to the point here; this adventure comedy was one of the worst films I have seen in the past year. It was startling to say the least. The animation was poor, story weak, jokes both lame and inappropriate; I ask you what child needs to see a twerking polar bear? What in the world possessed Heather Graham (Boogie Nights, The Hangover franchise) as Vera and especially Bill Nighy (About Time, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel franchise) as Socrates to take part in this disaster? The movie studio behind this film, as far as I know, is not known for creating animated pictures and it showed. I am not exaggerating in the least when I tell you the children in the audience never reacted to anything on the screen while most of the parents were either focusing on their snacks or smart phones. The only reason I am including an extra 1/4 star to the rating is because the message was sound, not that young children would understand the concept here. This movie was as lame as this joke: this film left me cold.
1 1/4 stars