Snow babies and more

Snow babies and more

8 August, 2012
See an embarrassed walrus!
A family film with a message: An Arctic Tale

An Arctic Tale is a documentary released in 2007 that follows the lives of a baby polar bear, a baby walrus and a baby seal. Narrated by Queen Latifah, the film is aimed at a family audience. The obvious attraction for kids everywhere (and us softhearted adults) are the ridiculously cute arctic babies. There is a lot of anthropomorphism going on in this film. Queen Latifah compares the play of the arctic babies with situations human kids get into. She even laments the behaviour of some of the walrus family to that of ‘an embarrassing uncle’. How anyone can identify whether a walrus is embarrassed or simply contemplating his whiskers is beyond us, but then we’re not experts.
Adult viewers might suspect that fate does not bode well for one of the polar bear twins the film follows, as he does not get a name and is simply referred to as ‘Nanu’s Brother’. The filmmakers seem to have a goal of making the audience want to relate to the animals, and so the cute shots are up close but the shots of the polar bears eating a bloody carcase is seen from a huge distance. It is clear they want to portray the polar bears in a positive, ‘we want to save you’ kind of way. While dimensionally a little narrow, it is clear that there is a purpose being served and the director is easily forgiven. The film was produced together with National Geographic, and the documentary footage is suitable awe-inspiring, with incredible footage depicting the vast white expanse of the arctic, and other shots bringing the viewer startlingly close to these wild animals. Towards the end the film we start to hear some scary facts of global warming. By this point, most anyone with a normal human-sized heart will have already fallen in love with these uncomfortably cute arctic babies. If you don’t know already, this film will make you want to think about how to stop global warming. Other than that, An Arctic Tale succeeds in being a bit of beautiful snowy fun for the whole family.
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By: Carley Lauder


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