I meant to post this earlier, while the filmmaker was still trying to raise funds to complete the project on Kickstarter. It came at the recommendation of a friend. It made the required money, so now I don't feel so guilty! Anyway, the movie Split is a film for (and by) kids of divorce. The film includes kids' drawings, videos and comments - and none from parents or experts. I haven't seen the movie, but will look for it in the future, when it comes out. You can still support the movie financially if you want.
This independent animated movie first came out in India with Bollywood actor voices. The film is actually made in India, though it's being released in the U.S. with voices we'd recognize: Vanessa Williams, Jason Alexander, Christopher Lloyd and Jane Lynch. They say it's a PETA endorsed movie, which makes me laugh because it's animated, so obviously no animals were harmed during the movie. (yes, yes, I do understand other reasons PETA would endorse a movie).
It was released on December 7, but I'm not sure when/where it's opening in the Bay Area because it's not out (via Fandango) today. In any case, we got a screening code to watch it online and review it, so the kids and I (ages 9 and 11) had a movie night last night to watch it.
The plot: Animals in India are getting their land taken away from them by developers so they head to Delhi (or were they heading to Mumbai?) to state their case and stop the development. Mayhem ensues. To make the cause even more close to home, the baby cub's dad was shot by the developers (quite violently as depicted on screen - and not for any good reason) and so they're even more motivated.
My kids are probably a little old for the movie, but I thought I would share their comments.
11 year old: "Why does someone always die in kid animal movies?"
9 year old: "The bear has man boobs. It looks like coconuts on his chest."
11 year old: "Even for younger kids it might be scary"
9 year old: "They pointed out the obvious too much."
11 year old: "They're in India? I thought they were in Africa."
They did not love the movie.
My take: This movie wants to be the Lion King and there were many parts that seem to be taken directly from the Disney hit, like the lion cub standing with his (dead ghost) father overlooking the valley below - same shot. Hyenas are evil. Etc. It had a fair amount of violence for a kids' movie. You think Bambi being shot was horrific? How about watching the actual shooting - with additional flashbacks - of the dad lion being shot with a horrified look in his eyes and getting blasted into the air. Yeah. Not fun to watch. Especially after Newtown, CT. Not that they're related. The evil developers came through in machines that were reminiscent of those in the book Are You My Mother? I couldn't figure out why there were trying to chase/kill the lions when I thought they really just wanted to clear the land for housing. (below, just before the dad gets lifted backward in the air by the gun blast).
Okay, so there were a few adult jokes that were funny, and the Bollywood numbers were sort of entertaining (I definitely liked the flamingo one). But the songs were mostly annoying (the title song was kind of catchy) and the kids didn't like them either. They actually asked if we could skip through the songs when they came. The part with the bees was very clever (I don't want to spoil it) and was probably my favorite.
Would I recommend it? Not really. You can see a preview here. It's coming out in 3-D.
Okay, so this one is not for the kids, but here's a 60 Minute piece about a long-secret German archive that houses a treasure trove of information on 17.5 million Holocaust victims. From an email someone sent me: "The archive, located in the German town of Bad Arolsen, is massive (there are 16 miles of shelving containing 50 million pages of documents) and until recently, was off-limits to the public. But after the German government agreed earlier this year to open the archives, CBS News' Scott Pelley traveled there with three Jewish survivors who were able to see their own Holocaust records. It's an incredibly moving piece, all the more poignant in the wake of the meeting of Holocaust deniers in Iran and the denial speeches in the UN."