Are they trying to send a message?

This past week, the family went to see the movie Happy Feet, starring Elijah Wood and about six Robin Williamses. The kids liked it well enough, which I suppose being kids and this being an animated feature kind of stands to reason. I thought the penguins were cute, although the music didn't really do that much for me (except for when they broke out in Boogie Wonderland; I may be a child of the '80s, but I was born in the '70s). The one thing I definitely could've done without was being beat over the head with a thick, heavy, blunt instrument with an environmental message tied to it. Yes, much thicker and heavier than the one used by Star Trek IV.

The finer details of their message were still a little unclear. Yes, humans taking all the fish leaves the penguins to starve. Indiscriminate fishing = endangering wildlife. I got that. (Oh yeah, and throw in a little pollution/littering statement for good measure.) But are they saying humans only care about creatures if they do something cute and silly? Or maybe it was simply the cute and silly that got their attention to the existing problem. I think perhaps the dancing theme in the entertaining part of the movie confused their environmentalist message.

There was another message there, too, that may not have been tied to as big of a blunt instrument, but it was still there. When Mumble (methinks Dad got dropped as an egg as well to come up with that name) tries to tell the penguins what is going on, he is cast out by the leaders, who refuse to listen rather than blindly follow their faith in the Great 'Guin. I suppose I'm being a little overly-sensitive -- after all, there's a difference between religious faithful and blind religious fundamentalism, and these characters were clearly of the latter -- but I get a little bothered by the anti-religious movement, probably because it's too often I see the anti-religious use fundamentalist whackos as a springboard to attack all religion. And that annoys me even more, because I do think fundamentalists (including those in this movie) could stand a good hard hit to the head with a thick, heavy, blunt instrument.