MR POPPER’S PENGUINS
MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
I have never read the original book “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” but from what I understand, it has very little bearing on the Jim Carrey film that came out this summer and is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. I suppose it’s somewhat accurate as there are penguins in it, and a guy named Mr. Popper. But from what I understand, the film abandons most of the story in lieu of a rather rote children’s movie plot. Correct me if I’m wrong.
In the movie, Jim Carrey plays Mr. Popper, a divorced dad who is focused exclusively on his career. One day, he receives a mysterious gift from his own father, who always left his own family to tour the world. The gift is a gaggle of penguins straight from the South Pole. Popper desperately wants to get rid of them, but when his kids discover the birds, they become part of the family. This leaves Popper in a quandary of trying to keep the birds alive in his Manhattan apartment while trying to reconnect with his family.
I suppose “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” is cute enough, ‘cause everyone loves penguins. Perhaps this would have been better if it came out about four or five years ago when penguins were all the rage. The cuteness factor alone is off the chart when it comes to the birds. And in this respect, the kids (who are the target audience for this film, after all) will enjoy it.
But the grown-ups in the audience will quickly become annoyed with the squawking, the poorly conceived penguin names (including “Loudy” and “Lovey”) and the copious amount of penguin poop. (Seriously… why is it in movies when someone is getting peed on or crapped on do they never actually move away?)
Though if you happen to be divorced, this isn’t the best movie to show your kids. The penguins act as a means to get Popper back together with his wife, which is woefully unrealistic. Watching too many movies like this might encourage too many questions for kids of divorced parents.
The Blu-ray comes with a gag reel, deleted scenes and a new animated short film, “Nimrod & Stinky’s Antarctic Adventure.” There’s also some featurettes, including “Penguin Pandemonium” and “The Legacy of Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” which heaps praise on the original book while not mentioning the drastic differences it has with the film.
A DVD of the film is also included, along with a Digital Copy Disc for mobile viewing.