Midnight Sun is both a family film as well as an action/adventure film, taking place in the ice fields of Northern Canada. When Luke discovers that a young polar bear cub has been separated from his mother, he sets out to find a way to reunite the two. Goran Visnjic joins the cast as Muktuk, a half Inuit and half Canadian, who knows the terrain where the polar bears live and who agrees to help the boy. When a floating iceberg divides the party, it is up to Luke to protect himself and the cub from both the dangers of the wild, and the elements to complete his mission. Written by
Irresponsible Story-telling, but everything else is good!
I sought this movie out because it stars my nephew's favorite rising young Canadian actor Dakota Goyo of Real Steel and Dark Skies. All of the actors give excellent to passable performances. The cinematography is excellent, capturing eye-filling scenes of rugged Arctic beauty and wildlife. The story moves quickly, though a tad too quickly without taking the time to develop the characters. But that's perhaps a good thing with the attention-challenged target audience! My nephew found no faults with the movie and it was "really cute" to boot! Now perhaps I'm being overly harsh on the writing because I'm a Canadian and know a bit about the hostile northern environment. I don't expect entertainment events to be documentaries or full of useful information. But this story is full of nega-information; with the lead character of Luke rushing from one incident to another in ways seemingly designed to kill a child, render them a kiddie-Popsicle or little piles of bear-dung out on the ice. For starters though a polar bear might look cute and fluffy, they are one of the few creatures left on the planet that will go out of their way to stalk and kill a full-grown adult as if they are simply another prey item. A child is an hors d'oeuvre. Luke being on the street while there is a full grown sow scrounging for herself and a cub while eye-catching, is just irresponsible story-telling. Standing policy in many northern communities is to use bullets and lots of them -- not a trank -- if there's a child and a bear in such close proximity. And even the cub playing with and running his claws over Luke's face (with at least 3x the muscle mass of a human) gave me the willies. I can buy wiping out in a fresh-water melt-pool and then driving at high speeds home on a skidoo without freezing. But full body immersion in sub- zero ocean brine even in the "kind" arctic spring is not something one shrugs off in one night -- or while still wearing their wet clothes! (Even for the sake of keeping the "family" rating as Luke is warmed by the friendly natives!). Neither does one just bounce back in one night after almost dying from frostbite, exhaustion and exposure. I think this does a great disservice to the young target audience in seriously underplaying the seriousness of such things. (I know they shouldn't look on movies as "reality", but they do; most of them lacking any meaningful exposure to the "real world" beyond cities and electronic entertainment) Also, trying to use a compass pointing north that close to the magnetic north pole will have you going west, not north! And relying just on animal movements for direction-finding is about as reliable as finding out which side of the tree the moss is growing on. But the biggest slight against young audiences is seeing young Luke take off on an alleged 100-mile trek without a single reserve can of fuel on his sled. There is no sign the character was even thinking beyond his "need" to do this "nice" thing. At least we see Muktuk very conspicuously take 4 spare cans of fuel. The very core of this movie mistakes young foolhardy determination to "a cause" as some kind of noble coming-of-age ritual. Time after time it is only dumb luck that keeps the lead character from meeting a frozen end or being torn apart by a predator who is only cute in appearance -- and at a time of year when their normal diet of seals is unavailable to them. I know that I had to sit down with my nephew afterwards and do some serious de-programming lest he think there was any useful survival information in this offering. (One of the things we look for in our choices of movies in the survival genre). Do writers have any responsibility to young audiences other than to deliver fluff and candy? Should at least some useful life-information be provided to them? I think so. But anti-information that will hasten their demise? I'm still shaking my head.
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