Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Distracted by udders

Now you might wonder what I’m talking about with the title ‘distracted by udders’, but I’m talking about the film Barnyard, which I saw last night with Cath. This is another in the slew of animated films that have come out in recent weeks, but it ain’t as good as Hoodwinked, being a fairly derivative retelling of The Lion King. Except with cows.

And here’s the thing. The main bovine protagonist is Otis, the wayward son of Ben, King of the Barnyard. But why, oh why, do the very male-acting, male-voiced, definitely male Otis and Ben have udders? And why do they walk round on their hind legs with their udders swinging between their legs, or sit with their legs splayed and their udders on full show? I spent the whole film thinking: “My goodness that looks phallic…”

The thing is I’m not the only one who thought so. Cath admitted it was a bit odd (which as Cath is rarely critical of an animation is a weightier comment than you might suppose), my work colleague Rowena said the same and one film reviewer summed it up as “creepy”. And it was very unnerving.

Apart from the swinging udders the rest of the animation was pretty good. There were some funny characters (like the thievin’ gophers who fence human contraband), but there was also a few long slow scenes. It seemed to take ages for the plot to get anywhere, most of the story was predictable, and the ending was contrived and nonsensical. I know, I know, “it’s only a cartoon”, but good cartoons have good stories and scripts. This had neither.

Jongudmund’s rating: 6/10

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