“Furry Vengeance” & “Ondine”
“Furry Vengeance” is one of those silly films aimed at little
kids. Brendan Fraser is
commendably game as the clueless Dad, who moves his family in order to be
the project manager for a housing development, that keeps claiming it’s
“Green” but is actually destroying a forest just to make money.
His wife (welcome back, Brooke Shields) thinks he’s crazy, but
loyally sticks by him, and his teenage son hates being uprooted and misses
all his friends until, of course, he meets the pretty local girl.
The furry animals of the forest, it seems, are quite capable of
plotting their revenge against the hapless developer, who thinks he’s a
big shot, but keeps enduring one disaster after another: getting sprayed by
skunks, wrecking his (not-so-green) SUV while trying to avoid a raccoon in
the middle of the road; sleeplessness because a crow spends the night
pecking on his window (and then, of course, he falls off the roof, once
again injuring and embarrassing himself).
Sure, the humor is puerile, but we root for the furry creatures,
anyway, despite the pleasure in human pratfalls, until finally our
dim-witted hero realizes that they’re just protecting their families, too.
Finally, he gets on the “real” green bandwagon, much to the
delight of both his own family and his new furry friends, and everyone lives
so happily together after that they shoot a dance scene during the outtakes.
“Ondine” is a somewhat whimsical tale about a mermaid, which
sounds like it might be designed for children, also, but it’s not nearly
as kid-friendly as, say, “The Little Mermaid.”
More like “Splash” with an Irish brogue.
(Colin Farrell) is a fisherman in a battered little boat, living his whole
life in a small fishing village. He’s
divorced, with a special needs little girl whom he adores, and a
caustic ex-wife who’s still a drunk (
got sober because he wanted to be emotionally available for his daughter.)
He’s a good guy, but he doesn’t have much, and doesn’t expect
much. But one day his life
changes, when he catches a young woman in his fishing net.
Ondine (Alicja Bachleda, who’s Polish but her English is more
understandable than his) seems quite content to just latch on to her
rescuer. He puts her up in his
Mom’s old cottage by the sea, and his mysterious mermaid simply waits for
him to come home, unwilling to see or meet anybody else.
She deflects all questions about her past, and her future, content to
live only in the present, with her charming fisherman who suddenly has a lot
of luck when she’s around. (She
sings like the Sirens of mythology, and the sea creatures seem to respond to
’s daughter is quite willing to believe in fairy tales, the parish priest
less so. (The writer and
director, Neil Jordan, who also wrote “The Crying Game,’ brings back
Stephen Rea in a very plausible role as the “Father Confessor”, and the
irony is not lost on any of us.)
“Ondine” has a certain salt-air charm, whereas “Furry
Vengeance” is about as subtle as a whoopee cushion.
But they’re both appealing, in their own ways, to a broader
audience, which, in this era of determined niche marketing, is kind of
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace