Friday, October 14, 2011

Movie Review: The Big Year

Well, today was the opening of The Big Year, a movie about three birders and their quest to rack up the highest tally of bird species in a calendar year. Starring Steve Martin, Owen Wilson and Jack Black, I expected more of a slapstick comedy (and Ebert's review I read before going to the theater reinforced that expectation.) Fortunately, the movie was more substantial than that. Although a comedy, the movie was more in the vein of humorous than riotously funny--which made for a better movie in my opinion. One place I had to laugh was when a birder brought his new non-birding wife on a honeymoon trip to Attu. It was NOT what she was expecting. The funny part was how oblivious he was to what she would think of this trip of a lifetime. (A little similar to my conversation with my husband today about why I would want to go to the Galapagos Islands--see grand prize in Audubon's Birding the Net.)

The few reviews posted by birders so far seemed, as you would expect, to be looking for technical errors. All loved the movie. I was expecting to enjoy the movie and did, but was interested in finding out what non-birders would think.

My husband agreed to go to the movie with me, which was a surprise as he is not a birder and he doesn't like going to movies in a theater. He had a little trouble giving credence to the central plot of the movie. He is still not convinced about the whole Big Year concept. He doesn't think any birders would be obsessive enough to race after a rarity, even though he encountered people in January here out looking for the Whooping Crane from all over the state. He was also put off by the thought that any competitive event could be run on the honor system. It will be a sad day when we think we have to verify sightings.

A lot of beautiful scenery shots and some pictures of some pretty birds. I would have liked more of both. But still a good movie I would recommend, and one you can take the entire family to. Although rated PG, I didn't notice any profanity, although I imagine there may have been some low key curse words that went over my head, and there was nothing else offensive I could see. I enjoyed the movie completely and will probably buy it when it comes out to revisit again.

Wonder if my boss will let me take off for a Big Year. Probably not.....

Good birding!

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