Otter 501

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otterOtter 501 – it sounds like the new jeans from Levi. It’s the documentary about otters.

I was looking forward to this partly because I loved the Jim Henson film from the late ‘70s called Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. And documentaries are usually fun and educational. This was one for two on that.

This story follows a sea otter pup that is separated from her mother. A woman (the fictional character the story has to keep things moving with her Facebook posts) rescues the thing, and watches the progress while it’s at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The footage is fabulous. The otter information was interesting. I never knew they were on the brink of extinction, or that they rolled a few times before eating.

Some of the film moves you, too. It was heartbreaking to hear a crying pup as it clinged to its dead mother’s body.

I was initially going to say this movie would be great for kids, but the younger ones will be bored by the poorly paced production. Older kids, unless they’re animal lovers, just won’t care; although 10-year-old Maddie, who I was watching this with, told me in the first 20 minutes (with a huge smile on her face), “I’d give this 5 stars already!”

I’m not sure how parents will feel about information discussed, such as how a territorial male wants to mate, but the starving female is nursing her pup. Mating would mean she’d stop lactating. That would be death to the pup.

The main character is Katie Pofahl, who is enthusiastic, just not very good. What she says sounds scripted. It seems they could’ve got somebody that sounded more natural. Pofahl reminded me of the Crocodile Hunter’s wife in her look, eager smile, and poor narration skills.

When it was all said and done, I just think 90 minutes was a bit long for a documentary on otters. It’s the type of movie that’s usually 40 minutes and shows at the ReubenH.FleetScienceCenter and Theatre in BalboaPark. This film is at the Reading Gaslamp all week.

There were plenty of well shot scenes, cute otters frolicking in the water, and interesting historic facts brought up. Oh, and we get to smile when we hear the Honey Badger guy do a bit of narration.

I can only give it 1 ½ stars out of 5, no matter how adorable those little critters are.

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