Singing Environmental Awareness ["Meet the Beetle"]
“Meet the Beetle” is so cute, it’s my favorite film at this year’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival. Face it. Raising awareness about daunting issues, amongst so many daunting issues, stresses the entertainment zone that nurtures movie goers.
Creative documentary techniques have made great inroads, but most of the time, you can massage a substantive documentary only so far.
Half grade school musical and half standard report, “Meet the Beetle” fuels a perfect issue delivery engine. Part of the film’s triumph is enthusiastic young performers. However, it wouldn’t work if the choreography and songs didn’t deliver the goods.
Kids introduce the star of the show, singing, “Not … much longer than a needle … That’s … the Salt Creek Ti … … ger Beetle.”
Kids sing us through the involved process of attaining endangered species status, “It’s your duty and your mission … to file a petition.”
A beetle kid stands between the fighting developer kids and environmentalist kids, singing, “I’m just a little arthropod … and so I will be brief ….”
The film shows that learning about science, environmental concern and civic activism can be fun. It clearly slants toward trying to save the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle and the larger point of preventing habitat destruction. In turn, though, it poses questions about the distraction and cost to humans. It’s just a single species among so many thousands of bug species. It’s just a bug and not even, like, a butterfly.
But “It’s our friend … … the Tiger Beetle ….” The best movie at this year’s festival? Well, definitely the cutest.