Saturday, May 17, 2008
Ring of Bright Water
Unlike many of the other movies I write about, I actually saw Ring of Bright Water when I was already grown up and married.
It's not a movie most people remember, probably because it rose and fell within the Saturday morning kid's B-movie circuit. That's where I saw it. Back in the days when the movie was making the rounds, I used to trade turns taking my son Alan and his friends to the double-feature at our local theater on Saturday mornings. I only had to do this once every four weeks or so, because it was a big group of kids and the other mothers took their turns the rest of the time.
On this particular Saturday morning, it was deadly hot outside. Our small window air conditioner at home succeeded in cooling the apartment enough for us to sleep at night, but when the sun was beating down on the wall of windows in our living room, you could forget about cooling the place down. So instead of test-driving the new Shark steam mop I had bought the day before from a door-to-door salesman, I opted instead for a box of Junior Mints and two hours in blissfully cold theater air conditioning.
I have to say, I was initially more interested in listening to the silly ramblings of Alan's friends as they questioned the significance of the Beatles lyrics for Yellow Submarine (he was always much more sensible than any of those kids) and to counting the mints as I popped them into my mouth (I love numbers). But this movie eventually sucked me in -- so much so that I still had candy left in the all-but-forgotten Junior Mints box in my lap once the movie was over.
Although it probably seems contradictory because of what I just wrote, I can't remember much about the movie. That's pretty unusual for me, because my memory is near-photographic. What I do remember is the reaction of a teenage girl who was sitting next to us.
In the grand tradition of animal films, some manor of peril befell Mij, the real-life otter that starred in the movie. As a result, he disappeared. Later, the teenage girl mistook another otter for the perky and lovable Mij, whom I'm pretty sure was dead by that time in the movie. When this new otter appeared, the overly exuberant teenage girl obviously was thrown off by the fact that all otters look the same. So, with no warning, she threw her popcorn in the air and screamed, "It's Mij!" at the top of her voice.
That about scared me into incontinence, as the movie had my rapt attention. But after I and everyone else got over the shock of her reaction, we started to laugh. When one group of people would stop laughing, another would start. As a result, the bittersweet ending was drowned out by giggling that continued even while the end credits rolled.
So there's my Ring of Bright Water story. I really don't know whether to recommend the movie or not. The kids seemed to like it and talked about it for weeks afterward, so that's saying something. And the way I figure it, the movie has more than one live otter and it's set in rural Scotland; how bad could it be?