If ever there was a time to show our young people some things are worth fighting for, the time is now. So many tragedies and evils are being ignored because they are awkward, difficult to handle or unfashionable.
Children should be taught to always do the right thing. However, they also need to be taught how to determine what the right thing is.
This is the central quandary at the heart of the family film called “Born to Be Wild”. I had an excuse to see the movie, which is about a teenager who rescues a gorilla from the chains of a greedy entrepreneur.
Lessons on parenting and the environment were thick in the film, as they have been in many of the kid movies. Cues on how single parents particularly mothers, can handle children are also especially abundant in these teaching films.
Fortunately, “Born to Be Wild” doesn’t let the fatherless child angle dominate the plot as it did the plots of others, with parenting problems kept at a minimum and a soundtrack of nostalgic tunes geared to babyboomer parents.
In “Born to Be Wild”, young streetwise Rick befriends Katie, a gorilla being taught sign language it by the teenager’s mother. When he learns Katie has been put on display in a flea market, Rick is angry that his mother didn’t put up a fight, “just like when Dad left you didn’t fight for anything.
Wow! How many kids could say that they’ve seen their parents fight for anything?
However, Rick’s fight to protect Katie involves him in decision making - “Always do the right thing” Rick is advised. How does a teenager know what is right?
He doesn’t. Rick heart rules, and he takes off in a van to find and free his friend. He believes that the life of the gorilla is of greater value than the punishment he will face for the escapade.
For assistance and direction, Rick approaches a classmate committed to protecting the environment and challenges the depth of her conviction.
Rick’s decision to steal Katie and deliver her to a safe place wasn’t a complicated decision, but rather the right thing to do.
“Born to Be Wild” is unquestionably a promo for animal rights and wild animals. But, at least, it’s entertaining and offers a righteous message for teens and parents as well, I’m glad I saw the movie.