"Beasts of the Southern Wild" is a wildly ambitious film with a fabulous central child performance. It's a shame that its creators thought they were too good to buy a tripod. A magic-realist account of poverty, environmental disaster and prehistoric monster attack, 'Beasts' follows 6-year old wild child Hushpuppy, who lives in an old trailer atop a tree in the wetlands somewhere in the southern states. When their community is flooded after the polar ice-caps have melted, Hushpuppy has to deal with her crumbling hometown and her very sick father. A sort of mythologizing of Hurricane Katrina, "Beasts" is best when in CU on Hushpuppy or her father's faces, both of whom are outstanding first time actors. On the other hand the charming local community becomes increasingly less charming when you realize their stock reaction to any problem is to get collectively drunk, and the prehistoric monsters, despite a great build-up, eventually only play their part. Worst of all is a hand-held camera that consistently distracts from some beautiful cinematography and storytelling - one gets the impression that the cinematographer had a few too many hits of the moonshine himself. Still, this is a very unusual film with some wondrous elements - take a few pills for motion sickness and strap in.