I have a bit of a bone to pick with movies today! That’s right I’m just going to say it-
WHERE HAVE THE MOVIES FOR KIDS GONE?
I’m not talking about movies you can take kids too. I’m talking about movies that are designed with kids in mind, specific for their intellect and to inspire their creativity. These are such a rarity that most families have consented to taking their kids to more mature films or not seeing movies at all.
The most obvious case of this problem is in superhero movies. Gone are the days when a child could play superman, batman or spider-man and then live those stories at the movies. These days Superman is murdered, Batman is a killer who sleeps with Batgirl and we will see what Spider-man is but it won’t be PG. I can tell you that much. I get that the new thing is R rated superhero movies and that’s fine. But I wish the other end of the spectrum was also having time and thought put into superhero movies for them. The latest Ghostbusters movie tried to do that a little bit but it was ran out of town on a rail.
What really made me think about this is the recent Power Rangers Movie. I enjoyed it and gave it a positive review but if ever there is a franchise which should be for kids you’d think it would be Power Rangers. However, the new movie earns its PG-13 rating with crude humor, violence, adult themes and a skimpy bikini. Why was this necessary? I get we need to update film to a modern audience but why does always mean excluding children?
The Transformers movies are another example of a franchise which should appeal to kids but fails spectacularly in doing so. It’s about freakin toys and yet it is loaded with gratuitous shots of women and mind numbing visual destruction.
In animation we see this trend all the time. In a desperate attempt to entertain parents studios often throw in adults only jokes or content and I hate that so much. For example, in The Minions movie we get an extended sequence with a Minion wearing a thong and having a threesome of sorts with fire hydrants in a spa. Why is that necessary?
And I’m not saying movies for children can’t be dark. My cousin was just telling me that her 3 year old daughter loves Song of the Sea– a movie about a boy mourning his dead Mother. She loves it! I’ve known many kids that love deep movies like Bambi, Wall-e or Dumbo much more than their adult parents. It’s all about balance and creating compelling characters/worlds. I feel the recent Beauty and the Beast sucked a lot of the joy out of the film by having the household objects be responsible for the curse and them dying and all. It’s hard to enjoy Be Our Guest and songs like that as much when this gloom is hanging over the proceedings. I need the humor and happy scenes to balance out the darkness
The only family film from a major studio to my knowledge getting a G rating this year is Disneynature’s Born in China. Everything else is PG or PG-13. Granted the MPAA has made it extremely difficult to get a G rating because of what they call “mild thematic elements” but still so few even come close. It’s very frustrating. The Peanuts Movie is a lone example I can think of recently that got the G rating.
It’s not even about ratings but the quest for the family film hurts movies because no movie can be everything to every audience. Some movies should be made for children. Why is that such a foreign concept?
Dreamwork’s Home is another example of a movie that awkwardly smashes together themes for adults and children creating a very unpleasant experience. If they had just focused on making a cute alien movie for kids it would have been SO much better. The Angry Birds Movie would also have been much better if they had abandoned the crass adult humor and just stuck with a cute movie for kids.
I’m not even a parent but I would way rather watch something like Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh that is carefully made for children than most movies which try to please the entire family.
Will nobody think of the children? Sigh…