Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Call Animal Control

Once a year I take my kids to the movie theater, and I go in with a foolish hope that maybe this time it will be different. But the experience ends up reinforcing my dim view of Hollywood's ability to create anything of merit for kids and families. We saw Alvin and the Chipmunks' The Squeakquel more than a month ago and I'm still thinking about how it disgusted me. It's an egregious example of how Hollywood sets a trap for families and we take the bait. What's their scheme? Attract the young kids by showing cute and cuddly chipmunks, and this time boy and girl chipmunks, too, and then proceed to turn them into a pack of brainless, cliched teenagers. If you turn them into rock and roll stars with long-haired girls fawning all over them you get to attract a whole other demographic: high-schoolers. Brilliant, don't you think, to make a movie that brings in families with kids of ALL ages? Too bad then that the actual content and characterization were so mindless, sexist and idiotic that you swear a bunch of young directors threw the movie together in a weekend. The girl chipmunk band is coquettish, eye-batting, and girly-girl all the way to their mock-Brittany Spears performance. The long-haired teen-aged girls that drool over Alvin and his brothers at lunch are insipid, voiceless, and total wallpaper. The high school jocks who get jealous of Alvin and bros because they are taking away the girls (I kid you not) are mean, boneheaded, and stereotyped in a way that makes me think Pixar and Disney are having a good joke on parents who sit in the theater, feeling duped and 40 bucks in the hole.

I'm sorry for my rant. But I think it's time for the independent film industry to start making good films for kids. Ones that don't have to kill off a parent, glamorize a bully as the main character, or inject gratuitous violence just for thrills. (When my kids saw the movie "UP" last year, three were scared to tears by the vicious bloodthirsty dogs that mar the film's ending.) I'm embarrassed to say this, but my favorite family movie is Mary Poppins. Is this as good as it gets? Please tell me no.
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EO said...

Hi, Michelle -
How did the Percy Jackson movie work out? Was it as bad as the one in the post?
L - your mil (to use internet jargon)

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