Monday, January 31, 2011

Kids' movies

We watch a lot of kids' movies around here. There are a few I won't let the boys watch, but they've seen quite a few. And with the weather this winter, we've been cooped up more than usual, so those DVDs and our Netflix streaming cue have been well-exercised.

Which has me thinking about the content of movies geared toward kids. Am I the only one who finds that they have an awful lot of violence? And some of the themes, like dead parents, seem to not be a problem. But have so much as a smooch and the rating might have to be PG! What is wrong with this picture? 

Frankly, I would rather have my kids watch a movie with a little sex and nudity than some of the violence that is apparently considered ok for them. They've seen naked bodies; it's no big deal. But watching fights encourages them to act in ways I'd rather they didn't. So why does nearly every classic cartoon have violence, name calling or scary themes? 

Don't believe me? Here's a little refresher.

A selection of Disney classics:
Snow White (the witch tries to kill the heroine); Pinocchio (the whale); Dumbo (Mrs. Jumbo gets locked away); Bambi (do I really need to go into this one?); Cinderella (one of the tamest with just the evil step-mother and step-sisters); Peter Pan (sword fighting with Captain Hook); Sleeping Beauty (one word: Maleficent); One Hundred and One Dalmatians (Cruella De Vil); The Jungle Book (Shere Khan); The Little Mermaid (the seas witch is pretty mean); Beauty and the Beast (wolves attack, the mob scene, Beast goes beastly); The Lion King (Scar plots the deaths of Mufasa and Simba, Mufasa is killed, Simba and Scar fight).

A selection from Pixar:
Toy Story (Syd); A Bug's Life (those grasshoppers are scary); Monsters, Inc. (the monsters try to scare kids - although I give bonus points to this movie for the ending); Finding Nemo (Nemo's mom dies, the sharks); The Incredibles (numerous fights); Cars (actually, just Chick causing accidents); Wall-E (fight with Auto at the end); Up (the fight with Muntz); Toy Story 3 (the dump).

A selection from DreamWorks:
Shrek, Shrek 2, Shrek the Third (the humor); Madagascar (Alex tries to eat his friends); Kung Fu Panda (more fighting); Monsters vs. Aliens (lots of fighting); How to Train Your Dragon (fight with the giant dragon); Megamind (it's about a villain - he does bad things).

Now, this isn't to say that we don't enjoy the movies. It's just something I've noticed. 

(By the way, a tool I sometimes use to determine if a movie is suitable for the boys in kids-in-mind, which rates movies but also goes through scene by scene so you know why they chose their rating. It allows parents to make an informed judgement call about the suitability of a movie for their kids.)

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