Kid TV sucks. Kid movies are better. Most of the time.
Well, some of it, anyway. Let’s talk about it, shall we?
On Saturday, I introduced the eldest of my spawn to “Monsters, Inc.” A happy accident, we stumbled upon it whilst channel surfing. He was immediately mesmerized, and I was surprised that he had never seen it before.
Then, I remembered that he’s four.
Oh, right… He wasn’t alive when it was released! Huh. Sometimes I forget that I have to teach and/or show these little creatures EVERYTHING. (No, don’t pick up gum in the parking lot! GET IT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH! –True story. Gross.)
The upcoming sequel, “Monsters University,” is set to be released on Friday (BTW, June 21 is my birthday, and anyone who gets me a present will receive bonus LIFE POINTS. Inquire below for shipping information.), and I’m pretty sure it’s something that he’ll enjoy. Rather, more importantly, I’m pretty sure it’s something that I’ll enjoy. Let’s face it, I’m the one buying the tickets, so I should like the movie, right?
Which brings me to my topic (Way to bury the lede, right?): All kid movies should appeal in some way to the adult that has to be there. Really, it’s something that is already happening, and I seriously appreciate that! It just struck me anew on Saturday as I tried to watch “Monsters, Inc.” through fresh eyes, so I could explain things to my son if needed.
I was fascinated to realize that I was enjoying the movie just as much as he was.
How do they do that? How do they make a movie that I’m happy to settle into that also appeals to a child that will rewatch the same tripe over and over again? It’s amazing.
I also considered the general shift in my watching habits. Since hatching my children, I evaluate watchable-ness based on a kid-centric system. Categories include: “Can I watch this with my kid(s)?” “Will my kid(s) be scared of this?” and the popular catch-all, “How bad will my kid(s) be scarred for life if they walk out of their room for a midnight piddle only to find something violent/sexual/overall inappropriate for small children on the screen mommy what is that what are they doing do you do that oh my gosh look away turn off the tv quick TURN IT OFF NOW!”
Said categories are mainly for television, but they wash over for theater trips, too, of course.
Another thing I appreciate about “Monsters, Inc.” is that it didn’t rely on over-his-head-humor to do the job. Think “Shrek,” that was chocked full of innuendo and fart jokes…stuff lauded as appealing to older audiences while still sucking in the tots. That has its place, I suppose, but it makes me uncomfortable sometimes. I can’t help but wonder if I’m exposing my geekling to stuff he’s not ready for, stuff I’M not ready for him to be ready for.
That’s probably a different article, though.
Suffice it to say that I’m a fair-weather fan of most Pixar movies, and I like that my son is, too.
What do you think about kid movies these days? Does something have to appeal to you, too?
ASIDE: You know what else comes out on Friday? “World War Z.” So, since Friday’s my birthday, I should probably get to pick the movie we see, right? (Yes, I fully expect it to suck royally! The book is really good, and Brad Pitt has dead eyes –emotionless, empty eyes–. It’ll be terrible, but I still want to see it.) I’m sure my son would be fine with it.