Eight Children's Movies that... Well, Aren't

Ok, so I am judging this list not based on the movies themselves, but whether
a) a kid would be entertained by them
b) a kid would understand what's going on, and
c) the movie would scare the kid out of his or her fucking mind

I am not knocking any of these movies. I am just knocking the rating system in America and saying that we should look more at what would traumatize children and what would bore them. Finding Nemo is a fantastic movie for children; Bicentennial Man is not (in fact, it didn't even make the list because it isn't that great of an adult movie either. It's just fucking boring in general). The following are some movies that may have sounded good for children in the trailers, but missed the boat somehow, or movies that seemed like a good idea at the time, but now, looking back, we realized that children and severed heads don't mesh.

8. Up (2009)

One of my biggest pet peeves is adults assuming that children can comprehend nostalgia. Don't get me wrong- this is a wonderful, thoughtful movie, but if I would not bring children under the age of 12 to see it. The beginning is very slow, with snapshot-style storytelling, which already makes me think that it won't hold kids' attention (I saw it in a drive in movie theatre, where, surprise surprise, kids were running around the cars, not paying attention to the movie at all). But you get to the part where Ellie can't have any children, and then DIES, and it doesn't really seem like a children's movie. I mean, kids can understand death and loss (which is what makes Bambi an OK kids movie while this isn't), but don't expect them to understand regret. They haven't lived long enough. Looking back on life and what could have been (which drives the plot of this movie) goes straight over their heads. This is a beautiful film for adults, not for children.

7. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

What I like about this version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is that it follows the book much more closely. However, the movie, in Burton-like fashion, does not try to hide its dark and sinister aura the way the first movie does. The reason I wouldn't show it to children is because its blatant irony and smack at the greed of our cultures is lost on kids, instead replaced by a plot in which a dying man is trying to find someone to carry out his legacy in a creepy and downright frightening way. Plus, we get to see Wonka abused as a child.... and this song, which, well, just watch. If you watch the whole thing, I think you'll think twice about letting your kids see this.

6. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

Disney, why, why, WHY, would you think of making this classic book into a children's movie? It is about an oppressed, enslaved, deformed man whose only friends are made of stone. NOT a children's movie. In the book, he kills himself. How could someone possibly dream of finding it appropriate for children? The villain of the story (I think his name is Phoebus) actually kills Quasimodo's mother by flinging her against the stone ground. The entire concept is a fucking nightmare. The scene with the Parade of Fools is actually sort of frightening, reminiscent of a freak show, and when Quasimodo isn't being tortured by society, he's being tortured by his "caretaker."

5. The Wind in the Willows (1949)

In the story, Toad makes up for everything he does wrong. Disney doesn't seem to get that part quite right, and after escaping from PRISON, toad ultimately ends up alone and on the run from the police. I don't understand why Disney didn't include the happily ever after, but I can tell you that watching this film as an adult made me incredibly depressed. I remember now why I watched this at three and refused to watch it again. The same goes for the second part of this two part series by Disney, which is...

4. The Headless Horseman (1949)

Looking back, I can't believe I was allowed to watch this. Who honestly thought that it was a good idea to make a short kids movie about a dead man with no head who tries to chop off others' heads? The first time I watched this, I had nightmares for a month. A fiery jack-o-lantern with a fucking creepy evil smile is thrown at the camera/audience and explodes. To me, it doesn't matter if they insinuated that the Headless Horseman wasn't real or if Ichabod Crane survived. I am never showing this to my kids, ever.

3. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1996)

I can watch this movie over and over again, and every time I appreciate more the Burton/Selick collaboration and its genius. However, I can also admit that it's fucking creepy as shit, and I did not enjoy it the first time I saw it at age seven. Little children recieving Christmas presents that eat them can be funny to us, but unsettling to children under the age of nine. If you happen to believe in Santa, seeing him dangling over a pit of fire is also unsettling. Watching this video clip

will give you nightmares for days. That being said, I rest my case.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) (2001)

This may have been rated PG-13, but it was DEFINITELY marketed as a family movie. And it is definitely NOT. My mom took my friend and I to see it, and the part where Haley Joel Osment's character is put into a ring and has to beg to not be melted to death scared the shit out of me. This is AFTER he was abandoned and chased by fucking scary dogs in the woods. For a child in the audience to see another child threatened with real death (robot or not- the actor looked human) is traumatizing, and I think I was up nights for at least a week after seeing this.

1. Return to Oz (1985)

Let me just say one thing: the headmistress at the Sanitorium is fucking creepy. Black dress, high collar, sleeves, the whole spiel. The fact that I would make that statement about a CHILDREN'S MOVIE just seems wrong. Not only does Dorothy go to a sanitorium, but she's given electroshock therapy, and the doctor tries to make it look like the machine is smiling at her! Creepy weirdo. It's like giving The Bell Jar to an eight year old for some fun summer reading. Just plain wrong. The music throughout this movie makes it seem like a horror film, and it very well could be. Just look at Princess Mombi and her creepy heads! She actually takes off one and puts on another before saying that she wants Dorothy's. Children's movie? I think not.

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