Thursday, 14 January 2010

"Children's Films"

I'm currently watching The Swan Princess, and I've just reached that major head-slam-into-desk/nearest hard object moment, when Odette and Derek have finally realised they love each other:

Derek: Arrange for the marriage
Odette: Wait.
Derek: But why? You're everything I've ever wanted - you're beautiful.
Odette: Thank you. ...But what else?
Derek: What else? o.O
Odette: Is beauty all that matters to you? *ignores father shaking head emphatically*
Queen Uberta: Derek? What else...? *clearly hoping her son has a brain*
Derek: I er- er... What else is there.

...Failure button noise by Rogers in the background and we know it's all over.
He managed to offend her in less than 5 syllables. Nice.

Other small lines are things that Rothbart says, normally. When he's playing along to Odette's acceptance of his offer of marriage, he goes on about how he'll be such a 'good king; I'll wear good clothes.. get my beard trimmed' and such. He behaves much the way a domestic abuser would, saying that he 'can't do nothing right, head full of puddin'', one minute speaking as one in the wrong, the next as the wronged. He also comments that if he '[doesn't] leave now, [he'll] be late. And that's tacky'.

This is what I love about cartoon films - Disney, Don Bluth, Warner Bros. They're literally "universal" - I wouldn't have seen the painful hilarity of that situation, or the lyrics of some of the songs had I stopped watching at 8 or 10 or whenever people 'grow out of them'.

There was an article in the student newspaper, about the 'adult content' seen in most children's films now a days; Coraline, UP and various others were mentioned as some complained about by over-sensitive parents. Apparently they're too scary, or too emotional for light children's entertainment. As pointed out by the writer of the article, they seem to willingly forget Bambi, The Lion King and various other 'classics' that are actually fairly scary, or 'adult' in content. I personally found the scene where the Evil Queen in Snow White turns into the old witch somewhat scary. She just stares at you as the screen fades out into black! With a horrible toothy grin and deep-set eyes and massively evil eyebrows!

Even in the Lady and the Tramp, you have allusions to being killed at the Pound and you see a vicious, drooling, possibly rabid trio of dogs about to set upon her before Tramp turns up just in time to have a dog-version of a fist fight in a 15-rated film.

Coraline, I can see what is meant - Tim Burton chose a dark book, and has a dark style. However children don't really think about the more adult-noticed themes of the film - they might find the whole idea of having buttons as eyes and being forced into it a little creepy, perhaps, but for goodness's sake. I doubt children are going to wet the bed thinking that they've woken up and their parents aren't their real parents.

The idea of cartoons is that they stimulate children's imaginations, with surreal settings, magic, monsters and other things. Death isn't particularly pleasant for children, but they probably don't fully understand it anyway - my brother didn't when my mother died, and that was real life. The most that these films do is illustrate morals or just tell well-known fairy tales in a more colourful way than having Daddy read it to you from an old book, and if some children get scared a little by some scene or other, they won't watch it again, and won't be affected *too* long.

Sex jokes, innuendos and in-between age jokes are part of what makes these films timeless and without a real age limit. Children laugh at the stupid frog speaking fake French, almost getting eaten by alligators as he tries to get flowers, the parents laugh at the sarcasm of Rogers, the ludicrous 'creepy' voice that Rothbart has, the utterly fake Irish accent of the puffin, silly puns, and are grateful that their parents(-in-law) aren't like Uberta.

Later on in life, you might not have the time to play to your inner child's love for pretty pictures, and can only watch the odd film with 'proper' acting in it, so enjoy these cartoons whilst you have the time.

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