Thursday, July 03, 2008

Children's Cinema

I saw Wall-E last night, and I could write something about the allegations of "fattism" because of its depiction of a dystopia in which humans have become too reliant on entertainment, machines and convenience foods or the rampant Leftist Propaganda allegations that go along with a children's movie which would dare suggest that maybe you should exercise and not throw garbage everywhere (though, notably, it doesn't touch the concept of global warming; humans didn't leave earth because the climate changed, but rather because there was simply too much trash to move, which is I think to its credit). Yes, there's probably some anti-consumerist propaganda latent in the whole Buy 'n' Large corporation which runs the world (though that New York Times opinion piece does well to point out that Wall-E depicts a future where big business has merged with Big Government, which, at least traditionally (though I'd suggest that the current administration has been characterized by huge increases in government power), conservatives are supposed to be against. I've always held that the first purpose of going to see a movie is to be entertained, not to nitpick any part of the plot where you disagree with the writers and get all whiny about it, and I can't think of another way the plot they wanted to tell could have been set up. So yes.

No, I'm not going to write about any of that. Instead, I was stunned into silence by what happens when you go to a children's movie. The audience was fine, though I was worried about that in the beginning. They laughed at the appropriate times, there weren't kids screaming about "yay robots" and it was generally a pretty well behaved group. What got me were the previews. Now, given the types of movies I typically go to see, the last few previews I've seen were for comic book movies (during Iron Man, including one preview for a showing of the live-action Death Note movie), independent films (during Redbelt, which if you haven't seen, you should) and generally something exploding (during Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). I'd mostly forgotten that children's movies exist, because I'm sort of totally divorced from any media outlet where they're going to be advertising. But, having bought a ticket for Wall-E, I was suddenly right back in the center of "marketing-to-kids".

First, I don't think there was a single movie that was previewed which had human protagonists. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, The Tale of Despereaux, Bolt and a movie which I won't mention just yet were all previewed, and it appeared that only in Bolt were there significant roles for human characters. Have I missed something? Were my childhood movies completely devoid of people? I mean, sure, talking animals, but no people? Where is the lovable misfit baseball team? Where are the adventuring pre-adolescents lurking around in phenominally dangerous scenarios? Where are the giant death robots?

I'm old.

The film I didn't mention above (because it deserved special note) was Beverly Hills Chihuahua, which, frankly, made me hate children merely with the insinuation that they would be entertained by it. The trailer is here, though I've got to warn you that you probably shouldn't watch that if you like having the will to live. There's just no part of that that doesn't offend me on some level by merely existing. I don't even get the reason it exists? I guess there was the whole "small dogs which go in purses and are used as accessories" thing, but the last time I recall a Chihuahua in popular culture was eight years ago for those awful Taco Bell commercials. I don't know who pitched this, or who thought it would be a good idea to make this, but the idea that kids are going to grow up in a world that contains Beverly Hills Chihuahua horrifies and infuriates me. There are a few reaction videos of people watching that trailer on YouTube, a lot of which seem staged and as though the person in the video is playing up being shocked at how bad an idea this is, but there are a few that seem to be genuine, characterized by speechlessness.

So yes. Beverly Hills Chihuahua has succeeded in making me lose hope for the future. Thanks, Disney.

Addendum: Why on earth was there a Billy Ray Cyrus music video during the previews?
Second Addendum: Wall-E was actually rather good. I'm not sure you would have gotten that from my post, but there was indeed enough time between the Beverly Hills Chihuahua trailer and the movie that I could stop seizing and enjoy the film I'd paid to see.

1 comment:

Papillon the Gnome said...

Man, Wall-E was excellent. The short film beforehand was really awesome too.

Also, I'm a Toys'R'Us kid.