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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Children's films 'losing their innocence in a bid to please parents'

   
Author Topic: Children's films 'losing their innocence in a bid to please parents'
the_Somalian
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link:

http://tiny.cc/qWf7C

[ July 18, 2008, 12:45 AM: Message edited by: the_Somalian ]

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the_Somalian
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Thanks mr_porteiro_head!

[ July 18, 2008, 12:46 AM: Message edited by: the_Somalian ]

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mr_porteiro_head
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You could always use tinyurl.
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Tstorm
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Why not just use the UBB code the way nature intended it?

Hatrack River Forums (hatrack.com)

(Apparently, I don't get the tinyurl thing...)

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0Megabyte
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Hey. Curious, that they warn against trying to please everyone, whereas the old, classic cartoons were, too, films that everyone could enjoy.

Then we hit a period with movies that adults, who are paying for the films, can't really enjoy them with their kids. Most of those films aren't any good at all.

Now that we're drifting back, they're criticizing the return? As I said, curious.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Tstorm:
Why not just use the UBB code the way nature intended it?

Because it won't work with certain URLs, like many that contain the % sign.
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AvidReader
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quote:
Her criticism follows accusations by US psychologists that Disney was making toddlers grow up too fast by exposing children as young as three to teenage concepts such as love and revenge.
Interesting. Snow White was about a step-mother trying to kill her daughter for being prettier than her. Cinderella was about a girl who falls in love with a guy she can't have but gets anyway. Disney's Robin Hood was the same way. Save the girl, oh yeah and the kingdom. Peter Pan was all about Hook wanting revenge. Lady and the Tramp was a love story, though I'm of the opinion that Lady's love for her family was more a driving force than her love for Tramp. Sleeping Beauty was another love story.

There were plenty of movies that didn't have anything to do with love or revenge in there, but to pretend those are concepts small children weren't exposed to pre-89 is just silly. Even post-89 (the Little Mermaid realy can't be called anything but a love story with a revenge subplot) there's a lot of stories with love in them, but it's not really the point.

Aladdin wants money, power, respect, and the girl. The Lion King has to come to terms with childhood trauma and he gets the girl. Hercules, Mulan, and A Bug's Life are about discovering your own self-worth, oh and getting a date.

Unless the post Lilo and Stitch movies are filled with love and revenge, I have no idea what they're complaining about. Unless they're saying that the history of Disney animated films has been universally bad or something. Or mixing Disney up with one of the other studios.

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katharina
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Toddlers don't know about love and revenge? Have they MET any toddlers?
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katharina
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As for Shrek, that's not a trend, that is a seriously craptastic movie franchise. A single series or even several data points taken in isolation does not equal a trend. I hate it when journalists pretend that it does.
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Tstorm
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Thanks for the explanation, rivka. [Smile]
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JennaDean
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It's ridiculous to say that three-year-olds don't (or shouldn't) know about love. (Revenge may be another story.) It's sex that they shouldn't know about yet. They absolutely should be learning about love - they should feel their parents' love for them, and should be witnessing their parents' love for each other. It's one of the most important lessons they need to learn in this world and no time is too early.

Of course, the "love" in Disneyfied movies is really just initial attraction - it's all about the chase. As soon as the "capture" is made, the movie ends - literally ends with the bride still in her wedding dress. What's supposed to happen after? Not exciting enough for a movie, I suppose. But with a steady diet of "chase" from birth upward, it can really skew your idea of what marital love should be like. We're trained for the chase, and not trained for how to hold on when you don't need to chase anymore. That was hard to get over to appreciate what REAL love is.

As for making movies that appeal to everyone - if the writing is good, it doesn't have to have "adult content" for adults to enjoy it.

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SenojRetep
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I think the article is conflating two things: the psychologists' (or psychologist's, I only see one attribution, although the internal reference is to many) contention that the themes of Disney movies were too mature and Chandra's assertion that Disney movies are too focused on humor appealing to adult sensibilities, particularly "in jokes" that are only funny to people who get them (i.e. adults).

I think the psychologist's concerns are neither here nor there. I think we are perhaps overprotective of our children's psyches, but I don't know that's such a bad thing.

I think Chandra's concerns are more valid; reinforcing a child's desire to be part of the crowd that gets the joke (i.e. adults), particularly when the joke relies on feelings of jadedness or cynicism is a real problem.

I see this in a lot of animation aimed at older children (like midday Cartoon Network fare), but not so much in Disney/Pixar. In fact, I think Pixar movies like Finding Nemo and Monster's, Inc. reinforce a lot of the hopefulness and wonder that belongs to childhood.

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BlackBlade
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I can agree with Radha insofar as I have seen lots of new movies for kids with lots of in-jokes and nods to the parents who are also surely in the room. But upon watching Sesame Street again, I realized I was missing as much as 40% of the jokes sometimes because I was not an adult watching it. Children also tend to completely miss much of the dialogue in a movie and instead just focus on the basic plot and what they can see on screen, hence physical jokes like funny faces, accompanied by sound effects.

But I am not sure why she thinks that movies with plots like love or revenge are too mature for children.

I remember The Land Before Time shocking me horribly because *spoilers* Littlefoot's mother dies within 15 minutes of the movie, and he is separated from his grandparents and has to begin his journey completely alone. It was also heart wrenching for me to see them almost get killed MULTIPLE times and even fight amongst themselves and split up in digust. But that's how life is, and I still think that movie is one of the most beautiful ever made./spoilers

Oddly enough perhaps children are entering adolescence sooner these days, but honestly I think people are entering true adulthood far later than they used to. But those two concepts can coexist I suppose.

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JennaDean
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quote:
I see this in a lot of animation aimed at older children (like midday Cartoon Network fare), but not so much in Disney/Pixar.
I would agree with that. If we let our oldest children watch some of the programming that's supposedly aimed at them (preteens), the youngest ones (6 and 4) see it too, and get exposed to stuff way too early and learn attitudes that are not appropriate. I think MOST Disney movies that we've seen are safer, IMO, for my kids' attitudes than most afternoon kids' TV programming.
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pooka
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Sure little kids want revenge, but part of storytelling is helping them to see that revenge is something the bad guys indulge in.

I think Beauty and the Beast opened Disney's eyes to the idea that they could get adults into the theater. It was the first one nominated for best picture (though I hear a lot of arguments that it represents Stockholm syndrome more than Love). After that you started getting stuff like Hunchback of Notre Dame, which was ridiculously sexed up. Again and again Disney learned the wrong lessons from their successes. "Oh, if adults will see this movie, lets make the movies more adult".

I don't know, how do you feel about Beauty and the Beast? I think that it appealled to people how he was able to change. And he didn't change because she loved him in spite of his nastiness. She helped him after he defended her from the wolves I guess. Still, it's complicated and I don't know how I feel about raising kids on it. People can change, but we shouldn't look for people who need changing. It's also arrogant to assume one knows who needs change and who doesn't. Well, besides Gaston.

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kmbboots
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That wasn't a serious article; that was a woman touting her own film.
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pooka
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But it had experts in it. It must be serious.

Actually, I didn't read the article initially. I was just responding to the idea of revenge as a motive in children's films. But I don't see that the article was non-serious, even if it wasn't thorough.

That rather disturbed me about the remake of the Count of Monte Cristo, though I'm kind of mixed up about what happened in the book and what happened in the miniseries and what happened in the movie now. I think the original idea was that you can have your revenge, but you can never go back home again if you do.

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Synesthesia
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I do not know..
First of all, what do they mean by losing their innocence? What is Innocence in the first place?
Second, there are Miyazaki films to consider, totally enjoyable without any inuendo I've noticed.
Original faery tales come to mind. They were dark and scary, but they did teach lessons. Perhaps all of the inuendo in movies aimed towards children needs to go away and be lessened, but movies and books about certain experiences can help a child throughout life by presenting difficult situations in a way they an understand.

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Trent Destian
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I think what I dislike most about modern animation and cartoons is that there isn't any subtext, no reading between the lines. Everything is dumb down and thrown into our face "This is funny, laugh!" "I like you, you like me, romance!". There's no reading into it anymore. So maybe that's why it seems like innocence lost. The movies are saying the same thing they've always said, newer movies are just saying it louder and following it with blatant knowing *wink "Get it?".
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
Toddlers don't know about love and revenge? Have they MET any toddlers?

[Laugh]

quote:
Originally posted by pooka:
But it had experts in it. It must be serious.

[ROFL]
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JennaDean
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quote:
I don't know, how do you feel about Beauty and the Beast?
I loved it, it may be my favorite Disney movie. I thought it started with "you shouldn't judge people based on appearances", with Belle noticing the Beast might be more than just a beast when he saved her life and was injured himself in the process. She felt guilt for being the indirect cause of his injury and showed him compassion by going back to help heal him. Her compassion brought out his "softer side". As she got to know him she realized he was not entirely a "beast". At the same time, as he got to know her as a person - not his prisoner - he really did change.

It's the best in a marriage, in fact: when a person can see the good in their partner, that is perhaps not visible to the rest of the world; and when spouses change for the better in response to the things they learn from each other.

I agree, "people can change, but we shouldn't look for people who need changing." I don't think that Belle went into it thinking she could change him, but as she saw his attempts to change, she certainly encouraged him. She did motivate him to want to be better, which is what we should look for in a partner: someone who makes us want to be a better person.

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Kwea
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Snow White won Best Picture, and wasn't originally intended for children.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
Snow White won Best Picture, and wasn't originally intended for children.

Snow White did not win best picture. Link to summary of Best Picture winners by year
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pooka
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quote:
someone who makes us want to be a better person.
That reminds me of a darn good movie. [Smile]

It would be really weird of by some twisted logic, that's why the ad is for gay.com.

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Shanna
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quote:
But with a steady diet of "chase" from birth upward, it can really skew your idea of what marital love should be like. We're trained for the chase, and not trained for how to hold on when you don't need to chase anymore. That was hard to get over to appreciate what REAL love is.
It reminds me of those groups on facebook called "Disney gave me an unrealistic expections of love." In a way its funny, like "haha don't we all wish we could marry a prince." But its always struck me as very sad and possibly a real problem for us girls raised on Disney movies.
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swbarnes2
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quote:
Originally posted by Shanna:
But its always struck me as very sad and possibly a real problem for us girls raised on Disney movies.

But that's hardly new to Disney. Fairy tales are all like that. It's across all literature. And part of that is how marraige worked through most of history. When marraige is a duty to keep your family in its economic footing, and divorce is hard to come by, marrying the guy you have a crush on, and who has a crush on you is about the best you can hope for.
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JennaDean
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It just seems ... hard ... that though I'll spend (hopefully) a lot more years of my life married than single, and certainly a lot more years of my life married than trying to find "the one", still all* the training I got was for the finding. Not how to live together "happily ever after". You get in the habit of looking and finding, and then after you've found "the one", it's hard to stop feeling like you should be looking.

*Not "all" the training. What I got from my parents about how to be married was pretty great.

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Shanna
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For me, I wouldn't even call it the "chase." Its the "finding" that comes off as painfully unrealistic. Just this idea that one day a poor sheltered girl will come across a wonderful prince who will instantly fall head over heels in love. Though he may have to face dragons and witches, his love will never falter and when all evil is conquered, they will immediately be wed.

I'm only 23 years old and I know a ridiculous number of people who married the first person they kissed and have already gotten divorced.

Its an image that doesn't fit with the modern approach to dating what will the endless number of bad dates, relationship were the love is one-sided, etc.

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JennaDean
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Sleeping Beauty is the worst example of that: they fall in love instantly upon meeting in the woods, and she goes against her better judgment to be wary of this stranger because "we met once in a dream."

Now that I think of it, how many of these Prince Charmings fall instantly in love with a girl because they hear her singing? Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Little Mermaid ... any more?

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Puffy Treat
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Eric became infatuated with Ariel because she saved his life, her voice was all he could remember clearly about his mysterious rescuer.

Enchanted poked rather pointed fun (for a Disney film) at the "Singing=True Love" trope. [Smile]

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Teshi
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They're fairy tales, albeit prettied up. I do not think we have to worry about a few movies demonstrating love at first sight. Of course, it is ingrained rather a lot in the culture of girls- backpacks, clothes, fancy dress, hair clips, other accessories etc. But that's not the movies' fault.

I was not the kind of kid watching Law and Order at aged eight. I was weeping my eyes out in the Lion King at that age. I was used to books, which you can put down at the scary bits.

I do think that I come across a shocking amount of people who watch or watched what I would consider adult television and movies. Kids aged 12 are watching adult movies on a regular basis.

However, I'd rather children watched children's movies with intelligent themes and maybe a few in jokes for the parents than full-out adult movies or television.

That said, I would like to see more live-action mid-age stuff being made. My eight year old sister loves the Australian show Spellbinder which despite starring young teenagers features them acting in a way that isn't traditionally teen-like. Romance is made fun of, rather than engaged in; the adults expect the 'worst', but the kids are doing something much more exciting like saving the world. At the same time, it's an intelligent, well-made, interesting show that my whole family enjoys watching.

In this case, the show isn't suitable for adults as well as kids because it's jaded or has sexual undertones. It's suitable for everyone because it's a well-made, intelligent show.

The same goes for older movies like The Railway Children, the Beatles Yellow Submarine, the St Trinians films and musicals like Singing in the Rain. The newest movie that manages something like the same level is Spy Kids. They're not necessarily aimed at children, but they're movies I watched when I was a child. Not when I was three- I didn't watch movies when I was three and I'm amazed that people are worried that movies for three year olds are inappropriate since if they are why are they plonking their kids down in front of movies anyway?- but when I was in that awkward age gap between talking animals and teenagerhood.

Of course, now "teen movie" actually means like six to twelve. How many little girls are living in a world populated by High School Musical ideas?

As for Ms. Chadha, she's probably right, thinking of High School Musical and how a movie revolving around high school dynamics, even if they're unrealistic ones, has become the object of interest for children much younger than high school.

However, it's not like the book Chadha is turning into a movie isn't deliberately using the desire to enter the adult world and the resulting confusion to sell itself.

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DDDaysh
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I would just like to point out that debates similar to this are older than Christ!!! Plato, in one of his works (can't remember now if it was the Symposium, or the Republic) was talking about how children shouldn't be exposed to the songs of bards (the Illiad and Odessy in particular) because they were corrupting their innocence.
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