Fuse #8

Monday, December 18, 2006

Slow News Day At NPR

When the byline of an NPR piece is mildly insulting, you have to wonder from whence this curmudgeonly wind blows.
Happy Feet is just one of a string of successful feature films aimed at children. Why are so many movies being made for young audiences? Is quality declining as a result?
Yes. Obviously when children have a choice of movies to pick and choose between, quality suffers. Best that we give them Barnyard this year and then wait 6 months before another film of comparable quality comes along.

Now I sense the generation gap is at work here and that certainly affects my perception of this piece. The reviewer discusses when Disney films came out once every few years and it was an event of great and holy magnitude. Not so when I was a child. In my generation, bad children's movies flourished. I remember with crystal clear perception seeing the live action Masters of the Universe or the Rainbow Brite movie, both of which I loved at the time. Disney was currently hitting its first low point then too. So when Mike Pesca says that, "...Disney almost never made a bad animated film", you know that age alone spared him having to view The Black Cauldron in a theater.

The quality of some films is definitely down these days, and his mentions of dreck out there like Madagascar or The Wild or those 50 other CGI lookalikes is legitimate. Just the same, you can't really call Disney the be all and end all of children's films. He may sing the praises of Snow White, but let's not forget that Disney's current Princess line is just as insidious and ubiquitous as any of the Cars marketing going on in the world today. Snow White's on just as much lunch boxes and running shoes as any other film out there. My personal prejudices may be coming into play here, though. After all, when I made my list of the Top 21 Children's Films made from books, only 2 were Disney-based, and neither of those were animated.


At 9:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somehow I missed this list before. Fascinating and mostly spot-on -- but where the hell is Willow?

At 10:19 AM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Not based on a children's book, I'm afraid. I love it (in spite of the snickering of my friends) but the novelization came after the film.

At 9:11 PM , Blogger Brooke said...

Forget Willow. Whither Babe?!?

Not only one of the best films based on a children's novel, but I know many a person who consider it the best children's film, ever (and even a few who consider it the Best Film of All Time).

As you can see from the production design and special effects of the new Charlotte's Web adaptation, Babe is still pretty influential in the world of children's film, even some ten-odd years after its premiere.

That'll do, pig.

At 9:31 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...


I don't know what's more disturbing. That I didn't list "Babe" in the first place, or that no one until now has ever pointed out that it wasn't on the list.

I'm with you one hundred percent on this one, Brooke. Where IS Babe? Obviously that movie constitutes the biggest gap in the list. It could stand a rewrite anyway.


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