Personally, I’ve thought it quite nice that “modern” kids’ television and films have had enough adult-worthy content to keep us doting parents from falling asleep while the kids enjoy them. This is hardly a new concept; even back in the early days of Sesame Street there were little jokes and asides and gags inserted specifically for the amusement of the double-digit set.
But last week The Guardian’s Michael Hann officially took issue with children’s films, insisting that they’re missing the mark entirely:
Now, however, too many kids’ film-makers spend too much time worrying about their adult audience, and make movies that pass the kids by. We remember the successes – the likes of Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Shrek and The Incredibles – and forget the many failures, such as 2004′s Shark Tale, which required a working knowledge of mafia movies to negotiate the sub-plots, something surely beyond pre-teen punters.
He goes on to point out movies which “require” (his word) knowledge of purely adult matters to comprehend in their entirety, then takes issue with the most basic of metrics—the run-time:
Even last year’s big animated crit-hit, Ratatouille, failed at the most basic level (not that those handing out the plaudits noticed): it was nearly two hours long, a good 20 minutes more than most of its target audience can comfortably sit through. (For comparison, Finding Nemo clocked in at 100 minutes; Toy Story at a merciful 81 minutes, offering viewers no chance to get bored.)
I’m not sure I agree, here. I mean, what age of kids are we talking about? My kids can sit through a 2-hour movie, no problem. And they’ve been able to from a very young age, I think. As for me, I do recall a couple of lousy kids’ films which shall remain nameless (ahem) during which I wished I’d lied to the kids and told them the theater was closed or the movie was sold out. Now, if I get bored, I just sit there and feel bored; if a child gets bored, maybe he acts up or cries. I guess that’s more problematic from the theater-goers point of view.
But honestly? I don’t know a kid—of any age—or a parent who didn’t love Ratatouille. Isn’t that the point, for the whole family to love it…? I’ve yet to meet the kid who says, “Oh, yeah, I liked it but it was too long!” I guess I’m saying I find Hann’s criticism a little broad.