I ask the grandkids as I pull out a few favorites.
We have been discussing children’s movies that we enjoy….and some that we don’t. I didn’t go to the theaters see a great number of children’s movies when I was a child, so many of them have been seen from an adult perspective, anyway.
One thing that bothered me from my childhood was that a “Family Movie’ usually consisted of animals suffering; I have no idea why my generation was raised on such stories. To say that I was traumatized by seeing ‘The Yearling” on TV is not an exaggeration. One sadistic teacher read ” The Incredible Journey” to my third-grade class before the movie came out and DARED any of us to cry. (You don’t have to ask if I have ever seen the movie, do you? Never.) I know all about “Old Yeller” and trust me, when my husband brought that in to show our kids, I never entered the room. The same goes for “White Fang” and any other Jack London-based movie he now shows our grandson. The granddaughters would fall apart; they take after me.
I remember seeing “Sleeping Beauty” in the theater when I was about six and loved it, but I saw few of the Disney movies when they came out. I was a teen before I saw the rest of the ‘biggies’ like “Snow White” and “Cinderella”, (courtesy of my nieces), and I was in my thirties before I saw “Bambi”. I was braced for his mother’s death, but cried over his father, who was the real hero of the movie. He not only made sure that Bambi was safe after his mother was killed, but rescued him from the forest fire, at great risk to himself. I don’t understand why Bambi supplants his father as the big cheese in the forest at the end. Granted, Bambi saved Faline from being, well, raped, but I never thought that was a particularly appropriate scene for children anyway.
[HUGE tangent here, but why did people ever start naming their daughters ”Bambi”?]
We still have VCR’s going in our house and my husband peruses thrift stores for movies for the grandkids to see, plus all family members give them DVD’s as presents, which usually end up in my house. I never saw “The Fox and the Hound” BVCR,(Before VCR’s), or most of the many other Disney movies pumped-out since the sixties. I can’t say that many of them strayed far from the live-action heart-wrenching movies of the time. I do love Disney’s “Robin Hood” and “Sword in the Stone” and wish I had seen them as a child. I had no desire to see” Mary Poppins” as a child even though it seems everyone else I knew saw it and loved it. I cannot stand that movie. Julie Andrews’ performance was the only decent thing in it and the fact that they did not use her in the movie version of “My Fair Lady” after she made the play such a huge success on stage was a crime. That she went on to win the Academy Award for Best Performance by and Actress for Mary Poppins, beating out Audrey Hepburn and her dubbed singing voice for what should rightfully have been Julie’s movie portrayal of Eliza Doolittle, is such poetic justice, I might keep Mary Poppins around just for that fact. Maybe I would, if Dick Van Dyke’s horrific accent and mugging wasn’t embarrassing to watch, along with the other lame performances. However, it is too late here for another big hit from my childhood, the movie ”Chitty-Chitty Bang, Bang”. That thing played in my house ONE TIME and I got rid of it, lest it ever reared its head again. (And mind you, most of the time I was out of the room, but I could still hear it.)
But enough negativity. As much as I love “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty”, “The Sword in the Stone” and “Robin Hood”, the more modern movies are dearest to my heart. Although I found the “Land Before Time” movie depressing,(no matter what they did, they are all going to die; I never saw another), most of the movies done within the last twenty years or so have been terribly amusing to me, and they can be run in my house as many times as anyone wants .
I think “The Little Mermaid” started the off-the-wall humor going while keeping the ‘princess’ business alive and, indeed, rejuvenated. The grand success of “Beauty and the Beast” caught even Disney by surprise and they hustled to write Jasmine into “Aladdin”, which had been just a ‘buddy-movie’, to accommodate the masses of pre-teen romantics out there. Disney seems to have the franchise in the love-story department. Pixar is wonderful and I love their movies, and they do buddy-movies best, as in “Monsters, Inc.” and “Toy Story”, although Disney managed beautifully in another favorite of mine, ”The Emperor’s New Groove”.
My favorite one for many years has been “The Incredibles”; I think I wore my grandkids out on that one. When any of us are in the mood for something bizarre but sweet,”Lilo and Stitch” fits the bill.
I just fell in love with “Tangled”….my grandkids insist that I will enjoy “Frozen” as much, if not more. That is a distinct possibility.
“Despicable Me” has gotten a lot of play here and I never discourage it.
Thank Heaven that better ’kiddie’ movies have been written and produced, since I can enjoy myself with a houseful of grandkids, and that they are amusing enough for them to continue to enjoy as they get older.
I can’t imagine what my life would be like if we only had the old tear-jerkers. I think the DVD players and VCR’s would not get much use.
Before I sign off, there is one live-action kids’ movie that I love. I picked it up from a library sale, but have never seen any others. It is a “Crayola Kids Adventure” made with actors who seem to range between about eight and thirteen. The one I have is “The Trojan Horse”, with Zeus, Odysseus, Helen, Paris , et al. It is told with modern elementary school humor and dialogue, with informative narration, done by a kid. It is very droll and keeps kids’ interest throughout…and mine, I might add. Do you know these?
Any Ideas of your own? Any argument with mine?