Parents the world over know the sorrow of being dragged to a terrible kids movie for their children. It's been a problem for a long time now and what we're left with are terrible films that make a lot of money, which then encourages the studios to make more terrible films. Some parents sit back and think "it's for the kids, so who cares?"...Well this father is saying it's time to stop supporting bad films.
Over the last couple months I know I've been a little lax on my editor's corner (site updates and all that), but I'm finally back with it and a topic that's been on my mind quite a bit lately. Recently I posted an article about the Smurfs 2 going into production and how that kind of sucked. The first movie wasn't any good and I've got even less hopes for the second.
However, I got a comment on our Facebook page about it and a handful in my email as well, from parents who felt the need to point out that sometimes with little kids you need films that just keep them entertained and it's one of the many "sacrifices" parents have to make for their children. Sorry, but that's not a good enough reason for me.
For those of you that don't know, I'm a parent of a very energetic three year old boy, so I'm not just talking out of my ass about this subject. Since he finished potty training a while ago and turned 3 earlier this year, I decided it was time to start sharing my great passion with him...movies. Of course we've watched all sorts of things at home, but we're now getting into the theaters. And guess what? We're seeing films that are actually pretty damn decent.
I don't believe in going to see a bad movie "for the kid". There are way too many phenomenally good movies created for children out there in the world. So there's no need to subject them (or ourselves) to terrible films. Seriously...good children's movies are what Disney was built on, and continue to build upon. Pixar is still bringing the goods (outside of Cars 2, but considering their record, we'll forgive) as well, and Dreamworks is showing that they can compete as well.
When the studios make a run of movies like Alvin and the Chipmunks (the first wasn't that bad, though), Yogi Bear, and The Smurfs, which all vary in levels of awful and they do nothing but make money, it truly makes me sad (there are several more, but those are fairly recent examples). That means the studios are encouraged to put out a sequel even faster (resulting in it being even worse) simply because they know it'll make money. I say it's time to put a stop to that.
I'm a firm believer in voting with my wallet and I am just not going to support these movies any more. I'd much rather spend my money and support the good children's films out there, so that those studios are encouraged to keep pumping out quality films. Take Aardman Animation's latest Pirates! Band of Misfits. I took my son to see it over the weekend and we both loved it. It's a studio I already trust, it'd been getting some decent reviews, so I felt it deserved some support. I want more movies like The Pirates!, while I could absolutely live without another Smurfs or Yogi Bear debacle.
Personally, I feel the best children's movies are the ones that can appeal to the parents as well. Who says that a film primarily targeted for youngsters can't entertain an adult as well? Every time my son says he wants to watch The Lion King or Aladdin, I think to myself "Hell yeah!" I still enjoy watching those movies as much as I do anything else. Hell, I wanted to see The Lorax and Pirates! probably more than he did; and every time he requests to watch Star Wars, I practically weep with joy.
Sure, you obviously can't know every film that's going to be a stinker. And sure, sometimes your kids are going to just want to see a movie and bug you until you take them, but that doesn't mean you can't guide them towards better films. If I'm not sure about a film, I'll just wait and rent it, or Redbox it. If it's great, then I'll throw down some money and buy the blu-ray to support it.
There are tons of great childrens' movies out there in existence now, and they are still being produced today. So fellow parents, let's stop watching bad movies, and excusing it away as being 'for the kids'. We deserve to watch good movies and be entertained, regardless of the age the film was designed for.
I know I'm not the only who feels this way, and so I'd love to see what are some of your favorite 'For Kids' movies that don't suck.