Saturday, April 2, 2011

Three's a Charm: A Really Long, But Hopefully Helpful Review of Three Children's Movies

This is sort of an apology. Sort of. I meant to watch the Dead End Kids last night, I really did. I as even going to write it on my arm but I have been banned from all the sharpie markers in the house under pain of death by my Father. I don't blame him, he pays good money for them. Besides, he's not here often and I know where they are.
Anyway, I didn't watch it. I watched Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol instead. At first I as thinking "What will I tell the people who read my blog, I didn't review the Dead End Kids! And then I realized, why should I answer to you folks? Am I gonna let a few blog-readers control my life?


So tonight after I write this review I will make myself some popcorn, cozy up on our couch, gather my extremely poor attention span and watch it. I promise. For now, I am going to give you parent/babysitter/older sibling types a comparison of the kids movies I've seen recently, because sadly, that's all I've watched this week. But since I've been sick, and my ability to entertain myself by 'riffing' these films, thereby watching the whole thing with my sisters has made me the most awesome person in the world to them, it's all cool. So here they are. Bear in mind that these are not ones I chose to represent the categories of good, bearable and worse but simply ones I watched this week and an therefore sort of categorized that way. Off we go!

1. Fantasia 2000

By far it is unfair to include this one in the mix because ask any simpleton on the streets and it is a no brainier. Of course this movie is the best of the three! You don't even have to scroll down and look at the other two to decide that. Fantasia has been appraised by critics and parents for years, but here is the real question; will the kids like it? I think they will. Most people think that kids today would be bored of classical music since most of the current children's shows incorporate rock/pop riffs into their programs. I don't think that has anything to do with it. First of all, classical is still music- currently popular or not, it still has melody and rhythm and can invoke emotion. Besides, Fantasia and Fantasia 2000's idea was to incorporate music with visual images, so it keeps attention without the Hannah Montana.
In other words, your kid doesn't have to listen to Beethoven to enjoy it, but two things should be kept in mind- one, that as much as I think it's a great one to have in the home, it's really not something that will mesmerize when you want an instant-attention-capturerer. Also, for some reason Disney studios decided it would be a great idea to end the Fantasia movies...both of them...with a dark, scary creep-fest of a number that is supposed to represent "Heaven and Hell". In the 1940 version it's such a mellow-dramatic thing we don't even let the kids watch it. In the 2000 version it's far more do-able, but it still made Naomi go into hysterics and demand that I make the burnt forest grow back. It's a gorgeous, dazzling masterpiece of a film and no amount of over-glorification will ever ruin it for me....In other words, yes I recommend it because it's an awesome movie and a great way to expose your kids to some impressive classical music....or maybe put them to sleep. Whichever comes first ;)

2. The Littles; Here Come the Littles

Bet you could have seen this one coming, couldn't you?

And no, I'm not going to talk about the complicated inner-dynamics of a show I've watched WAY to much of for my own mental health, nor am I going to use this paragraph for some well-practiced Dinky bashing....instead I'm gonna actually sit and write a nice helpful review like a nice helpful adult person who has no earthly idea what Mr. and Mrs. Little's first names are.

Like I said, Fantasia really does not deserve to be in the list because it is one of those critically acclaimed, five-star children's films that cost $20.00 on DVD, whereas this one and the next are (literally) the kind of thing you can watch for free on the Netflix instant queue. But still, twenty buckaroos are hard to come by these days, so who can tell which is more helpful? Here Come The Littles ranks as only a fraction of an inch above average on the "straight to video kids movies from the 80's and 90's" scale. Its for an age group somewhere between the sappy, annoying Land Before Time series and below the freaky over-emotional Secret of Nihm. (Yes, thank you. I know I am acquainted with far to many children's movies.) But unless you have fond...very fond....childhood memories there's not a whole lot for adults, which for a plus means the humor is squeaky clean. Another plus is the good examples of the children- Tom and Lucy (unlike many other sister/brother pairings fictional and non fictional I could name) don't hate or fight with each other, don't smart off to their parents, and wash their hands before every meal. So maybe your kids won't come away with brilliant ideas about saving the world, but they won't learn a new cuss word either.

But if you happen to be a tall, clumsy fifteen-year-old who plays with her siblings a lot, do yourself and your self-esteem a favor and don't let them watch it. I have my reasons.

3. The Missing Lynx

Last and least on our list is another from the very annoying bowels of Netflix's over-glorified collection of freebies- a dragging, bore-you-to-death hour and a half of weird over-done environmentalist ideas about caged animals coupled with chunky video game graphics for animation. It starts out slow, and then just when you it's gonna get gets slower. The plot drags like four tons of molasses running uphill in January, and yet, my little sisters were so captivated they watched it twice. And then it was promptly forgotten. As far as I know (in truth I missed several scenes due to a headache and severe boredom) it is family-friendly and mostly clean, with mild scatterings of crude humor. Oh, and it has annoying British/Australian accents for all the characters. Normally I would praise a movie for fun foreign accents, (have I mentioned I love Doctor Who??) but these are far from fun- the slow, deliberate dialects of every single voice makes the dialogue seem as leadenly lethargic as the plot.

So there you have a nice overview and recommendation order for three movies. If your really serious about finding a movie for the family to watch together, go out and pay your mo-nay for Fantasia 2000 and it'll be worth it. If your just looking for something cheap for kids night, go with the Littles. And if you don't give a Peebles what they watch because your not going to be in there- The Missing Lynx is the movie for you......r kids.

P.S. Sorry again about the Dead End Kids. During the production of this post I discovered that the movie I actually want to rent is the first of a series. The official name is Dead End and it stars Humphrey Bogart as a gangster who comes back to the slums of New York where he was from and ends up leading a group of street children astray. I rented it from Netflix and it should be here soon, along with The Borrowers. Await with bated breath oh faithful readers!!

P.S. I realized with horror today that my last post not only lacked a photo of Porky Pig but included one of Dinky Little. So to make up for that and prevent future problems;

Ain't He CUTE, folks...?!!


Anonymous said...

i love your post!!! And yes...yes he is cute ;)

Christina said...

Great post! Great reviews! :-) Good job, I mean, Locksley!

Bruce said...

I am continually impressed with your reviews. I have to admit, I haven't seen a lot of the ones you discuss and some I have seen but don't understand. It must be an age thing...
You obviously have more "class" then I have/had, as I recall watching Fantasia as a child and being bored with it.
Keep 'em coming, girl. Your blog is becoming a habit,,,habbit...rabbit...wabbit...