The “Kids Movie” or “Family Friendly” movie genre is a tough label for a movie to bear, usually any movie these days with a parental rating PG-13 is considered a kids movie (with a few exceptions). No matter how crappy the effects are or what drugs they gave the actors, kids movies are suppose to teach a moral or inspirational message to the youthful. Hell, some of the reasons parents take kids to the movies is to get away from reality and let something else take care of their kids. It’s the American way god dammit! A handful of movies I am going to review are classic movies that most people in their late teens will easily recognize as very tame films, but may have wised up to their messages.
Movie: Toy Story
Message: The Souls of the Forsaken are alive in your toys.
Pixar’s Toy Story is a masterpiece. Plain and simple. No other CGI movie to date has influenced a generation of nerds to start creating art or figure out DirectX. The overall story is the humanity and love toys have for each other and for us humans. But wait a minute….does that mean they have souls? Yes, they do. At least in the concept of a “soul” as describe in the love between a dog and a boy, or a woman with 10 cats. The problem with the souls in Toy Story is that they are way too humane, being their number 1 concern is ABANDONMENT. The whole plot of Toy Story revolves around Woody, a sheriff doll and leader of a tribe who has became jealous of the arrival of an action figure spaceman named Buzz. Woody plots a way to remove Buzz from the Toy tribe and reclaim the love of his boy-master, Andy. The plot features such adult themes as jealously, betrayal and redemption. Pretty heavy stuff for kids I think, I’ll admit to not noticing them at first. What if the real plot of Toy Story was about the souls of humans that could not find love in their life, cursed to wander as toys seeking out the love their could not attend in the previous life. Like love sick Zombies that children played with? There’s enough adult and spooky shit in Toy Story should scare children instead of make them laugh. Where do “alive” toys fit in the world? How do Toy’s get to be alive? Do Toys fear death? Do Toys have to sleep or eat? What’s from stopping the toys from turning on humans? If anything Toy Story has showed us, is that Toys have fucked up desires and emotions! And their true nature comes out when you’re not looking. Course, the opposite of Toy Story came out already. Staying true to being opposite, flopped big time.
Message: Read enough books and get enough parental abuse, you can become a Jedi.
Reading is good. It helps you get places in life. Hell, in my day, you read well enough in school you’ll get a shot at being in Reading Rainbow. I can’t name the reasons for learning to read because its just easier to say its stupid to not know how to read. I hate to be that guy in a debate team who has to argue against reading. Matilda is a story about a young girl who is very intelligent and very gifted. After a series of events, she gets all Akria’d and develops psyche powers from a combination of reading and bad parenting. Seriously, having Danny Devito’s bad parenting unlocks the telekinetic fury of an 8 year old. I can’t tell you how many books I read to intimate this Matilda’s training; I should have demand beatings and starvation from my parents instead of hugs and kisses. This is a weird example that bad parent has positive effects. Boo-boo on my knee? Salt and broken glass on the wound. Lost a tooth? Tin foil replacement. Got an A+ on the spelling bee? Force to learn the Dictionary. In some weird scheme to get kids to read, having the hero being an abused girl didn’t help the rush of kids flocking to the library. Instead, I’m pretty sure some kids tried to revolted against their parents by threatening to launch them out windows with their minds. Matilda inspired a lot of spanking I guess.
Message: In your darkest hour, a magical black man will help you.
Its good to have close friends. You never know when you have to fight off the town bully, find buried treasure, kill an ancient monster, or save a local roller disco. Having a group of friends comes in handy for most impossible situations. The plot of the Sandlots is about a kid and his friends spend a racist free time in the 50’s enjoying the summer and overcoming challenges. Eventually, the kid loses a baseball that was signed by Baby Ruth to a monstrous dog that lives next to a baseball field. Now comes in the racist concept of the “Magical Black Man”, a plot device probably invented by the writers of Shirley Temple movies and has since been used in many Hollywood movies. See, in movies that predominately feature white people, 1 minority character (usually one with a dark skin tone) just happens to appear and say/do sometime that changes the course of the movie (See any Morgan Freeman movie). In the conclusion of the movie, James “The Vader” Earl Jones shows up to help the kids out and recover the kid’s ball. This seems to come out of left field (Get it, a baseball term!) since James Earl Jones’s character is never mentioned or shown until the end. I can’t tell who to blame in the end; the stupid kids that let their leader almost get mauled to death by a dog or James Earl Jones’s character who never noticed a bunch of kids screaming about a ball next neighbor. Its not lousy writing (this is a kid’s movie), but it just too damn convenient to have this one character tie up all the loose ends of the movie.