November 9th, 2003

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10:35 am - on children's movies...
beststephi and I took her nephew to see Brother Bear yesterday. It was a cute little movie. But it made me begin to wonder, just how much of a feature length disney cartoon do kids really understand? Ethan seemed to enjoy it, and said that it was great, but he thought it was too long. He also sat quietly through the entire thing (which is a pretty rare event for him), but really the dialouge was kind of tricky with talk about the spirit world and the guidance of totems and things like that. And on the occasions where they neeeded to kill a character for the progression of the story, they always did it off screen, so as to not traumatize the little children, but without seeing it, I'm not sure that what happens is obvious to the children. In fact, during a scene where a bear is killed by a hunter off screen, Ethan leaned over to me and said "I don't get it. What happened to the bear?" I'm not sure what the right way to fix this problem is. Obviously, you don't want to make a children's movie with gory bear slayings, but trying to spare the children by making it ambiguous whether a character is dead or not is probably also not good.

In other news... my ankle hurts...

Current Mood: [mood icon] sore

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on children's movies... - graffiti.maverick

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[User Picture]From: limpingpigeon Date: November 9th, 2003 - 12:03 pm (Link)
I think a lot of Disney's features do go over little kids' heads. Especially, as you pointed out, when it comes to the death of characters. I know that when I first saw Bambi, I had no idea what had happened to Bambi's mother. Not a clue. I always thought perhaps I was just an incredibly naive child.

I think the solution would be to treat death in children's movies more like it's treated in The Lion King and Tarzan. You don't see any gore. You don't actually see the "killing". However, the following scene shows the dead character, confirming that they are dead (or in the case of Tarzan, you see the character die, but you don't see the gore of Kerchek getting shot).

Sad, but not traumatic.

Also, I've recently watched some old Disney movies and realized that although I had seen them when I was little, it was very much like I had never seen them before. I guess my perception of the films as a child was just really that drastically different from my perception of them as an adult.

I think my perception as a child was simpler. More or less "That's the good guy. That's the bad guy. That's the silly guy. That's the girl the good guy falls in love with. The End". I don't think I really noticed dialogue that much.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 9th, 2003 - 01:14 pm (Link)
You don't actually see the "killing". However, the following scene shows the dead character, confirming that they are dead

That's actually basically what did happen. But they were kinda slow about it, and it did really come across as a tad ambiguous.

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