Andrew Coyne’s heartfelt review of “Where the Wild Things Are” is a lovely read.
But my colleague’s premise—”Most films ‘for’ children are dispensed to them like candy…”—got me thinking.
Isn’t it the adult films that are designed to give you the cinematic equivalent of a cheap sugar rush?
The two top-grossing kids’ movies this year so far are “Up” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” The first is subtle storytelling on every level; the second assumes the audience comes armed with vast background knowledge of the tale.
Very different films that are both enormously respectful of the children who flocked to them.
By contrast, the top two 2009 films to date that are ostensibly aimed at adults (ignoring outright teen fare based on comic books and such) have been “The Hangover” and “The Proposal.”
Now, who’s getting the empty calories here?
Lest you imagine that “Up” and “Half-Blood Prince” are exceptions that don’t signify anything, consider this: Pixar and the “Potter” franchise dominate and define the current era of children’s movies. No recent body of work of comparable quality approaches their commercial clout in the world of adult motion pictures.