Where the pandering is - Macleans.ca

Where the pandering is


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.

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Where the pandering is

  1. Fair enough, but please explain the 25 Dora the Explorer DVDs in our video rack.

  2. First, a question: Any children in your household?

  3. It's true about Pixar at any rate. Their films are better on every level than just about anything marketed to adults. I'd suggest that the Spiderman series, targeted at kids/teens, also managed to be excellent movies on nearly every level.

    On the other hand there are some brilliant (relatively recent) adult-oriented movies as well. Cinderella Man, for example.

  4. Not to nitpick, but personally I'd argue that Star Trek was aimed at adults. I get the counter argument, but I don't see it as "teen fare based on comic books and such".

    I'd say it's probably 1000X more "serious" and "adult" than "The Proposal".


    • I am a full-grown man! I will not say map! You are not the boss of me! You cannot tell me what to do!

  6. Backpack!

    Uhhh, I mean… Map!

  7. "Isn't it the adult films that are designed to give you the cinematic equivalent of a cheap sugar rush?"

    Huh. You obviously have a different definition of "adult films" that I do, and yet, I'd be pleased with the equivalent of a sugar rush from my adult film viewing.

    Diff'rnt strokes and all.

    • Eeeeww.

  8. You found The Kingdom brilliant? I do enjoy it, and own it, but I wouldn't call it brilliant. It seemed like an action flick that wanted to be deep, but failed the moment they decided to cast Jason Bateman in a leading role (I like Jason Bateman, but in an "Arrested Development" sense). That being said, the final scene of the film did make an extremely good point, and it was a poignant finish.

    I was also annoyed by the director when I was watching the bonus features on the DVD. He seemed really full of himself, and was convinced he was making some sort of masterpiece.

    Anyway, I would suggest Syriana in place of The Kingdom. It's a great flick that forces one to pay attention, and assumes the viewer is intelligent enough to keep up.

    • I did, actually. Not so much by virtue of the plot but because the characters and their respective situations are so well portrayed. Nowhere else have I seen such an excellent portrayal of the true meaning of patriotism (the Saudi colonel and his sergeant).

      Then again I do have a major weakness for any movie that involves lots of explosions.

  9. The Hangover was at least well-crafted – it wasn't exactly deep, but it didn't rely on flashy cinematics or, like most comedies, a series of one-liners.

    Either way, point well taken – even if you count Star Trek (which was well done), the adult portion of Transformers 2's audience shatters any thoughts that people over the age of 18 get pandered to any less than kids.

  10. Except that Transformers 2, form what I've heard, wasn't cheap candy, it was cheap "some sort of food-like substance I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy"!

  11. What is the rumor about the new Star Trek TV show coming out? My brother has been talking about it all day, can’t be true, right?
    Megan Mills