Is there a trend here?

Like many parents, I’m sure, we took our kids to see WALL-E last year, and frankly we were a bit disappointed. Not in the movie itself, but in the way it was marketed as a funny kids’ flick. It was way over their heads (they were 5 & 9), and they didn’t enjoy it much – in fact, our 5-year-old found it horribly sad and cried a lot.

Yesterday, I took them (now 6 & 10) to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. And I had the same reaction. I liked the movie’s sense of humor, there were some great jokes for adults, and the film really does raise a lot of food system and envrironmental issues: GMOs, portion sizes, food as entertainment, obesity, environmental impact of food and food waste, etc. But once again, it was mostly over the kids’ heads, and mine are pretty aware of food issues because we talk about them a lot. My biggest disappointment was that again it had been marketed as a kids’ movie AND it is purportedly based (verrrrrrry marginally) on one of our favorite children’s books. There were only a few moments when the kids laughed out loud, and the plot was unrecognizable as being related to the book.

I am not against educating children about important contemporary issues through humor, but somehow I haven’t seen children’s filmmakers strike the right notes yet. They’ve learned a lot more by watching “adult” documentaries, such as Our Daily Bread and A Passion for Sustainability.

I’m hoping that Where the Wild Things Are turns out to be 1) closer to the book and 2) a fun kids’ movie! And in the meantime, I’ll keep looking for films that entertain AND educate kids on important issues – any suggestions out there?

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