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Monday, February 13, 2006


Curious George

I've been a fan of Roger Ebert ever since I was a 12-year-old kid falling in love with the film world through repeated viewings of Star Wars. Ebert's movie reviews have always made sense to me. Most of them anyway. And his TV show co-hosts (the late Gene Siskel and now Richard Roeper) have always left me scratching my head with their elitist view of the film-going experience. I could always count on siding with Ebert if he and his co-host had a difference of opinion.

Yesterday I was watching Ebert and Roeper review the new children's film Curious George and witnessed this exchange:

Ebert: "Curious George is not a family film. It's a children's film. It tells its story in beautiful visuals of innocence and simplicity, and it's deliberately aimed at younger viewers."

Roeper: "I agree with everything you're saying and that's why I'm giving it a thumbs down. It is a children's movie and, as such, it's sweet and innocent, with nice little songs by Jack Johnson, the voice-over acting is fine, and the artwork is faithful to the original. If you want to see a sweet movie, go. But to tell people my age, or someone twenty-five, that they should spend nine or ten bucks to see this movie, I can't do that."

My first thought was, "What adult is going to mistake Curious George for a grown-up movie? A confused Republican perhaps?" My wife was a little more harsh, shouting at the TV, "That guy's an idiot!"

Ebert probably thought so too, but then he mulled it over before writing up his review of the movie for the newspaper. He agrees that Roeper was right, that critics have a responsibility to recommend films based on personal enjoyment rather than that of some hypothetical audience. But he also points out that even a grown man can review a kids' film because he himself was once a kid and remembers what was good or bad entertainment at that age.

He ends his review with the most important part: Is this movie for the whole family to attend? No, it is a movie for small children and their parents or adult guardians, who will take them because they love them very much.

Good enough for me and my kids!


Anonymous brettdl said...

It goes to show how low our society has sunk. Finally a movie for kids, at it is dissed for that very reason.

We have yet to take Seth to the big screen because there is nothing for him. Maybe Curious George will break the logjam.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Bre said...

I'm wondering if their comments are in comparison to many of the "childrens" movies out there that have jokes in there for adults that children usually don't get.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Darth Daddy said...

What a jackass.

I agree, finally a film that's for kids, and someone has to stomp on it for not being adult enough.

The other day, Logan (3 yrs old) wanted to watch a movie, but shot down every selection that I offered. "Bad guys in that movie, Da". Even an innocent Babar movie had Rhinos as the bad guys (although they DO make friends).

As a parent, I'm really hard pressed to name any movie that doens't have some sort of bad guy in it. (Besides those boring Young Einstein videos - yuck!)

Also, I;ve noticed too often how "adult humor" find it's way into childen's movies.


10:06 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Shannon, some of those "kids films" try way too hard to be something for everyone. I thought Shark Tales and Robots were cluttered messes and nobody in my family enjoyed them. Sometimes a simple story is all you need, like Finding Nemo or Toy Story.

11:13 PM  
Anonymous Jared said...

Except that the Man in the Yellow Hat has a name. A name!

10:01 AM  
Blogger Darth Daddy said...

How odd that you should pick those films as examples. I didn't buy Sharks Or Robots, because they just seemed too - something..not sure what. Well, I didn't get the Sharks movie because of a rasict comment the Shark made about white fish not beign able to dance, but that's another story.

On the other hand, Nemo and Toy Story are great moivies , that we watch at least once every 2 months or so.


8:01 PM  

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