Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Early Childhood Education, DisneyPixar Style

Spoilers ahead, if you care.

We went to see Ratatouille on the weekend. I loved it - it was wonderful. The five-year-old liked it, but the three-year-old was bored. Why was she bored? The film is one hour and fifty minutes long.

I can heartily recommend it to all adults and most children. There was nothing really scary at all, although for those of you who disapprove of children seeing adult smoochies, there were a few brief kissy scenes.

HOWEVER. This is from the same guy that was behind The Incredibles, and I must say I'd like to ask him a few questions about what he considers appropriate subject matter for children. In The Incredibles, the subject of suspected adultery pervades. I realize this is over most kids' heads, but come on: a wife finding a long blonde hair on her husband's suit jacket? Or her overhearing a phone conversation which she construes as her husband making plans to meet his lover? Or the teenage daughter saying "Mom and Dad's marriage could be in danger!" Or the 'other woman' making eyes at Mr Incredible over the dinner table, running her finger around the edge of her champagne glass and saying "How do you like everything?"

In Ratatouille, the questionable thematic element is the discovery by the bad guy that one character is the illegitimate son of another character. There is a DNA test and all. The central conflict between bad and good consists of this mean guy trying to keep the son from his rightful inheritance by hiding his paternity.

Does this not seem slightly mature for small kids? Now, again I acknowledge that, nine times out of ten, kids are going to tune out this part of the plot. But I also give my kids credit for sensing things that filmmakers think they won't pick up on. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if I get asked a "How could that guy not know he had a son, and who's the mummy?" question. If you're not sure you want your kids to be asking questions whose honest answers may include the words "affair", "romance", "pregnant" or "paternity test", consider yourself warned.

Of course, that won't stop me buying it, because it's Freakin' Fantastic. I am but human, after all, and Ratatouille was nothing short of amazing.


I have bad news about Charlotte's stocking. I have lost the chart for it. I'm SURE it's here somewhere, but if I don't find it in the next few days I will have to order another one. I really don't want to lose my momentum due to a lack of chart.

And Gyrid is finished, but sadly despite swatching and spot-on gauge it's freakishly huge and requires ripping right back to cast-on.

And I had my five Dulaan items ready but two of them accidentally found their way into the Salvation Army box and got donated. So I guess if I do win some kind of prize for making five, I shall have to decline it.

And I am at a standstill on my Sockapalooooza socks, because I need another ball of yarn. I bought two balls, thinking "all sock patterns take two balls", then halfway through I realized that Cookie A's Gothic Spire is not like "all sock patterns". I just hope the store has another ball in the same dye lot, and that nobody has bought it by the time I get around to driving the 45 minutes it takes to get there.

I don't want to sound like Sybill Trelawney, but I am told that Mercury has been in retrograde. After all this crap I'm starting to think there's something in it.


Kate said...

I'm not stalking, honest. Just working on line today. My opinion on The Incredibles? One of the most violent kids movie openings in all time. Just because it is a cartoon does not make it violent! I won't let A see it.
But Ratatuoille looks really funny.
Phone the store and have them put on aside for you - they've offered to do it before.

Kate said...

Whoops, I meant that just because it is a cartoon doesn't mean it isn't violent. The big explosions, etc were a bit much.

Shan said...

You're right - The Incredibles does contain scenes that are not appropriate for the under-10s.

But I don't know - I think that, from a kid's perspective, the fact that it's a cartoon removes it from the realm of the real or possible. My kids have seen The Incredibles and they have never worried that it was real or it could really happen. After all, on some level, why should a bomb explosion be any more real than a talking spider?

Not that that makes it okay to show children violence or frightening images, just because they're animated...after all, so is anime/manga.

Kate said...

I agree, Shan, that kids probably are smart enough to know it's not real.
It also totally depends on the kid. Mine happens to remember 'scary' scenes quite vividly, same with really sad scenes. (The wererabbit from Wallace and Grommit still causes bad dreams, believe it or not, three months later.) Other kids are more able to realize the whole cartoon/story side of it and just enjoy it as entertainment. Or perhaps react to other parts.
Thanks for the movie review - it looks like a good one (and as the adoption issue is often discussed in our house the conversation probably would come up). We like funny - is there anything better than a young one's belly laugh?!

Sandy said...

Mercury is in retrograde. Hmmm. Did you know that "home businesses are particularly susceptible to communications breakdowns"? Gives you pause to think, doesn't it?

Shan said...

Sandy: yes, I noticed that. I also noticed it says "documents can go astray" and "people will seem much more moody and emotional during this period."


Jo said...

Ugh.. thanks for reminding me about Dulaan - I have to get mine in the mail tomorrow to make the 7/15 deadline.

The Family Jewels said...

My husband and I love kids movies, but now that we have kids we have had to go back through them to pull out the ones that for many reasons may not be okay. The Incredibles made our first boys hyper, so it was a no for that reason. The Country Bears is a no because of the adopted bear who runs away because of the way his brother treats him and his feelings of not belonging. We also learned that How To Eat Fried Worms is not for those who believe the movie is real...3 1/2 year old would not eat ANYTHING because she thought there were fried worms in EVERYTHING that we cooked for her.

5elementknitr said...

Not that you need a reason to go to the yarn store, but if you need a reason NOT to go...

Can you call the store and see if they have the yarn you need and have them put it on hold for you? Save you some gas, maybe!

And The Incredibles, I thought it was a little, um, odd when the villian said something to the effect of "Mr. Incredible met Mrs. Incredible and GOT BUSY!!" referring to the offspring!

Kate said...

Hey Sandy and Shan,

would that whole retrograde thing explain why my internet connection and my scanner baled on me during a major work week?!?

clumsy ox said...

I had en epiphany when we went to see Cars in the theater. It cost us around $40 to take the kids to the theater, and I don't recall that I got my normal $5 box of Sour Patch Kids.

First, it's not a movie without a box of Sour Patch Kids.

Second, for $40, I can buy the DVD the day it releases, watch it once, decide it's no good, and throw it in the trash; and still save money.

Third, I don't want to take my kids to the theater at midnight; but sitting in the theater with little kids crying, blowing their noses, and screaming in the matinee is just too much.

So for Ratatouille, I've decided to just wait until the DVD releases.