What is Appropriate?

December 5, 2010 § 1 Comment

As we were watching “March of the Penguins”, I  kept wondering how I would have reacted to the movie as a child. I remember when the film came out reading articles and hearing conversations about whether or not it was suitable for little kids. Obviously it is a pretty G movie but the scene with the gull was pretty upsetting. The entire classroom of 17 and 18 year olds was cringing and had we been 10 years younger there very well could have been tears. This got me to thinking about what is appropriate for children. I know that this was a source of controversy for “The Lion King” and “Bambi”. I came to the conclusion that the loss of a parent or a home or predation in wildlife is indeed acceptable for children to see and actually important for them to understand.

One movie that we watched this year that I however do not think is appropriate for children is “Fantasia”. When I was a little girl “Fantasia” scared me  shitless. It does not teach children to fear rational things such as death but completely insane things like Satan and vindictive Olympians. As a child I would experience an odd combination of fear and boredom during “Fantasia”. It was too creepy for me to enjoy! When I re-watched it this year it was a bit like what I would imagine an acid trip to be like. Now I recognize that the film has some very admirable qualities. It teaches children to appreciate classical music, science and mythology but it is legitimately frightening and I think I will wait until my children a bit older that I was to let them see it. 

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Fantasia ~ A forgotten idea?

October 19, 2010 § 1 Comment

By the time we had finished (most of) Fantasia, I had remembered just how much I liked the piece. Fantasia took musical pieces that I would have usually been bored listening to and built a riveting story around them. Each short movie perfectly integrated with the classical music pieces, and is such a way that they they appeared written together. Fantasia was initially an economic failure, but has become a classic and extremely popular Disney film. It has become a huge success, and 70 years later we are still watching it.

So why has nothing like it been produced since?

Seriously. It is not like Fantasia covered all of the possibilities for its field. Writing a story to a musical piece is not something that become impossible in the last half century or so. The technology involved has gotten infinitely better, and if people still watch Fantasia now there is obviously a market for it.

Then why has no one in the last 70 years done anything remotely like it?

Maybe someone has. Maybe it was a failure that I never heard of, and no one else tried again. The closest I could find would be the Fantasia Festival,  a film festival where distributors pick out films from around the world for North American viewing (paraphrased from Wikipedia).  Alright, that was with a less than comprehensive search, but shouldn’t something that has remained appealing across many generations have sparked multiple sequels and rip-offs?

The closest thing we have to Fantasia (IMO) would be music videos. But that is a poor comparison at best. Most of today’s music is set to words, and it spells out a very specific story. Gone are the days when the notes were median through which the story was told (a semi-true cliche at best, but I wanted to write it). The music is limited by its words; it is no longer as open to interpretation as a symphony or acoustic song might be.

So depending on how you look at it, Fantasia was a unique idea never again to be repeated, or it is EVERYWHERE in our culture today. Either way, I would still like to see a new Fantasia movie, or whatever that genre unto itself should be called.

Animation Saves the Day

October 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

Every child was supposed to love Disney movies…  and I, like many other children, spent many a rainy, cloudy, or sick day in front of the Television, mesmerized by yet another of Walt Disney’s creations.  Yet, on the on of the sleepless nights when « Read the rest of this entry »

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