Why 'Ice Age 3' is really for adults Part 2
Ice Age 3 is a masculine mid-life crisis drama disguised as a kiddie cartoon. Tom Huddleston takes a look at some other films which bring adult problems to a pre-teen audience.
The Nutcracker (1993)Kid-friendly topic: BalletThere’s a long-held myth in polite parenting circles that if you expose your kids to ‘proper’ art early enough, they’ll put down their Playstations and plump for Puccini. This is, frankly, crap, as the financial failure of this cloying, saccharine treatment of perennial olds’ favourite ‘The Nutcracker’ only proves. Even the appearance of Macaulay Culkin in a rose-pink leotard couldn’t draw in the crowds, except maybe to point and laugh.
Home Alone (1990)Kid-friendly topic: Home invasionSadistic burglars victimise eight-year-old boy in brutal suburban raid: in other hands, the plot of ‘Home Alone’ would be harrowing. But thanks to a little sprinkle of magic from wonderment mogul Chris Columbus, it becomes a sprightly tale of triumph over adversity. The sequel, in which Macaulay Culkin’s disaster-prone Kevin becomes destitute in New York City, is even more worrying.
Antz (1998)Kid-friendly topic: Marxist theory‘The workers control the means of production!’ cries one hard-labouring insect in this joyous interpretation of ‘Das Kapital’ for pre-schoolers. Opening with Woody Allen kvetching about his family traumas on the psychiatrist’s couch, the film proceeds to tackle the big topics like military exploitation of the poor, social inequality and, in its later stages, full-blown Communist revolution.
Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999)Kid-friendly topic: Trade disputes‘It’s just a kid’s film, though, isn’t it?’ These words, bleated with mounting desperation, were a common rejoinder to criticisms of George Lucas’s tragic, unwieldy space behemoth when it finally hove into cinemas back in 1999. But the truth is, ‘The Phantom Menace’ is anything but: a tale of trade routes, tax laws and political manoeuvring, it’s about as child friendly as an issue of The Economist.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)Kid-friendly topic: The Glory of ChristNotable God-botherer CS Lewis invested all of his most worrying reactionary opinions about the ‘proper’ behaviour of children into his ‘Narnia’ odyssey, representing our Lord as a kindly lion locked in centuries of combat with the Satanic White Witch. The recent films – produced by Walden Media, the film company owned by Christian conservative Philip Anschutz – haven’t made too much of the Biblical connection thus far, but there’s still a vague, unsettling sense of moral rectitude lurking throughout.Part 1 I Part 2
Author: Tom Huddleston
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