27 July 2005

Super-Duper Family Fun Movie Night

Monday night was Super-Duper Family Movie Fun Night at the Chintzibobs' household. For SDFMFN, the lights are turned down low, the surround sound is turned up, popcorn is popped, pillows are thrown on the floor, and drinks are distributed. Our intention is to help train our four year old boy for the movie theater and to create a family tradition for Sunday or Monday movie nights. Our boy doesn't like loud, sustained noise so we can't take him to the movies (see here).

We began the tradition last week with "The Incredibles". It wasn't the best choice to start the tradition. It is a very fast paced movie with continual, scary states of peril for the family of four who are the Incredibles. The boy was distressed (and seemed near tears) at a couple of points and kept saying, "They need the police, they need the police" or "They need superheroes". The two year old girl was very funny to listen to. She kept her comments and exclamations to "uh-oh" or a distressed "oooh". They both perservered and seemed to enjoy the family time and popcorn. The adults both enjoyed the movie, but it is hard to say whether they enjoyed the movie or their kid's reactions to it more.

On Monday night, we watched "Ice Age". This was a much better choice. It has slower pacing. Scenes of peril are alternated with periods of calm, and the peril was never terribly intense. Its themes of redemption and forgiveness were appreciated by the adults. This choice was affirmed when the boy asked to see "Ice Age" again this morning with the lights out. The kids watched it again and enjoyed it.

Interestingly, both movies were "PG". The non-stop intensity made "The Incredibles", I thought, more of PG+. While "Ice Age" was more of a PG-. I was glad to see that both of them eschewed the potty humor of so many recent animated films (Shrek especially). "The Incredibles" was fun from an adult standpoint, but I thought "Ice Age" was much deeper (for an animated kid's movie).

I have decided that I really don't like computer animation or CGI. Animated films these days are not nearly as pretty as one of yesteryear, and actions films have become nothing but CGI showcases (see SW 1-3). CGI still does not look real to me. It is too clean. Reality is much less perfect. It also allows directors to pull stupid stunts that distract from the intensity of the moment (I'm thinking of Legolas and the Oliphants in LOTR3). I find it hard to suspend my disbelief at moments like that.

Our challenge with SDFMFN now is three fold. We must find movies that:
1. Our kids haven't seen yet at relatives' houses.
2. Our appropriate to our children.
3. The adults can bear to sit through.

We are considering trying Star Wars IV for our next SDFMFN. Suggestions?



4BoyDad said...

Old cartoons, like Bugs Bunny or Silly Symphonies. Disney has DVD collections of old cartoons, so do others. Anything before 1960 is probably perfect.

My guys love these old cartoons, much more so than anything that's come out in the past 20 years. The pacing is consistent (high), the humor is eternal (slapstick), instead of the roller-coaster rides or potty festivals of modern cartoons and movies. Disney animated movies are too treacle-preachy; Pixar can be too intense for kids under 6 (as can the older Disney animated movies).

Splitcat Chintzibobs said...

Bugs. An excellent idea. I think our generation was probably the last to grow up with Bugs as a shared culutral experience. Cable TV has changed so much, butI am glad to report that many of my students still enjoy Gilligan's Island.