SATURDAY, JULY 4, 2009
The Lost World (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, not Michael Crichton) meets Land of the Lost (Will Ferrel not Spencer Mulligan) meets Captain Jack Sparrow in weasel form played with expertise by the new Enterprise’s Scotty, Simon Pegg. This movie was funny, funny once you switch off the part of your brain that thinks. This seems appropriate a move considering that it is a children’s movie and thus seems to fit into the library of mind numbing babysitting libraries with huluesque visceral side effects in adult hood. However, in an ironic and dissapointing twist I have to say that this fact in particular is my personal gripe with the whole experience. I like fast paced things and i like things that go boom, and i like funny voices and all, but I’m tired of being told by cartoons that in order to have the animated experience for my kids, I must put my child into a tense position where they are left waiting for the next bump, boom, joke, or twist.
Cartoons are a sacred depiction of the human form through the human form. An artist takes humanity and translates it into something distorted to depict and emphasize parts of us that would otherwise not be noticed. Some animators use this medium to connect the audience with a world that could not otherwise be explored in any sort of realistic fashion… the world of action and adventure can be created when in real life, any drama of that nature would surely cause years of expensive therapy bills and some sort of dependency on pain killers. This medium is a perfect way to involve children in more mature themes and ideas that can help them to better understand certain truths of humanity in ways that will not compromise their innocence. The best example of this for my money is the episode “on leather batwings” from the early ninetees Bruce Timm masterpiece Batman the Animated Series.
The level of depth and humanity found within this innaugural episode of simple cartoon show was evidence of what cartoons can do with material that could even be considered horrific in some circles. Back to Ice Age 3. The question that I ask myself is “why?” Why make a cartoon for children with no real value to it. Sure you can pull out Syd the sloth’s character as a teacher of storgic love… but even that was a matter of stupidity and absurd tenacity on his part rather than a human emotion being taught to youngsters looking for life examples spoon fed to them in the form of palatable computer generated icons. As I watched the movie, i found myself entertained, but I wonder why I should care about the experience that I’m going through. I could just as easily have not watched the movie and been fine with it. That mentality is echoed and perhaps foreshadowed in the films event based plot line which is ripe with tiny episodic trauma after trauma, but with no real connection of morale, life lesson, or human truth to pass on. There’s a huge contrast between a movie like this, and Disney Pixar’s Up which manages to couch an incredibly mature concept like death into terms that even the youngest child can enjoy while at the same time gaining advice on things to come. For my money, I would rather my child be engaged by cinema that tries to do justice to what their minds are capable of, rather than helping to dull their minds as yet another glorified ten dollar babysitter for two hours. The movie was funny and I especially enjoyed Simon Pegg… but waste.