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Old 04-30-2012, 04:56 AM   #1
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Why aren't there more solid kid movies?

Pixar is always great, and Dreamworks has been really solid recently (especially How to Train Your Dragon, absolutely wicked movie) but outside of that I can't seem to like a lot of kid movies. I mean I know some come out (like I Just Bought a Zoo) but the previews make it seem like just a cheesy movie put together to make money. Am I missing something, or is Pixar and Dreamworks the only ones putting the time in for great movies? I mean look at Up, that was PHENOMENAL.
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:08 AM   #2
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I love movies, and it's sad so many aren't making as much money as they used to. I've been amazed to be really excited to go see a new movie only to find a relatively empty theater. Moviemakers are trying to make money, so they want to bring in teens (though teens don't even go to the movies like they used to) and kid movies like I Bought a Zoo won't bring them in. The Hunger Games is actually drawing people to the theater, but so many others really aren't.

And while I liked UP, it wasn't a movie that kids loved enough to want the DVD after seeing it in the theater. I took a bunch of kids to see it ranging in age from about 7 to 14. They liked it, but promptly forgot about it after we walked out of the theater. That's another factor. We also saw Tintin and it was the same reaction-liked but didn't love.

eta: I got a email a couple of weeks ago from someone who has worked in the movie special effects field for 20+ years. He asked me if either of my books had been optioned. When I said no, he told me that anymore, studios want a well-known star attached to a project before they will even consider it. I do know lots of YA writers who have gotten movie options, but no lesser known MG writers that I can think of.
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:13 AM   #3
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I don't know. Some are super cheesy but I loved Despicable Me and Megamind. The trend seems to be a constant supply of "okay" movies and then every few years a really good one comes along.
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:25 AM   #4
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Hmm, I hadn't really noticed. I thought Tintin was lots of fun, and I LOVED Hugo.

There are some I've heard were pretty good, but haven't actually seen--like The Lorax, Chimpanzee, Puss & Boots, and The Secret World of Arrietty.

How to Train Your Dragon was stellar. I liked Tangled, too. I was not a fan of Up.

In upcoming movies, I'm excited for Ender's Game, though perhaps that's not really for kids. Brave and Dorothy of Oz both look good.
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:14 AM   #5
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When I was a kid, movies aimed at kids or family audiences were few and far between. Even Disney only put about 1 movie a year out.

When my kids were old enough to go to movies, we also had VHS and Cable as forms of entertainment. Of course, the cost of going to the movies had increased, so we were selective on the must see movies.

As the kids got older, video games became a family favorite to do together and my son would rather play Zelda or War Craft than go out to a movie. As he once told me, "dad, a family of four, popcorn, soda's, etc and we see the movie once. But if we buy a game, we get to play it time and again." He had a point. Besides, wait long enough and it comes to cable or VHS.

From what I understand, my grandchildren go to the movies rarely. They too have a wider choice of entertainment; Cable TV, DVD, Internet, Xbox and Wii, not to mention the sports activities they are involved with these days.

My daughter says its better to do Saturday night Wii as a family than go to the movie. I told her I think she is missing a chance at teaching her kids how to socialize.

"Dad, there is no socializing in a movie theater. It's sit there, be quiet, don't make any noise to disturb other movie goers and everybody goes potty before the movie starts."

The last movie my 9 year old granddaughter asked me to take her to was, The Last Airbender, because she had been watching the cartoon version since she was 3 years old and wanted to see the live action on the big screen. She does not often ask to go to movies, but she will ask for a new Wii game. Besides, she is just starting to become an avid reader. She has already read the GRRM novella, The Ice Dragon off my Kindle Fire. I asked if she understood the book and she told me all about it and did not miss a thing. She of course now wants an e-reader for next Christmas and pop pop is seriously considering getting her one...

Just like the publishing industry is going through changes these days, so too are the movie studios as they try to figure what audiences want. It is not because there are no good MG books to movies to make, its the competition they face and so they are very selective on what they make.

IMHO of course since I am not in the movie industry...
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:34 AM   #6
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I think thothguard's on the right track. Making an animated movie takes so much time, costs so much money--and then the kids would rather play video games instead.

But unfortunately, too many of the studios are cutting corners in the writing, instead of the special effects. When they come up with a really good story--like the Toy Story franchise--parents and grandparents are happy to go along and fork out the dough.

I think that while MG publishing has never been so vibrant and willing to take risks, the movie studios are becoming more and more set in their ways. Disney certainly doesn't stray far from its formula, and when it does, it fails epically. Movies that talk down to kids aren't going to do well, I'm afraid.
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:02 PM   #7
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We select what movies to see in the theater and which ones we wait for on DVD. The DVDs come out so quickly, we often wait. We will see a movie we read the book for like HP franchise. Or if we think a movie will be better for special effects. But, otherwise, we wait. We buy a lot fewer movies now that my son is 13. We seldom go out to a evening movie at full price, too expensive.

There aren't a lot of movies my kiddo wants to see. He is at that in between age, a little old for kids movies, but too young (emotionally) for YA.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:08 PM   #8
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i think part of the problem for the lack of 'good' children movies is the script itself.
ie, "the last airbender" the movie was nothing like the animated series. i personally didn't see it in the theatre and waited for the dvd because the trailer didn't show the MC as the MC that i know. the animated series was great, the movie was not, and most of the people who went to see the movie went because of the animated series and were let down from the lack of 'joy' the animated series bring. i heard the special effects were good though.

the last pixar movies that released, not Cars or Toy Story sequals, but UP, WALL-E, etc. Those were more family friendly than kid friendly. WALL-E had hardly any dialogue, and most children lose interest quickly when there are endless minutes of music/ no music in rapid succession without action.

Tangled was good, Disney brought back the Princess icon that so many little girls long to be.

The Harry Potter series were good for the whole family, keeping in mind the latter films were not for young children.

It's hard to know what children want. I do know a lot of kids that would go see a Veggie Tales movie in the theatre if they ever released one before DVD.

Stuido Ghibli releases films for children, and the majority of them are extrememly good.

but i agree with you that kid movies are few and far between, but that could be from the current state of the economy.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nephytis View Post
i think part of the problem for the lack of 'good' children movies is the script itself.
ie, "the last airbender" the movie was nothing like the animated series. i personally didn't see it in the theatre and waited for the dvd because the trailer didn't show the MC as the MC that i know. the animated series was great, the movie was not, and most of the people who went to see the movie went because of the animated series and were let down from the lack of 'joy' the animated series bring. i heard the special effects were good though.

the last pixar movies that released, not Cars or Toy Story sequals, but UP, WALL-E, etc. Those were more family friendly than kid friendly. WALL-E had hardly any dialogue, and most children lose interest quickly when there are endless minutes of music/ no music in rapid succession without action.

Tangled was good, Disney brought back the Princess icon that so many little girls long to be.

The Harry Potter series were good for the whole family, keeping in mind the latter films were not for young children.

It's hard to know what children want. I do know a lot of kids that would go see a Veggie Tales movie in the theatre if they ever released one before DVD.

Stuido Ghibli releases films for children, and the majority of them are extrememly good.

but i agree with you that kid movies are few and far between, but that could be from the current state of the economy.
I admit that my youngest kid has never even been to the movies. The older ones have been two or three times.

With three kids, we rent the dvd for a buck from redbox, and then, if it's one they really like, they put it on a wishlist for birthday/christmas/grandparents. We love our movie nights as a family. For the cost for five of us to go to the movies, we can buy the dvd.

My absolute favorite from the past few years has to be Despicable Me. I never bore of that movie. Last night we rented Hop, by the same people. The kids really liked it, but I have to say I got bored and wandered off to do some writing. But that might be just because I'm excited about my WIP right now, so it would take a lot to engage me in a movie.

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Old 05-01-2012, 04:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Stuido Ghibli releases films for children, and the majority of them are extrememly good.
Yes, yes, yes.

And it's because Miyazaki is obsessively committed to the artistry of his film-making. There's no attitude of "Hey, it's just for kids, we don't need to try too hard."

You can certainly tell when a film was made by people who love great storytelling, whether for kids or not.

For anyone who hasn't yet discovered Studio Ghibli:
Howl's Moving Castle
Princess Mononoke
Spirited Away

Go rent them. NOW.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:28 AM   #11
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I just saw Chimpanzee and would recommend it for older kids.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:51 AM   #12
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Maybe I'm just a complete loser, but I love Disney movies. I'm 21 and can still be happily entertained by the likes of The Little Mermaid, Lion King, and of course Beauty and the Beast. I listen to Disney soundtracks more then I care to admit.

I also have friends upon seeing my mother's collection of Disney movies, gasp in awe and want to watch their favorite movie from when they were a kid.

Maybe it's just because I've grown up watching those movies, but I love them. They're cheesy, but I feel like with the classics--and even the new stuff like Princess and the Frog--Disney spreads the cheese out evenly. I still laugh and cry--like when the Beast lets Belle go and I know big football players who openly sobbed in the movie theater at the end of Toy Story 3.

I'm going to be cheesy myself when I say Disney holds true magic still. I'm a dork, I know.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
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For anyone who hasn't yet discovered Studio Ghibli:
Howl's Moving Castle
Princess Mononoke
Spirited Away

Go rent them. NOW.
And don't forget My Neighbor Totoro. (This guy kind of looks like a totoro.)
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:12 AM   #14
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Quote:
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For anyone who hasn't yet discovered Studio Ghibli:
Howl's Moving Castle
Princess Mononoke
Spirited Away

Go rent them. NOW.
Agree 100% with one warning: Princess Mononoke is not for kids. It's an awesome film, possibly my all-time favorite, but there will be a big gap between when I let my son see Totoro and when I let him see Mononoke. Also, add Nausicaa to that list. Replace Howl with her if you must. Howl's a snob, anyway, he deserves it.

Let's not forget the old Muppet films as well. There's a lot to enjoy for both kids and adults there.

Just saw Secret of Kells the other night. I've been trying to decide if my son would like it when he gets older or not. It's dark and creepy in many parts, and (spoiler) the ending is not the big triumphant victory you're expecting for most of the film. I imagine that alone might turn younger viewers off. Then again, I had a non-Disney-animated movie of The Little Mermaid that stayed true to the original story and still loved it as a kid. So maybe I'm just not giving younger viewers enough credit.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:24 AM   #15
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Don't forget The Secret of NIHM. That is an awesome movie.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:27 AM   #16
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Really great kids' movies have always been few and far between. First of all, which kids does the movie appeal to? Young children, tweens, younger teenagers? It's rare to find a film with wide appeal. 'Family friendly' as it were. Because that's the other factor: most children aren't sent to the movies alone, so the movie has to have something for adults, as well.
When I was a child (mid-60's to early '70's) the town only got one channel of TV, so the Saturday matinee at the movies was a big deal, and pretty much designed for children. First-run (well, new-ish) movies were for adults, in the evenings.
The matinee movies were seldom 'children's' movies, though. They were old sword-and-sandal epics, fantasy, pretty much anything by Ray Harryhausen, and oldish historical films of dubious authenticity, but lots of sword-fights. And B-movie comedies. Stuff that was 'safe' for children, but not actually intended for them.
Things that, these days, you'd get on DVD or on-line.
Although, thinking about it, there's years worth of this stuff out there, probably available fairly inexpensively for movie theatres, and a lot of it would look a lot better on a big screen than on a even a biggest TV set. Might be an option for those theatres that aren't making a go of pricey new releases.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:07 AM   #17
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As the father of an 8-year old I'm surprised by the thread and the feeling that there's nothing good, or few good kid's movies. I'm a book geek, but if I had the kind of entertaining and vast array of kid's movies that my daughter has access to (Netflix, ftw) I'd be a perennial couch potato instead of a bookworm.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:33 AM   #18
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I have to say I've been pretty psyched about the kids movies that have been released in the past few years. Of course, I'm not a kid myself anymore, but I've really enjoyed a lot of them. There are some duds of course...I don't really go in for the slapstick humor that pervades so many of the live action kids movies, and I've noticed that anything that features both live actors and animated characters tends to be pretty awful.
But I like the trend of making sure that there are elements in the films that appeal to adult audiences as well as kids. Up, Tangled, Wall-E, Toy Story -- all great. Rio was pretty fun as well.
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:42 AM   #19
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Love Despicable Me - DM2 out next year! As is Skulduggery Pleasant and THG2, but they're more YA.

I guess its a matter of money - piracy is taking a lot of revenue from the movie industry, who in turn don't have as much money to make all the titles they want.

Children are the victims here, as - from a profit-angle - they're the smallest market; anyone aged 12 and up can go and see a movie whenever they want, often with their own money. But children need an adult to accompany and pay for them.

It's only logical that Hollywood are going to focus on the biggest earning potential. It's wrong, but that's life.

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