Children's animation


On the weekend I watched two animations - Rango (USA) and Gnomeo and Juliet (UK) - both rated PG (parental guidance) which give the impression to parents that these animations are suitable for children. Afterwards I thought about the content of these movies, in particular Rango and I wondered what has happened to innocent childrens animation.

Rango (a western themed story) is quite funny, I recognised the parts stolen from other (very adult) movies (such as the R rated Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) and I quite enjoy it as an adult.  However, as far as I am concerned this is NOT a childrens movie.  The language is questionable, some characters were quite ugly (in a scary sort of way) and it is more violence than in many other animated children's movies -- including scenes with gun showdowns and gallows outfitted with nooses to frighten a killer hawk and a sadistic snake that threatens characters.  A few characters are killed (or nearly killed), shot at, or crushed, and there's a fair bit of smoking and drinking by supporting characters. 

Like most modern animations - there are "good" guys and "bad" guys  and of course, at the end, the good guys win, the authority is crushed and the bad guys loose. The message - defending those who are defenseless, however to defend the defenseless - violences is required.
Gnomeo and Juliet is a different sort of movie entirely and far less violent compared to Rango - it's a colourful, happy, cheerful movie with quite cute and funny characters (expect for the nasty bunnies - see below) - however it has two warring parties, the "blues" and the "reds" who hate each other - they are at war. Then Gnomeo (blue) and Juliet (red) fall in love and as one can pretty much guess "love conquers all".  Like most modern children's animation these days, this one contains a bunch of adult references that aren't aimed at children (and hopefully children don't understand) that make it's funny for adults, however I think children are missing out on something suitable for children.

Which brings me to the question - whilst these "children's" (and I use this word loosely) animations are beautifully and cleverly crafted, they are perhaps too clever for their own good and no longer focus on entertaining children but rather aimed at their parents instead. The innocence's of children's animation is long gone.  I can't remember one recently that I would say fits the bill.  Can you?
The themes seem to be around good and evil which, at some point, they battle and the good guys win. In research undertaken in 2000 by The Journal of the American Medical Association, who examined 74 G-rated animated films, found each contained at least one act of violence with an average of 9.5 minutes per film.  A majority of physical force portrayed in these films was used as a means of solving conflict. I suspect that film made since 2000 have become even more violent and that can be seen in the ratings increasing from G to PG.  Little wonder children resolve problems through fighting.

Either make animation for children, teenagers or adults - stop blurring the line and trying to make a children's film with adult content. 
(a scene from Rango)




  1. Totally agree...I didn't check out Rango before going and that was son age 5 could discern it wasn't for kids(he didn't like it)...I apologized and repented...we talked it through.
    I will be more cautious.

  2. When my teens & YA want to go see Shrek, it ain't for kiddies. Money is the governing god.

  3. Amen! I whole heartedly agree with you on this. If it is intended for children, then the whole thing should be appropriate for children. Even if it is intended for teenagers, it still should *not* contain adult content! This is party of the reason that children are growing up waaaaay too fast.


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