ET exposed: just a big rubber puppet
Sentimental classics a hard sell to new generation
SPOILER alert … if you haven’t seen it; trigger alert … if it makes you weep like a child.
We’ve been trying to wean our kids off animated movie schlock like Barbie and the Three Musketeers and Scooby Doo Solves the Kennedy Assassination.
It’s not easy; they think that any piece of live-action film is basically the news and doubly boring.
But still we persist. And so we drew up a list of our favourite Gen Xer kids’ movies that we hoped they would love too.
First cab off the rank: ET, The Extra Terrestrial.
When we showed our kids ET, we were prepared with tissues and life lessons.
They came in handy for my husband and me, who sobbed like toddlers on the sofa. The kids, however, were strangely unmoved, except when the potplant looked like it needed water.
Were our offspring sociopaths? Why weren’t they doubled over with tears at the saddest, loveliest movie ever made?
Turns out they considered ET to be just a big rubber puppet. CGI animation has got that good that anything prior just looks lame.
We’ve given our childhood movie education a red-hot go, though. They loved Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, The Princess Bride and the Star Wars movies – although when a major character got killed off our seven-year-old cried “Dad! You’ve taken me to the wrong movie!”
That’s the power of films, especially for kids. Good triumphs over evil, orphans defeat the system, horrid comeuppances are delivered to wrongdoers.
Of course, you’ve got to be wary of the dark themes at work. Parental guidance is recommended, so when my kids asked to watch Bambi, I was both sentimental and wary.
I briefed them pre-screening on the early, traumatically tragic death of Bambi’s mum.
“How does she die?” asked one of them, always keen on the fine print. “Um, I can’t remember,” I replied. “Maybe in the forest fire.”
After a bit, as I hovered in the kitchen waiting for emotional distress, one of the kids came bursting in, triumphantly exclaiming: “Mum! You were wrong! Bambi’s mum didn’t get caught in the fire – she was killed by hunters!”