I can only hope that one day the world will wake up and see what the animation industry has done to our children’s films.
Cookie cutter plots so soaked in morals they make you feel like you have overdosed on sugar abound. That dark edge previously found in animated film, that spark that helped generations grow into well-adjusted adults, is gone. Like books in a glass case lest they collect the slightest hint of dust, children are sheltered from reality. Our films now pat children on the head and say, “You’ll understand when you’re older,” as if their brains simply can’t handle the truth.
None of that was the case during the 80s and 90s, which were the decades of my childhood. I did not have nightmares over Baloo’s “death” after fighting Shere Kahn; Tod and Copper’s fight as adults only made me sad. I am forever grateful The Nine Old Men didn’t shy from reality. They weren’t afraid that children couldn’t handle real issues. These story tellers knew better, but none more so than Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.
Frank and Ollie. Say those names to almost anyone and they will know you’re talking about two great founders of animation. Their work is still viewed today and will likely continue to be in the future. From Snow White and the Seven Dwarves to The Jungle Book, the body of their work has earned timeless respect. They were masterful actors with pencil and paper as their props.
Now, we have films filled with earworm songs and cliche characters. Then we had songs that added to the story, or none at all. Stories that made you think rather than killing your brain cells. Where is the magic? Where is the pride in their craft?
Maybe this isn’t the worst thing that can happen to our children. Maybe I’m just a nostalgic fool. But I will still cross my fingers and hope that one day quality will replace quantity. And one day others will take a stand and fill their shoes.