A Kid Movie For Kids?

Knowing I need a good rant now and again to keep me calm, Ninme has graciously invited me to comment on a Kevin Maher piece about kiddie flicks at the Times Online. In "How Hollywood Murdered Bambi," Maher attends Howl's Moving Castle and finds quite a few elements missing:
Where are the wisecracks? The double entendres? And what’s happened to the hyper-kinetic Robin Williams cameo? And while we’re at it, where are all the non-stop movie parodies? And the risqué celebrity jibes? This is a kids’ movie after all.

My comment: Yes, yes, yes, O yes. I haven't seen Moving Castle, but agree wholly with Maher about what passes for kids' fare these days. RTWT and understand why I wish they'd never found Nemo, to say nothing of Robots, Sharks, Monsters, Ants, Bugs & Toys. They're arch. That is to say:
Consistent with attitudes in wider Western society, they seem to be in crisis about the changing nature of childhood. With their cute and cuddly animal protagonists and their delightfully cynical and sophisticated rapid-fire exchanges, these films are caught between the desire to create precociously jaded, sexualised and branded consumers on one hand, and the need to keep these same consumers in a protected state of prelapsarian innocence on the other. They seem almost embarrassed to indulge in the simplicity of storytelling without immediate recourse to an overworked comedy routine or a knowing nod to the audience. It’s as if the very idea of an un-ironic kids’ movie is cringe-worthy, and the very notion of childhood is innately mawkish and sentimental.

Precisely. It drives me crazy that we parents praise these movies for being "clean" (no sex or cursing), while at the same time we are immersing our kids in the very worst poison our culture has to offer: namely, the bored, irony-laden, sarcastic, detached nihilism of the 60s generation. Frankly --not that I'd let my kids see a sex scene or hear foul curses either-- but a little honest passion taken in isolation would be far less harmful than the smug soup the tv and movies aimed at them would have them marinating in constantly. It's much easier to say, "In our house we don't use that word, do those things" and be understood & obeyed than it is to correct a cynical, above-it-all attitude once it's been adopted.

The only thing that gives me pause is Maher puts ET in the same class as The Black Stallion. Ugh. No comparison. Black Stallion is a work of art and ET is crass and maudlin (and introduces children to the encomium "penis-breath," which I've never heard any child use except in that film.)