I went to see Monsters vs. Aliens with my daughter during the movie and I realized something about kids movies that I’m sure I always knew I just never really payed attention to before. Kids will love any movie that comes out aimed at them as long as it is a cartoon. Now, like me, most people will probably say “well of course.” But the real key to this is the effortlessness that the movie industry needs with kids.
My daughter as a case study wants to see every single cartoon movie that comes out. Invariably, with two parents trying to find “special” things to do with her she does see most of them, even if it is in a cheap theater. And at the end of the movie when I ask her how she likes them, she invariably will also say that it was a great movie. If given a choice to see it again on DVD, she would love to watch it and be transfixed on it. This even for the most horrid of movies such as Happily N’ver After which was one of the worst cartoon movies in recent history yet she is excited about the prospect of a sequal.
The reason I think this is a particularly interesting really is because of the advent of the 3D movie. To try to get kid’s interest even more, they’ve brought back the 3D movie. With this 3D feature comes a higher price of the ticket, usually by about $2, which I certainly understand why Hollywood would be all for. But it doesn’t escape me that quickly it is becoming fact that when a movie comes out in 3D, this is a code word for terrible movie. The good movies have all done without 3D, but you’ll quickly notice in any 3D movie that the movie is terrible in and of itself. Therefor forcing the movie makers to put in a gimmick to get people to buy.
The problem here is that the gimmick isn’t needed. Bolt I saw in the cheap theaters with my daughter so there was no 3D to be had, but in the real theaters this was a 3D movie. I think this one actually makes a pretty good case for the 3D. Originally, the movie was not advertised with 3D, but then closer to the launch of it 3D advertisements were coming large and fast. And not surprisingly the movie turned out to be not so much worth it. So the 3D was an obvious ploy to cover up the bad movie, much like computer graphics were being used a few years ago, but now nearly all movies can have the 3D slapped on really quickly if it is horrible whereas before you had to come up with the cover up early.
[/amazonify]actually had a really good formula with the first film. You take a cartoon that kids will love regardless, and you add to it a good storyline and humor that parents will enjoy. It was a formula that more than a few movies followed at the time which led to a lot of really good movies all at the same time. This formula seems to have been completely forgotten by Hollywood and I’m sure they are feeling it with the lower amounts of people seeing these movies.
The problem with kid’s movies isn’t that you have to sell the kid’s, you have to sell the parents. And raising the price of the movie with cheap gimmicks is usually not the way you are going to do it. 3D can be a fun treat for a movie, but you know what? I took my daughter to an educational film that was both in IMAX and in 3D and I actually felt good about taking her to see it despite the extremely high cost of it. And THAT is what you are competing with if that is the gimmick you want to play.
And as for Monsters vs. Aliens. It was ok, but it seemed really long. It had an original story which is always appreciated. It wasn’t the worst movie I have seen in the last year, but it wasn’t one of the best kid’s movies either. I am glad though that I didn’t spend the extra money to see it in 3D.