Home > Movies, Parenthood, Pets, Social Commentary, Uncategorized > Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After & Marmeduke

Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After & Marmeduke

Mini People were spoiled for choice with movies this holidays. All of these kids’ flicks were entertaining and were universally loved by the Mini People as well as their keepers.

In order of preference: Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After & Marmeduke. Why?

Toy Story 3 was the favourite. The story was great, the animations were as we’ve come to expect and there was no bagging out of stupid parents (other than “mom” accidentally throwing out the toys). Kids think their parents are stupid by the time they’re teenagers as a matter of natural progression – paying Hollywood to bring this process forward into the tween and early years is just an assault on parenting. This is why movies are a sometimes treat, to be enjoyed with a parent present, even if G rated. Toy Story 3 was good clean fun and it had useful messages about loyalty, care, friendship and anti-bullying. Admittedly, I was leaking from the eyes within minutes of this film starting. A word of caution however: this film’s marketing and tied in merchandising is very effective – hold onto your wallets.

Shrek Forever After was well put together, although the Mini People probably responded more warmly to the Marmeduke movie, simply because this edition of Shrek was darker than the previous movies. Children don’t really get why Fiona and Shrek were not as nice as they were in the earlier movies. Visually, the animations were fantastic and the story-line held together better than Marmeduke. Parents will get more out of Shrek than Marmeduke, as it’s cleverer and speaks to things that adults in relationships (particularly with kids) understand. For the kids, it’s just a revisiting of loved characters and easily digested humour. This is probably a good film to send dad to, with or without kids, to head off any impending mid-life crisis revolt against domesticity. While this does in a way, bag out dads, at least it’s a dad’s own journey toward contentment, rather than a movie which is narrated by a dog who’s cleverer than the owner. The simple moral of Shrek is to appreciate your family.

The Mini People loved Marmeduke as did die-hard dog-lovers who were able to ignore jarring plot issues, awkward character development and poor quality CGI. Marmeduke was a dog’s version of a high school teen angst movie. The parallel human plot was about the family’s growing disconnect because of the work-obsessed, clumsy, goofy father. There were plenty of nifty things for kids to learn from this film, like how to roll eyes every time one’s father speaks, how to write snide text messages about your family, how if your dad’s too busy to notice – sneak off to the skate park instead of soccer training and how talking to your dog instead of your parents somehow makes it all better (because of course, the dog fixes everything in the end). There was just a bit too much cheesiness in the rushed ending. Also, why does the cat need a Spanish accent like Puss in Boots? And why do all the dogs dance in the end like in Shrek and Garfield? Marmeduke, the movie, just felt like it had been pushed through production too fast and was roughly hacked together in the editing room. On a brighter note, the menace of merchandising wasn’t an issue and the Mini People thought the moral was to take better care of the family dog and to fight against bullying.

It’d be great if there were more stories about the resourcefulness of kids and less said about unhealthy family dynamics.
What’s that Skippy?
A bushfire? Where?
At the ranger station?
Let’s go, Skip!

The kids in the movies of my time were so clever, they even understood kangaroos. Enough with the eye-rolling, already!

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