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Why I Watch Kids Movies, and Why You Should too | Opinion

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I would like to talk to you.

This is the story of a clumsy and nerdy man, but at heart he is kind. Living alone with his father, this young man has nowhere to go in his life. He is until the fate of an entire country unexpectedly falls upon his shoulders. While many doubt and disrespect him, our hero grit his teeth and gets to work. After an emotional journey that challenges him through personal obstacles and difficult relationships, he eventually learns to be more confident in himself than ever before. We also find that he makes an effort to develop a healthy relationship with his biological father. and wins the affection of his stoic mentor.

Now I’m going to tell you something else. The protagonist of our story is an anthropomorphic panda. His adoptive father is a goose and his best friend is a tiger.

Many readers probably know what I’m talking about. If you’re a fan, you may have felt it from the beginning.

Of course, I’m talking about the power of cinema, the Kung Fu Panda trilogy. I want to use this movie to make a point that I really enjoy watching children’s movies.

By no means do we claim that all children’s films are artistic or complicated. Certainly not the case with the “Despicable Me” or “Trolls” franchises (although they provide a fair amount of fun and enjoyment for the TikTok generation). Nor am I advocating that watching children’s movies should replace the consumption of other content. What I am arguing, however, is that movies marketed to children and families may actually be the most well-crafted, thoughtful, and life-changing works of art. , they deserve our real attention.

Ultimately, the great thing about children’s films is that they must capture and communicate big, complex ideas in easily digestible ways. Sure, sometimes this is done by keeping things low-key or avoiding heavy topics altogether. They deliver nuanced and moving portraits of life, love, and loss in a simple yet deeply symbolic way.

In other words, what is out of necessity mediocre or understated in children’s films can actually manifest as just the right level of restraint, as people in the art world like to call “subtext.” there is.

As an example, I’ll go back to the value of Kung Fu Panda, a children’s franchise I started. I’m not going to claim that it offers a positive portrait of the most polished body out there (unfortunately many casual fat jokes are made without hesitation). A message about self-love and confidence. Surprisingly, there are no superficial makeover scenes or weight loss montages. Instead, the main character’s arc is about learning to trust himself and earning the respect of his peers.Animated fight scenes feature authentic kung fu tributes to his techniques, as well as The music is by the prolific Hans Herz Zimmer and John Herr Powell. The visuals are vivid and captivating, the message is solid, and the musical experience is second to none. In fact, the famous work ‘Oogway Ascends’ is known as one of his most emotional movie soundtracks. Believe it or not, that one clip of him has over 20 million views on his Youtube.

Pandas and movie scores aside, something crucial happens when you sit down and enjoy a seriously shamelessly good kids movie. Yes, you’ll probably have a good time and find that it’s actually a work of art in itself. As we tear down the barriers of what we consider “artistic”, we increasingly chip away at the snobbery and conceit that has often taken root throughout our lives. I’ve come to think it’s worth it. It deserves the noble title of “art”. And is there anything more central to art than openness and inclusivity?

An English professor said that art is something that moves people. I never asked him to clarify what he meant. , is what drives you. (Just because it’s emotional doesn’t mean it’s art. The fact that I cried at “Love is Blind” the other day is proof enough.) We are the same person we were before we consumed it, in a spiritually, philosophically, personally and even artistically meaningful way.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m not who I was before I saw Kung Fu Panda as an adult. And if you take the time to do so as I do, neither do you. It’s not just because it’s an objectively great film.

Lina HR Cho ’23 is Dunster House’s Comparative Literature Concentrator. Her column “Bad Art” appears every other Monday.