Children's films 'losing their innocence in a bid to
July 13, 2008
Mainstream children's films are losing their sense of
"innocence and wonderment" because they are filled with
in-jokes aimed at adults, an award-winning film director
Gurinder Chadha, who directed 2002's Bend It Like
Beckham, believes more films should be made specifically
for children with less focus on pleasing their parents.
She singled out Hollywood giant Disney as the main
offender, saying it was trying to please too many age
Her criticism follows accusations by US psychologists
that Disney was making toddlers grow up too fast by
exposing children as young as three to teenage concepts
such as love and revenge.
Jean Twenge, a social psychologist at San Diego State
University, said that if the trend toward marketing such
concepts to children continued, adolescence could soon
start at age five.
"One of the head guys at Disney categorically said to
me, 'We don't want to make children's films any more. We
want to make films that are going to appeal to all
quadrants'," Chadha said. "Hence you have films like
Shrekfilms like Shrek and all the Pixar stuff, which is
designed to suit everybody."
While it may make financial sense, she said, it is to
the detriment of children: "They probably lose the
innocence and the wonderment. Because, for adults, the
gags have to be knowing. Children kind of get them
because they live in this celebrity world, but there is
a lost sense of innocence."
Chadha, 47, is currently promoting her latest film,
Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, the first in the
bestselling teenage novel series from the author Louise
Rennison and due to be released on July 25.
But she said her next film will be about a British child
on an adventure in India, packed with friendly animals
to boost its appeal to children. It is inspired by her
favourite film when she was a child, Disney's
little-known Pablo and the Dancing Chihuahua, which
features a boy travelling around Mexico with his dog.
"I was transported to Mexico and to the desert, to this
happy little dog and to this boy trying to go on an
adventure," she said.
"Now that was a proper kids film. "Unfortunately I don't
think people want to make those kinds of films any more
- which is why I'm going to do one next."
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