For the last 15 years, Pixar has been known for some amazing animation, ideal, for the most part, for even younger children. Toy Story 1, 2, and 3 were all wonderful films, according to both kids and critics. WALL-E is a great lesson in what can happen if we don’t take care of our planet. And I will certainly admit that I still cry at the end of Cars when Lightning gives up the race to do the right thing. But have recent Pixar films become too violent for young kids?
Cars 2 opened this weekend and I happened to notice that Kids-in-Mind rated the sequel at 4 on the violence scale, higher than the definitely-not-for-kids Bad Teacher, also opening this weekend. Despite being rated G by the MPAA, the film features plenty of gunfire, explosions, and automotive combat. The James Bond-esque characters and storyline would be — hopefully — over the heads of most kids. This seems to continue a trend — while excellent, Up, with its tear-jerking montage of Carl and Ellie’s life, was, I think, a story more suitable for grown-ups than kids.
So I have to wonder if we haven’t lost one of the few studios that made truly kid-friendly movies. It doesn’t surprise me, of course — having been bought by Disney, I’m sure there is more pressure for Pixar to make money than there is to make movies and it’s the parents who pay for tickets, not kids. Naturally studios want to make movies that appeal to those who control the purse strings and that it’s difficult to make a non-violent film that parents won’t sleep through.
It’s just sad that the one studio that seemed able to make good movies that one could take little kids to isn’t doing that anymore.