Culture > Movies

Film: Not for kids anymore

"Film: Not for kids anymore" Continued...

Issue: "Vouching for Vouchers," Aug. 17, 1996

Another offering based on a 1964 novel popular with the tomboy set is Nickelodeon's Harriet The Spy. Sad to report, the story, manipulated in the television commercial style of director Bronwen Hughes, turns Harriet from a likable, curious kid into an obnoxiously judgmental and spoiled--rotten brat.

Finally, the film Matilda, based upon another strange Roald Dahl novel, comes to the theaters courtesy of actor--director Danny DeVito, who is not noted for subtlety. Mara Wilson (from Miracle on 34th Street) stars as the precocious little Matilda whose corrupt parents (Mr. DeVito and real--life wife, Rhea Perlman) and beastly headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, try to annihilate her exceeding intelligence and innocence with their cretin ways and vicious attempts to do physical harm. In the frenzy of battle, Matilda pulls out her secret weapon, one that has become the staple of kiddy--revenge flicks: telekinesis, throwing objects at people by means of her psychic power.

The parents--as--bad--guys motif is not what children need to see. For at least a decade, movie producers who have no discernable knowledge about normal child development have been pumping out sick humor, violence, and sensuous suggestions in order to make a fast buck off of parents who are naive enough to believe TV and print advertisements. Parents of young children ought to let Matilda sit in the corner.

There are a few positive options for Christian families, most of which are found in your local Christian bookstore. Next installment: the good news.


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