July 22nd, 2008

kid flash

Oh hey, something mainstream to talk about!

So we saw The Dark Knight last night. It feels like so long ago now. (We've had a long day.) It was a pretty awesome movie, but kind of weird in that it simultaneously inspires hope and despair for mankind. But mostly hope, I think, so overall we liked it. I'm not sure we can watch it over and over again, though, because we were reminded once again that the Joker is a scary scary villain. I knew he was, because we've seen him in Batman the Animated Series and everything, and we figured this version of him would be especially so based on the speculations about Heath Ledger's death, and also because dipping someone in a vat of acid (taking an example from the animated series) doesn't seem as evil and psychotic when animated as it does when liveactionated.

But it didn't really hit me that, oh yeah the Joker's psycho and scary, until right before the movie started when I remembered that, to me, one of the scariest movies I've ever seen was Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. And this wasn't just because I saw it as a little kid and it gave me nightmares, because we saw it when we were eighteen. Explaining why it scared me so much would pretty much give away the entire movie, so I won't do that here, but it is pretty good, so if you want to see it and haven't, you can try Netflix? Anyway, chibidrunksanzo was really excited later when she got a copy of the director's cut of Return of the Joker, and we were worried about how much scarier could this movie get? But the only major difference was that apparently there were more guns in this version, and a certain violent scene was violenter. Well who cares about that stuff? I mean, we're already watching Batman, and it wasn't that much more violent, either.

So that leads me to the question I've had for a long time now. Obviously the part of Return of the Joker that we thought was really scary, and therefore probably inappropriate for children, was something the producers and network censors didn't think would be that big a deal. In other words, they felt it was kiddie enough. Sort of.

My point is, one of the things we commonly hear when people explain what they didn't like about a certain book or anime is, "It was just too kiddie for me," or, "It's fine for a younger audience, but I tend to like things that are more mature." But based on our experience with Batman Beyond, obviously opinions as to what's more appropriate for a younger audience can be pretty varied. Batman was kind of a scary show for us when we were like nine and ten (but we watched it anyway; "Like a toned down version of Higurashi, I guess," Athena says), but on the Daily Show, Jon Stewart talks like it's only natural that his four-year-old would be watching it. And on the other hand, things that seem to us to be aimed at younger audiences manage to get super popular among people our age.

For another example, in sixth grade we were mocked for being so childish as to like a show like Animaniacs by the same girls who carried Rugrats and Teletubbie keychains on their backpacks in high school. Not that it's wrong to like those two shows, but they seem "younger" to us than Animaniacs does.

So my question is this: What makes a show, book, anime, etc. "kiddie"? If you've ever thought something was clearly aimed at a younger (including teenage, since I think most of the people reading this (at least, I hope there are people reading this...) are adults), what is it that makes it seem that way? Inquiring minds sincerely want to know!

And changing the subject, I just wanted to mention that the first guy we (both of us; we have similar taste) ever saw and thought, "Ooh, he's cute!" was Thomas from Pocahontas, who was played by Christian Bale. We are very happy with the current Batman.

Today I'm thankful for baranoneko being kind enough to hold of on getting the Ashvin ending for our sake (we're almost there! we're trying, we promise!), having the Voice music video to watch when we got home from The Dark Knight so we could end the day on a brighter note, Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, getting ever closer to the end of the Deadline Death Gauntlet, and having an order of stuffed crust pizza on its way here.