@ Post by SDG on Friday, Oct 5, 2012 1:03 PM (EST):
“The way I watch and interpret family films is expressly not limited to what children will get out of them watching the movies at age six (that would be a very limited way to read a film, in my view)”
...I am glad you stated it like that because it illustrates exactly my point, and the error that I am suggesting exists in your approach to viewing Hotel Transylvannia. If you interpret such a film in anything other than the view of the target audience (probably 4 to 12 for a film like this) then your interpretation is not (by definition) about what they target audience thinks—it is, rather, about some other audience. While that other audience’s viewpoint may be interesting, it says nothing about the real target audience. The levels of abstration that you posit are simply not relevant to those for whom the film is meant. Of course an adult (or teen) is going to interpret a lot “stuff” in the film—that’s normal but that “stuff” is coming from the teen’s head, not the movie. The thing-in-itself is simply a cartoon with goofy dialog. It is not some nefarious anti-human sub-text. It is about goofy cartoon characters who think (along with the target audience—kids) that farts are funny. That’s why an adult thinking like an adult never “gets” a good fart joke—the kid willl “get it” every time—but if the adult thinks like a kid (with same syntax, worldview, etc) then the fart joke becomes funny even to the “adult”. For crying out cornflakes, let’s give the kids a break. It is their movie, not ours. They go to see it and don’t want to hear “stop the potty talk” correction (and their like) from the parents—they want to snicker because farts ARE funny, to them, then kids. This was Freud’s problem. Everything was about something else—a person cannot open their mouth or make a bodily gesture without being labelled for this thing or that. If any psychological theory comes into play here it is the matter of projection. Occam’s Razor.
Rather, I try to reflect on how the themes of movies they watch (often repeatedly) over time are likely to shape influence their inner worlds, their imaginations, their categories as they grow up in the culture in which we live.
...that is very speculative. To correlate such psychological influences if fuzzy at best. It is tricky business and probably more error prone than not. Besides, we should not be in the business of social-engineering or psychological-engineering at all, let along via censorship and the mind-police approach. That’s the problem with the State at-large. Rather, we need to point kids to the joy of the truth. We should teach the kids to figure things out on their own, which, incidentally, something the movie suggests strongly.
This film is good. The father is redeemed by his apology. The child shows mercy and forgiveness. The parent-child bond is thereby strengthened. The group-a VS group-b tension is redeemed via unity and understanding. The lie is exposed by the light of the truth. Etc. Etc.
Yes, there are bad films that coerce viewers; but, this is not one of them. We can “reflect” and abstract but unless that is found in the piece of art itself, then it is just opinion.
Contrary to popular perception…
Beauty is in the thing itself.
Beauty is NOT in the eye of the beholder.
(So too Non-Beauty.)
God bless you.