Children’s Movies


Given that it was first launched in 1969 and is still watched by tons of children all over the world today, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to call Sesame Street one of the most iconic and enduring television series of all time. Throughout the years, characters like Big Bird, Bert & Ernie, the Cookie Monster, and Oscar the Grouch have become staples of mornings spent raising a toddler. But over the course of the show’s lengthy history it has only made the jump from small screen to big twice. The first time was in 1985, when the whole Sesame Street crew was set to the task of tracking down a runaway and kidnapped Big Bird in Follow That Bird. The second was in 1999, when a capitalization on the explosion of the popularity of Sesame Street character Elmo was attempted with The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. Neither were big hits, with Follow That Bird grossing near $14m and Elmo in Grouchland only around $11.5m, despite having a budget of $26m; which would seem to point to the theory that people who have children young enough to enjoy Sesame Street don’t take them to the theaters all that often. Plopping them in front of public television every morning is one thing, but loading them up and paying to have them sit in a dark room and hopefully be quiet for a couple hours is something else entirely.


Clifford the Big Red Dog

Here’s the thing about Clifford the Big Red Dog: he was massive, playful, and he got into trouble all the time because he didn’t fit in. It’s a plot-flimsy character with a deeper message for kids (especially those who don’t fit in), but Universal is teaming with a company seasoned in stretching out children’s fare into feature run-times. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio is working with Illumination Studios (The Lorax) to bring the giant scarlet mutt to life. Screenwriter Matt Lopez (Bedtime Stories, Race to Witch Mountain, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) is set to write the character first introduced by Scholastic Books and author Norman Bridwell. All in all, it sounds like a solid partnership to bring a childhood icon to the big screen. They just have to find screens big enough now.



Quirky, controversial director Takashi Miike’s latest film Ninja Kids!!! has been released in his home country of Japan for about two months now, so you know what that means…it’s time to start talking about the English-language remake! THR is reporting that a prominent studio is currently in talks to bring the property overseas and put it in a nice, neat Hollywood package that we can all consume without having to read nasty subtitles or hurt our heads trying to understand cultural specific conceits. Personally I have not seen Ninja Kids!!!, and seeing as it is so new, probably a lot of other people haven’t either. So before we decide if we’re excited for this remake or not, let’s take a look at what exactly the movie is.


Attention producers: This is not your target audience.

Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as EruditeSmurf007 and NostalgiaFiend238 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the pair rewatches the trailer for The Smurfs in an attempt to figure out why something that harmless needs to be modernized. Weren’t they cute and lovable before? Does a movie like that really need to fake appeal to a snarky teenage audience or should children and their parents be enough? Who is responsible for Smurfette flashing her panties at everyone and who on the production thought pop culture references would buoy a terrible film? In shorter terms, why can’t certain film productions get childhood icons right?


The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Because all week long we’ll be featuring short films featuring the gang from Community. Today’s features the children’s book narration of Chevy Chase. I desperately wanted to find an embeddable version of the immortal Walk…Don’t Walk from 1968, but alas, the internet has failed me. However, sometimes failure is success in disguise because I was able to find Chase playing the role of storyteller for an animated version of a children’s tale that’s really sweet. It’s a benign counterpoint to his character on Community as instead of being overtly racist and self-centric, he’s talking about how a father and mother decide to cheer up their son by turning him into a pizza. The animation style is what might happen if a comic strip came to life, and the story’s truly heartwarming. What Will It Cost? Just 6 minutes of your time. Check out Pete’s A Pizza for yourself:


P2P - Voyage of the Basset Dream Cast

As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. There is a noticeable lack of the kind of imaginative children’s movies that echo the tone and style of Labyrinth, The NeverEnding Story or even The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. There are great family films out there these days, but many that set sail for the boundaries of imagination to meet fantastical characters along the way to a lesson. The Narnia movies come to mind, but they really fell flat. It’s time that we all went on another adventure together. I’m proposing that someone readies the Basset to set a course for somewhere we’ve never been before.



I know what you’re thinking: they’re making a sequel to Legend of the Guardians? There. I proved I’m psychic. James Randi owes me a million dollars. The answer, though, is no. They aren’t. Rise of the Guardians is simply a confusingly-titled also-animated also-children’s movie that Dreamworks is prepping for 2012. Apparently the book’s title “The Guardians of Childhood,” was too good for the movie version. Fortunately, the story is a contemporary slant on Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost as a heroic foursome. According to Variety, Alec Baldwin will be voicing Claus, Hugh Jackman will be voicing The Bunny, Isla Fisher will be voicing the Fairy, and Chris Pine will be voicing Jack Frost as played by Captain Kirk. The heroes will be battling the demon Pitch (voiced by Jude Law) in what is most likely a plot to destroy the magic of childhood. I came up with that using ESP as well. The strong cast  is complimented by screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole) delivering the script for an expected release at the end of November 2012. It sounds like a huge adventure and a continuation of Dreamworks’ continued growth in the quality department (even if they pushed the release date to avoid sparring directly with Monsters Inc 2…). The most important thing? Alec Baldwin as Santa. You’ve been daydreaming about it already, haven’t you?



Imagine if a movie attempted to capture the spirit and tone of Where the Wild Things Are by using a small teddy bear and whatever else you have lying around your house. Imagine, if you dare to, that you’re 5 years old, and your mother has thrown out your favorite toy, the thing that brings you comfort. Kooky is a Czech film from director Jan Sverak that features a young child with asthma – so a beloved stuffed bear has to be thrown out. That’s when the bear’s adventure starts. It seems closer to In the Attic than to Toy Story in design, but the whole thing seems like the most adorable thing that anyone will see this week. Check out the trailer for yourself and prepare for your cold heart to be melted.



In the Attic is a fun children’s film that finds itself somewhere in between the heart strung world of Toy Story and the frantic insanity of A Town Called Panic. It’s stop-motion at its best with a story that is sweet without being saccharine and wacky in a way that won’t scare children, but might leave them wary of talking green heads. Buttercup, a beautiful blonde-haired doll, lives inside a suitcase with a marionette named Prince Charming, a small teddy bear, and a Play-doh style lump who uses a bottle cap for a hat. They get along just fine in their miniature world, but Buttercup is kidnapped to the Land Of Evil, and the roommates have to band together to get her back from the clutches of a green bust of a man’s head who wants her for his bride.



Jonas seems a little different than everyone else in his class, and when he’s given the job of Receiver of Memories, he finally realizes what has been absent from his life and the lives of his family: true love, intense happiness, the rush of adventure.



Understanding the struggle of youth is a difficult one – especially for filmmakers, who are mostly adults and, as such, have lost sight on what it’s like to be a child. Still, despite the natural progression of forgetting that struggle, the filmmakers behind The Secret of Kells managed to create the story of a 12-year old boy living in 9th century Europe so universally that everyone can find themselves in him. And they did it by hand.



After two films, I have just about no energy or excitement for this franchise because of how forced everything felt. In the first movie when they charged and yelled that they were doing it for Aslan, I yawned and waited for the credits. The second was a bit better, and since the third is set on a boat, I have to assume that the inclusion of nautical themed knit afghans. It’s a recession. You think we can afford pashmina? Well we can’t. But we can afford to check out these pictures from the set of The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. You can click on those for a slightly bigger version, or head over to Coming Soon for the giant versions. I have to admit that the production design looks beautiful. I haven’t read the books so I have no reference point, but it seems as though the story gets going when two of the young children and their cousin get sucked into a painting of a ship, so it’s back to Narnia for them once again. Which is frustrating, because they keep going back, and great because Britain is really dull and rainy. I’m also not sure that the novel includes the older siblings in any real way, but someone can correct me there if I’m wrong. If I’m not, it looks like the franchise will be including them anyway because, hey, why not? On a personal note, I have a helm just like that here […]



Indian and Cowboy are in trouble – they’ve forgotten to get a gift for their roommate Horse on his birthday, but when they order bricks online to build a barbecue, they accidentally end up with 50 million of them delivered to their house. Meanwhile, Horse is trying to win the favor of the beautiful music teacher Ms. Longree, and Farmer Steven just wants to eat his toast and fix his tractor.



I would bet my life that I’ve seen this full trailer for A Christmas Carol before, but apparently its brand new. Either I’m psychic or I’ve gone insane. As a test, I’ll need you to choose a number between 1 and 100. Was it 43?



Neil Burger is being tapped to write the script to bring the rats of NIMH and Mrs. Frisby back to the big screen.



Two Reject heavyweights go head to head on whether or not Pixar’s first is really worth all the hype it gets. Actually, they just argue like an old married couple about whether Toy Story is amazing or not and lob ad hominem attacks against that sweet, innocent, devilishly handsome Cole Abaius character.

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published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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