Becoming a father has done something rather strange to me and I’m sure I can’t be alone in this. Essentially, I have discovered that I like animated films. As in, I really enjoy them.
No, I’m not saying this because of the recent interview I did with Steve Carell, who provides the voice for Gru and his brother Dru in the Despicable Me films. It’s something that’s been on my mind for some time.
In the past, I simply refused to watch animated films. I had no interest in them whatsoever, considering them cheap entertainment for kids.
These days I watch them all the time with my daughters, Helen and Izzy. Dare I say it, I often find them very enjoyable.
The adult within me, however, cries out: “This isn’t the way it’s meant to be! No one over the age of nine is supposed to enjoy watching a film about Disney princesses or lost animals dealing with extreme climate change.”
As someone who is well over the age of nine, however, I often settle down with the kids and watch such films. I know practically every word of Frozen, I know virtually every scene of Zootropolis and as for Carell’s character Gru in the Despicable Me films, well I find him hilarious.
It leaves me very puzzled. What’s happened to me? How have I allowed myself to be sucked into this vortex of animated films for kids?
I think it’s simply one of those things that happens to you as a parent. Your world changes and the kids take over increasingly large amounts of your life, including the family television in the living room and the choice of films you might watch at the cinema.
Secondly, animated films have changed a lot since Who Framed Roger Rabbit came out, ooooo, too many years ago. While I remember the film’s release, I have never seen it. The movie featured animated characters so there was no way I was going to watch it.
When it comes to Ice Age and Zootropolis etc, well, the production companies know mum and dad are going to be watching these films with their kids. The sub-plots and adult-orientated jokes that get slipped into these films can be hilarious (the chemists Walter and Jesse from Zootropolis, a reference to Breaking Bad, crack me up every time).
Yes, these animated films, with their U ratings and complete lack of sex and violence, are good quality entertainment. When a younger man, I would have shunned such films on principal. These days I’ll quite happily sit down and watch them with the kids.
Do you recognise these symptoms? Are you secretly an animated film lover? Is this an aspect of parenting you have had to come to terms with? I’d love to know what you think.