Animated Doesn’t Always Mean Appropriate

I have a confession; I actually saw two of the movies that were nominated for a 2012 Best Picture Oscar: “The Help” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”

So, yeah, I guess pigs do fly from time to time.

That monumental accomplishment hasn’t happened since giving birth to my daughter more than seven years ago, so you’ll have to excuse my forgetfulness.

What can I say; parenthood = memory loss.

Typically, if I recognize any title nominated for an Academy Award it’s from the Animated Feature category.

That’s where I really connect with Oscar since becoming a parent.

In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that “Toy Story 3” scored a Best Picture nomination last year, I would honestly be able to say that I didn’t see a single flick that appeared on the entire Academy Award ballot.

Not a single one.

However, for some strange reason, this year, the tide changed, tables turned, and swines took flight. For the first time since sustaining 20-plus hours pushing a human being from my loins, I hadn’t seen any of the movies nominated for Best Animated Feature Film. Not “A Cat in Paris” or “Chico and Rita”; not “Kung Fu Panda 2” or “Puss in Boots”; and especially not “Rango.”

No, I absolutely did not pay money to expose my young child to the Best Animated Feature winner.

“Rango,” the flick about an emaciated chameleon with Johnny Depp’s voice, who hooks up with a spiritually misdirected armadillo and overly sophisticated desert iguana, won top honors in the Animated Feature category at last night’s Academy Awards.

Thus proving that “animated” doesn’t always mean “appropriate.”

Well, appropriate for young kids anyway.

If you don’t agree with my aforementioned statement, consider the one made by the movie’s creator when he accepted his gleaming Oscar:

“Someone asked me if this movie is for kids,” Gore Verbinski pointed out during his acceptance speech. He then continued by saying that he didn’t know if that were the case. Instead, he categorized the movie as “a bunch of grown-ups acting like children.”

After reading a number of reviews for “Rango,” including one on iVillage which flat out said: “I’m not going to mince words: Do not bring your under-10 kids to see Rango,” and another that warned that the film was “extremely violent – meaning, impalement, hanging, drowning, kidnapping, burning, explosions, shooting LOTS and LOTS of shooting, guns being pointed in peoples faces, even CHILD characters holding guns and shooting guns,” I decided that I could do more constructive things with my kid than taking her to see a violent lizard movie.

In an age where kids are bombarded with animated this and that thanks to quantum leaps made in the world of technology, it’s easy to see why parents may think that everything that appears cartoonish is safe for children to consume.

Clearly, this is not the case.

And not just with “Rango.” Personally, I don’t think “Family Guy,” and “South Park,” are kid-friendly. And don’t get me started with “The Simpsons” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

But that’s just me.

Prudish, protective, paranoid me.

Of course, I’m the only me my daughter has, and if I have my way her exposure to adults-only animation will be limited for the foreseeable future.

Did you think “Rango” was appropriate for young kids?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.