A Parental Guide to Film Watching as a Family
By Noë Gold
The holiday season’s tone was already set last month, with the arrival of “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.” In that animated eco-fantasy, the notion of genetically modified hordes of Tacodiles, Watermelophants, Sasquashes and assorted other “foodimals” overran the once-tranquil island of Swallow Falls.
Interesting that the villain of the piece was the CEO of a conglomerate known as Live Corp., whose business model was simply “the betterment of mankind,” with the emphasis on upgrading content. In the news around the time of that film’s release was the fact that a real live agribusiness company, Monsanto, by promulgating methods to “enhance” the ways of farming through chemistry and insecticides, had effected a holocaust of nature on the fragile ecosystem that creates the magnificent Monarch butterfly. The plant it feeds on, you see, is one of six varieties of milkweed.
Now that the milkweed is so scarce, the migration of the Monarchs has been curtailed heavily. The fascinating story of these bugs — for indeed they are insects — can be seen at the California Science Center, which though not a typical bijou, is showing the excellent Imax film “Flight of the Butterflies 3D.”
Another movie that’s out there this season dotes on the exacting detail with which we may appreciate some much larger creatures. “Walking with Dinosaurs” takes us into the ecosystem that made our modern-day vehicular culture possible (after all, petroleum is the biodegraded sludge of dinosaur bodies) by reimagining what they looked like, really looked like in their pre-deep-freeze habitat.
Once you’ve taken in those nature documentaries, you can go get your popcorn and sodas and have some laughs at all the other family films coming down the pike this holiday season.