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Movie madness

February 11, 2013 - Betsy Bethel
"Top Gun" in 3D? Bruce Willis in another "Die Hard" movie? New creepy and scary incarnations of The Wizard of Oz, Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Beanstalk and Snow White?

What's with all the filmmakers bent on making me relive my childhood?

The lack of creativity in the big-budget film industry is astounding. They focus solely on HD graphics, 3D, and creating the most horrifying characters and heinous situations imaginable. Plot shmot. I rarely consider violence creative. If I'm going to go the horror-route, I prefer Hitchcock's style: psychological thrillers (think "The Sixth Sense") that leave more to the imagination and rely less on creating searing visuals that leave their mark on my psyche until Kingdom come.

And why all the rehashing of old fairy tales? It's an irksome practice because it almost always strips a tale of its magic and fantasy elements and replaces them with high-def gruesomeness, weaponry and destruction, enough to make a war documentary look like and episode of "Doc McStuffins." Not only that, but little kids hear the titles "Hansel and Gretel" or "Oz: The Great and Powerful" and think they should be able to go see it. Those two stories in particular were disturbing enough in their original forms, thank you very much. I wonder what sort of psychological issues the kids of today who watch these flicks will have to deal with when they're older.

As for "Top Gun" and "Die Hard," it's just so strange to see the same titles in the movie listings as 25 years ago. "Top Gun" had an enormous impact on me when I saw it with my sister as a young teen. Maverick, Goose and Ice are the stuff of legend in my mind. I'm good with those memories. Putting it back in the theaters, even with the enticement of 3D (if you think it enticing; I don't), only makes me feel oooolllllddd! And "Die Hard" ... another classic, but, well, will it EVER die and leave us movie-goers at peace?

And where have all the kid-friendly movies gone in 2013? As of this writing, the only rated-PG movie even showing at Marquee Highlands is "Wreck-It Ralph." Carmike Ohio Valley Mall has not one PG movie to offer right now. Last I checked, kids still love the big-cinema experience. It seems silly not to give them something to which they can drag their parents.

I want to say, however, that there are some movie-makers out there who deserve kudos for coming up with some from-scratch stories that are burning whole new neuropathways of pleasure in my brain. I have loved nearly everything Pixar has made. It doesn't get more brilliant than "Toy Story," "Monsters Inc." and "Meet the Robinsons." Rich Moore and his crew did a bang-up job with "Wreck-It Ralph." And Dreamworks Animation gets gold stars for "Madagascar" and "Shrek" -- but only the originals; the sequels ... not so much. (And although it's on my list, I haven't seen "How to Train Your Dragon," but it looks like a good one, too.)

Of course, you'll notice these are all animated and family-friendly. But this is a parenting blog after all. The only non-animated film that get a thumbs up from me for creativity is "Enchanted." All the other ones I like have to be disqualified because they are book adaptations and, after all, they were someone else's idea first.

Let me know your favorites!


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