Cartoon Violence – Whatcha Think?

I saw The Incredibles last Sunday.

Wow! I loved it! My wife on the other hand wasn’t so enthusiastic.

I felt like Pixar was trying to stretch here a bit – something a little more mature, while still full of stuff for the kids.

She felt misled by the trailers she’d seen that promised the Pixar-style family comedy we’ve grown accustomed to. She also thought the movie was intensely violent for something aimed so directly at children.

Newsweek’s Jeff Giles had similar misgivings about the gunplay specifically in his November review.

The more we discussed it the more I got to wondering: Are we more concerned about violence and/or gunplay in a cartoon than in a comparable live-action film?

Were you to cast this same script with actors instead of animation would we balk less? What if the characters involved weren’t children?

Is it because we’ve used to more of a warm fuzzy from Pixar that my wife and Giles don’t understand the need for more violent action?

What if we replaced the bullets with laser blasts? Would separating it more from reality help?

Whatcha think?

7 thoughts on “Cartoon Violence – Whatcha Think?”

  1. I would say if someone finds cartoon violence disturbing, they shouldn't watch cartoons! I'm trying to remember guns in The Incredibles, but what I remember most is: giant spinning razor blade ships, kids stowing away on an airplane, the plane crashing in the middle of the ocean, bombs, power-sapping electronic handcuff thingamajiggies, a giant superpowered robot…were there guns?

  2. There were a few gun instances, but without the benefit of a DVD handy I'm having to go on memory here. I remember the girl being shot at at fairly close range. But don't you think the movie was a tad intense for something that was marketed like the next Finding Nemo or Monsters Inc.?

  3. A tad intense?? It was a fight to the death with an evil supervillain! I would HOPE it would be a tad intense!

  4. I did a review of the film on my blog, and after seeing it the first time, I was a little surprised at how intense the movie was. But Brad Bird, the director, mentioned in countless interviews that there was going to be some serious action in this film, that this was not going to be your typical Pixar flick. He said that if your kids get scared by action films like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK or STAR WARS, then this movie is not for them. But now, I've seen the film 3 times (and it keeps getting better, I tell ya) and the violence and guns are not forced or seem obligatory. They are integral to the story and are not just thrown in for good measure, like the majority of films out there. As for the guns issue from that one reviewer, that guy just needs to get over it. There is a general assumption that animated movies are for kids and families only, and what Brad Bird is doing here is trying to get audiences to think outside the proverbial box. He's showing us that animation is not a genre. It's an art-form, full of stories that can be for kids only, action, sci-fi, drama, you name it. He did it with THE IRON GIANT and he's doing here with this film.

    After much consideration, and after much talking with my 4-year old daughter about what to expect from the film, I eventually took her to go see THE INCREDIBLES. And you know what? She loved it. She did not get scared one bit. She did not seem fazed by it at all. But who's to say that she's not harboring some pent-up anger about her father and it'll all come out one day when she's 16….

    Anyway, great site. Love your work.

  5. I'm really excited an pleased to see Pixar stretching a bit with this one. I thought they stretched a bit with Finding Nemo too, but this is a good step forward for them and animation in general. I think my wife being an elementary teacher (first grade for those of you keeping score at home) has a lot to do with her reaction. She's seeing her students watching a lot of violent films ("Bride of Chucky" for example. No, seriously!) and TV and wonders (A) what are the parents thinking!? (B) what effect is this having on them. I have to agree with her though that Joe Parent that only saw the trailer where Mr. Incredible is trying to put on his uniform, and is going on Pixar's track record, might not expect more of an action movie per se. That being said, I really did get a kick out of the movie. I personally didn't think the violence was overdone and it certainly didn't feel tacked on for action's sake. I'm curious to see where they go next!

  6. Although it's unfortunate that a parent might find The Incredibles too violent for their kids once they are actually in the theatre watching the thing, the trailer would have advised them that it was rated PG.

    Pixar can't be blamed for leveraging the success of Nemo and Monsters in marketing this new movie, so long as they are upfront about the new rating.

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