x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Let's leave animation to the kids

Although I love going to the cinema as much as the next chap, as an adult I'd rather avoid films targeted at an audience of schoolchildren.

The other day, while browsing my local cineplex’s forthcoming schedule, I happened to notice that The Lion King is returning to movie screens, this time reformatted in glorious 3D. Seeing this, I took a deep breath and began readying myself for another round of heated quarrels, name-calling and bust-ups with my group of friends.

The cause of this controversy won’t be over whether paying the staggering cost of entry to view a movie in 3D is worth it. We’re in universal agreement that they’re not, despite the fact that everyone loves to don a pair of silly glasses now and again. I also think we all concur that the current trend in rehashing old movies in 3D is just a cynical cash-grabbing gimmick by Hollywood producers.

However, I’m sure what will cause the latest round of dissent among my peers is my stone-cold refusal to view animated movies of this type. Over the past few years, it’s become a regular occurrence that whenever we’re discussing which movie to watch, my friends – some of whom read the business section of the newspaper, have pension plans and shave regularly – will impulsively plump for whatever kids’ feature-length cartoon is on show.

Although I love going to the cinema as much as the next chap – after all, sitting down and shovelling calorific treats into my mouth are two of my favourite pastimes – as an adult, I absolutely refuse to demean myself by paying hard cash to view a film that’s mainly aimed to please an audience of schoolchildren.

Believe me, my pals have bombarded me with numerous arguments as to why animated movies have ubiquitous appeal to all ages. The first is that “there are plenty of jokes in there for the adults”. OK, you might get the odd mild innuendo, or maybe a wry quip about contemporary political happenings, but it’s hardly up there with Chris Rock’s stand-up.

Another that’s often bandied around is that, in a country where risqué scenes are readily spliced out by the censors, these cartoons are guaranteed to be shown here in their entirety. Again, this doesn’t hold water as, of the countless films I’ve seen in the UAE, I can’t remember one that’s been totally ruined by the omission of a brief glimpse of flesh.

Of course, if I had children of my own, I’d happily share their joy in viewing this kind of thing, or at least make use of the opportunity to catch some sleep before the end credits roll.

But until then, you can keep your Lion Kings, Toy Stories and Kung Fu Pandas. Honestly, I’ll be watching anything else, and yes, that does include Jason Statham’s latest movie.