FILM / On Cinema

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Half-term is upon us, so there must be a raft of kiddie fare floating through the capital's cinemas. Yep: Rookie of the Year, The Adventures of Huck Finn (starring Elijah Wood, below right) and Josh and SAM - a formulaic baseball flick, an okay revamp of a clumping warhorse, and a road movie for the dysfunctional pre-pubescent that manages to be both intelligent and grossly sentimental: a revolting combination. A mixed bunch.

While one can't have a Black Stallion or Enchanted Garden or an Innocent Moves every school break, it is a matter of wonder that the supposed outcry for family entertainment hasn't produced work of higher quality, greater imagination and wider range. True, the movies have a harder task today in capturing children's interest - blame the video game - but the market is indisputably still there; it may have rejected the game-flick hybrid Super Mario Bros but clock the returns on Home Alone.

Some of us have grown tired of dragging our ankle biters off to duds like Ferngully: the Last Rainforest and Free Willy, movies that are infinitely more interested in fleecing you for the ticket price than offering children a magical or moving experience, despite their socially conscientious trappings. Yet there's still so little family fare about that we find ourselves dutifully trotting to the box office, expectations and standards lowered. Wanting to do right by their offspring, adults seem prepared to put up not only with pap (Beethoven's 2nd, Hocus Pocus, Three Ninjas) but with safe, sanctimonious and / or shallow pap: pap that exploits the careworn grown-up as surely as it abbreviates children's attention spans.

(Photograph omitted)