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Amazed, I tell you, that Scarlett Johansson could belt out a rock song that way

 

Movies, in general, have always been a means of escape for most of us. In a darkened theatre, you don’t think about the obligations, stress and anxiety waiting for you in real life while you’re being taken to another world or into the lives of other people – even when those people are enduring obligations, stress and anxiety. It’s not yours.

I am not the film maven that S. A. Young is by any generous stretch of imagination, nor do I have the adept knowledge of movies, actors and dialogue that K. R. Brorman so easily shows. I’m not up on all of the latest films released because I live in Appalachia and there are many that never come to my neck of the woods. Often I catch them on premium television much, much later. Sometimes I just wait for the DVD to come out, if it’s one I just know I’ll enjoy and want to watch again.

But, I know that all of the popular animated films will come to a theatre near me, and that makes me very happy. As a card* carrying Baby Boomer, my favorite films are still animated ones. This past Sunday, I finally got to see “Sing”. Absolutely delightful! I didn’t study up on it ahead of time, so it was fun to try and sort out which actors/singers were providing the voices, and then test myself afterward. I’m often stunned at the vocal talent of actors who don’t sing for a living – in this case, both Reese Witherspoon and Scarlett Johansson. And who knew Seth MacFarlane had such a smooth, crooner’s voice?!

Like a kid, I prefer to watch these films in 3-D. I gasp, laugh out loud, cry right along with the children in the theatre – as do the other adults who, like me, don’t even bother to borrow a kid as a beard to see another Minion movie. The previews allow me to make a list of the upcoming animated or family films that I will definitely want to see. Sunday I made a note to see “A Dog’s Purpose” – not animated – to be released later this month. Any movie that makes me cry during the preview is a must see.

Why do adults enjoy animated movies as much as children? I’m no expert, but I have a few thoughts. It’s not always about being old enough to get the sly jokes that fly over a youngster’s cognizance, although that’s a strong draw. There’s the nostalgia factor of feeling for 90 minutes or so the innocent pleasure of knowing that the good guy(s) will always win, the bad guy(s) will lose, and no one really gets hurt. While you may go along for the ride, you always know that you are not one of the singing animals, or Minions, or the adventurous dogs/cats/birds from “The Secret Life of Pets”, or Joy/Sadness/Anger/et al. from “Inside Out”. We can relate to them, enjoy the adventures, but we don’t imagine ourselves as one of them.

inside-out-jpb

They teach us things. The power of perseverance, redemption, friendship and loyalty, understanding the value of balance in our emotions, hope and, yes, that good will win out in the end. And that “Gravity Works”.

Batty Koda, voiced by Robin Williams in "Fern Gully"

Batty Koda, voiced by Robin Williams in “Fern Gully”

When I was a little kid, I was always up early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons. It’s cliché, but I really did drag the sofa cushions off the furniture and use them to build little walls over which I would stretch my bedspread and, hiding in my tent/fort would feel like I was there on the little screen having adventures with Bugs and Elmer Fudd, or Tom and Jerry, Yogi and BooBoo, the Flintstones or Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Obviously, in the past decades, animation has come light years farther than those unsophisticated and uncomplicated times, but the effects of sitting in a dark theatre – or a tent/fort – watching anthropomorphized characters show us how to overcome our darker selves and keep the light in our hearts glowing has never changed. I hope it never will.

Gratuitous pic of Fergus (in light and shadow) irritated at his new boots

Gratuitous pic of Fergus (in shadow and light) irritated at his new boots

 

* Yeah, that would be an AARP card.

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