I have a confession to make, I really like kid’s movies. Well, not all of them, but there are those few that manage to capture the imagination and make that barrier between reality and fantasy thin for a while so that anything is possible. These movies have one or more of the three crucial elements of a great movie, fascinating stories, intriguing art, and/or moving music.
One of the movies I watched last summer continues to haunt me as I work on my book. That movie is Epic, produced by promising new kid on the block (well, newer) Blue Sky Studios who also made Ice Age and Rio.
This movie had all three of the important elements of what makes a great film. The story was new and unique, the music stirring and powerful, but what really captured my imagination of these three was the art. We are allowed a sneak peek into the secret world of the leafmen, the guardians of the forest, and the society that surrounds them. The secret world within the forest is beautifully created with stunning vistas and excellent attention to unexpected details.
Strangely this movie wasn’t as well received as everyone had hoped. It did have all the promise of a terrific film, but in the end the main characters didn’t grab the attention of the audience. For me, the secondary characters were far more interesting. I fell in love with the character of Ronin and his relationship with Queen Tara.
Ronin is stern and disciplined and at first he comes across as hard. This is soon shown not to be true when he interacts with Queen Tara. As with most who seem hard on the outside, Ronin has an incredibly soft heart and cares deeply for the Queen. He carries with him a sense of one who must endure a great pain. In the beginning this pain is the inability to express his true feelings toward the Queen. This emotional turmoil deepens further as the story unfolds. Throughout the film he shows this intense depth of character through his facial expressions and well-chosen words.
In this regard, he is very similar to my main character Jarand who is also a bit hard on the outside but very soft on the inside. Jarand is also emotionally wounded and suffers from memories of his past. As the story unfolds things happen that intensify his suffering and he must perform his sworn duty to remedy the situation.
With luck I hope to create my character as well as the artists at Blue Sky made Ronin.
What are some of your favorite kids movies? What made them special? Let me know in the comments section, I’d love to hear about it!