The first decade of this millennium is often heralded as some sort of golden age for children’s films. Sure, most of Pixar’s best flicks came out in this period, and there were some winners in general, but I think people tend to view the films of their own childhood with rose-colored glasses. Most of these films are goddamn godawful. Just HOW goddamn godawful, you ask? Let’s find out together by checking out EVERY kids film between 2000 and 2009. From theatrical to direct-to-DVD to Disney Channel Original, we’ll look at ’em all because I am a glutton for punishment.
This week, we take on our first Disney Channel Original Movie and our second anime. Let’s ride.
THE COLOR OF FRIENDSHIP
“The Color of Friendship” is reportedly based on a true story. Specifically, the story of two girls becoming friends when they are from two totally different worlds. Sweet! I get to learn about friendship? Most of my real-life friends are dicks so this is just what I need!
Also, it’s a period piece taking place in the seventies, not that you’d know that from the movie itself. The only thing seventies about it is the fact that the answering machines are the size of an NES. Also, it’s about apartheid, so normally I’d be walking my “serious issue” tightrope, but the movie doesn’t so why should I?
The story follows the Dellums family, including the father, Ron, who is a US Congressman, mother Roscoe, and most importantly, the daughter, Piper. Piper wants to take in an african foreign exchange student, as a means of reconnecting with her african ancestry. The family agrees to take in a student but Uh-Oh, the foreign exchange student is Mahree Bok, a white South African! Cue sad trombone sound.
I mock, but it’s actually a pretty good idea for a film. Balancing the racism of white South Africa against the comparative freedom of black americans. There are some really interesting story possibilities. Plus, we get to hear a South African accent for the majority of the film, and that’s pretty cool.
So Piper and her family are pissed and annoyed that they not only didn’t get a “real African” (the movie’s words, not mine) but also got stuck with a girl who’s pretty much a racist, and Mahree is batshit terrified to be stuck in a house with people who she’s been taught are lesser and criminal. Again, decent story possibilities here. To bad this thing is so poorly written, then.
So, problem number mother fucking one: DID THE PROCESS TO TAKE IN A FOREIGN EXCHANGE STUDENT OR BECOME ONE INVOLVE NOT A SINGLE FUCKING PHOTOGRAPH ON EITHER SIDE?? Because when Mahree and the Dellums meet for the first time, both parties are shocked and appalled when this was probably a months-long process with shit-tons of paperwork. Also, there is an unacceptable amount of setup just for that moment when Mahree and Piper first meet. And then the awkwardness ensues.
88% of this movie is awkward silences.
Hey people watching this movie on your own, here’s a fun game: take a drink every time this exact scene happens;
Mahree meets a new person or group of people. Either she or the group are surprised by the others’s race. Awkward silence.
Have fun boozing your way through the entire first act of the film. Another major problem is that characters completely flip point of view and ideology in seconds. And in between scenes, no less! Roscoe goes from supporting Mahree’s decision to stay to wanting her out, Ron flips from absolute hatred of her to tolerance in less time than it takes me to flip a lightswitch, and whether or not Mahree and Piper hate each other goes back and forth so fast, it might as well be a ping pong ball.
Everyone in this movie has the same motivations as Two-Face
Um, also, I need to address one more thing. This movie waits until the 47 minute mark to drop the N-word. Like, if you’re gonna do that, you need to establish that as the tone you’re going for right at the start! You can’t just toss that shit out like it’s NBD more than halfway through the movie! Not cool! I was not suitably prepped for shit to get sorta real.
So the girls become friends and they work out their issues yay. Whoopdy-doo. Can, can I be done now? I’m gonna be done now. Oh, wait, one more thing:
WHO MADE THIS GIF??? WHY DID WE NEED THIS GIF TO EXIST??? WHO THOUGHT THAT THE WORLD WAS MISSING THIS GIF AND THAT THAT WAS UNACCEPTABLE???
DIGIMON: THE MOVIE
Ok, so I have little to no experience with the Digimon franchise whatsoever. Pokemon, I have a decent amount of familiarity with, but whenever people start rattling off the names of Digimon, it just makes me think of the Chinpokomon episode of South Park. But, let it never be said I wasn’t open minded. So I tried to view this thing with fresh eyes.
Problem number one: As I learned from some light researching, this was actually three separate movies in Japan all cut down and edited together into one film. As should be obvious from that description, this thing is a tremendous clusterfuck. They turned it into an anthology film of three stories to compensate, but it doesn’t really work. What we get instead is three short films that are “tied together” in the same sense one would “tie together” three rampaging wildebeest using twine.
Story # 1
No, most of the movie is not this cute.
The first story follows Thai and his sister Kari as the discover their first Digimon, Korromon. After feeding it and watching it for a little bit, the creature evolves, sorry, “digivolves”, into Aguman and faces off against another Digimon attacking the city. This story is probably the best of the three because it’s the shortest and the simplest. It kinda turns into a classic kids adventure flick, complete with the secret creature no grown ups know about even though said creature turns into a twenty foot dinosaur and someone should probably notice that.
Story # 2
Literally the fucking opposite of the last image.
This one takes place four years later and features Thai and a new, barely introduced character, Matt, as they fight a digital Digimon living in the internet digitally digital digital information superhighway. Said evil Digimon, as you can see, if motherfucking terrifying. not just because he looks like Tim Burton’s version of Satan, but also because his plan to get rid of the two kids is to LAUNCH NUCLEAR MISSILES AT THEM. Holy shit, that is almost respectably evil. Nice job, Diaboromon.
Oh, shit. “Diaboromon”.
That’s… that’s REAL subtle there, Digimon: The Movie.
Story # 3
Another four years later, and we have a brand new cast of characters, specifically Willis, who is name checked in the previous story but doesn’t appear, and T.K. who looks so much like Thai that it isn’t fair. Willis has two Digimon, but loses one to a virus, because he’s dumb. (Damn you, Willis!) Now, he and his remaining Digimon are trying to track down the corrupted one, Kokomon.
Kokomo looks weird.
I don’t like looking at it. And that’s saying something when the last segment featured goddamn Satanime. It’s just, really uncomfortably off. So anyway, Willis and T.K. and co. face off against Kokomon, alongside Willis’s other Digimon, Terriermon. Terriermon is so fucking godamn adorable.
JUST SO ADORABLE.
So the team purges the virus from Kokomon and everybody lives happily ever after.
Oh, one last thing. This movie has the weirdest fucking soundtrack I have ever heard. it’s all late nineties pop music blared over scenes that have nothing to do with it. Instead of, say, an intense orchestral score playing over a fight scene, we get the Barenaked Ladies’s “One Week”.
The film ends with Smash Mouth’s “All Star” and transitions into “Kids in America” over the end credits.
What the fuckity-fuck?
Anyway, that’s it for this week, next week, more stuff. Maybe something Christmas-y!
Not good, but Christmas-y.