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 watch a movie that could have been ten minutes long and a movie that I’ve seen probably a thousand times.
FRANKLIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT
The Franklin TV series is one of those things I don’t remember watching as a kid but I probably did. It clearly didn’t leave any real impact and if this movie is any indication, it’s easy to see why.
This movie is one of the drag-iest things I’ve ever seen. It plods and pads and slinks its way to seventy seven minutes. It is painful to sit through. The film focuses on Franklin the turtle, whose parents are about to have another kid. Because Franklin’s friends are shitty people, they convince him that once the baby is born, his parents will never love or pay attention to Franklin again.
They even sing a song about it. Like dicks.
After that, Franklin is read a story by his mom. This is the story of the Green Knight, a knight who quested to bring spring to his village alongside his faithful squire. Franklin, clearly misunderstanding the difference between fiction and reality, decides to do the exact same thing.
Although why you’d wanna be this guy, I couldn’t possibly guess.
Franklin wants to bring spring to his town so people will pay attention to him again wah-wah. He sets off in a dumb outfit with his friend Snail.
And now I’d like to talk about the names in this thing. Franklin gets a name. Everybody fucking else is referred to by what animal they are. What kinda bullshit caste system is that? What is so special about Franklin that he gets a verbal designation but all his friends and teachers are simply known by their genus and phylum? And it’s not because there is only one fox or goose or whatever because WE KNOW THIS ISN’T TRUE. What is the secret behind this injustice?!
Ok Bear, y’know what, you don’t deserve a name, just because of that facial expression.
Finally, Franklin comes home and his parents explain to him that they won’t love him less once the baby is born and that his friends are fucking dumbshits for telling him so. Then the baby is born and Franklin is over-joyed to meet his new sibling.
The facial expressions in this thing are really just the worst.
Movie over! But I do have to confess that the film didn’t answer one of my most pressing questions: at what point does that goddamn fox just grab that goose and ring its neck before devouring its body whole?
Does it happen in the sequel?
GRANDMA GOT RUN OVER BY A REINDEER
Ok, I may be a mite late in reviewing a christmas special but hey, this is when I got to it so whatareyagonnado. I have seen this damn movie far too many times. If you’re around my age bracket, you probably remember this one as being that film that aired on Cartoon Network 24 hours a day throughout all of goddamn December. This movie exists and that is the best thing you can say about it.
Let’s talk about the plot, which is loosely based on an old novelty song. I say “loosely based” because in the song, the grandmother is CLEARLY DEAD. In this film, she survives, but she vanishes. Due to this, the eeeeeeeeeeeeevil cousin Mel wants to sell off Grandma’s store to the big eeeeeeeeeeeevil corporation. So it’s up to our main character Jake Spankenhiemer to save christmas.
Jake and family spend months searching for Grandma to no avail because as we learn, Grandma has been at the North Pole with Santa recovering from her amnesia this entire time. Also, I’m one hundred percent certain Grandma’s legal name is in fact Grandma because that is the only thing anyone refers to her as.
She’s also just the biggest asshole.
Seriously, just SUCH an asshole
Whenever Grandma’s family members approach her, obviously excited to see this woman they haven’t seen in months, she responds with the most blunt “Um, who the hell are you?” tone possible. What the hell lady, these people clearly know you, why can’t you just show them the slightest amount of politeness? When someone who I don’t remember says hi to me, I don’t turn to them and yell “I don’t know you, fuck off,” no matter how much I sometimes want to.
I hope she’s dead.
As the film progresses, Jake brings Grandma home where she’s kidnapped by Mel and her lawyer, who still want to sell the store. At this point we get a song. That is a problem with this film: it is nominally a musical.
Here’s the thing, I like musicals. I really like musicals. I like musicals an amount that would legitimately shock most people I know if they were made aware of just how much I like musicals. But this is a terrible musical. The songs don’t add to anything, they just act as space fillers and diversions without feeling necessary. Especially the song where Mel (who just looks like evil Daphne Blake, by the way) sings about how they’re gonna be in the money.
How, you ask? Well, they’ve decided to have Santa arrested for the hit-and-run he pulled with Grandma. I mean, he also kipnapped her and transported her across state lines (and continental borders) but whatever. Jake saves christmas (who woulda thought) and everyone lives happily ever after, except Grandma who is run over by reindeer again.