|Little Susie doing what she does best.|
In a movie staring an adult, you can be sure the kids will do nothing useful. If it’s an old black and white film, the kid will wander into the parlor, say “Gee Golly” a few times, and then never be seen or heard for the rest of the show.
|Little Timmy doing what he does best.|
|His sister Lex takes over in the movie because their ages are switched.|
That's right. Teenagers do have an advantage over adults: technology. But most movies turn this into a flaw. They'll be engrossed by a tiny little screen. Phone for a girl, game console for a boy.
|People say I look like her. Now you know why I don't post pictures of myself.|
|He has a dog. What's not to like?|
Then the Teen's life will be placed in jeopardy. Adult mightily moves heaven and earth to rescue their kid. In Ice Age 4, Manny and Peaches are actually torn apart when the continents split. Symbolism, much?
Every. Single. Time.
Some movies downplay this. Pixar is usually youth-friendly. In Finding Nemo, it's Nemo who rescues himself from the dentist, but then good ol' Marlin who saves him from the net. Brave has Merida saving Lady Elinor-but Elinor's literally putting words into her mouth when Merida has to stop the clans from fighting.
|Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...|
Then there's Russell. Wide-eyed idealist. Bright. Cheerful. Innocent. Too dumb to live. Like a squirrel.
|Big Tripp doing what he does best:|
This is character development for Tripp. Not the kid. Just like Little Susie and her imperiled kitten, he exists only for us to form an opinion on the adult.
I've been feeling nostalgic lately, so I've gone back through my favorite childhood movies. I realized most of them aren't actually about children. Just talking animals and teenage princesses.
|Left to right: 16, 19, unknown, 14, nearly 18, 18, 16, and the rest never specified.|
There are plenty of expections. I'm sure if I thought hard enough, I could come up with a handful of movies where the kid doesn't exist to get saved, get reformed, and provide contrast for the adult. Why don't we see more movies with competent, well developed young heroes?
"Real children don't go hoppity-skip unless they are on drugs."