With so many different entertainment options out there for your children, we at PopcornBiz thought we'd take a moment each week to dissect one piece of family entertainment strictly from a parent's perspective, so that you know what parts are appropriate for your loved ones, and which are not. This week's COVER YOUR EYES subject: the original “101 Dalmations”
One of the great difficulties in selecting entertainment for your kids is not if the movie in question will scare your child, but if it bores them. It’s hard to know what’s going to get your kid’s motor running. I tried to get my kid to watch “Rango” on DVD and couldn’t get her past the opening credits. That’s how fickle children can be.
That’s why dog-related movies are such a blessing for the parent in search of proper child movie options. Kids are nuts about dogs. They love to pet them and cuddle them and use them as a trampoline. So if your movie has a dog in it (or, even better, multiple dogs), your child will continue paying attention even if they don’t give a hoot about the plot. That’s why a film as miserable as “Spooky Buddies” has been sitting near the top of the DVD sales chart for weeks now. That’s why the “Air Bud” franchise has spawned any number of movies about dogs who play football, soccer, and doggie MMA. Dogs are money in the bank, which is why the original “101 Dalmations” spawned two big live-action versions and remains a DVD library standby to this very day. But is it right for your little ones? Let’s find out by considering a few factors:
The “Will Parents Be Able To Tolerate It?” Factor: Probably. At the very least, “101 Dalmations” isn’t an annoying film. It’s not loud and obnoxious like “Yogi Bear” or anything. It’s a decidedly elegant little film, complete with a jazzy score and a lush Manhattan setting. You half expect an animated Woody Allen to go strolling through a frame. It’s okay.
The Dead Parent Factor: No dead parents, although many of the dogs find themselves in danger of being killed. And the only thing worse than the Dead Parent Factor is the Dead Puppy Factor.
The Sexy Sex Sex Factor: None, which is good because Cruella De Vil ain’t easy on the eyes. Though your kids may inquire as to exactly how two dogs are able to produce a litter of 99 puppies. I suggest playing them Snoop Dogg's debut album, "Doggystyle," to explain the pointers.
The Scare Factor: De Vil isn't as scary a villain as you might think. She's more of a really terrible party guest that will bore your children to death. She's meant to embody a kind of evil Manhattan snobbery that most kids won't really care about. There's also the matter of the dognapping plot, which you'll also have to explain to your kids. Even though none of the dogs die in "101 Dalmations," there is certainly the PROSPECT of them dying, and that's enough to disturb many a young'un.
The Violence Factor: Minimal. No puppy blood.
Age Range:3 and up.
The verdict: "101 Dalmations" is a leisurely ride, so your kids may not stay engaged with it. Then again, OMG DOGGIES SO CUTE!!!!