Bird has, as Slate‘s Josh Levin makes clear, always been ambitious and willing to enter dark emotional territory. That’s very much to Bird’s credit, and that willingness to not condescend can make for great kid’s movies. ~Reihan Salam
Reihan is talking about the director of Ratatouille, the new animated feature that is apparently brilliantly made and which is also boring children from here to Miami. My Scene colleague Alan Jacobs discusses it at some length here. My Scene colleague Matt Frost adds his thoughts here.
My remarks are on the willingness of people making children’s movies to refuse to condescend. Speaking of animated rodents, I have to tell you that The Secret of NIMH was one of my favourites growing up (and it was probably one of your favourites, too). Talk about not being afraid to “enter dark emotional territory”! It was, if the critics are to be believed today, the Ratatouille of its day, and it was also a memorable production that could enchant children without being a waste of time for parents. NIMH would be the standard by which I would judge any animated picture, and the few more recent offerings I have had some reason to see (usually because I was visiting with some of my younger cousins) typically don’t measure up that well.