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So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

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So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

Old 12-28-10, 05:46 PM
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So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

ADGTH is an extremely messed up movie. It starts off with a murder and then spirals into crazy violence. It features some extremely evocative visions of hell and urban decay, it has a creepily doll-like orphan girl who's routinely imprisioned, tortured and neglected. Typical scene: a huge, extremely evil looking devil stalks around a suburban neighborhood looking to reclaim the protagonist's soul. The animation is beautifully done, but the overall style is grotesque and disturbing. From an artistic standpoint, I think it's a pretty amazing example of animation as art (it kind of sucks as a movie) but it's not something that I'd want my kids to watch.

Thinking about it a bit more, I've realized that there were a lot of movies in the 80s for "kids" that were in retrospect really strange and upsetting. "The Dark Crystal", "Legend", "Time Bandits", "The Neverending Story", "The Secret of Nimh" (another Don Bluth movie), "Labyrinth", all of them are bizarre psychedelic nightmares in retrospect. Disorienting sets worthy of German Expressionism, depravity, dank prisons, really strange sidekicks, cannibalism, deformed evil beings... all were common in kids movies (sidenote: what was up with the 80's Hollywood fascination with dwarfs?). Even "classic" stuff like "The Goonies" or "Gremlins" has some truly strange and diabolical situations for a kids movie. As a kid I realized that the stuff I was watching was a bit bizarre, but I considered it just "normal" back then. Today, a movie like "Toy Story 3" is considered a bit dark, but it doesn't come close to the bad acid trip of something like "Legend". What the hell was going on back then?

Last edited by Hiro11; 12-28-10 at 07:41 PM.
Old 12-28-10, 06:14 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

I think much of the best children's entertainment doesn't play it safe. Although, I wouldn't call Legend a movie for kids.
Old 12-28-10, 06:18 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

I agree. Hollywood needs to return to the shiny, happy children's stories such as Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz.
Old 12-28-10, 06:29 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
ADGTH is an extremely messed up movie. It starts off with a murder and then spirals into crazy violence. It features some extremely evocative visions of hell and urban decay, it has a creepily doll-like orphan girl who's routinely imprisioned, tortured and neglected. Typical scene: a huge, extremely evil looking devil stalks around a suburban neighborhood looking to reclaim the protagonist's soul. The animation style is beautifully done, but the overall style is grotesque and disturbing. From an artistic standpoint, I think it's a pretty amazing example of animation as art (it kind of sucks as a movie) but it's not something that I'd want my kids to watch.

Thinking about it a bit more, I've realized that there were a lot of movies in the 80s for "kids" that were in retrospect really strange and upsetting. "The Dark Crystal", "Legend", "Time Bandits", "The Neverending Story", "The Secret of Nimh" (another Don Bluth movie), "Labyrinth", all of them are bizarre psychedelic nightmares in retrospect. Disorienting sets worthy of German Expressionism, depravity, dank prisons, really strange sidekicks, cannibalism, deformed evil beings... all were common in kids movies (sidenote: what was up with the 80's Hollywood fascination with dwarfs?). Even "classic" stuff like "The Goonies" or "Gremlins" has some truly strange and diabolical situations for a kids movie. As a kid I realized that the stuff I was watching was a bit bizarre, but I considered it just "normal" back then. Today, a movie like "Toy Story 3" is considered a bit dark, but it doesn't come close to the bad acid trip of something like "Legend". What the hell was going on back then?
Toy Story 3 wasn't dark at all. Not even a sliver.

On that note, it reminds me of the first time I re-watched Willy Wonka and the Charlie Factory as an adult. Trippy.

More recently, I felt Monster House did the best job of recapturing that old 80s kid movie magic even if it wasn't spot-on.
Old 12-28-10, 06:31 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

If you think ADGTH the movie is creepy, look what happened in real life. We had a thread about it recently: http://forum.dvdtalk.com/movie-talk/...ess-death.html
Old 12-28-10, 06:34 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

"The Brave Little Toaster" has some disturbing stuff too.
Old 12-28-10, 06:37 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

I watched all those movies listed in the OP when I was a kid and while dark none of them phased me one bit. Return to Oz, on the other hand, fucked. me. up.

I'm still trying to decide whether I love kids movies of the 80s because they were great or because nostalgia messes with my mind.
Old 12-28-10, 06:41 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

I'd say Toy Story 3 did have some darkness to it,
Spoiler:
the after-hours daycare sequences, Lots-O abandonment story, and the fake-out finale at the incinerator aren't feel good moments.


I do agree with the premise though that a majority of kids movies have dark premises but as was noted, it's not limited to just the 80's.
Old 12-28-10, 06:48 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

I would say Toy Story 3 is heavier, if not darker, than most children's films simply for the fact:
Spoiler:
No "playing it safe" children's film would show all of the characters accepting their fate of death before the Deus ex machina kicks in at the very last second. That's some powerful stuff right there.


A lot of children's/kids films from the eighties were more "adult" in nature than they are today. The Monster Squad and Invaders From Mars are two more that put children in unnecessary danger and peril... along with their fair share of profanity and violence.
Old 12-28-10, 07:09 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

My parents took me to see All Dogs Go To Heaven and complained how bad it was, I guess because it was kind of dark.

Re-watching it on DVD, it's one of my favorite animated films.
Old 12-28-10, 07:09 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

I dunno, I guess to each their own. It didn't have the depth of the first 10 minutes of Up, nor the darkness of most Disney movies that deal with the death of a loved one. Had the movie actually gone dark it would have been cool, though the darker sequences still felt mild compared to say Coraline, or even Monster House (which had the spirit of older movies but was still much safer).

Last edited by RichC2; 12-28-10 at 07:17 PM.
Old 12-28-10, 07:10 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

I can remember a lot of films from my early childhood that were much darker than what has been released recently. Return to Oz, Something Wicked this way comes, Watcher in the woods, and I think Peanut Butter Solution but I have not seen that one since i was a kid so it may not be as creepy as I remember it. And i never saw it but i wife always brings up Child of Glass when i bring up this topic. I agree with Secret of Nimh as well.
Old 12-28-10, 07:12 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

Lady in White is another one that is very dark for a kids flick.
Old 12-28-10, 08:37 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that going dark in a kids movie is necessarily a bad thing. Like others have said, a lot of the best children's literature is pretty dark (Alice in Wonderland, anything by Dahl or most fairy tales, for example). Also, plenty of kids movies these days are just as dark as those old movies (anyone else see 'Spiderwick Chronicles"?). Personally, I don't have a "moral" problem with exposing my kids to more dark stuff... if anything it's more of a practical concern in that I want them to be able to sleep at night. I wouldn't let my kids watch Dawn of the Dead, but I'm fine with them watching something like the latest Harry Potter (which was pretty dark) or Spirited Away (which is one of my personal favorite movies but something that some people might perceive as "strange").

To me it's not just the darkness of these old 80s movies that makes them unique, it's that they are downright challenging from any perspective. A lot of "kid" movies in the 80s had art house levels of symbolism, truly disturbing double entendres and implications that perhaps only adults catch (the devil's kitchen in "Legend"... yick). I guess the 80s isn't unique in this (even "Winnie the Pooh" had that insane Heffalump sequence) but it certainly was more commonplace back then than at any other point I can think of.
Old 12-28-10, 08:40 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

That is probably why so much of it remains watchable even now, when most children's entertainment becomes dreck by the time the target audience is just a few years older.
Old 12-29-10, 02:56 AM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

The movie was actually supposed to be a little darker but they cut the film to get the rating they wanted. They were going to release the Director's Cut but someone stole the original film so it's forever lost.
Old 12-29-10, 03:03 AM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

"Transformers: The Movie" from 1986 opened with the very graphic destruction of an innocent civilization by a giant robot planet with a maw. I don't think anything has topped that in terms of graphic imagery geared for kids.
Old 12-29-10, 10:11 AM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

Toy Story 3 is not dark at all, nor is it a great movie. The characters look at each other on the conveyer belt, so what? It's touching, but so was the last 10 minutes of Marley & Me. Most overrated animated film of the year. If Toy Story 3 is dark at all, it's because of that Lotso - what a mean a-hole!
The only good thing about Toy Story 3 is that it made Barbie seem cool, which I hope increased sales of Barbie dolls.

Legend, Labyrinth, Neverending Story, Time Bandits are dark children's films.
Old 12-29-10, 10:56 AM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

This is what upsets me the most when people defend crap like Yogi Bear or Marmaduke by saying, "It's just a kids' film". Yet something like Joe Dante's The Hole can't find a U.S. distributor, presumably because it doesn't feature any CG animals dancing to a kitschy pop song.
Old 12-29-10, 11:06 AM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

Doesn't hold a candle to Milo & Otis! hehe, jk. Some Pixar films, to their credit, deal with heavy emotional themes (life and death, etc) but they rarely contain anything like those 80's films mentioned. Things parents would consider "offensive." (kids swearing, family dysfunction, truly evil characters, etc)

I don't think I ever saw All Dogs Go To Heaven. I remember the first part of American Tail scaring me, but it's probably no worse than any other animated film. (been a few decades since I've seen it)
Old 12-29-10, 12:35 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

Originally Posted by Artman View Post
Doesn't hold a candle to Milo & Otis!
I wonder how many takes they took when they were throwing the cat into the river (animal cruelty!).
Old 12-29-10, 03:33 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

The Last Unicorn was another one that I loved as a kid now watching it with my kids I realize how fu**ed up that flick is.

what the hell happened to that live action flick anyway.
Old 12-29-10, 03:41 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

Originally Posted by paradicelost View Post
The Last Unicorn was another one that I loved as a kid now watching it with my kids I realize how fu**ed up that flick is.

what the hell happened to that live action flick anyway.
It's coming out on blu-ray next year.
Old 12-29-10, 03:52 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

I'd have to say that The Adventures of Mark Twain is one of the most disturbing animated "kids" movies...

<object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/fBGGAjMg9vw?fs=1&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/fBGGAjMg9vw?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>
Old 12-29-10, 03:59 PM
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Re: So... "All Dogs go to Heaven" was on TV last week and it got me thinking...

Originally Posted by Brent L View Post
I'd have to say that The Adventures of Mark Twain is one of the most disturbing animated "kids" movies...
I agree...I think this movie taught me about some aspects of life when I was a kid.

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