Sunday, May 25, 2008

Justice League: New Frontier (2008)

It's official; I may not have kids, and that may have delayed the process, but I've somehow managed to reach fuddy-duddy status nonetheless.

Justice League: New Frontier is a direct to video animation that I wouldn't bother to review but for three scenes that I found to be a bit disturbing in this PG-13 rated graphic novel come to life in cartoon clothing:

1) A POV shot of a cartoonist committing suicide to start off the work that shows the gun muzzle facing the (off-screen character) cartoonist that shows makes the camera/audience the surrogate participant.

2) Batman saving a child from a ritual murder of a religious cult. I'm not here bashing the overuse of the religious cult fanatic in film or comics, just saying that when the imperiled person is a child, that seems to me to give a work a sort of nastiness or edge that one doesn't necessarily expect from a work that one thinks will be directed towards children. Truth is, I don't much like children in peril as an action movie (even animated one) staple. At least not in action movie type peril. I turned off the second Alien v. Predator because I didn't like the way the opening scene was using the child as a means of ratcheting up the horror quotient--not just by showing us his fear but by showing us his victimization. At least the AVP movie was rated, "R," though.

3) A human character getting eaten alive by a dinosaur, including pulling two grenade pins so that once he is eaten the dinosaur will explode. Woondeba.

I grew up on comic books and television and as a rule am not particularly impressed with Jeremiads about the latest dilution of standards or lowering (raising?) the bar. I'm fully aware that animation is increasingly being marketed to an adult or teen audience in nostalgia mode and is not meant to be experienced as or understood to be "family" fare.

I can still say that I tihnk that's too bad, though, can't I? Because while the fact that cartoons and comics were a positive part of my adolescence means that I'm a target audience for such works as JLNF (as they play on my own feelings of nostalgia), there is still a part of me that is sad that comics are edgier, darker, more violent and more sexualized, seemingly across the board, in a way that would seemingly make that harder to be a positive goad to the imagination of young people today.

1 comment:

Russell Lucas said...

Ken, what's funny/lame about this animated movie (which I haven't seen) and a similar DTV Superman cartoon from last year is that in both cases WB/DC trumpeted the fact that they were PG-13, so as to emphasize that this ain't no kids' stuff, no way, no how.

And yet, it's still organized and marketed with the kids' stuff, of course.