I think that we all can agree that sometimes, parents aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. How many times would you say that parents have dragged their kids to a movie that anyone else would have been able to tell was more than a little less than kid-friendly. Just take a look at the TV Tropes page, What Do You Mean It’s Not For Kids. Other times, you can’t really blame them. It’s an easy mistake, because you know how covers can lie. Just look at the art on some of the boxes for Watership Down. There has been many a time that someone picked this up thinking it was just another kids’ movie, only to have to coax a traumatized child out from behind the couch later. Or maybe you showed your kid Felidae, which is basically film noir with cats, sex scene included. Yes, there is a sex scene. With cats. This brings me to my main point: Animated does not necessarily mean kid-friendly. For our main example, I will talk about one of my favorite films of all time, 9. I’ll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible.
9 is an animated film directed by Shane Acker, and produced by Tim Burton. It is based off a short film that Mr. Acker made a few years before. It features an all-star cast, among those being Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, and Elijah Wood. The film is set is a post-apocalyptic setting, mankind having been wiped out by machines. A scientist made 9 creations with the intention of having humanity live on after all humans are dead. The story centers around the 9th creation, simply named 9.
For one, there are dead bodies. In the very beginning of the movie, we have 9 discovering the body of the scientist. Not even two minutes later, he comes across a car with its door open. Inside are the corpses of a mother and child. Later on, we will see skeletons being sawed up in order to create a monster. And in a flashback scene, we see a person die on-screen.
Then there are the machines. In the first 10 minutes of the movie, we are assaulted with the image of the Cat Beast, so named for the cat skull that it has for a head. Later, we have the B.R.A.I.N. with his gigantic glowing red eye, who is responsible for the deaths of more than half of the creations. I’ll get to the deaths later. The B.R.A.I.N. makes the machine that was assembled with human bones mentioned earlier. This is the Winged Beast. But the biggest offender of them all has to be the Seamstress. She has a doll’s head with the body shape of a snake, many spindly legs composed of needles that she uses to sew her victims up, trapping them. And attached to her tail, the dead, empty husk of one of the creations.
And yes, more than half of the creations are dead by the end of the movie. The way in which they die is particularly violent. How so? Well, try having your soul sucked out through your eye sockets and mouth while your body flails about uncontrollably. This is all shown on-screen, too.
So how could parents think that a movie like this is kid-friendly? The movie is even rated PG-13, and the advertisements are suitably dark-toned, some of which explicitly stating that the movie is’t for kids. We can only assume that it is because most people are under the notion that everything animated is made for kids, which isn’t true in the slightest. If you all have some free time, do check out 9. In my opinion, it is a fantastic film that is certainly deserving of a bigger audience. It has the ability to draw you in. It is full of both action and emotion, really having the ability to both keep you at the edge of your seat and pull at your heartstrings. Give it a try. I’m sure that you wont regret it. And trust me, some time in the distant future, the team of Kindertrauma will be receiving a traumafession or two for this film.