Spotlight: Junior Knows Best


The release of DreamWorks Animation’s new caveman comedy The Croods seems as good an occasion as any to spotlight my 2010 blog post “Junior Knows Best,” about one of my least favorite trends in family filmmaking.

That blog post was inspired by the convergence of How to Train Your Dragon and The Secret of Kells, likable animated family films that each featured a doggedly authoritarian patriarchal figure with a default stance of fear and mistrust toward outside forces and an overbearing, uncomprehending disciplinary approach toward the curious young protagonist.

Since then, in 2012 alone we had the convergence of a trio of monster-themed animated films, Hotel Transylvania, ParaNorman and Frankenweenie, each of which featured — in different degrees — similar or related paternal stereotypes (Frankenweenie being the most nuanced, Hotel Transylvania the least so).

Now, though, The Croods takes the stereotype to new depths. I’ll probably never write a full review, though a 60-second review is coming soon.

In the meantime, here’s “Junior Knows Best.”