Speaking of Avatar, once we watched the last episode and were rolling around on the floor, bereft and jonesing and wondering how long would be reasonable to wait until we could watch the entire thing over again (a couple of months, as it turns out) … we discovered the gang at American Dragon. It’s nowhere near as good as Avatar but it’s pretty fun and hip and uses the same post-modern blend of eastern thought and western snark. Yin and yang, y’all. You’ll dig it. It will not make you want to poke your eyes out, I promise.
To go along with the eastern trend – let us now head to Japan, where the truly brilliant kids’ movies are made. If you haven’t already met, please, permit me to introduce you to your savior, a man who does not seem to view children as tiny little versions of their idiot parents, Mr. Hayao Miyazaki. I’ve loved everything we’ve watched by him (though parents of younger children read the summaries carefully – some of them are kind of heavy), but I’ll pick my two favorites to give you a taste:
3. My Neighbor Totoro (1998)
The Netflix description says this film is a “stunningly realistic portrayal of life in the country,” which is totally bizarre because it’s stunningly realistic if life in the country normally includes a GIANT CAT BUS, magical dust mites and an enormous friendly creature called a Totoro with a flying umbrella. But I’m with them on the “stunning” – it truly is.
4. Spirited Away (2001)
This one won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature and no surprise there. A little girl and her family get sidetracked on their way to their new home … and step into a magical world. Soon the parents get turned into pigs, and then there’s a boy who is also a dragon-raven, and a giant baby that turns into a rat, and more magical dust mites, and a turnip spirit, and … you really just have to see for yourself!