Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Clone Wars and Kids

It's nice to be back, and there's so much to catch up on, like this:

And this:

So that's what it's come to: Star Wars cartoons (and not the cuddly Ewok cartoon series, made by none other than Nelvana, that I watched as a kid). On August 12 Rachel Abramowitz with the Los Angeles Times posted an interesting story about the new animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the franchise’s relation to young children. The marketing is more than casual; as this Kidscreen article discusses, LeapFrog Enterprises is aiming two new Clone Wars games at kids between the ages of four and ten. Furthermore, at least thirty episodes of a television series are ready and set to premiere on Cartoon Network--a station that's not aimed exclusively at preschoolers, admittedly, but which isn't entirely Adult Swim either--after the theatrical film has its run. (Here's an old article on the series, and here, for what it's worth, is the show's official site, though there's not much there.) So some rather violent production--with "war" in the title--is once again being marketed towards kids, and parents, as Abramowitz discusses, are the ones caught in the middle.

The appropriateness of various entertainments for children is an eternal question for caregivers, but the discussion is particularly interesting in light of the recent publication of Dade Hayes’ book Anytime Playdate, which I mentioned before my vacation. As for me, I feel that I can't advocate for or against the film--most of my early toys were Star Wars-themed, and I remember my Yoda underoos and eating the C3PO cereal--but I can urge parental caution and discretion. I for one would rather err on the side of caution, and I'm glad that at four Loretta still doesn't know what a lightsaber is (I think).

Star Wars: The Clone Wars hit theaters on August 15. The Variety review is good, and here’s a link to a trailer of the film. You can also visit the film’s official website for more information.

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