Over time, Hollywood has grown in developing films that appeal to a wider range of audiences, comprising of both children and adults. Even though classic examples, like The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988), continue to grab the attention of all age groups, filmmakers still strive for expansion through the use of comedy.
Fond memories of my childhood were the evenings I spent watching my favorite movies and TV shows. Like many children, I was a huge fan of Disney films, including Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), and Toy Story (1995). When I wasn’t constantly rewinding the VHS tapes, I sat in front of the TV and took in the latest episode of Rugrats and Hey Arnold! No matter how many times I saw them, I always laughed.
However, as many of you may notice, the films and TV shows I have mentioned above are all animated. Curious, I asked my parents their opinions of those movies and shows. The reply was short and simple: “Ugh!”
My parents were not the only adults during this time who despised animated films and/or cartoons. While children loved to watch the extremes of animation, adults disliked these movies and shows, categorizing them as “childish,” “stupid,” and “boring.”
On the other hand, today, many adults’ beliefs have drastically changed. Filmmakers have seized comedic opportunities and incorporated them into new film and TV show ideas. Although they maintain the interest of young viewers through slapstick humor, adults’ interests are also sparked.
For example, in 200l, DreamWorks Pictures released the animated family comedy, Shrek. It was obvious the film would appeal to kids, but it also attracted those much older. With famous actors like Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz lending their voices to the characters, adults had no problem taking their children to see the movie.
According to a fan on the film review website, Rotten Tomatoes, “Shrek is not just a family movie…” He further comments on how the animated feature is “beloved by both kids and grown-ups alike.”
Unlike animation of the past, Shrek contained two different spectrums of humor: that for children and that for adults. Children always get a good laugh out of the characters’ bodily humor like farting and belching. However, children’s humor is often breached in the film where there are older film references and jokes that only adults would understand.
In the end, kids and adults finish the film with a look of satisfaction upon their faces. Shrek was one film that succeeded in entertaining children and adults through different forms of humor.
Now you may ask, “Did the kid AND adult appeal stop with Shrek?” Fortunately, it only increased. As discussed by the list-formatted blog, Listverse, both animated and live-action films continue to grab younger and older audiences to this day.