The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure – website
The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure is now playing in theaters! It’s been quite a while since we got to see this movie so I’m excited to finally be able to write about it. As I discussed in my previous post, my family was invited to a special screening of the movie and I had an opportunity to take part in a discussion with Kenn Viselman, the producer of the Oogieloves movie. The invitation mentioned another of Kenn’s projects, The Teletubbies, and I must admit – I was not really looking forward to The Oogieloves.
Before the movie Kenn sat down to talk with all the mommies about movies and his vision for Oogieloves. Within minutes I was very intrigued. Here were the highlights of the discussion (in my opinion):
- “Children’s movies” generally are not for children at all. I avoid many of the Disney movies (Bambi, The Lion King, Cinderella, etc) because it seems there is a parent missing or dead in almost all of them; while this is a fact of life for some kids, I don’t need my 4-year-old worrying about if I’m going to die tomorrow. We were particularly excited to take Cooper to see “Up” when it came out, only to find out it included infertility, depression, and the death of a spouse. Hopefully, those things were a bit over Cooper’s head, but if so, why is it marketed to children? And if he did understand, why do I want a movie bringing up these issues with my preschooler? In the middle of the movie there’s a giant fire and the characters are chased by scary dogs and Cooper (who’s not easily scared) was terrified. Animation does NOT make a movie appropriate for a child.
- The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure is G rated or “GGG rated”. No violence, no bad guys, no almost-but-not-quite-swear-words, no adult jokes, no suggestive music/songs/lyrics, and no dead parents.
- The movie theater experience doesn’t work for toddlers and preschoolers, but parents take them anyway. Guilty!
- Kids hate 3D. It’s true. My husband wishes it wasn’t because he loves it, but no kid wants to wear those goofy glasses for an hour. I know I don’t.
- Kids want to watch a movie like adults watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show. (Sidenote: I *SWEAR* Kenn Viselman stole this from me! Well, sort of. I have been telling my husband for years that it would be great if The Rocky Horror Picture Show could be edited for kids because they would love to dance and sing and participate in the movie.) Kids can’t sit and pay attention for an hour and a half; they want to get up and move, talk to the characters, sing, dance.
The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure runs 88 minutes long. At the beginning, the kids are given instructions on how to watch the movie – they’re allowed – encouraged even – to sing along, dance, get out of their seats, and generally participate in the experience. Butterflies flutter across the screen when there’s an opportunity to get up and dance or sing; turtles crawl by when the song or dance ends and the focus returns to the story. The songs and chants are simple and repetitive and are accompanied by the words on the screen.
Although the movie is long, it’s broken up into separate adventures – one for each missing balloon the characters must retrieve. Goobie, Zoozie, and Toofie have to solve problems and overcome obstacles to bring the lost balloons back for their friend Schluffy’s birthday. J. Edgar (a vacuum, of course), their fish Ruffy, and Windy Window help them along the way. They also meet other characters along the way played by Cloris Leachman, Chazz Palminteri, Toni Braxton, Cary Elwes, Christopher Lloyd, and Jaime Pressley.
My only complaint was one of the chants that appeared throughout the movie. Early on, Toofie doesn’t put a belt on and his pants fall down. The kids are instructed to chant: “Goofy Toofie! Pick up your pants!” whenever this happens throughout the movie. Needless to say, my 2-year-old and 4-year-old spent quite a bit of time giggling, pulling their pants up and down, and chanting this at home. (In fairness, they’re 2 & 4 so it’s entirely possible that they would have been doing this anyway, minus the chant, even without the movie.)
My kids were a little slow to participate in the songs and dances, but eventually they did. Whether they were singing and dancing along or just watching the movie and the other kids in the theater, they seemed to be having a good time. I was relieved to not have to worry about inappropriate content and it was fun to encourage the kids to sing along or dance. I’ll admit that I wouldn’t sit down and watch the Oogieloves alone like I might do with a few other “children’s” movies, but there’s a reason for that – those movies were created to appeal to adults and aren’t entirely appropriate for young children.
I am very happy that The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure is on the big screen; I hope that it encourages more people to make movies that are appropriate for young children and that encourage families to become engaged in the movie together.
There was a live webcast with Kenn Viselman and the Oogieloves characters on August 28; if you missed it you can still view the webcast here. For more information, visit the Oogieloves website, The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure on Facebook, or The Oogieloves on Twitter. To find where Oogieloves is playing in your area visit Movietickets.com or to buy them online order them on Fandango.
Want to win an Oogieloves Prize Pack? Visit my Oogieloves Giveaway post to enter!
Do you take your children to the movie theater? What movies have you seen with them and where you concerned about any of the content?
My family attended a special screening of The Oogieloves movie, received some promotional materials, and I received a gift card for participating in a discussion. All opinions are my own.