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Sunil D' Monte

Batman Begins: The Screenplay By Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, Faber and Faber, London, 2005, £12.99   Charlie and the Chocolate Factory By Roald Dahl. Illustrated by Quentin Blake, Puffin Books, London, 2005, £5.99   Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Written by Ananda Li. Designed by Dan Green, Funfax, London, £5.99   Spiderman 2 : The Joke Book By Thea Feldman, Spiderman 2 : The Daily Bugle Stories By Ben Gunter Both published by HarperCollins, 2004, £2.99 & £4.99   “Books vs. movies” is an old and familiar debate. Most of us enjoy both, books the more respectable of the two. When it comes to children however, there is usually no debate. Most caring parents would encourage their children to read as much as possible, movies and television being tolerated as an unavoidable distraction. These days however, the movie world has spilled over into children’s literature, the lines so blurred in some cases that it is all one big entertainment “package” consisting of the movie, the novel based on the movie, the toy books and games and numerous other creations “based on” the movie. Some of these have definite value, while others are more insidious.   It is tempting to dismiss children’s movies as worthless, but at heart, just like books, they are about story-telling. Stories are not about entertainment. They are about showing you a world you never could have imagined, a world larger than your own. They reveal life in all its joys and sorrows and ironies, and give you a unique experience of every possible human emotion. If after knowing a story, your life is enriched in one way or another, then that’s an experience worth having. A good children’s film always has these qualities – it is simply a good story, well told, and almost always the result of a rich and painstakingly crafted screenplay. Finding Nemo, for instance, follows a classic story design: the little fish Nemo is an active protagonist who suffers a life-changing event, and must battle through seemingly insurmountable obstacles in order to find happiness once again. The story cleverly bends the genre by having a second protagonist – Nemo’s father, who must overcome both internal as well as external conflict to find his son. It successfully weaves elements of love, tragedy, drama and comedy into a saga that one surrenders to completely – for those two hours, you are completely immersed in the world of Nemo and his father. You laugh at their ...

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