Reality Check: Is Hollywood Too Fixated on Fantasy?

I'm thinking about the last few live-action movies I've seen with my kids. The seemingly diverse list, which includes Journey the Center of the Earth, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Dr. Dolittle, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, Race to Witch Mountain, The Princess Bride, The Tooth Fairy and a Harry Potter or two, has one thing in common: a total devotion to fantasy.

I know this isn't a new trend -- I raced to Witch Mountain when I was a kid, too. But when I was young we didn't have computer games, websites, iPod apps, Sponge Bob, virtual worlds and so much else increasing the distance between kids and reality.

I'd like to share more reality-based movies with my kids, films such as (and I had to do some research for this part) The Black Stallion, Fly Away Home, The Karate Kid, Harriet the Spy, Because of Winn-Dixie, anything by John Hughes, even The Bad News Bears. But does Hollywood generally believe kids aren't interested in real life? That even a remake of Benji (which inspired no fewer than five movies and four TV shows) would require full a cgi makeover?

Walden Media is inspiring confidence. The company behind Holes, Winn-Dixie, and the Narnia films is producing this summer's Ramona and Beezus.

I hope the movie industry as a whole takes a harder look at reality as good source material. Some of the greatest kids literature has nothing to do with magic, talking animals, monsters or new worlds of tomorrow. And kids need to know there's no limit to what they can achieve, even -- and especially -- in the world of here and now.

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