One of my pet peeves is when critics reviewing children's films decide to go easy on them because they're "just for the kids" and can therefore be excused for not holding up in front of an adult audience. This smacks of the same lazy thinking routinely employed by people who insist that children should be our biggest priority as they are 'the future'. Just like this idea ignores the fact that by the time the future gets here the children in question will actually be adults, making films that can only be enjoyed as a child means they have no longevity for their audience, and will not reward repeat viewings. There are few film experiences more disappointing than the revisiting of a film which your memory tells you was amazing, but which turns out to be a load of old rubbish.
Comedian Demetri Martin once said that saying "I like kids" is the same as saying "I like people... for a little while". Similarly, making a film just for children is like saying "you can enjoy this film... for a while". The whole idea just contributes further to an already disposable culture, where media products come and go faster than plastic rodents in an arcade Whack-A-Mole game. The films we see as children should be the films we want to remember our whole lives, the films that define us as people. The generation of children that grew up in the 70s and 80s can now almost be defined simply as the 'Star Wars generation', such was the impact of the franchise on almost every child who saw it. The popularity of comic books and fan fiction which continue the story long into the future is evidence of the fact that, not content just to grow up with these characters, people want to grow old with them as well.
We need film-makers to keep making films that appeal to children on a level deeper than fart jokes and unimaginative CG animal slapstick, because the fanboys of today are the film-makers of tomorrow: the Steven Spielbergs and the Joe Dantes. And to make sure we get them we need films that aren't going to be forgotten the moment The Simpsons starts, or mum yells "Tea!", but which will continue to bring joy and inspiration to people who watch them long into their old age.