I can't say I'm surprised. I picked up the first Eragon book and couldn't even get through the first chapter - it just seemed like a not very good rehashing of LOTR. (Even worse, it almost reminded me of Terry Brooks! *shudder*)
Anyhow, among the comments in response to Elliot-the-Claw's original post, I said (yes, I'm about to quote myself...):
...Its nice to get kids involved in fantasy and adventure but most are anyhow, regardless of what movies they see. It bothers me that there is such a lesser quality standard for childrens' books and movies then there is for adults.
I've been watching a lot of kids movies lately with Aelys and so many of them are just rubbish - pathetic dialogue, illogical plot, no moral lessons - just tripe.
It makes me think that just screening movies for violence and sexuality and profanity isn't necessarily good enough. You have to screen movies for intellectual worth too!
I'm not saying that all kids movies should teach things but even a kids comedy should have a challenging level of humor rather then taking a dumbed down, thinly veiled 'South Park' approach.
Further to this - I think that if we want to raise intelligent, creative children we shouldn't just be plopping them down in front of the TV and letting them watch sub-standard "entertainment." Challenge children and realize that they are capable of a lot more then we tend to give them credit for. I've read in more then a few places that this concept we call "childhood" is a relatively new thing and is particularly isolated to North America/Europe. In my African Development class one time I remember we were talking about child soldiers and many of the Canadians in the class were ranting about how terrible it was to steal innocent children. The African people in the class didn't disagree that it was awful to concscript young people into such terrible battles but they did question our notion that a twelve or thirteen or fourteen year old boy could not be considered a man.
That said, in many ways I think our concept of childhood is wonderful - I think its a fantastic thing to give children 18 or so years to play and explore and learn without being tied down to the more difficult of 'adult' responsibilities. But those years should be formative ones used to help children grow into citizens of the world. When children turn 18, adulthood and adult responsibilities should not come as any shock. Adulthood should not be about sending children out into the 'real world,' as if for the first time. (After all, its not as if anything particularly magical happens when one reaches one's 18th birthday!) Rather, perhaps it should be about conferring youth with new privileges and new opportunities - ones that they don't have to dread but can be excited about. It should be about receiving, after much preparation, the right to full participation in all aspects of human life - civil, social, and otherwise.
More on this another time, gotta get back to work. But I will add one last thing... there are a growing number of activists working to have the voting age changed in their countries to 16 rather then 18 or 21. I'm sure you can deduce the reasons for that. The push is towards giving youth more of a say in the world, rather then less.
I say, if we're going to give youth a say at an even younger age, let's start informing them.