Veteran actor says Walt Disney would have been horrified by the content of today’s video games and films.
Dick Van Dyke, who is currently filming Mary Poppins Returns, which is scheduled for release next year, has warned of his fears over the effects of “scary” video games and films on young children.
Van Dyke believes video games incite violent behaviour and that big-screen violence is affecting impressionable young people who “idolise it as a romantic way of life”. He has no doubt Walt Disney would have been horrified by the explicit depictions of blood, gore and killing in some of the contemporary productions created to entertain children. “He would have spoken out about it,” he said.
Disney knew how to thrill children with fantasy, rather than reality, he added. “Walt said kids like to be scared. It’s a delicious feeling. But he did it with witches, evil queens and things like that. Now it goes into blood and violence.”
He argued that children’s films from Hollywood’s so-called golden age taught morals and manners: “When I was a teenager, I modelled myself after the way Fred Astaire or Cary Grant dressed. Now kids emulate street gangs. They like to dress like hoods. That’s just a reversal. They’re picking the wrong role models.”
So many productions today are “all gunfire and killing”, he said. “Violence and entertainment have almost became interchangeable.” He contrasts screen depictions of young people driving cars in a “crazy” way with films of the past, where a family would be driving along the highway singing: “All that rubs off on kids.”