Could films be encouraging and contributing to the neglect of household pets? That was a question that would once have made me roll my eyes. I have always been sceptical about the impact that films have on their audiences and have never bought into the idea that violent film’s equal violent people and other similar notions.
As an avid watcher of horror films since the age of eleven I can honestly say I have never murdered anyone, tortured anyone in a basement or turned into a man eating monster below the light of the full moon but even at the age of eleven when I first started sneaking horror films over to my friend’s house, I still had a pretty sound awareness of the difference between right and wrong.
Evidently there are sections of society that are more impressionable and more likely to re-enact what they see on screen than others. Whether that’s as a result of their upbringing, their education or the way their minds are wired I don’t know; that’s a question for a psychologist! But I think it’s safe to assume that many children below the age of 10 are pretty impressionable. In an innocent way, perhaps but impressionable all the same, which is what concerned me when watching G-Force.
G-Force is a film about guinea pigs who have been genetically engineered to talk to people and be secret agents. Weirdly that’s not where the problem lies, the issues are much smaller and less significant than the overall story, but damaging all the same. For instance, the film shows guinea pigs craving cake and eating pizza as well as being dressed up, having make up put on them, being driven around in a remote control car and even having a pierced ear among other things. All things that might seem harmless and look like a bit of fun for the kids but things that could ultimately be very harmful to a little furry friend. The pizza and cake is what bothered me the most; piggys have quite specific dietary requirements, even down to the type of lettuce they can eat. This is because their bodies don’t naturally produce vitamin C so any pellet food they have must contain the necessary nutrients. Even feeding them fruit and veg isn’t as simple as it sounds because there are lots of veggies that aren’t good for them and some that are so rich in certain nutrients that they can’t have too much of it . You have to be careful what you feed them and how often because they are prone to bloat, which is fatal, and other illnesses. Veggies with seeds in can also cause them digestive problems because the seeds are prone to getting stuck and blocking their insides. I’d hazard a guess that many parents who get guinea pigs for their kids aren’t fully aware of these things (I know mine weren’t when my brother and me had guinea pigs as kids) I’ve caught my piggys sniffing around the kitchen and licking at bits of food on the floor plenty of times, I’ve even turned around to find one of them had got onto an empty dinner plate and was sniffing for leftover chicken, but they really shouldn’t be eating anything that’s not fresh veg, guinea pig pellets or hay because it really isn’t good for them!
There are plenty of sensible parents out there and plenty of good kids but we all know far too well that there are also a lot of degenerates and idiots who can’t be trusted. Plenty of people jump into buying pets, especially around Christmas time, without really knowing what they’re getting themselves into and animals like guinea pigs are often first choice when it comes to getting pets for kids. I adopted my piggys about five months ago. They were about 6-9 months old and named Ana and Elsa; it doesn’t take a genius with a maths degree to figure out they were probably bought around Christmas time for two kids by dopey parents that didn’t really have a fucking clue what they were doing. But that’s ok, because now I have two lovely little pigs so it all worked out in the end! With films like G Force perpetuating some really ridiculous ideas about how to treat a guinea pig and what to feed it there’s bound to be a bunch of kids doing stupid things and causing distress to their pets.
Despite being adorable, small and cheap to buy and keep, guinea pigs are not the most low maintenance of animals and they aren’t the best pets for kids either. Bred for the purpose of being turned into food and with all the predatory ability of a potato, guinea pigs are very skittish. No matter how tame they might be and no matter how many times you handle them they will always run away from you if you make any sudden movements and they will always try their best to avoid being picked up. Wouldn’t you if your only purpose in life was to be eaten? So for that reason they just aren’t the greatest of pets for children, not to mention they don’t really do much and they can’t really be trained.
G-Force is a bit of fun and I’m all for that, but the film gets a lot of things wrong. Kids films especially should make sure they’re putting the right ideas across to their very impressionable audience members so they don’t end up encouraging kids to do things that might endanger another living thing. I would have expected a lot more from a Disney film and I was very disappointed with G-Force for its carelessness. It doesn’t help that it’s boring as hell and about as funny as a heart attack either!