Sunday, 23 November 2008
by Mama Fox
Disney movies. Just about everyone loves them, children and adults alike. But sometimes I really wonder about what the heck is going on with them.
In most Disney one or both parents are dead. Seriously. There are a few, like 101 Dalmatians and Mulan, where the parents are alive and well but just think about it. From Snow White to Lilo and Stitch, parental units are missing in a vast majority of the movies. There's been speculation that it makes the character more lovable, like a victim in some way. I just think it's sad, especially at this point where H assumes there's a Mama and a Daddy for everyone, including plants. It upset him when I explained that sometimes the Mama and Daddy plants are far away from the Baby plants because of birds or wind carrying the seeds away.
But okay, the movies aren't scarring him for life or anything just because of guardianship. He is just concerned. What concerns me is the horrible deaths that occur to the villains. These are kids movies! Yet we have a shot gun wielding psycho that gets hung by vines in Tarzan and a giant "sea witch" impaled by the broken bow of a ship and then struck by lightning in The Little Mermaid. The not super "super hero" in The Incredibles was sucked into a jet engine. That had to hurt. Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame falls into the vast lake of fire (symbolism of Hell. Go Disney.) which actually mysteriously disappears by the time that Quasimodo makes it down to the street. Scar in Lion King is eaten by his hyena minions, with a somewhat graphic shadow showing his throat being ripped out.
A lot of the deaths aren't actually shown. Lots of shadow and "off camera". But it's still implied. Heck some of those deaths disturb me, especially the Tarzan one. Yes, my children don't have a solid view of death yet but why do movies insist on killing off villains, in horrific ways? Why can't they go to jail? Or exiled or even just ignored while the hero of the story rises above and lives a happy life, like in Cinderella.
As my kids get older I worry more about the effect of media on them. We worry about violence on TV and sexual content. I have turned the channel quickly or sent the kids out of the room if something comes on that I don't want them to see. But what about violence in the cartoons? Killing is already a very abstract idea to small children so showing it in careless ways makes it seem normal and maybe even required. Bad guy must always die. No second chances. I want to teach my sons compassion and mercy. I just wish there was more of that in movies. It's hard enough to find kindness in this world without getting mixed signals.
What are your thoughts of violence in kids movies?