Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Children's Movie Morals

Instapundit watched Mulan II with his daughter and other's are basically saying that the moral of the movie is crap.

I must say that my opinion of children's fare has dropped precipitously lately. I like cartoons. I watch them a lot. But frankly most of the stuff I see coming out may be funny and entertaining, but its also morally repugnant to me.

Take Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron for instance. Spirit is movie about a horse in the Old West who gets caught and ridden, but never broken. After experiencing cruelty and enslavement at the hands of every white man he meets (including cowboys, farmers, and various ranks of the US Army), Spirit eventually finds love with a nice appaloosa mare and they are set free by a Native American teenager to roam with his own herd once again. The most obvious moral of the story? White men are evil and not to be trusted. There is not one positive portrayl of a white dude in the whole damn movie. The second most obvious theme is that the entire American west, perhaps the most important formative years of the modern United States, was attained through nothing but persecution and enslavement.

Another one is the Power Puff Girls. I really like this show myself. But when you look at the characters, the men in the show (especially the Mayor and at times the Professor) are portrayed as idiots. I often wonder what morals my kids would get out of watching it, other than all problems can be solved by ignoring parents/authority figures and then resorting to violence. Part of the reason the show is so fun is because PPG does do this, which creates great moments of dark and ironic comedy, but its not the example I want set for my kids.

Which really takes me to my thesis. Parents should watch what your kids are watching. When I talked to my cousin about Spirit after watching it with her kids she got very defensive. Understandable. She had obviously not watched the film herself. She had bought it to show her kids something and keep them occupied and quiet. So she is basically trusting the producers to make a good film. When I look at the people who make these movies (and the relationship/family trainwreck that is Hollywood) I find that I really can't do that.

UPDATE: A good friend of mine is a serious Disney-phile but is also passing on Mulan II. This is partly because the animation isn't up to the theatrical snuff. However he also thinks Mulan II is selling out authentic chinese concepts of authority and duty that were embraced in the first movie for poorer modern conceptions of the same.

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