just for kids
One word: Frozen. The craze is far from over, at least not for my niece who is already planning her Halloween costume. I'm not a Disney-obsessed person, but I do like certain movies and television shows. Cinderella happens to be my favorite. Having had two boys before a daughter meant there hasn't been a barrage of princess paraphernalia around the house...yet. Little Phyllis has a noticeable affinity for Tinker Bell, but will sit for the Neverland pirates just as eagerly as her brothers. So, we are not oblivious to the frenzy surrounding Disney's latest blockbuster. I've watched it. I like it well enough. The songs are catchy. Olaf is comical. I have not been able to ignore, however, the abundance of opinions churned out of content mills and other websites. There's no end to the sharp criticisms, uncovering of hidden meanings and details of what is wrong with the movie minute-by-minute. Are Rapunzel and Eugene from Tangled there because Elsa and Anna's parents died on their way to her coronation ergo they're reciprocating by visiting Elsa's? Is the shipwreck Ariel explores in The Little Mermaid the same ship? It must be part of a massive manipulation by Disney. (Hans Christian Anderson who?) How are we supposed to believe Anna would survive a horse ride in a blizzard in summertime clothing without dying of hypothermia? Don't even get me started on how scary Elsa's Ice Monster is or how they glossed so quickly over the drowning of the King and Queen. How are the children supposed to understand?? It should have fewer men and more rationale citizens. Mixed race characters should have been written into the northern-hemisphere, Scandinavian-like setting. The plot stinks, it's too convoluted, there's not enough of it. It's too feminist. It's not feminist enough. Grab your pitchforks, everyone!!
Had enough? Me, too. Let's shift focus to a mini lesson on pediatric neurology, i.e. children's brains. Their little minds comprehend absolutes very well. Mommy and Daddy love me. Teddy makes me feel safe at night. Ice cream tastes good. Boo-boos hurt. As children grow and their brains develop, they become more capable of handling less concrete concepts. Even as teens, though, they tend to reside on one side or the other, like finding comfort in easily defined cliques, even if they feel encumbered by them. It's a set of life rules they understand. It's when the 20's and 30's hit that the brain can rely less on blacks and white and is more able to fully comprehend the world of grays. It's not a far leap from there to the place where aging adults assign more profound meanings to everything in life, probably an indicator of a clearer sense of mortality. What I'm really trying to say is...
It's a CHILDREN'S MOVIE for crying out loud! Where adults try to make sense of everything, kids are much more open to believing anything. They might want to know where Jack got the beans from, but won't question they're magic. A talking snowman is important to a princess, just like Teddy is to them. The balloon that was lost last week holds the same value as the waffle on the breakfast table right in front of them. For children, the world is still so much of a blank slate. Sometimes things don't have deeper meanings. Sometimes a singing troll is just a singing troll. A princess is not what shapes my child's character, I do. If you're not prepared to suspend your disbelief and pretend you're watching a kid's movie with a kid's perspective do me a favor and just (yeah, I'm gonna say it) let it go.