Monday, November 23, 2009

Musings on Movies for Little Kiddos

Anyone who has a toddler or preschooler knows that they like the same things over and over: the same books, the same songs, and the same movies. While I detest using the screen as a babysitter, I’m not opposed to letting a kid watch a movie a few days a week (I usually use the time to get my housework done, to put a baby to sleep, or even take a nap…hey, sometimes I need one!)
Since they always want to watch the same few movies though, I at least try to help them see the lessons contained in those movies.
For example:
  • In “Finding Nemo” Nemo’s troubles all began when he disobeyed his father. I won’t argue whether Marlin was overprotective or bossy, I’ll just stick with the simple fact that if Nemo had not ventured into open water he would not have been caught by the diver. Lesson: obey your parents.
  • In “The Emperor’s New Groove” Kuzko was mean to Pacha. In fact, he was downright beastly—he lied and tricked Pacha on several occasions. But through it all Pacha forgave him and was nice anyway. Lesson: be nice to people and forgive them no matter what they may do to you.
  • “The Incredibles” has a lot of loyalty to family, teamwork, believing in yourself, and working hard.
  • “The Lion King” teaches about the circle of life (which I like), and also shows that facing problems works a lot better than running away from them.
  • “The Dark Crystal” shows a triumph of peacefulness over violence, and also vindicates hard work and tenacity.
  • I like most of the Veggietales too, but of course those were intentionally created to teach lessons, so I figure they are sortof obvious. ☺

And just for the record, here are a couple of movies I am really bothered by (because of the lessons in them)…
  • Aladdin—Everybody tells lies and it’s ok so long as you’re a nice guy, and incidentally lying can really pay off if you tell the right lies to the right people, and then apologize a little bit when they catch you.
  • The Little Mermaid—(besides the immodesty) It’s ok to disobey your parents and do whatever you want because in the end you’ll be right and they’ll be sorry.

Can you think of any children’s movies that you love (or hate) because of the lessons hidden within them?


sara said...

I'm bothered by Finding Nemo because it's annoying and boring ;) Other than that I really like most of pixar's movies but in general I really don't like cartoons or most kid shows. I could watch The Incredibles all day! In fact - I have!!!!!!! LOL

We just watched UP and it was so cute. I really liked it.

Totally agreed on Little Mermaid.

Mae said...

I HATE Dumbo because I can't stand to watch all those mean elephants bully Dumbo. And no one can do anything about it. Makes me cry every time I see it.

Mommy Bee said...

Sara--I think nemo is boring too, but my kids like it. *shrug*

BonnieKaye said...

Good perspective on "The Little Mermaid" and "Aladdin." I LOVED "Up." Also, "Mulan" is one of my favorites.

RasJane said...

Ohh, my kids have gotten used to watching movies thanks to my crazy pregnancy. Umm, it's only 6 months later.
Love, love, love Cars. It teaches that you need to look beyond appearances and do a good turn once in a while.
Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium teaches that you have to believe in yourself and others. The ending is sad, but very beautiful.
I'm bothered by most Disney tv shows, Nick too. But we stick to recorded stuff so that helps.
Over the Hedge bothers me in that it glorifies stealing. I like the help one another message, but the stealing thing just bugs me.
I'm drawing a blank on anything else.

julia-jazz said...

I reeeeally don't like The Parent Trap (doesn't matter which version). It suggests that it's okay to split up kids (twins, no less!!) and NEVER tell either of them that they have a sibling.

And when they do find out? Are they upset at mommy and daddy? No, they try to get them back together through tricks and songs! (because those two horrible people really belong together in the first place...)

I know it came out at a time in our society when the mother usually got custody, so the audience might have thought "awww, she let him keep one; how nice," but the whole premise just disturbs me.

Destiny said...

We really disliked Monsters vs. Aliens due to the scene where the girl is pressuring the guy in the car to have sex with her. It was simply unnecessary to the movie, especially since it's geared toward children. Most of the Disney and Pixar we like though.

Amy Jo Madsen said...

I have mixed feelings about Hercules, and have never let my daughter see it, but I like it for some of the lessons in it. Hercules is a child of "A god," like we are children of God, and he works hard to realize his potential so he can go back to live with his father. It also talks about what it means to be a true hero--that it's what in your heart, and how you show your love, rather than your physical strength, etc. There are probably more lessons I'm forgetting--I haven't seen it for several years--but I know there are a few in there.

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