Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Does Disney Hate Parents?

A while back, I read an article that asked why Disney hates parents. The premise of the article was that Disney films almost always involve a main character who has lost one or both parents and this struck the author as anti-parent. It’s an interesting observation, especially as I think this goes well beyond Disney into most other children’s stories as well. But I don’t think it’s anti-parent.

On the Disney point, consider this: Andy in Toy Story has no father. Bambi has no father and loses his mother. Nemo’s mother and siblings are eaten by barracuda and his father is estranged. Simba is implicated in his father’s death. Mowgli is an orphan abandoned to the wild, as is Tarzan. Fatherless Dumbo is separated from his mother. Ariel has no mother, nor does Belle. Penny from The Rescuers is an orphan. Cinderella has no parents, nor does Snow White, nor does Peter Pan. Peter Pan’s Wendy has parents, but they don’t care about the kids. The list goes on and on.

And this continues well beyond Disney: Harry Potter’s parents were killed. The parents of the girl from Golden Compass are pretending they aren’t her parents. The kid in Neverending Story has no mother. The girl in Labyrinth has a wicked stepmother. The Narnia kids are on their own. The parents in James and the Giant Peach are killed when a rhinoceros falls from the sky. Dorothy lives with her Aunt and Uncle in Wizard of Oz. The von Trapps are without a mother. The kid in Little Big League has no father. And so on.

That's a lot of parental carnage, but is this really anti-parent? I don’t think so. Indeed, I think it’s the exact opposite.

At the core of most all of these stories is the idea that kids need parents. These kids don’t have parents and there is a hole in their lives because of it. Thus, they all go on fantasy adventures to find ersatz parents to fill that hole. When they find these ersatz parents, they find what they are missing from their new father/mother figures and they live happily ever after. And the message is clear: kids need parents.

So why eliminate the birth parents?

Frankly, I think it’s largely necessary for the plots. Indeed, it’s rather difficult to create child characters who lack strong parental influences in their lives when both parents are present. It can be done, such as in Mary Poppins, where the parents learn to stop being selfish and care about their kids, but how often can you repeat that formula? Hence, it’s a lot easier to start without parents being present.

Also, leaving the parents around changes the focus of the story from “kids need parents” to "why are these bad parents." Thus, if the parents are still there, then these films go from being pro-parent to being anti-parent, as parents would come to be seen as objects of criticism and as something to be fixed or replaced if you don't like the set you have. That's why I think it’s a mistake to see the elimination of the birth parents as an anti-parent message.

That said, not all of these films are actually pro-parent. Golden Compass, for example, is a vile little film that intentionally sends all the wrong messages (anti-parent, anti-Christian, pro-angry-atheist, anti-Catholic, anti-education, pro-class warfare). The fact her parents are pretending they aren't her parents and that she finds better parents is definitely an anti-parent statement. In some cases, the absence of one parent seems purposeless, like in Toy Story or Little Mermaid. Indeed, it’s not at all clear why they chose to eliminate the fathers in those films other than some subtle "single parent families are good" message. You see this a good deal where kids stories try to convince the kids that they shouldn't object to divorce. Finally, some films, like Alice in Wonderland and Willy Wonka, are simply devoid of parental messages, even though they have absent parents.

Consequently, I think it is a mistake to draw any message from the absence of the parents alone. You need to look deeper and ask why are the parents missing and what is the lesson the kid is being taught regarding that absence? That will tell you if the film is pro- or anti-parent. And most of the Disney films seem genuinely pro-parent.

Thoughts?

57 comments:

CrispyRice said...

As a Disney fan, I will concur that there is an awful lot of parental carnage before the movie starts. By and large, I think it serves a purpose in children's literature. Much of traditional fairy tales and stories is about teaching kids to face and overcome fears. Loss of a parent is a big one, and showing kids that they could survive that is important. It's part of the process of growing up.

I'm sure some psychologists would say we all "lose" our parents early on when we first realize that they aren't perfect people who exist solely for us. But now I'm treading into psych-babble. ;)

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I think that's true too. Fairy Tales are largely about teaching kids to overcome bad things, and losing your parents was something that was very common in the past, so that is definitely part of it.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Crispy, That reminds me of my favorite Oscar Wilde quote: "To lose one parent is a tragedy, to lose both smacks of carelessness."

BoilerRoomElf said...

Yo Bossman! You're treading onto dangerous ground here. Remember - one elf's "children's fantasy" is another elf's "proud history!"

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I honestly had not thought much of this aspect of children's films before--and I still don't. I just think a lot of it is the fact that the kids are the protagonists, and to have parents doing, well, parenting would take too much attention away from them. It's their characters that have to be emphasized, and you can't very well do that if the parents are there. I really think that's most of it, which would also explain why this feature is common in non-Disney films as well.

AndrewPrice said...

Elves, I am not aware of anyone denigrating your history, at least not since "Keebler, the Untold Story" on the History Channel.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I agree. I think it's a story device and isn't intended as any sort of anti-parent statement (with some exceptions).

BoilerRoomElf said...

Hey! We paid good money to try to hush that up...

AndrewPrice said...

Sure thing BRE, but the truth still leaks out... like the whole story of Gandolph Hearst and his evil Elfpire.

BoilerRoomElf said...

Aw, now you're just talking conspiracy theory stuff. We never pegged you for a "Elfer" kind of guy.

Next you'll be telling us that Buzz Lightyear never went to the moon! (Which he did without parents, too, you know!)

Or are you gonna start chanting "Snow White lied, dwarves died!" Huh??

AndrewPrice said...

Snow white lied, LOL! Sounds like someone should get back to work! ;-)

Tam said...

I think the Disney movies (and other stories you mentioned) are a sharp contrast to much of the garbage on the disney channel, Phineas and Ferb ( step-family situation) being a grand exception. In most of the shows, the kids are sarcastic and defiant and obnoxious toward their bumbling, stupid, careless, or otherwise dysfunctional parents. I can see how the loss or absence of one or both parents can serve the plot and teach children valuable lessons, but I think the propaganda machine that is the disney channel is pretty vile and watching the shows once is enough for me. Disney is mostly prohibited in our house, except for Phineas and Ferb.

T-Rav said...

That was "Citizen Legolas" you and the Elves are talking about, right? :-)

T-Rav said...

By the way, thanks for calling out The Golden Compass. Stupid anti-Narnia wannabe crap...

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, Isn't that the truth. There was a time the Disney Channel had some decent programs on it (never great, but decent). But in the past decade or so, it's all become sarcastic, nasty and oversexed. I don't know what they are thinking? Nor do I know why parents would allow their kids to watch that stuff?

I agree too that the films remain very different from the programming on the channel. I think their films by and large still send good messages, though there have been a couple that were packed with politically correct messages.

I also think, surprisingly, that Pixar has better "family values" than Disney at this point. It's kind of strange to think about that, but it seems to be true. And I think it's no coincidence that Pixar makes better movies too.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Yes, "Citizen Legolas" LOL!

No problem on the Golden Compass, I've been meaning to review that for some time because it's the perfect example of propaganda masquerading as film. I just haven't had the chance. Not only is it really a bad movie, but it should offend people.

T-Rav said...

Hmmm...should be interesting.

I agree about Disney Channel programming, by the way. About ten years ago, when I still watched it sometimes, it did have some good shows aimed at the junior high crowd; but now, it's really bizarre. They've really dumbed it down or something. And I'm pretty sure all the tweeny girls on the shows are or have gone on to be sluts or something worse.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, A few months ago someone connected all the dots between the kids who are staring on Disney shows and how they all end up in rehab almost immediately after moving on from Disney. So there's a very good question just what the heck is going on at Disney these days.

And I agree with you and Tam, something has gone very wrong with their programming. If I had kids, that one would not be on the channel list.

Ed said...

Andrew, I see why people would think this is anti-parent, as you say this is a lot of "parental carnage," but I also think it's just part of the storytelling.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I agree. I can see why it seems like it would be seem anti-parent, but I really don't think it is.

ScottDS said...

Andrew, I think this article should be your next BH reprint.

And I totally agree with you, too. I'm grossly oversimplifying things but the lack of one or both parents is, for lack of a better word, interesting. There's conflict, the obstacles are more difficult to overcome, there will be new characters to meet that serve a similar (parental) function, etc. In short, there's more to work with.

If both parents are still around (and assuming they're happy), then everything's fine! Again, there are always exceptions and I am oversimplifying here. I just wish some folks understood that the portrayal of a single-parent household in a movie does not necessarily constitute endorsement (ditto for smoking, drinking, and every other vice). But from what you've said, sometimes it does, too.

Sometimes this might have to do with the filmmakers themselves and the family environments they came from. Spielberg's folks got divorced when he was little; hence the absentee-father trope in his films. Mine, on the other hand, are still together (thank God) so if I ever put pen to paper, chances are the parent characters would still be together.

Some idiot on another (ahem) site labeled the latest Star Trek film anti-father since Kirk's dad dies in the opening. The dad sacrifices himself for his wife and son... that's not anti-father!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Unfortunately, a lot of people take the most shallow look at the world. Thus, they think an absent parent must mean an anti-parent statement because the film shows a missing parent.... ergo, it is promoting non-parenting. But that's short-sighted and wrong. You need to look deeper.

For example, is the message that parents should be allowed to dump their kids and the kids will be fine? Or is the lesson that kids suffer from being left alone? That's kind of the key right there: how important are the parents to the kids' well being?

And sometimes, as you and I seem to agree, it is just necessary to the story (or makes it more interesting, gives it more options) if the parents are missing.

By the same token, just having both parents does not a pro-parent movie make. If the film sends the message that parents interfere with their kids growth or that kids can find substitute parents if they disagree with their parents' rules, then it's definitely anti-parent. Similarly, if parents are shown as stupid, out of touch, or arbitrary, then you have the same thing -- you see that a LOT in commercials these days.

In terms of being what people grew up with, I think there is some of that -- the best writers, write what they know. BUT, I also think Hollywood is harmed by their liberal reputation here. They have been pushing the leftist view of families for so long (evil, stupid fathers, oppressed mothers) that people are now sensitive to how Hollywood chooses to portray families. And when you get something like Murphy Brown where a single mother raises a kid in ideal circumstances and there is never any hint that the child would be better off with a father, people pick up very quickly on the fact that messages are being sent. And when Hollywood then denies that and pretends that people are reading too much into what is obviously a political message, then it's hard to say that people are overreacting when they see single parent families or gay families or whatever on film. Hollywood has earned people's suspicions.

rlaWTX said...

I actually had this discussion with someone once! I agree with your analysis... the lack of parents is, for the most part, story-driving. I love Mary Poppins, but a slew of them would be annoying and start feeling anti-parent.

And I think that T-Rav wrote an excellent Golden Compass review: "stupid anti-Narnia wannabe crap..."

ScottDS said...

I find it interesting that, in the original Willy Wonka, Charlie's father is omitted. In Tim Burton's version, the father is included (per the original novel) but, between Charlie's mom, Grandpa Joe, and Wonka himself, he's a complete non-entity.

And I know it's another topic entirely but don't get me started on the "lazy, stupid father" cliche. I don't even know when this started bothering me. I'm sure when I was younger, I snickered at portrayals of idiot dads (or idiot parents in general) but now, not so much.

Recently, SNL did a great sketch on a school for "Disney TV acting." And yes, I used SNL and the words "recently" and "great" in a sentence together. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, That is a pretty good synopsis! LOL!

I'm glad you agree. I think people often jump to conclusions too quickly based on superficial elements in stories. And I think this is one of those cases. I think the real question is "what does the story teach about the effects of the parent's absence on the kids." If the kids are fine with it, then the film is probably anti-parent. If the kids are showing negative effects, then the message is pro-parent.

I think it's interesting that people would consider Mary Poppins as being anti-parent. If anything, I think the message is "parents need to focus on their kids," not their political or work goals. I would think that's a pretty pro-parent message actually.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, You know that hurts your credibility to put those words in the same sentence right? LOL!

Yeah, the stupid father stereotype bothers me to no end. Not only do I think it's horrible as a story element, but it's clearly a sop to political correctness, which dictates (1) that you can't make fun of anyone else except white males, (2) fathers add nothing to families, and (3) it goes hand in hand with the idea that fathers are either abusers who oppress their wives and beat their kids, or they are dolts. I really hate that.

I actually think the message of Willy Wonk is a horrible message, no matter who has made the film (or written the book). In Willy Wonka in particular, it advocates the ideas that (1) you can get rich by playing the lottery and (2) you can break the rules and still be rewarded as long as you really think you still deserve to a reward. So although I like the movie, I hate the message.

The Depp/Burton version strikes me as just nasty if not sadistic.

T-Rav said...

And see? I didn't have to get wordy or anything with my synopsis! (Now if only I could repeat that trick in the film debates...)

A few points on Willy Wonka:

I think you're being a little too hard on the movie, Andrew. I don't think it's really meaning that as a message, it's just telling a story.

I have read the sequel to the book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," called "Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator." It sucked. I don't know if that's because the parents and other grandparents were in it more, but it did.

I have not seen the Tim Burton version of "Willy Wonka," but everyone I know who has seen it has told me that it too sucks.

Finally, that is the only movie (the Gene Wilder version, that is) that could persuade me to smoke some pot. I want to know what that boat ride in the tunnel would be like.

LawHawkRFD said...

I'm not even Catholic, and I was offended by the attacks on the Church in Golden Compass. I agree with you that "parentless" does not equate to "anti-parent." Still, it seems that in the past, getting a family seemed more a part of the plot than more recent forays.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, You should do "10 Word Movie Reviews"!

Whether they intended it or not, it's always struck me that the message is you will get winfall profits if you just want it badly enough. . . and don't do anything to actually make it happen.

That said, I think Wilder is brilliant in the role. I love his portrayal and his comedic timing. He's one of my favorite comedy actors.

I never did read the sequel.

The Depp version stinks. I think Burton's creativity is played out. It comes across like someone pretending they are doing something really cool and unusual, even though they are being very careful never to doing anything outside the box that might scare the suits.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I was rather offended by Golden Compass as well, and that was before I even read about the books -- which are way worse than the film.

I agree with your sense that modern films are less likely to be pro-family than older films. In the past, it seemed that the purpose of absent parents was to show the value of parents. Today, it seems more likely that absent parents are intended as a "different lifestyles" message or are just tossed in for no particular reason.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I agree about Wilder. He made that movie.

Meanwhile, on a film-related note, I'm bored, so I'm gonna go watch "Rise of Planet of the Apes," or "Planet of the Apes: The Rise," or "Planet of the Apes: Back to the Future," or whatever it's called. Be back in a few hours.

AndrewPrice said...

Have a good time T-Rav... if that's possible. I think it's called, "Rising Ape: Planet of the Earth"?

The only film I'm interested in right now is Apollo 18. That looks pretty intriguing and I might even get my rear end to the theater to see that one.

Koshcat said...

One of the biggest fears all children have is losing his/her parents. Since most of these movies started out as children fairy tales, I think they use this to develop tension from the very beginning. You feel empathy for the character even before you get to know them. It is such a common and old theme that I doubt there was ever any intent of "anti-parentism".

Funny thing about Toy Story. I always assumed that Andy's mother was a stay-at-home and his father was at work. Andy's parents were minor characters in the movie so I didn't pick up any agenda.

Never saw the compass. This last weekend I saw the original "Planet of the Apes". It had been awhile since I last saw it. It was a really good film but a strong creationist vs. evolutionist conflict theme. What made it good was there was good arguments (in this scenario) for either.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I think that's probably true. I think this is a writing device intended to scare/shock kids and create instant drama -- which is what fairy tales were all about. And I just don't see any anti-parent intent in those stories.

I'm not sure that's true with more modern stories, which I think are much more likely to present leftist messages, but still I think this is by and large just a writing device to get kids in the right frame of mind right away.

On Toy Story, I never noticed one way or the other what the humans were doing except the kid next door. But it does seem to be true that Andy has only a mother. Is that an attempt to create a message? I doubt it. I don't see any payoff from it for there to be a message. So I'm honestly not sure why they made the choice one way or the other.

I love the original Planet of the Apes. I think it's brilliantly written, creepy and yet also ultra-cool in a campy sort of way. And you're right, it's got this fascinating debate going on inside it and it does present excellent arguments for both sides. I enjoy that one a lot. I did not care for the remake, however, which seemed to turn that into a mindless action film.

T-Rav said...

Admission: I have not seen the original "Planet of the Apes," or any of its sequels. (dodges projectiles from Andrew and probably Scott) I have only seen the remake from a few years ago, and just part of that--enough to know it had to be far worse than the original. In fact, the only thing I came away with was confusion as to how Mark Wahlberg ever got into acting at all.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I feel like I need to hold you hostage in a theater somewhere and run you through the classics! Just be glad I'm too lazy to do that.

So did you enjoy the Rise of Whoever Wherever?

T-Rav said...

Andrew, it was actually fairly good. I don't know how closely it conforms to the original, obviously, but from the little I know it seems like a plausible origins story. San Francisco suffers extensive damage, which is always a plus, and Andy Serkis (Gollum from LOTR) does some really great work portraying the lead ape. Again, I don't know if some of it might contradict the original, but on its own terms, I'd give it a thumbs-up.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, After the first Apes film, it all went downhill pretty fast. Number 2 has some iconic moments with the humans worshiping the atomic bomb. But 3 to whatever get really crappy.

I don't really have any heartburn with them ignoring the original stories. The first Ape film is iconic and so shouldn't be repeated, i.e. they should try something new rather than sticking to the original story, because they just can't top it. The rest aren't worth repeating. So this is clearly reboot territory than remake territory.

The Red Letter Media guys liked this film and they're generally pretty good with their criticisms. My biggest concern would be with watching cartoony apes for two hours, but they said you get used to it fairly quickly.

ScottDS said...

Admission: I have not seen the original "Planet of the Apes," or any of its sequels. (dodges projectiles from Andrew and probably Scott)

No worries! I only saw them all for the first time a few years ago when the Blu-Ray boxset was released (I bought it without having seen any of the films).

Even though I knew the ending in advance, I thought the original was excellent. Some cheesy elements but also ahead of its time in other ways. The story/themes haven't aged a day. The sequels aren't bad, though the last film isn't great and rather cheap-looking. The best sequel might be the fourth film: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. Very dark. The Blu-Ray even includes the pre-release version with all the violence that had to be cut and a darker ending.

The Tim Burton remake was crap and is, in fact, the only Burton movie I don't like. On a technical level, it's just fine with Danny Elfman, ILM, make-up wiz Rick Baker, and the rest of the usual Burton suspects giving it their all. But it's just so blah!

(I think Burton has admitted in later years that it's his least personal film and the studio gave him a release date without a script.)

I'll Netflix the latest film. No rush. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I remember watching the remake thinking "wow, this is dull." It felt like a paint by numbers film. I agree its technicals were ok, but story-wise it was a sleeper. The only scene I thought they cared about was the ending and it was almost like they came up with the ending (a twist on the original movie) and then slapped together a story to get there.

On the original, I have no idea how many times I've seen it, but I will catch it at least once a year when it's on one of the film channels. It really does hold up. Yes, there are some cheesy parts, but surprisingly few. I think it's one of the best end-of-world films ever made. What's more, I think it's a heck of a smart film with a lot of interesting ideas being batted around in a very smart fashion -- but also a fashion that doesn't distract you from the film. I love how it roles out the ideas throughout the film rather than having one guy stand up and say "here's what must have happened..." and then telling us everything we need to know.

I do have to disagree about the sequels though. I thought they just got worse and worse. Partly, that was budget though. After the second film, the rest were really made for television quality. Plus, I think the stories were unambitious and made little sense.

ScottDS said...

You may know this already but the ending of the Burton version was the ending of the original novel.

The ending of the original film was contributed by co-writer Rod Serling (naturally!).

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Serling is awesome! And yeah, I had heard that. I have to say though that the ending in the original is much more spectacular. I had no idea what was coming when I saw it as a kid and the first time you see Lady Liberty stuck in the sand, it just shocks you. I honestly don't think an apocalypse film has ever struck home like that moment.

I've often wondered about that, by the way, if people who come along later get the same kind of thrill out of so many of these films. This issue came up with Spock the other day. In 1982, no one knew he died in Khan until they saw the film and it was STUNNING. Ditto on Luke being Vader's boy -- people literally left the film with their eyes glazed over in shock.

These days, I think these things get spoiled so regularly that (1) I think it's nearly impossible to get the same kick and (2) I wonder if younger audiences don't understand how powerful these moments where when they were originally in theaters?

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I'll have to check their review out. On the apes, they're actually very well done, I think. If you have a naturally good eye for CGI and all that, you could probably catch it, but a number of them look quite real.

Okay, so I have to ask: What's the deal with the Statue of Liberty scene in the original? I kinda vaguely grasp the significance of it but not how it fits in. (Incidentally, the new movie has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it callback to that scene, and to a couple others as well.)

T-Rav said...

Scott, good to know! :-)

There are, I have to say, more Burton movies besides the Apes remake I do not care for. He's a good director but sometimes it's just way too weird for me.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, It's one of their Half in the Bag reviews, not a full review.

The Statue of Liberty. First, the film leads you to believe that Charlton Heston (and his team) fly through some space storm and come upon a new planet. There is no hint this is Earth anywhere in the film. So you really aren't thinking along those lines. You're concentrating on how he will get back to Earth.

Then they do the whole "a planet where apes evolved from men?" thing, where Heston tries to figure out how humans could be inferior creatures to apes. Indeed, the humans appear far less developed mentally. And that's a startling thought and you think that's about the extent of the surprises.

Finally, he gets away from the apes who are chasing him (into the forbidden zone) and you think he's going to find a better world with his woman... and then BAM... he turns a corner on the beach and you see the Statue of Liberty sticking half out of the beach. Suddenly you realize that this is Earth and represents OUR future.

Today, that's not a big deal, but this was a truly new idea at the time. You just didn't see films where people devolved to lose their power of speech and become like animals, and then became enslaved by animals (apes). This was just a total shock.

T-Rav said...

Ohhhh....yes, I can see why that would be a big deal. Major shock factor if you're totally unfamiliar with the movie. Actually, that also explains a lingering question I had about something in the film (this new one) which I could tell was a callback but didn't get the significance of. (I'm going to guess Heston's spacecraft was named the "Icarus," right?)

Along those lines, I will say that the movie isn't too dark in setting up this future. You can clearly see, at the end, where things are headed (if you see it in theaters, don't leave the second the credits start rolling), but without giving anything away, it's more a story of the apes fighting for freedom and dignity rather than them trying to wrest control of Earth from humans. Like I said, it's an enjoyable movie, even if you know practically nothing about the other movies (like me).

T-Rav said...

Also, on the subject of the surprise twists (Vader is Luke's father, Statue of Liberty thing, etc.), I always thought Terminator 2 would have been excellent in that regard. Since I was very young when the movie was released, I have no idea how much of the plot was already common knowledge, but if you knew nothing beyond the original Terminator movie, I could see the revelation that Arnold is there to protect John Connor, not kill him, as kinda jaw-dropping. "Okay, this is starting just like the first one...obviously this is another cyborg Ahnuld...this guy disguised as a cop must be another Kyle Reese-type guy, looks like he could handle a Terminator...oh gee, I hope he gets to John before Ahnuld does and...wait...what? WHAT?!" At any rate, that's how I envision it.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Yep, it was called the Icarus.

The original from which Rise was made struck me as goofy in the first half and pretty dark near the end. Most of the story is a bit of a waste of time. The two main "good guy" apes from the first two films escape the planet of the apes just as it is being exploded by the atomic bomb. They fly back through the time warp to our time in the second space ship that was sent after the first (second movie).

They get treated like celebrities for awhile until the humans learn the female ape is pregnant and they hear how the apes will one day rule the planet. At that point, it becomes a chase movie with people hunting the apes to kill them -- all except for Khaaaaan, who runs a circus and takes in their son. It just has a very nasty feel to it IMO.

I'm assuming based on what I've seen that this movie starts from a completely different premise.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, You're right. T2 came out before the internet and all of this spoiler stuff. So again, most people went in cold. I know I did and my friends did.

And there are two huge surprises in that film. First, when Arnold shows up, you're blown away because you know Arnold is a killer and this was so well hidden that you were sure that the good guys were dead. It was a shock that he was a good guy now and you literally didn't believe it for quite some time... I kept waiting for him to reveal this was some trap.

The second surprise was Robert Patrick's terminator. That was a quantum leap in terms of technology and was just amazing. Not only was the effect brand new and so well done, but the idea of a liquid metal killing machine was just startling. Everything he did in that movie kept your eyes glued on the screen and your jaw wide open.... "wow, I had no idea!"

rlaWTX said...

I didn't see the whole original Apes movie until later, and I think I knew about the end, but it was still a bit of a gut twist feeling when I got to the end...

and I hadn't seen the original Terminator when I saw T2, so, while I knew that Arnold had been the bad guy, it wasn't as hard for me to accept him as the good guy. And the whole liquid metal guy was scary enough - I really could not figure out how they were going to kill him. Another thing - when I did finally see the 1st one I wasn't ready for Linda Hamilton to be such a fluff. I knew her character from T2 - tough, on edge, a bit scary... ahhh, but a young M Biehn...

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Yeah, that must have been a shock to see Linda Hamilton in the first one. She really changed between the films.

I agree about the liquid metal guy, he's still amazing in my book and you just wonder how they even could kill him. They find a way, obviously, but it just seems like major luck!

On Apes, I agree, it's still a heck of a scene that just really drives home to you what has happened. I goes in the category of less is more. I think this is way worse than the flattened cities they always try to show now in disaster films.

Joel Bocko said...

I agree more with CrispyRice on this - I think the absence or death of parents serves a "growing up" message more than a "finding new parents" message. Most fairy tales seem to be more geared towards preparing children for adulthood (probably since they have their roots in a time when the transitional period of adolescence didn't really exist) than in accommodating them to the present realities of childhood.

Joel Bocko said...

Also, dramatic simplicity - all you need to show a child-parent (younger-elder) relationship in a movie is one parent. Dramatically speaking, the other one can seem redundant. That's probably why the dad in the Wonka/Charlie remake just seems superfluous. Economy of characters...

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Both good points. I think it's clear that the original assumption in the article I read is wrong, that Disney somehow is making an anti-parent statement. I think this is simply a matter of storytelling and no particular political message is intended.

Joel Bocko said...

Yes, I remember Michael Medved making an argument of this sort. I cringed then, and cringed now. I don't really like to see left or right reducing a film to its moral components, but if it's gonna be done at least read those moral components correctly (and with proper perspective).

It reminds me of a magazine my parents used to get when I was a kid that nitpicked every song lyric or line in a movie. At one point they complained about a U2 song that contained the line "back when we were monkeys swinging in the tree"! Which first of all, didn't really have anything to do with morality and secondly, not even jokey references to evolution? Really??

AndrewPrice said...

I know. I try to avoid reading too much into things, though as a bloggers that is sometimes part of the fun. But some people just jump on the slightest hint of anything and then interpret the heck out of it until it becomes something sinister that no rational person would think is believable.

I can't tell you the number of times where I hear people get all bent out of shape over something they've seen in a film and they have completely read it backwards.

If you're going to make a complaint about something, then at least get it right!

celoptra said...

Might I point out that Bambi DOES have a dad? The GREAT PRINCE of the FOREST.

And for Peter Pan. Well PETER PAN RUNS AWAY FROM FREAKIN' HOME AS AN INFANT.

Both Mary Poppins and Peter Pan stories (the Darling part of it) have a couple of things in common. The first one is that parents need to stop thinking only of themselves and spend time with their children.

2)Both stories have Nannies play a role in the story. My point is? Back in Edwardian times (said in both movies) is that upper-and-middle class children would only see their parents twice a day six days a week. The rest of the time they are either in the nursery/or outside on an outing.

done those points.

I also want to point out that DISNEY didn't wrote the stories. They are based upon popular fairytales/storeis that were around years before Disney was alive. Those stories already had parent less children.

Post a Comment