Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Beast is GOOD!

Are you thinking about showing Disney's Beauty and the Beast to your two year old?

That's what I did one afternoon. As the movie started and the curse on the prince is explained, I paused the tape and laid it out in terms I thought the kids would understand. The Beast is really a bad prince and if he becomes nice and someone loves him, he'll turn back to a prince. Okay? Okay.

Not okay. I was walking back and forth from the kitchen where I was cooking dinner and at one point I noticed Mari looked kind of tense. Usually, she's happy go lucky and doesn't care about tv and Austin freaks out because he thinks something is real. (He still talks about Disneyworld: "Some alligators are real, like we saw at the space station from the bus, but some alligators are just robots.")

Anyway, I sat next to Mari and asked, "Are you okay? Are you frightened?" She turned to me and just burst into tears. Sobbing uncontrollably. I knew what I had to do.

I made her watch more.

The first time we saw Monsters Inc, was the first time Austin realized monsters might actually live in his closet; I mistakenly turned off the movie when he freaked and he couldn't quite get over it.

So this time, I sat down with Mari and made her watch. And then the Beast yelled at Belle and she ran away. Mari started to cry again. Belle, escaping, is tracked by wolves. Mari, still tense. The Beast appears, fighting the wolves. "See, the Beast is helping her," I said, while the Beast viciously snarls at the wolves, tossing them into trees and generally getting more frightening.

Finally, back at the castle, the Beast tries to do better. He stabs at his food with a fork. He takes Belle to his library. "Look, he's giving her a present." By this time, Mari is calmer and more in control of herself.

By the end of the movie, I try to summarize the moral: The Beast looks scary, but really he's good. Gaston looks good, but really he's bad. Belle looks nice, but really she's ... "Good?" asks Austin. Yes. The moral is, you can't tell who people are by looking at them.

Julie came home and asked how the movie was. Mari went running up to her and shouted, "The Beast... is GOOD!" She repeated that phrase a few times, probably to comfort her mother.

1 comment:

Baldwin said...

Disney movies always go for the emotional trauma--so much so that it's questionable whether they're really appropriate for kids. I mean: Bambi? Dumbo? The mommy clownfish and her entire nest but one in Finding Nemo? Marlin (the dad clownfish) gets mocked as the neurotic worrywort who can't let go for the rest of the movie, but cripes, the guy's still suffering from post-traumatic stress.