My daughter loves movies. Moreso than hot dogs, spinning in circles, and chasing cats, my daughter’s devotion to her stack of movies is real and steadfast. For a while when she was younger, we tried to restrict the amount of time she spent watching movies. Studies, internet articles, and pretentious phantom parents tell us that young children should watch a very small amount of television daily so that they don’t get ADD, super lazy, super stupid, or in the habit of being neglected by their parents. This 60 minute cap on our TV time lead to crying spells, tantrums, and begging. It was stressful. And then, life happened. I got pregnant and started feeling sick and tired more often. The weather got really rainy and then unbearably hot. Laundry needed folded, dinner needed made, rooms needed vacuumed. And so she started watching movies more and more often. I felt guilty about this for a while because of aforementioned reasons, but what I found after weeks of more movies was this: my daughter was gaining so much from them. Her imagination started soaring, her vocabulary increased, her problem-solving skills developed, and her empathy and compassion for others began to bud. She started telling the characters of danger ahead, laughing at the jokes, being sad when the characters were sad, answering the questions that were asked, and excitedly telling anyone that would listen what was about to happen. And so I started to feel less like a terrible parent and instead focused on all that she was gaining from watching movies and PBS shows.
As a result, Travis and I found ourselves watching the same movies day after day and day. Because of this and perhaps in order to secure the little sanity we still had, we started turning a critical eye to these movies and shows and started discussing our observations together. Here are some of our favorite observations:
- How come no one seems overly concerned about the mental state of the king? He’s very angry, he’s not concerned about his son’s happiness in the least, and he almost KILLS the Duke after jumping to the conclusion that Cinderella’s disappearance is some sort of conspiratorial plot to ruin his life. Though I will say he has pretty much the coolest bed ever.
- We never find out what Cinderella’s dream was at the start of the movie. You can’t tell me her dream was to one day marry the prince. When she’s presented with the idea of going to the ball, you would have thought she would have mentioned that it was her destiny or something if it had been her dream all along. Which leads me to my question here: did her dream really come true? Or did she just say, “No, world. This ending is fine too.”
- Why hasn’t she just poisoned those bitches or burned the house down already?
- Perhaps the scene with the godmother is really a mental breakdown that is a direct result from the evil step-sisters’ bitchy move tearing her dress apart.
- Is she really THAT stupid that she doesn’t realize she was dancing with the prince? Did they have any sort of conversation at ALL while they were dancing? And if so, how is “What is your name?” not at the top of the list of questions to ask someone that you’re interested in. He’s the only guy at the entire ball and he’s dressed in royal attire – how does she not put this together?
- So the prince is deeply in love with Cinderella and is convinced he wants to marry her, and yet he doesn’t care enough to just go look for her himself? He sends the duke with a shoe hoping she’s the only person in the entire kingdom that has that size of foot. Seems as though he could really take her or leave her already.
- If the idea is that the shoe fits perfectly and that’s how we know it’s Cinderella, why does it keep falling off? She loses her shoes 3 times in the span of the 75 minute movie. Is the shoe fitting really just a tiny shoe fitting over an even tinier foot?
Beauty and the Beast
- Chip really leaves me asking a lot of questions. If the entire castle has been turned into inanimate objects for 10 years, how does he even exist? Or, did the magic spell also involve all of them not aging? It also seems curious that Mrs. Potts could possibly be his real mother – Angela Landsbury does not exactly give her a youthful spin.
- And while we’re on the subject of the enchanted items in the castle – how are all the plates and glasses and silverware people that worked for the royal family? There are hundreds of dancing dinnerware items in the “Be Our Guest” number – that’s a lot of servants for one castle.
- Where is the rest of the Beast’s family? If his parents had died already, wouldn’t he go ahead and call himself king of the castle instead of sticking with prince?
- How come NO ONE in the village had ever heard of the royal family that lived less than a half of a day’s journey away? It’s not like they’ve been enchanted and hidden away for hundreds of years. 98% of the people we see in the village are at least old enough to have been alive before the castle became enchanted. You’d think someone might have noticed when the castle basically died.
- How long is Belle at the castle? In some places it seems like just a few days, but yet when the movie starts the trees are pretty fall colors and we see it snow pretty consistently for a time, and then again by the end everyone’s marching to the castle to kill the Beast wearing short sleeves and a few cloaks. If she’s there for several months, how come no one believes Maurice’s story that perhaps Belle is in trouble somewhere since she is nowhere to be found? And why does it take him so long to try to rustle up some help? Was he on his death bed all that time?
- Why doesn’t Beast have a name? No one refers to him at any point as anything other than “Beast” and “master.” You wouldn’t think he’d prefer to be called Beast so much as to introduce himself to Belle as Beast and insist that she call him that.
The Little Mermaid
- It seems curious to me how violently opposed to the human world King Triton is, and yet he seems to have a knowledge of their world and ways that would suggest that he has some sort of contact with the surface world. Here’s the theory: Ariel is his favorite daughter in an uncomfortably open manner. She’s also the youngest. When you pair this fact with Ursula’s griping at the start of the movie about how things were different when she was at the castle, you can only come to one logical conclusion: Triton and Ursula went through a messy divorce that resulted from a dramatic reveal that he got a human pregnant in a scandalous love affair. She broke his heart when she was so disappointed Ariel turned out to have a fin instead of legs that she cast her daughter into the sea and disowned them both. Triton, unable to abandon his new daughter, had no choice but to bring her home – evidence of his adulterous crimes. The fighting ensues and Triton and Ursula are unsure what their next move is and what’s best for their 8 or 9 daughters – she doesn’t want to leave her sweet set up as Queen but yet she cannot love Triton any longer. So she eventually starts slowly sucking the will to live out of Triton until he banishes her from his castle forever. The party that Ariel forgets to attend is his “free at last” bash. This explains Ursula’s deep hatred for Ariel as well as the king.
- How does Eric not realize that the girl with jet black hair is not the same red headed girl that saved him from the ocean? And why didn’t Ursula just play it safe and make her human visage look eerily similar to Ariel?
- Although not a Disney movie, George is a beloved story for toddlers everywhere and has one central plotline flaw: Why is it that NO ONE questions why a man that has no physical or mental impairments that would necessitate animal assistance is allowed to take a monkey everywhere he goes? It’s not like George and The Man just hang around their small town that has for some reason made a collective decision to love this random monkey that cruises around. He lives in NEW YORK CITY and travels places like OUTER SPACE often. Not once has someone said, “Hey, I hate to be a party pooper here, but I’m not sure the doctor’s office is a great place for you to bring your pet monkey.” Every stranger they encounter instead embraces George unquestionably and usually lets him help drive the crane or fix the pipe or whatever task they show up to do.
So this is our