Disney wants to eat your children

Hey, Disney, quick question for ya:

Who at the MPAA do you guys blow in order to get “G” ratings for your movies? Because I’m convinced that’s how you’re getting it done.

[DISCLAIMER: I’m not looking at you, PIXAR. You rock. I think you should quadruple your staff and put out four times as many movies as you do now, because nothing would please me more than to make a PIXAR film the feature for every one of our family movie nights. (Except for that opening scene in “Nemo” where his mother and the other gajillion baby fish get devoured by a demonic barracuda. Nice.)]

Which reminds me: What the fuck is it with you and the dead-mother thing?? “Cinderella”? Dead mother. “Nemo”? Dead mother. “Chicken Little”? Dead mother. “Snow White”? Dead mother. “Bambi”? Dead mother. “Pocohantas”? Dead mother. “Beauty and the Beast”? Dead mother. And, as we all know, nothing cheers up a small child better or gives parents a more comfortable dynamic to explain to their children than a dead mommy, am I right?

But back to your so-called “G”-rated movies. Case study: “102 Dalmations,” our latest family-movie-night feature. Here’s my synopsis:

102 Reasons to Skip This MovieSeemingly rehabilitated psychotic woman portrayed by psychotic-looking Glenn Close relapses into full-on psychosis and spends 90 minutes trying to give small children the choice between debilitating night terrors or clawing their own eyes out. Her character’s objective: Join forces with psychotic-looking, knife-wielding male co-villain in an effort to capture and skin a bunch of puppies to make a coat. (And, yes, I realize that was basically the plot of the original, but I never saw the original; apparently, someone must have thought showing the childhood version of me a movie about a piss-your-pants frightening shrew of a woman whose objective is killing and skinning puppies to make outerwear was inappropriate! Imagine that!)

Suffice to say, Close’s portrayal of Cruella Di Vil in this film makes her bunny-boiling “Fatal Attraction” character look like Florence Nightingale.

And this is not a fluke. In fact, Disney’s pre-CGI animated films? I’m quite certain those were designed specifically so that parents would have to wake up in the middle of the night to the blood-curdling screams of their children. “The Little Mermaid” with its terror-inducing, morbidly obese octopus woman and her army of horrific-looking stolen souls; “The Lion King” with its son-watches-father-get-murdered plot point; and every single witch and/or evil-stepmother character, the makers of whom aren’t satisfied until every small child in the room has fled back into his or her mother’s womb.

I’m pretty sure it’s time for a new rating system, because when all I have to go on while selecting a movie for my kids is “G,” and “G” turns out to stand for “Gonna Scare Your Kids To Death,” it’s clear that the current system isn’t cutting it.

(Oh, by the way, Glenn Close’s Cruella Di Vil does eventually get her comeuppance in a most family friendly way. Yeah, the puppies manage to lure her into a cake factory, where they successfully trap her in a giant cake mold and send her kicking and screaming into an industrial-size, glowing-red-hot oven. But, hey, that’s alright, because she eventually emerges unharmed … which, you know, definitely makes up for the images of cooking to death that have been running through your child’s head up until that moment. Thanks, Disney!)

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  1. Posted June 6, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I guess you haven’t read any of the original stories, have you? In the original Cinderella one of the stepsisters cuts off her toes in an attempt to force her foot into the glass slipper.

    Things have changed. Who knew that kind of stuff was scary? The Brothers Grimm certainly didn’t think so.

  2. Posted June 6, 2009 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I have this problem at our house. Amy refuses to watch most disney films due to the scary baddies in them. She can’t even tollerate pixar films. Anything with peril makes her scream and hide behind the couch.

    It’s a real pain actually.

  3. Posted June 6, 2009 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Cruella scared the crap out of me as a kid – and that was the cartoon version! Glenn Close is pretty creepalicious.

  4. Posted June 6, 2009 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    You forgot “Bambi” – dead mother.

  5. Posted June 7, 2009 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Try pinocchio-underage drinking, “stupid” boys, kidnapping, etc…

  6. Posted June 7, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    To hear our four-year-old assess her choices on a flip through the movie folder, which has an overwhelming number of Disney movies in it, one would think we’d handed her a folder of Horror Films. But… we’ve recently discovered musicals. Old musicals! Classic Rodgers and Hammerstein shows and generally anything from the 50-60’s with musical numbers. Now, I realize not everyone can sit through these shows. But my kids (ages 8 and 4) love them. Something to consider!

    Heads up on “The Wizard of Oz,” absolutely terrifying. “Oklahoma” – yes! “Music Man” – yes! “Mama Mia” – again! again! “The Wizard of Oz” – NO FREAKING WAY.

  7. Posted June 8, 2009 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I totally agree. My 3 year old is terrified of Cruella and she refuses to even look at a Little Mermaid book let alone the movie for fear that she’ll see Ursula.

  8. Posted June 8, 2009 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Oh yeah, you can add Pocahontas and Belle to the list with dead mothers.

  9. reen
    Posted June 8, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I never noticed the dead-mother constant in Disney films when I was a kid, but now that I have my own kids I do wonder why that is…maybe something to do with Walt’s issues with his own mom…creepy.

  10. Posted June 8, 2009 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Disney movies rock. I just wouldn’t recommend them for the kiddos.

  11. Posted June 8, 2009 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    And where is Pinochio’s mother?

  12. Kristin
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Alice and Wonderland disturbs me. The characters are manipulative and tricksters. It seemed scarier to me as an adult.

  13. Gail
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    All of Disney’s “Classics” aka: Cinderella, Snow White, etc. are all based on centuries old fairy tales so you can’t blame Walt for the no mother thing. He just took the stories and re-told them with singing birds and frolicing rabbits.

    Bambi did have a mom, until she was shot by a hunter. Pinnochio was created from Geppetto’s imagination and a block of wood – no mom needed.

    But Glenn Close as Cruella was, in a way, inspired casting if you look at it from the point of view that she was the psycho who boiled bunnies in “Fatal Attraction.” Bunnies, puppies, woman has issues with small, furry creatures.

    I, personally, like the animated version better – Cruella was more of a characture of a lunatic, than an actual lunatic. And Roly would say, “I’m hungry Mother, I really am!” in his cute little British puppy accent.

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