Saturday, March 13, 2010

family: ... we watched you, babe....

(note: this is part 2 of a 2-part "movie" epic. here's part 1 in case you missed it. the story hinges on fully understanding every nuance and intricacy of the situation, and if you don't go back and read part 1, I can't be responsible for your not finding this funny and worthy of commenting on. really.)

So, "movie time" part 1 was a disaster, saved only by the girls of Saddle Club (Yea!). We regrouped, took the offending disc back to the library, and came home with Babe. And by "we" I mean M and the girls. While I was relaxing at work. And imagining them tiptoeing through the stacks because a library is where you're supposed to be very quiet. (L (in a shout-whisper): I being qwiet!)

An aside: It's interesting that both movie 1 and movie 2 involved, even revolved around, pigs. But that's a coincidence. Maybe. In any case, both M and I remembered Babe as a gentle movie without Big Bad Wolves and other disturbing characters. (spoiler: we were wrong!)

Last weekend I proposed another "movie time" to the girls, which was enthusiastically endorsed by K ("Yeah!) and M ("I'll go for a run!") and cautiously endorsed by L ("I don't want to watch that other movie. It cary!")

Being a man who learns from his mistakes, I made a point of being there, of watching with them. So we were, settled down on the couch, under the cozy blanket. And I started the movie.

The first thing I noticed: the opening scene is in a piggery, a huge, warehouse-like building where hundreds (thousands?) of pigs and piglets are being raised. For eating (obviously). And in that scene, lit with noir-ish shadows that telegraph the situation to everyone, unless you're a 2 or almost-4yo with no context, all the adult mom pigs are being prodded (electric prods, luckily showing up quickly and disappearing just as quickly) out away from their cute-as-the-dickens piglets and into a truck that is marked Meats.

Me (thinking): Aaaack!!! Was this scene in the original movie? Is this the director's cut?!?

Hmm... not starting well.

K: Where Babe?
me: There, that's him looking through the railing.
K: Why looking through railing?
L: Where Babe?
me: He's looking for his mom.
L: Where Babe ith?
me: Right there. That's him. (looking sad and already missing his mom)

(how long is this scene going to go on)

K: Why looking for his mom?
me: Because, she's... um... "gone off."
K: Why gone off?
L: Why looking for hith mom?
me (thinking: why did we think this was a good idea?!?): He just wants to know where she's gone.

Luckily we got past that first scene and on to better lit (and by "better lit" I mean having light), less disturbing scenes. And, distracted by their confusion, the girls didn't really notice how Babe went from the piggery to the farm, but then there were puppies and ducks and geese and Babe was lonely and adopted by the dogs and things improved. Slightly.

K: What he doing?
me: He's following the dogs. Playing with the puppies.
L: What he doing?
K: Why playing with the dogs?
me: Because he likes them.
L: Why playing?
me (whew!):Come sit on my lap.
K: What he said?
me: She's telling the other dog that Babe is lonely.
K: Why lonely?
me: He misses his mom. (crap, I just brought her back up!)
L: Why lonely?
K: Where hith mom?

And so it went. Through the sheep rustling:
K: What they doing? That dog bad?
L: What they doing?.
me: Babe saved the rest of the sheep. He went and got the dogs.

Through the attack by the wild dogs
(was that really in the original? how could I have not remembered that?):
K: What those dogs doing?
me: They're bad dogs. They're attacking the sheep.
L: What they doing?
K: What happening?
me (trying to figure out how much to say): She's hurt. That sheep is hurt. But Babe chased off the bad dogs and saved the rest of the sheep.
L: What happening?
K: Why she lying down?
me: Um, she's hurt. She's.... (go ahead, say it)... dying.
L: What happening? Why lying down?
K: Why dying?
me (aaack!)

And through the aftermath of that wild dog attack:
me (oh, shit. now he's going to shoot Babe!)
K: What he doing?
me: Um... he thinks Babe hurt the sheep. But he didn't! Babe saved the sheep!
K: Why? What he doing?
me: He's ... taking Babe into that room (with a freaking shotgun!)
L: What he doing?
me: Come sit on my lap....

In other words, the movie was way over the girls' heads. And was full of scenes that I did not remember but which must have seemed understandable and reasonable when I watched it last (at... 35?), but which now seem insanely outrageously difficult/scary/dark.

I don't think either girl understood the story. It was mostly about puppies (until they got sold off! K: Where the puppies? Why she lonely? L: Where puppies?) and other talking animals.

I'd say it wasn't as bad an experience for them as the first one, but that may have been as much due to my being there as to the movie itself.

So now I'm wondering, what's a good kid movie for kids (2 and 4yo) who aren't exposed to the "normal" stuff that everyone sees on TV? Charlotte's Web? That'll have me crying and needing to explain through my tears that it's all good.

Or maybe it's just too early for movie time with real movies? I know I could keep K occupied for hours with diaper change videos from YouTube, but somehow watching dirty diapers doesn't seem like quality, popcorn eating time.....


Anonymous said...

I'd suggest Watership Down...just a cute little cartoon movie about bunnies with absolutely no disturbing scenes of rabbit carnage...or maybe the Secret of the Rats of NIMH. Who doesn't love rats and mice in clothing?

Unknown said...

Have you tried any Sesame Street DVDs? I loved the TV show more than the kids did (and that was when I was in my 30s)! Sesame Street is fun, educational, and definitely not scary.

Unknown said...

I just found a bunch of Mr Roger's neighborhood on Netflix and Arthur and Caillou, too. They are all kid friendly, aren't they?

Kipper, Blue's Clues, Dora the Explorer, the Wiggles came up in the 2-4 age range on Netflix.

I can't think of any proper movies that don't have little scary bits. Toy Story is scary when Buzz and Woody get lost. Cinderella and Snow White have scary bits with witches.


Jocelyn said...

We watch anything by Pixar, every Saturday night. They may be boy-centric, I'm not sure. I think Wall-E is the best - great love story, environmental story, and I got to be Eva for at least 6 months. Maybe 12. Austin loves Cars too, and we watched Up last night. The downside is that you'll never be able to take them into a store without them begging for Pixar-branded crap. The upside: Campbell's makes a low-sodium Cars chicken noodle soup!