I was rooting for Coraline, which I loved. Coraline was all about a girl– a cranky, brave one– not a princess– who went on her own magical journey. The girl was not only the main character, but her name was the title. The idea that little boys won’t see movies about little girls is so absurd, and if there is any truth to it at all, it’s a culturally enforced, parent induced self-fulfilling prophecy.
But there are some issues with Coraline– like both my kids burst into tears, and we all had to leave the theatre. Not only that, but Lucy, my six year old, stayed frightened for at least a month after. Those button eyes are some of the creepiest things I’ve seen on film– talk about souless. I was warned not to take the kids but I was so curious. I should have seen the film alone first and will do that from now on. I think bringing my kids to that movie was one example of my excitement about feminism getting in the way of making the best parenting choice for the individual kid.
With the caveat, as the other critics said, don’t let small kids see it, I give it ***GG*** rating.
Maybe I should add an ***M*** for mature, though a couple people have already commented on this blog that my rating system is too complex. Others have written that they like the sometimes side-by-side Ss and Gs. The MPAA, by the way– famously, historically all men, maybe one woman now, I’ll check that out– are an extremely fastidious group. They assign points for every exposed nipple, butt cheek, use of drugs, etc, then engage in debate, and rate movies on an X, NC-17, R, PG-13, G scale. I think this male based MPAA, a truly institutionlized censorship system, is one of the biggest obstacles to girl power making any real strides in Hollywood. I’d like a 60 Minutes expose or a Vanity fair feature article about this, if there hasn’t been one already. My fanatsy is to have stickers– Gs for Girlpower and Ss for Sterotypes– on all movies. Or at least a female based MPAA type group, Hollywood would change drastically as would our collective imaginations. As I wrote earlier, I believe sterotyping is so much more dangerous for the malleable minds of children than vague allusions to sex, violence, drug use, etc that the MPAA gets so worked up about. So much stereotype gender training that really sticks happens to us through watching media at young age. After all, they do call it programming.
Ok, back to Coraine– another negative is that the movie features the stereotypical evil mother figure. This bad mother is everywhere in kids movies. There is also a good mother in Coraline, though that mom is sort of a demonized for being a working mom, or at least not having enough time for her lonely daughter. She is, at best, loving but neglectful. Though maybe Coraline’s ultimate lesson is that mothers are never perfect, and a working sometimes absent mom is preferable to a psycho attentive one.
Any animators out there– please make a movie about a brave girl, not a princess, with her name in the title, and a powerful mother-daughter realtionship. That would be so cool and original. Don’t artists strive to be original? If you look at things from a female perspective, its such an easy path to a new kind of story.
I did not see Up, though I am sure I will on pay per view, and I will review it. It looked like wonderful animation (those baloons are mesmerizing), but again, obviously, a boy buddy movie (would they make a movie about an old lady and a fat girl going on an adventure together?) I loved Paul McCartney’s hilarious speech delivering the Golden Globe to Up. Of course, we all saw Yellow Submarne a million times in high school and college, and when he said, “Animation isn’t just for kids. It is also for adults who are on drugs,” I cracked up. McCartney did leave out another huge category of animation watchers—-stone sober moms with over active intellects, forced to watch hours of this stuff and then blog in order to retain said intellect.
Speaking of, a few people have asked me how I have time to blog when I have three young kids, other writing projects, non-profit work etc. I’m a writer– so blogging takes me about three minutes. For me, that’s like asking someone how they have time to work out or take a shower. I write very fast, as you can probably tell by the typos, but I am thinking about this stuff all the time, so when I get those three minutes, I just write it all down. I hope to add the bells and whisltles (photos, videos,more links etc) to the blog soon, or get my husband to do it. Or maybe wake up an hour earlier in the day. Right now, I often blog while I’m watching the movie with my kids that I’m writing about, or while I am alone with the baby; she’s snacking on puffs and I’m reading her aloud to her what I’m writing (early brainwashing or should I say programming?)