Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Three-year-olds are not old enough to watch the opening of Tarzan. If you're thinking that I should have known this, you'd be wrong. I've never seen Tarzan. It came out the year I graduated from high school which wasn't exactly the height of my Disney movie watching years. Then there was the little matter of what can only be known as The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse Massacre. When Disneyland gutted the Robinson's house and made it the Tarzan Treehouse, well, I had no respect for the film. It was guilty by association.

When Troy and I were newly married, my aunt and uncle bestowed dozens of children's movies upon us for any future Doozleberry's. We've been working our way through them with The Rock Star.

Last night we were one minute and fifty seconds into the movie when an adorable little baby gorilla found himself on the losing end of a battle with a leopard. They dove into the bushes to avoid cartoon carnage but I could tell by the way the mother gorilla was mourning that Pee Wee Gorilla was no more. I thought my barely three-year-old might not pick up on it.

But he was watching the leopard chase the baby with a great deal of interest and, when he jumped into the bush and the leopard closely followed, all Hades broke out on my couch.

G: Oh no, mommmmmmmy! He ATE him!
Me: Oh did he? (You try thinking up something clever while simultaneously realizing that your son's idea of how the world works has just been shattered.)
G: Yeeeeesssss! Ohwahahwhashahahahahsfsjfksfhwuhhwuerhwhasaaahhhhh! OOhhhhhhhhh. No. Wahahahahahahahhahahahahahaha. AAAAHHHHHHHH!

He yelled the above line while sobbing his sweet, innocent little head off. I had been on the floor with Little Buddy and I flew to my older son's side. He buried his wet face onto my chest. I tried explaining that the Mama Gorilla would get a new baby. I decided not to explain the bloody paw prints in Tarzan's treehouse. I said the gorilla was just playing in the bushes. With the leopard. Why? Because I am not above lying fibbing stretching the truth to stop the sorrow pouring from my baby's eyes.

He stopped.

"Then where is he?"

"Oh. Um. Right there." Because by then the song had ended and another baby appeared. It was, you know, a completely different color than the first but that didn't seem to phase The Rock Star.

"Are you sure that's the same baby?"

"Pretty sure." Or not. Not at all the same. That first baby gorilla is nothing but bones lying in a heap under a bush. Luckily someone called and Troy relayed the story in time for him to explain that another bad scene was coming. We told Garrett it was over.

What is wrong with Disney? Seriously. Dead mothers strewn about. Gorilla bodies everywhere. Intact families no where to be seen. Evil Siamese cats. Is there no end to the madness?


  1. I cant think of a single Disney movie with a complete family. There's always at least a missing mom or dad. Sad :(

  2. Ok, first, I laughed hysterically at the story.

    But second... You are totally right. It is VERY sad. And disturbing.

    Makes me think that Danilo will only get to watch Disney movies made before Little Mermaid. And Little Mermaid will not be one of the ones seen! :(

  3. I think I just added leopards to my menu along with roosters. I love branching out. Tell the rockstar that Jer is hungery!

  4. Wow, watching that movie clip through the eyes of a child was actually really disturbing... starting with the very opening scene with the burning, sinking ship, and quickly followed by the baby gorilla and then human parents getting killed. Yikes! I'm glad you quickly came up with a story to avoid traumatizing Garrett too much. (Besides, I don't think it's lying when it's about something that's a make-believe story to begin with. It's all about using one's imagination, after all!) Speaking of traumatizing Disney movies... Bambi was always one of the very hardest ones for me, especially when I was kid. Maybe it's best to just fast-forward them to the happy endings! :)

  5. It's easy to think animated=kid friendly, but it just isn't so. I agree that Disney families are not the poster child for what a home should be. This just reinforces the need to not plop your kids in front of the TV or a movie and leave them to digest what they see all on their own. J

  6. Stay away from Hercules. We went to the theater to see that one and Jess kept her face buried in my chest almost the whole movie. At the end she said she didn't like that movie. We have never watched it again.

  7. mary poppins has a complete family, though a rather dysfunctional one.

  8. I can recall a ver similar situation with Ana...Lion King. I forgot Simba's Dad gets killed by his uncle. As the scene was coming I was thinking, well she might not get it. I under estimated her by a long shot. When Moofasa fell she just burried her little face in my arm and silently started weeping. I felt like such a horrible mom. What was I thinking? I agree...Disney should rerate some of their videos. The Disney Pixar shows are much better for preschoolers.

  9. Me and my co-workers were talking about this actually, how few movies there are that Disney has made that have even an entire family. I think it's along the lines of how much profit they'd make if their movies were *too* perfect for normal kids to relate to, but they stick in so many other objectionable things (I'm now as an adult picking up on these, that I didn't necessarily notice when I was younger) that it makes you shake your head in wonder at the "family friendly" name they have and portray. Be careful if you watch Pinochio! They have a word(for a donkey) that is now considered bad in it several times. The kids at my work were watching it and, we were not too thrilled that they had it repeatedly in there!

  10. I grew up watching Disney movies and although there are sad parts to some of them and not all of the families are "perfect" (I know of many "imperfect" families that are more nurturing for the children than many "perfect" families) I was never traumatized by any of them. I don't think that movies traumatize children if the parents are there to discuss the sad/traumatic event and I do think that children grow up better when parents can discuss tough things in life with them. Death is a sad but real part of life. Maybe it's too early to introduce the concept to a 3 year old and maybe Disney should switch their age ratings to inform parents that these movies are better to be watched by slightly older children, but I think that these movies do provide real teaching opportunities about difficulties that some people (or animals) have to endure. As a child I didn't like Bambi because I didn't like the forest fire scene, but I think it helped to influence my strong compassion towards wildlife and it isn't a bad message for kids to understand that humans impact wildlife. An early understanding that life sometimes hands us lemons is good because it gives the child more time to learn to seek out the positive so that someday, when the lemons are handed to them, they'll be prepared to make lemonade. That's what Disney movies are really about, characters who overcome strife to do something great. That's a message I want my kids to learn.

  11. 1. Word on the Swiss Family Treehouse. Disneyland is a pathetic ghost of what it used to be. On a happy note, Disney World has the Swiss Family Treehouse. I go through it every time we go.

    2. 101 Dalmations has two complete families: the dog family has a mom and dad and the human family that owns them.

    3. The reason for having incomplete families in ANY film has to do with the way modern movies (and TV shows) are made, more than it has to do with making a statement about families.
    Modern movies are streamlined in every way imaginable. Every character has to have a specific purpose, every event meaning. You can't show a mom and a dad, when for instance the dad has no role in furthering the plot. They used to do it in older films though. Look at Disney's "The Parent Trap." In the Haley Mills version, Susan has a grandmother and a grandfather. In the Lindsay Lohan version, grandma has disappeared and only grandpa remains because he has a specific role to play in the storyline.

  12. Don't get me wrong, Hollywood is guilty of a lot of things, especially when it comes to corrupting society.

    But in this instance it has more to do with being guilty of catering to the MTV generation, which does not have the patience that our grandparents had when watching a movie.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. laughing hysterically (sp?) you are too funny!!! poor little rock star.

  15. Well, I can't really comment on that particular scene from Tarzan, because I've never watched that one before (I prefer Disney-Pixar movies :D).
    Judging from the way you described the scene, yes, it is pretty disturbing for a child to watch. But this is why it is important to be there when the kids are watching. We have to explain that not everything they see on movies or TV is right/good.