Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why I Like Barbie Movies

Over the years I have watched a lot of children's movies. Many movies (including new releases) are available at my local library. I am able to check it out, preview the movie at home, and add it to our collection if we like it. This is how I first saw a Barbie movie. I checked out Barbie in Swan Lake from the library.

Over the next few weeks, I checked out The Princess and The Pauper, Barbie in the Nutcracker, Barbie as Rapunzel, 12 Dancing Princesses, and Barbie as the Island Princess. These movies are now part of our collection.

I can't believe I'm going to say this (because I LOVE Disney), but I much prefer Grace to watch the Barbie movies over most Disney movies. With the exception of Belle (Beauty and the Beast) and Cinderella, many of the main characters in Disney movies are rebellious, disrespectful to their parents, and selfish. Ariel (The Little Mermaid) and Nemo are the worst. They are constantly telling their parents "No!", disobeying, and giving attitude. Nemo even proclaims at one point, "I hate you!" The crazy thing is at the end of these two movies, their dads actually apologize for being "wrong." Their dads were presented as being overprotective and overbearing. Nemo and Ariel never apologized for being disrespectful, dishonest, disobedient, etc.

The Barbie movies that I have seen have been wonderful. The Barbie character often has an evil guardian or authority figure. Despite being treated poorly, Barbie's character is always respectful, obedient, and kind. Another added bonus is the wonderful exposure to classical music, especially in Swan Lake and Nutcracker. Also, the dancers are professional ballet artists who are looks so real!

My favorite one is The Princess and The Pauper. This is a musical, and Kelly Sheridan does an excellent job of singing as Barbie's voice. It's not just for girls.....the little boy that I babysit LOVES it!

Another problem with some Disney movies is the prevalence of "Class B" bad words such as stupid, shut up, idiot, hell (Lightning McQueen in Cars), gosh, etc. I just don't like the way characters talk to each other, especially in the more modern Disney movies.

When I allow Grace to watch a movie, I usually let her pick what she wants to watch. If she picks a Disney movie, I often interject things like, "That wasn't nice." "She disobeyed her daddy." "He shouldn't say that word." "What would be the right thing for him to do?", etc. I'm trying to use it as a teaching tool while letting her enjoy the stories.

I don't mean to come down too hard on Disney, because it has truly been a wonderful source of entertainment and teaching for children. We enjoy Disney toys, dress-up, books, and puzzles. I just think parents should be mindful of what our children watch. If something is inappropriate, we should address it and not ignore it. Otherwise, our children will think it's OK to act like Ariel by talking back, arguing, etc. And, if you haven't already, check out the Barbie movies for clean and fun entertainment.

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