Thursday, August 23, 2012

we're living in a black and white world

The kid pointed out recently that almost every movie we see has something bad that happens, or a bad guy in it. I thought about it and I think she's right. Even The Parent Trap and Alvin and the Chipmunks have ersatz villains in them. Most Disney movies have evil witches or other creatures (Snow White — The Evil Queen, Sleeping Beauty  Maleficent, 101 Dalmatians  Cruella DeVille, The Little Mermaid  Ursula, The Lion King  Scar) in them. Even the Muppets have to put up with being kidnapped (The Muppet Movie), accused of theft (The Great Muppet Caper), fight pirates (Muppet Treasure Island), or someone trying to shut down their theater (The Muppets). I guess most children's stories need to have conflict or someone for a child to root for  or against. And of course there are so many more. Here are just a few of the best:

Margaret Hamilton as The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz
The Wicked Witch of the West (and Miss Gulch) in The Wizard of Oz
Voldemort and many others in the Harry Potter series
The Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Principal Ed Rooney in Ferris Buellers Day Off
Biff Tannen in Back To The Future
Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Darth Vader (and his minions) in Star Wars
The mean kids who gave The Karate Kid such a hard time (in both the Ralph Macchio and Jaden Smith versions)
The White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Captain Hook in Peter Pan
The Grand High Witch in The Witches

There are a few children's movies that come to mind with no bad guy:

Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro has some suspense, as little sister Mei goes missing temporarily when she goes to visit her mother in the hospital, but the entire spirit of the movie is loving and gentle.

Totoro and the gang hang out
Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo features a bratty kid in the doctor's office and some scary sea creatures, but no bad guy or girl  again, just suspense  will Nemo's dad and Dory be able to track him down?

Disney's Mary Poppins has an out-of touch father, but even he comes around at the end, as Mary Poppins' charm and magic is irresistible.

Kiki's Delivery Service, another wonderful Miyazaki film, features apprentice witch Kiki getting into lots of scrapes, but there are no villains to speak of.

Suzanne Pleshette with her canine friends
Disney's The Ugly Dachshund features some pretty naughty little dachshunds, but they're so adorable you don't mind.

That's all that I can think of at the moment. Not too many. Any other movies without a bad guy out there worth checking out?

Related: kiddie catharsis
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