Saturday, March 03, 2012

Hollywood and Kids' Movies!

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‘The Lorax’ Review: Eco-Hypocrisy Leavened By Whimsical Creatures
by Christian Toto
Conservatives can’t fly the “sucker punch” flag over “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.”
The new animated film is based on the eco-friendly 1971 tome from the children’s book author, a fable about an irascible creature who “speaks for the trees.”
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In Dr. Seuss’s capable hands, “The Lorax” spun a tale cushioned by his sense of restraint and verbal dexterity.
In Hollywood’s clumsier mitts, “The Lorax’s” message machine all but shouts its disdain for capitalism – just disregard those 3D glasses meant to squeeze every last nickel out of movie goers. Yet “The Lorax” charms all the same thanks to bold choices in the voice cast and a complicated story told with a deftness that defies the messages in play.
Young Ted (Zac Efron) wants to win the heart of the beguiling Audrey (Taylor Swift), a local girl with sun-kissed blonde locks. When he learns she’d do just about anything to see a real, live tree he decides to find a way – any way – to get her one.
If only it were that simple.
Ted and Audrey leave in Thneed-ville, a plastic wonderland without a single leaf. Ted’s quest to find a long lost Truffula tree, the swirly topped trees which once grew across the land, leads him to the edge of town. It’s there where he meets the mysterious Once-ler (Ed Helms), a creature who lives in a tall, rickety tower.
The Once-ler spins a tragic tale about a young capitalist who stuck it rich by creating a multi-purpose sweater, just like the one in Dr. Seuss’ original tale. But the greedy man soon learned what happens when you usurp the earth’s resources to make more, more, more.
The team behind “Despicable Me” – director Chris Renaud and screenwriters Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio – balance both the source material and the need to keep young viewers engaged. To do so, they navigate several story layers while playing up the cuddly nature of some singing fish and prancing bears. But it’s the Lorax himself who emerges as the most intriguing creation, in no small part thanks to Danny DeVito’s signature voice.
The Lorax would cause a commotion thanks to his bristly mustache alone. But DeVito makes his oddly urgent proclamations – “I speak for the trees” – the kind of battle cry modern tree huggers will call their own. He’s angry, not joyous, with an edge to his voice that would make him a fine candidate for an eco-terrorist academy.
The film’s creative team expand Dr. Seuss’ story by necessity, but the results are mixed at best. We get to know the Once-ler’s hillbilly family, a subplot which adds nothing but another stereotype to the mix. But the romance between Ted and Audrey is undeniably sweet, with the young voice actors giving the characters a cheeky sense of young love.
Parents who cried foul over the “evil” oil baron character in “The Muppets” will recoil in horror during “The Lorax.” The title character finds the cutting of a single tree to be an abomination, and the film rallies the woodland creatures to make it seem as if any fallen tree is a tragedy of epic proportions. And the film’s villain, a clean air tycoon voices by comedian Rob Riggle, is the epitome of how Hollywood sees corporations. Soulless. Heartless. Undeniably cruel.
The tycoon even spies on the citizens of Thneed-ville just to gain an edge on the competition – as if such a wicked company would even allow such a thing.
“Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” might have a message right-leaning audiences won’t want to hear, but the film’s sophisticated storytelling and buoyant musical numbers will make this eco-parable go down easily.
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Is Dr. Seuss' The Lorax a Nazi Propaganda?
By Roger Fredinburg
March 7, 2012
NewsWithViews.com
Political correctness combined with intellectually inferior parents will be the ruin of this nation.
Former Reagan administration Department of Education employee and author Charlotte Iserbyt describes in her book “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America” many plausible explanations as to how we ended up where we are as a fully dumbed down society in the 21st century. I highly recommend the book.
This sick cartoon movie “The Lorax” indoctrinates children into the far left eco-terror movement. It plays on their vulnerability and is actually raping the little undeveloped minds of our children. It is a form of child abuse to expose children to this masterfully designed brainwashing machine.
Today’s parents are too stupid, too ignorant and too lazy to reason out the potential damage that comes from exposing their children to these distorted facts.
Sadly, in today’s America, young parents are far more likely to be worried about how they will acquire the cash to pay for their next tattoo or piercing rather than worry about how they might protect their children from being mentally raped by the eco-fascists out there in Holly-Weird.
But this is not the first time we have seen children being intentionally brainwashed to further the political and social engineering goals of a particular agenda driven group.
Most famously, Adolph Hitler had his youth movement and trained young folks to accept lies as truth and to do the evil bidding of his genocidal killing machine. The “Hitler Youth” would turn against their own parents and loved ones in order to submit to their mind controllers and surrender to their programming.
But, to Hitler’s credit, he at least waited until they were teenagers before he began force feeding them mountains of Nazi propaganda and demanding their adherence to his bizarre philosophical psychobabble.
These Green Nazi’s of the information age are literally going after our children in the womb, they can’t even wait until they’re born and resting safely in their cribs.
Medical professionals are there with social workers to “evaluate” mom and dad, to determine if they are going to adhere to the demands of the political correctness movement long before the child is born. Mommy must answer boat-loads of questions about daddy, like does he drink, own a gun etc. and if mommy answers wrong, the “counselor’s” are called in to decide if their home is “safe” for the yet to be born child. There are many intrusions that start before baby is even born. It’s really SICK!
In today’s America, children are turning in their parents to teachers and social workers for crimes against political correctness. They are made to keep journals and reveal household private information in the 4th and 5th grades.
Mountains of expensive bureaucracy has been created to assist what I call the 4th Reich in gathering data and “evidence” on families that can later used to force parental compliance with declared but unofficial laws of political correctness.
Penalties and punishment are often meted out by the good folks who champion egregious policies that are simply made up by folks without proper authority at Children’s services or by government employees and phony Judges in the unconstitutional family court system.
It’s Party rule, left wing Democrat party policy masquerading as law. What a joke!
I used to believe that freedom loving Americans would grab up their pitch forks and axe handles, head down to the viper pit and clean house on the commies and socialists who have become the enemies within. But I now realize, nobody is coming, nobody has the balls.
The Lorax" enjoyed the third-highest opening for a movie released in March (behind "Alice in Wonderland" and "300") as well as the sixth-biggest opening for an animated feature. And in a tough economy, that’s a great showing, and it will grow.
This left wing eco-terrorist trash will end up in most American households either as a DVD, a game, a toy or as affiliated and licensed products, maybe even breakfast cereal.
The damage it causes will be real, detrimental and harmful to our fragile and deteriorating Republic. And few if any will see it coming, or do anything to expose or stop it. It is a dangerous part of the propaganda machine that is killing our nation.
I would ask folks to grab their pitch forks and head to town, but I would probably find very few people out there who even know what a pitch fork is… and that is sad.
Roger Fredinburg is a national radio figure. He conducted a daily 3 hour syndicated radio talk show heard in hundreds of cities from coast to coast. He was syndicated by Talk Radio Network along side Art Bell and held on to more that 150 radio stations from 1993 until he left Radio America in 2004. He now owns an ad agency; www.hohumproductions.com and offers audio and video blogging at www.regularguy.com
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Why Hollywood makes Creepy Kid Movies, and Why America Can't Look Away
By Sheila O'Malley
Jan. 25, 2012
Hollywood loves scary children. Of all of the frightening images in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, the most haunting is the Grady Twins, those two dead-eyed girls in identical blue dresses standing at the end of the hallway. The twins call out in unison to the boy on his bicycle, "Hello Danny. Come and play with us. Come and play with us, Danny. Forever ... and ever ... and ever." Jack Nicholson galumphing around with an axe is pretty scary, but he's got nothing on those creepy twins.
Creepy kids strike fear into our hearts, and make us shiver. A preternaturally mature and cunning child messes with our assumptions about the world in which we live and how it operates. This is true in real life as well, which is why Hollywood loves to toss out a creepy kid once a season, because it reflects something accurate. When kids do horrible things, the entire culture jumpstarts into jittering overdrive, wondering why. Is it Marilyn Manson? Too many video games? Were the parents neglectful? Or were the kids given too much? There is never just one answer, and that is the scariest thing about it, because it can't be predicted or prevented.
We Need to Talk About Kevin, which opens nationwide on Friday, features another creepy kid who does horrible things, and his evil seems to emerge from a clear blue sky. How did this happen? Was he born this way?
As it happens, We Need to Talk About Kevin, which stars Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly, is not a great film. But the fact that top-tier Hollywood keeps coming back to this theme, year after year, is testament to the power of the Creepy Kid genre, and what it has to say about our anxieties regarding the nature-versus-nurture argument, where evil comes from, and what to do when evil appears to emerge from nowhere.
In The Bad Seed (1956), Christine Penmark (played by Nancy Kelly) makes the following statement about Rhoda (Patty McCormack), her 9-year-old daughter: "There's a maturity about her that my husband and I find disturbing."
Patty McCormack (in one of the creepiest of Creepy Kid performances of all time) is a sweet-faced little blonde, with pigtails and a pinafore, roller-skating and skipping through the house. She knows the upstairs neighbor, an elderly lady who is quite taken with the child. Rhoda is always polite when grownups are around, but can be vicious and ruthless to those she perceives as foes. She has exquisite manners. When she wants to get her way, she cuddles up to her mother in an adorable and yet pitiful way. It works like a charm. And yet her mother can't quite shed the feeling that something is a bit "off" with her daughter.
There is a lot of literature out there about "bad" children, mini-psychopaths, and even more so now with the recent breakthroughs in genetic mapping and MRI-work on brain functionality. The new consensus, which is an idea as old as time itself, is that psychopaths are often not made, but born. It has been a common belief for about two centuries that a child's environment is the key factor in developing its character, although psychiatrists and neuroscientists are now arguing that this is often not the case. While coming from a good home impacts a child's chances of living an upstanding life, there have always been horrifying crimes committed by children of "good" families, which throw the whole belief system into chaos. The Columbine killers are the most notorious example, but the list is a long one.
Can badness erupt from nowhere? And if it can, where does that leave us?
The human race has been coming up with explanations for evil since the dawn of time. The devil fell from heaven, took up residence on earth, and has been making mischief ever since. Man has the capability for evil because Eve ate the apple. Cain slew Abel. That sin reminds us what we all are capable of.
John Steinbeck's East of Eden is a Biblical parable of the Cain and Abel story. There are the "bad" brothers (whose names start with C), and the good brothers (whose names start with A), and their fates seem to be sealed from birth. Cal, from the third generation, (played by James Dean in the movie of the same name) is the first one who tries to be "good," at least as good as his brother Aron. Cal was born of the union between a saintly man named Adam and a devilish woman named Cathy. After the birth of Cal, Cathy promptly abandoned the family and set up a bordello in a nearby town. When Steinbeck introduces us to Cathy as a small child, it is, along with Dostoevsky's Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, the most insightful portrait of a psychopath ever put on paper. Steinbeck doesn't mince words, and it is worth it to quote extensively:
I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents. Some you can see, misshapen and horrible, with huge heads or tiny bodies; some are born with no arms, no legs, some with three arms, some with tails or mouths in odd places. They are accidents and no one’s fault, as used to be thought. Once they were considered the visible punishment for concealed sins.
And just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or a malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produce a malformed soul?
Monsters are variations from the accepted normal to a greater or a less degree. As a child may be born without an arm, so one may be born without kindness or the potential of conscience. A man who loses his arms in an accident has a great struggle to adjust himself to the lack, but one born without arms suffers only from people who find him strange. Having never had arms, he cannot miss them. Sometimes when we are little we imagine how it would be to have wings, but there is no reason to suppose it is the same feeling birds have. No, to a monster the norm must seem monstrous, since everyone is normal to himself. To the inner monster it must be even more obscure, since he has no visible thing to compare with others. To a man born without conscience, a soul-stricken man must seem ridiculous. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.
It is my belief that Cathy Ames was born with the tendencies, or lack of them, which drove and forced her all of her life. Some balance wheel was misweighed, some gear out of ratio. She was not like other people, never was from birth. And just as a cripple may learn to utilize his lack so that he becomes more effective in a limited field than the uncrippled, so did Cathy, using her difference, make a painful and bewildering stir in her world.
There was a time when a girl like Cathy would have been called possessed by the devil. She would have been exorcised to cast out the evil spirit, and if after many trials that did not work, she would have been burned as a witch for the good of the community...
Even as a child she had some quality that made people look at her, then look away, then look back at her, troubled at something foreign. Something looked out of her eyes, and was never there when one looked again. She moved quietly and talked little, but she could enter no room without causing everyone to turn toward her...
Since Cathy was an only child her mother had no close contrast in the family. She thought all children were like her own. And since all parents are worriers she was convinced that all her friends had the same problems.
Cathy’s father was not so sure. He operated a small tannery in a town in Massachusetts, which made a comfortable, careful living if he worked very hard. Mr. Ames came in contact with other children away from his home and he felt that Cathy was not like other children. It was a matter more felt than known. He was uneasy about his daughter but he could not have said why.
It is one of the creepiest passages in all of literature. Many psychiatrists now agree with Steinbeck, and the studies of psychopaths have proliferated in recent years. Like being born colorblind or deaf, it appears that some people are born without a conscience, without the possibility of empathy. The word "psychopath" is out of favor now for the less scary "sociopath," or the more clinical "anti-social personality disorder." They are also sometimes referred to as "malignant narcissists." There are "unsuccessful psychopaths" who fill up the prisons of our nation, and the "successful psychopaths" who tend to flourish in business situations. You can see the problem even in discussing such issues, when the terminology can't even be agreed upon. And "evil"?
It's rare to hear such a word nowadays other than in a religious context, although Ph.D Barbara Oakley recently wrote a book about psychopaths and genetics called Evil Genes.
The Bad Seed faces these problems head-on. Rhoda's evil appears to have sprung from nowhere. Her parents are loving, although her father often has to be away due to his job. The nature-versus-nurture argument is a running theme of the film, and shows the Freudian obsession exploding in the United States in the 1950s. Everything has a root cause. But as the secrets of Rhoda's lineage are revealed, what Rhoda's mother sensed all along becomes a horrifying reality: Rhoda is a bad seed.
Parents of these strange children often find themselves under suspicion, and it is not difficult to see why. A parent who warns a teacher that his or her child is not to be trusted, or that the child is a compulsive liar, must be hiding something. Psychopathic personalities are notorious for resisting treatment (there is no cure) and also for fooling psychiatrists and guidance counselors and social workers. Even a world-famous psychopathy expert like Robert Hare has often found himself conned by a particularly charming psychopath (charm is one of the defining characteristics), and he describes some of those chilling encounters in his book Without Conscience.
Talking about adults is one thing. But labeling a child as a "psychopath" is, of course, an iffy proposition. One must tread carefully. The Creepy Kid movies often deal with the helplessness parents feel when confronted by a child who is so completely unchildlike as to seem almost supernatural. How do you confide in friends and family that you think your child is actually possessed by Satan?
The Omen, from 1976, features a child who, Lord have mercy, actually turns out to be the Antichrist. Harvey Stephens, as Damien the child (thereby assuring that the name "Damien" would forever be associated with Beelzebub), is an unsmiling, preternaturally calm little sociopath, and his parents try to love him, although Damien is not lovable. His nannies dangle from their necks out of windows, after all. But he doesn't seem to need love. Love is an irritation to him. His parents wonder if something is wrong with them. His fate was certainly sealed at his birth (and so, too, is Rosemary's poor "baby" in Polanski's classic film), and Damien views everyone who gets in his way (even his parents) as obstacles to be destroyed. Damien is a small, fragile boy, and we naturally feel protective of small creatures. It is part of our genetic makeup to protect those who are weak. Damien destabilizes the universe because by the end of the film we want him destroyed within an inch of his life.
Jacob Kogan plays "Joshua" in 2007's Joshua, the story of the prodigy child of two upper-middle-class Upper West Side parents (Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga). He, too, is an unsmiling robot of a boy who is unable to feel love. He cannot receive it, and cannot give it. His parents are proud of his prowess at the piano, but they wonder if something might be a little too, well, serious, about their son. When they have a second child, Joshua begins to wreak his silent revenge.
Joshua is terrifying but not just because there is a creepy kid in it. It is terrifying because it is a blazingly accurate indictment of the kind of well-heeled, status-conscious (but also self-conscious) urban parents portrayed by Rockwell and Farmiga. They make fun of their neighbors to each other, trying to reassure themselves that they aren't like "those people." They still have their souls. But it's a soulless world portrayed in Joshua, and throughout the film, even with all of his horrible actions, you can't help but think that Joshua may have a point.
In The Exorcist, a good child goes bad when Satan possesses her spirit and makes her vomit her pea soup and shout expletives. Linda Blair was 13 years old when she played Regan in The Exorcist, and while much of the horror came from the makeup she wore, her performance was so searing she was nominated for an Academy Award. The tragedy of The Exorcist is that Regan had memories of being "good," and was no longer able to find her way back to innocence, to herself. Unlike little Rhoda in The Bad Seed, who was born that way and so saw nothing wrong with her behavior, Regan is aware she is paying a price. Regan has respites when the Devil recedes, and she remembers who she used to be. It is a harrowing performance and still a nearly unwatchably scary film.
The British horror film Village of the Damned from 1960 features an entire tribe of glowing-eyed children, all born in the same year, all with blonde hair and unnatural maturity. Because children are, well, children, they are given the benefit of the doubt, even when the horror-movie tropes scream at all of the other characters that something isn't right here. Children are cute, they are small, they are presumed to be innocent and guileless. The wonderful George Sanders plays father to one of the children, and although he immediately realizes that something is up with this brood of children, he counsels caution and patience to the other nervous villagers. Like Joshua, and like so many other horror movies, Village of the Damned also reveals the anxieties of the culture from which it emerges. The children reveal the dark underbelly of middle-class aspirations and domestic bliss. They point a finger toward things no one wants to admit.
2009's Orphan, starring one of the creepiest children in recent memory (Isabelle Fuhrman as Esther, the adopted orphan), seems to posit that when you adopt, you honestly don't know what you are getting. So explosive is that issue that the DVD of the film starts with a disclaimer stating that in no way is the film meant to criticize adoption, and also a P.S.A. about how wonderful it is to adopt a needy child. Esther is from Russia, and speaks with a slight accent. She is an accomplished artist, although her drawings are disturbing. She is perfectly behaved, and dresses in colorful frocks and patent leather shoes, completely out of sync with her more casually dressed American schoolmates. She has serious black eyes and knows how to win over adults, although you can see the uneasy look on the nun's face at the orphanage when Esther first interacts with her new parents (Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga, in her second Parent of Creepy Kid role in two years). It's a quick glance from the nun, but it is eloquent.
Once ensconced in her new family, Esther befriends the youngest daughter (who is deaf), quickly dominating her and making her into a fearful ally. Esther stays far away from the older brother, who seems to know that something is not quite right with his new sister. Esther pits the parents against one another, and her machinations are subtle and cloaked with plausible deniability. The mother thinks something is wrong. The father says she is overreacting. Rifts begin to open up. Esther comes from a mysterious background, similar to Rhoda in The Bad Seed, and the film is truly disturbing in its presentation of adoption as a crap-shoot. Esther brings destruction to her new home; once her true nature is revealed it is too late to stop her.
I haven't even mentioned the horrifying Toshio in The Grudge, or Samara in The Ring, or little Drew Barrymore starting fires with her mind in Firestarter. There are many more.
In Hollywood, teenagers are expected to go on murderous killing sprees. It is a rite of passage. And adults, well, we all know adults are capable of just about anything. But evil children push the envelope.
It's not hard to understand why the theme is so attractive, even though it's also so repulsive. Children are supposed to be innocent. Adults deserve what they get, if they are bad, but children should always be exempt. Our entire moral understanding depends on everybody agreeing upon this. Audiences project onto children their own feelings of protectiveness, and depicting a child in distress is one of the most effective ways of engaging an audience in any story.
But what about children who are not innocent or good? What about children who don't seem like children at all? Such strange creatures act as deeply destabilizing influences. A calm and chilly-eyed child is scarier than a monster in the forest. Those dead-eyed twins in blue dresses still call to us from down that long hallway.
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4 Bad Lessons 'Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer' Teaches Kids
By: Jeff Bennion
December 19, 2010
Christmas movies are supposed to be heartwarming parables that entertain us while simultaneously teaching us the invaluable tenet of selflessness. Christmas is not about presents, the Grinch teaches us, it's about being together. Christmas is not a time for selfishness, A Christmas Carol teaches us, it is a time to set right past wrongs. Christmas is not meaningless, A Charlie Brown Christmas teaches us, it is a day to reflect on the life of Jesus and be thankful we were not born hydrocephalic. But one Christmas movie doesn't want to teach you kindness or charity, or any of that crap; it only wants to teach you spite and how to commit hate crimes. It's called Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and here's what it wants you to learn:
Lesson #4.
Santa Claus Does Exist, and He is Sick of Your Crap.
All of Santa's little elves spend the whole year working, building toys for good little boys and girls. But spot-welding dirt-bikes for needy redneck children does not leave a lot of free time for the elves, so you can imagine they cherish what little they do get. And how do they spend this priceless free time? Why, penning a lovely ode to their kindly master, Santa Claus, of course! They toil away composing and practicing, and when they're all finished, they ask Santa if he'd like to come listen to a song they wrote for him. To which he replies that he's "busy, so they better make it quick."
O...kay.
Santa's probably just stressed. We all get stressed around the holidays. He gets a pass on that out of character rudeness. But something's still amiss here: All during the song, the conductor elf keeps turning around and shooting apprehensive looks at Santa, like he's expecting to feel the sting of a whip at any moment. It's easy to see why: All throughout the performance, Santa grows increasingly moody and unhappy, slumping in his chair and glowering at the singers.
"Yeah, great. Call me when you've learned Freebird."
After they've finished their heartfelt ode, the elves turn to Santa and ask hopefully: "How did you like it?" To which he brusquely responds, "Well, it needs work. I have to go,' then storms out and slams the door. That's like giving your dad a drawing to put up on the fridge, only to have him criticize your sense of perspective and ability to use color to evoke emotion.
But it turns out that was Santa's version of "polite." He doesn't actually think the song needs work, nor does he think it's the thought that counts. No, he actively and passionately hates the damn thing. When he hears the elves singing it again later - like some sort of pixie spiritual to dull the pain as they slave away on his production line - Santa has the following exchange with his wife:
And that's like giving your dad a drawing to put on the fridge, only to have him crumple it up, throw it in the trash can, then urinate in the trash while forbidding you to ever draw under his god damn roof again.
Lesson #3.
Being Different Does Not Make You Special
In the movie, we learn that Rudolph's father is tragically ashamed of his own son. This is mainly because Santa has emotional problems and had previously informed him that a birth defect like Rudolph's nose would preclude the boy from ever being on his sleigh team - the sleigh team apparently being the Reindeer equivalent of JV football. Out of desperation, Rudolph's dad tries to cover up the defect.
The father grows more and more frustrated as the attempts to hide his son's nose fail, until finally Rudolph tells him that he doesn't want to cover his nose at all -- the defect doesn't bother him, you see, he's comfortable with who he is. And besides, the nose cover is painful and uncomfortable. Instead of learning a heartwarming lesson about respecting his boy's individuality, Rudolph's father grabs him and tells him coldly that "there are more important things than comfort - Self Respect." Then shoves the shame-cover back on his child's face.
The implication being that, if anything, it is Rudolph who's letting the family down by failing to feel the appropriate amount of shame at his own handicap. That's right: The reindeers in Santa's workshop follow the same brutal, emotionless code of conduct as the Spartans from 300. Rudolph should probably count himself lucky they didn't just leave him out for the wolves.
Lesson #2.
Everybody Hates a Freak
Later, all of the younger reindeer are taking flying lessons, when surprise! It turns out that Rudolph is the best among them. When he lands, he is so joyful and proud that he playfully locks horns with his friend. Then, to his horror, his nose cover falls off. The kids begin making fun of him -- being children raised in an atmosphere of hate and intolerance and all. At this point in a normal movie, we might expect whatever adult authority figure is around to step in and give Rudolph a speech about believing in himself. Hey, sure enough, here comes the flying coach to take a look at all the ruckus. Upon seeing Rudolph, this is what he says:
He straight up screams in horror at Rudolph's horrible deformity, then ushers the other children away from him as quickly as possible. He then informs Rudolph that he is now forbidden from ever interacting with his former friends -- or indeed, any member of his species -- ever again.
At this point you might be thinking "so what? They're setting the coach up as the bad guy. Rudolph will show him up later." And you'd be wrong again. Every single adult reacts the same way, even Santa Claus:
See that? That's Santa Claus, the personification of Christmas, screaming at Rudolph's father, in front of everyone, telling him he should be ashamed of himself for birthing such an abomination.
If you're thinking this all sounds a lot like the setup for a metaphor condemning racism and segregation, well, you could be forgiven for that. The movie spends all this time exploring the complete revulsion, fear and hatred of the different, but it completely forgets to condemn it. Even though Rudolph eventually finds a place in society, none of the characters torturing him learn a damn thing. So the ultimate lesson on display here isn't "we're all the same, underneath, and some special people will understand that," as much as it is "everyone on Earth, up to and including your own parents, your teachers, and the personification of charity himself, just can't stand your fugly ass, so you should probably just die.
Is there some pre-existing superstition in Reindeer society that a red nose is the mark of the devil? Nope, it's not just Rudolph being condemned for his differences. In the same movie, we see the story of one elf who doesn't buy into the twisted elven Caste system. He doesn't want to build toys; he wants to be free. And his family, friends, co-workers and other elves despise him for it. So what does he want to do that's so despicable? Midget wrestling? Porn star? Nope: His dream is to be a dentist. This is what thinking for yourself earns you up at the North Pole.
"You sit back and reflect on how much we all hate you!"
"Why won't you just kill yourself? What is it gonna take?!"
Lesson #1.
There is no moral to the story.
And then comes the ending, and we all know what happens: Complete vindication. Rudolph's nose lights Santa's sleigh, everybody comes to accept him, he saves Christmas, and all is right. But pay attention to how it happens: They don't come to Rudolph, hat in hand, and realize that if only they'd accepted him earlier, they would never have been in this situation. They come to him reluctantly, like they're doing him a favor by being there, and only because they need a freak to help pull Santa's slave palanquin through the fog. Nobody's sorry for they treated him, or repentant for their harsh words, or even particularly respectful when they come to Rudolph:
"Someone get this mutant out of my face. I'm trying to make an announcement."
That's the happy ending: They finally found a use for him. There's your lesson, kids: Don't be born a freak, and if you are, try to make yourself useful anyway; maybe it will stop the beatings, or at least lessen their severity (probably not, though).
Merry Christmas!
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Also See:
The Message in Animated Movies!
07 October 2010
and
Hitler - He alone, who owns the youth, gains the Future!
10 October 2010
The Commercialization of Children!
14 December 2011
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