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Posts tagged ‘movies’

Mulan

My childhood was largely centered around Disney movies. My parents loved (the majority) of these films because they felt Disney often had a moral or teaching hidden within the story line. I loved them because my parents allowed my sisters and I to watch them religiously. When I was young, I would go through phases where I just watched a movie on repeat; Mulan was one of these.

The movie Mulan is centered around Fa Mulan, a young women and only child of the Fa Family, who has failed to fulfill the traditional Chinese duty of becoming a desirable bride. However, when the Huns begin to invade, the empire calls one man from every family to arms. Because the only male in the Fa Family is Mulan’s father, who is elderly and cannot walk properly, Mulan disguises herself and takes her father’s spot in battle against the Huns, sacrificing her life if she is to be caught. Mulan was produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released on June 19, 1998, by Walt Disney Pictures. The film grossed over $304 million and received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations.

Mulan is an interesting character because, unlike other Disney princesses, her actions are centered around bettering her family to where other Disney princesses focus their actions around winning over their Prince Charming. This relates to our multiple class discussions on gender roles. Often, the women (especially princesses) in Disney movies focus around winning over a guy by whatever means necessary. For example, Ariel in The Little Mermaid sacrifices her voice. However, many Disney movies centered around men do not focus on the male making major sacrifices for love. Therefore, Mulan is a special and unique Disney character because she sacrificed her life in order to save her family rather than to fulfill her own selfish desires of finding love.


Official Mulan Trailer, youtube.com

 

 

Star Wars

This past weekend I was able to relive a part of my childhood.  My brother and I were able to get tickets to go watch the re-release of Star Wars Episode I.  I must say that I was extremely excited to go watch the movie, but when I got there I realized that I was now the “old geeky guy” as I was surrounded by children and teenagers.  As I sat next to my older brother in the theater awaiting to watch Star Wars, I could not help but feel old.  My brother and I were reminiscing about the first time that we saw this movie and then we realized that it was almost fifteen years ago.  Back then my brother was sporting the typical 90′s gelled up hair and I was still watching Power Rangers.  I felt old when I realized this, I can’t imagine how  he felt now that he is almost 30.  Nevertheless, the movie was awesome and I was glad that my brother and I were able to relive our glory days once again.  On the ride back home, he and I were talking about how much publicity the movie had made, both good and bad.   Personally, when I first heard that they were going to re-release all of the movies I was ecstatic.  But of course there are those hardcore fans who were outraged when the movie came out the first time, I not being among them.  But that is the beauty about Star Wars, you will always have people fighting over which movie is the best, that George Lucas destroyed the originals, who Shot first, etc.  But no matter what side they choose, light or dark, every fan will still go watch the movies.

Parents in Films and Parents at Home

According to the article Parents Under Pressure in Films (Rebecca Keegan, Los Angeles Times, Jan. 2012), “parenting – specifically parental guilt and anxiety – is the subtext of a surprisingly large number of the year-end and awards-season movies”. Parents have always been a subject of interest for filmmakers, and the resulting movies have always spoken of the time in which they were created. The “hyper-self-critical, stressed-out parents” of today’s movies reflect a “culture of self-conscious child-rearing”. This is, of course, because of a societal shift in ideas of parenting. Back in the day, parents based their techniques on their own upbringing and on instincts. Today people think, analyze, and worry much more about parenting. In today’s movies, often mothers are out of the picture and fathers are portrayed as inadequate. In one such movie, 2011’s  “The Descendants”, a father has to deal with his problematic daughters while his wife is in a coma. Kaui Hart Hemmings, author of the novel “The Descendants” says of parenting,

“My grandfather would come home and have his martini hour and engage with his kids, but then he clocked out as a parent. You don’t do that anymore. I joined this mothers group, and it was just sort of this absurd culture to me. I was overwhelmed by parenting…. The focus on having the right things and what are they eating … lactation consultants, crib consultants, I swear to God there are curtain consultants. Parenting has become this whole other culture.”

Other recent movies speaking of failed parenting or parent/child relationships include “We Bought A Zoo”, “Carnage”, and “We Need To Talk About Kevin”. The main emotion that can be gleaned from these movies is guilt over parenting and how it should (or should not) be done.

This article connects to the “Anxious Parents” reading (Peter Stearns) in the course reader in that both talk about the shifting views on and anxiety around parenting. Stearns writes that the 20th century was “a century of anxiety about the child and about parents’ own adequacy”, a phenomenon which is clearly reflected in these recent films (2). Stearns also writes that children were seen as more vulnerable, fragile, and in need of protection (3).  Parents feel that they have little control over who and what influences their children, and often believe that children will act out the images they like or are influenced by, which generates more concern about parenting (10).  Also, issues such as new technology/consumer products, fears of diseases, and changes in family structure have caused parents to feel guilty about the environment in which they are raising children (3). Parents feel a huge sense of responsibility, and thus have anxieties about how they should treat their children.

These movies play to parents’ fears of bad parenting, but simultaneously alleviate guilt by showing that other parents are also not perfect.

(Below, Trailer for “The Descendants”, 2011)