Tuesday, October 28

Dragons are awesome

We plopped ourselves and our kid in front of Pete's Dragon the other night. I think the last time I saw that movie in its entirety was when I was 12 or 13 years old. There's a certain weirdness to watching a movie that you loved as a kid, as a grown-up parent. That weirdness can only be explained by a dawning horrified understanding of what characters say and do with an adult perspective.
As an example: The Gogans. These horrible people have adopted Pete, and he's escaped their home. The beginning of the movie shows Pete hiding from them, and the family singing a song about all the abuses they are eager to inflict on Pete. They want to beat him, starve him, chain him, and drown him, among other things. These people are horrifying. As an adult, hearing about these plans, and how they are sung, in a Disney movie was ... disconcerting. Add to that the uncomfortableness of having your own child sitting next to you listening to the same thing, though without the grown-up understanding of it.
What horrible aspect of the movie did Sydney ask me about later? Physical punishment in school. "So, when the teacher told him to hold his hands out for the ruler, did she hit him with it?" In the movie, yes. In fact, back then, teachers did have the authority to punish children physically if they believed it was warranted. She was blown away. "What kinds of things?" Oh, anything, really. Speaking out in class, hitting or hurting other students, acting inappropriately. "Would I ever get spanked in school?" Um, no. Mom won't let anyone put hands on you.
On the positive side, I did find Doc Terminus funnier than I ever have before, and I was charmed by Mickey Rooney as Lampie.

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