You may be asked these questions after watching “The Lion King”

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Its never a bad idea to talk about the good, bad and evil sides of plot, characters and purpose of the movie you just watched with your kids.

Disney is rehashing, rebooting, resurrecting and recreating its all time loved movies with amazing hyperrealism, though which makes everything more intense. Especially the claw- and teeth-filled fight scenes can give goosebumps to bravest of  hearts . It is far too real looking,  the hyena circle, when Mufasa falls to death, they are much more menacing than in the original version.

Yet, I find it chockfull of good lessons and lots of talking points.  

It teaches great lessons about life, death, betrayal, friendship, fear, leadership and forgiving yourself.

There were few instances where I was uncomfortable like how to answer death and death by one’s brother, this bit was a little tricky. Not all teachable moments are enjoyable when you are answering to a naïve impressionable mind. But its better to clear your throat than muffle his/her innocent questions or park grim facts of life to be discussed later.

Here are few questions that I was shelled with after watching the Lion King, by my 6 years old, you might encounter or have encountered already. Here are the answers my little unsure always anxious mommy brain could unscramble.

Why did Scar kill Mufasa , he was his brother?

Not everyone is same. We have good people and bad people. Its sad when the bad people are our own people. At times we have to be kind with them and understand them. We should take stand and stick to the good we do. We should strive to be better each day and love our brothers and sisters. What Scar did was wrong. Together they could have been happier. It is wisdom to love each other.

Why Mufasa died?

( I really hate Disney for killing parents at starting of their stories and they leave parents jostling alone to answer scary questions)

Well , you see every creature’s life eventually comes  to end. Its sad that Mufasa was killed by his own brother. If he was not killed he could have lived a beautiful life with his son but then someday he would have to go. Like sun sets in evening, like flowers wither away, so does every creature. All go back to God from where they came. Bad things can happen but what is important is to always remember the good things parents tell.

Why Simba was so scared?

Its ok to be scared and feel bad about the things that happen. Its ok to cry. What is not ok is to keep crying. Its ok to feel fear but what is not ok is to run away and not even try things . We feel scared of our own shadow till we find out what actually causes a shadow. When we understand our fears and face them we become brave. We can always be better and braver than we think of ourselves.

 And yes the most important of all to talk about is – what is Hakuna Matata!”, that’s Swahili for “No worries for the rest of your days!”

Simba believed it was his fault that Mufasa was killed. Its important to come close to one’s feeling than to run away from them. Being happy, sad, angry, anxious, scared are natural feelings and natural reactions to the happenings outside. We should not hold them back to punish ourselves or others. There is no shame in being vulnerable. Feelings don’t define or reflect one’s character or strength.

“Don’t worry, be happy” is a good pursuit to get over but its should not deter and distract from holding on to the higher calling and purpose in life.

Hakuna Matata!

Ain’t no passing craze

It means no worries

For the rest of your days

It’s our problem-free philosophy

Hakuna Matata!

 

Talking Points for Moms after Watching Smurfs – The lost village

This movie may prove to be a stopover for moms looking for a movie without any concealed negative messages.

Here are three pieces of cautionary advice before we move ahead and deliberate over what are the good points of the movie that can be discussed over the dining table or at bed time with your little ones.

Not for you if you are:-

  • A father and husband with anti-feminist opinions
  • Overthinkers
  • Either of the above two categories

Smurfs – the lost village is a giant leap in providing the due share to ‘yin’ in animated movies. However, earlier Smurfs have been scoring poorly on that account as there was one female character among five blue-dyed protagonists. Smurfette (the ‘she’ character) was brought into the all-male Smurf world to create chaos by goofy loony villain Gargamel. Indian soaps are not to be blamed alone for establishing women character as ‘chaos causing’. I had warned you earlier it is not for overthinkers.

Smurfette had a heart transformation. She turned from evil to good and instead of becoming an enemy, became an ally to Smurfs much to the dismay of Gargamel. Her heart changed and so did her hair from dark brown to blonde. Hey! Has this something to do with creating color biases like dark is evil, light is good. Am I overthinking?

In ‘Lost village’, Smurfette is on a mission. She muscles girl-power with grit and gumption. The story is about courage, team work and self-discovery. It also emphasizes on ‘he can do’ so ‘she can do’. We have been talking about ‘Beauty and the Beast’ having a feminist undertone. If ‘Beauty and the Beast’ can be defined as crooning of feminist songs then this movie of Smurfs and Smurfette belts out that song. Moms with daughters will enjoy this movie because of a strong ‘she- character’ who is curious, fearless and who is on a mission to find her identity.

Anyways let’s come down to the point. The talking points that moms can take up with kids after watching Smurfs – the lost village can be:

  1. What is so ‘unique’ about you?  

Welcome to the small world of Smurfs, full of slapsticks. There is a unique quality in each of them and so they are named after that unique attribute like

Hefty Smurf: He is strong and can do any work that requires physical strength.

Brainy Smurf: His name explains it all. He is an expert on every subject. He also has compiled volumes of books entitled “Quotations from Brainy Smurf”.

Sometimes children do get into the comparison mode and think what the other has is better or best. They lose sight of their own uniqueness.

Remember the story of the turtle “Jojo’ who was unhappy and wanted to be someone else. He takes the form of other animals to realize at the end that he is unique and learns to be happy with what he is.

This movie can be a good talking point on how everyone is unique. Its uniqueness of each individual that completes the world. Smurfette is feeling different and unworthy so she sets out to find her unique identity. Tell your little about his unique gift like ‘hey dear, you are good at playing cricket.’

 

  1. Courage: Smurfette and her team goes into the ‘forbidden forest’. They exhibit courage in following the mysterious map. In everyday life, we are faced with challenges and we have two choices every day, one to avoid that and cringe back. Second, is to face them and tame our fears. The movie explicitly shows how to face the challenges.
  2. Teamwork: It was team work of Brainy, Clumsy, Hefty and Smurfette that made the mission possible and they were able to outpace and outwit the rotten-teeth Gargamel. And yes, only evils have rotten teeth. That’s why mama tells you to brush twice daily.
  3. Gender roles: If your preschooler son has this notion that guns are for boys and dolls are for girls, make sure you take him to this movie.thQ3O2LG8W

 

What Moms Should Know Before Watching Beauty and the Beast with Their Kids

I personally think that Bill Condon has made the live action remake of Beauty and the Beast for millennials who were read this story to as children by their baby boomer parents; people who spent a considerable amount of life encountering real life beasts as they passed their engineering exams to land themselves that decent IT job. Jokes apart, if the remake of Jungle Book has set your expectations high and you are taking your kids under 16 to the movie, then it’s very important to know a few things before you buy them caramel popcorn at the theatre. For example, if you have not yet heard this news then let me take this privilege to tell you that Russia banned Beauty and the Beast for children under 16 because they have a federal law against ‘gay propaganda’ among minors. Does such a thing even exist? Well, the answer is yes, but if you blink your eyes more than how much you usually do while watching the movie, you are likely to miss it.

The beast has lots of hidden beauty and that is the underlying message of the movie. However, this moral lesson reaches after you are through with some flicks of violence such as snarling pack of wolves, mothers dying of plague, man thrown down to death and the beast lurching from one pillar to another with arrows in his back. The appearance of the bad boy Gaston cursed to become a leonine fellow can be a little too much for kids especially for those who have known Gaston as a ladybird in Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom.

Much to add to the amusement, house items beautifully brought to life by the touch of technology – Mrs. Potts the teapot, Lumiere the candelabra and Cogsworth the clock. You will get to overhear Candelabra and feather duster talking of love flirting with and kissing each other.

In Hollywood and Bollywood movies alike, we have many storylines where the heroine falls in love with a ‘bad guy’ and her search for beauty in him trail blazes till the climax. Movies like GreaseReality Bites, and She’s All have this message. The underlying notion is that beauty is hidden in everyone – even the bad guys, and it yields to the care and bonding shown by the heroine. I have no particular issue with this theme except that it smells more of Stockholm syndrome as explained by psychiatrist Frank Ochberg who described the phenomenon of hostages developing feelings of love for their captors. Well, the latest beauty aka Belle is said to have been empowered but the end result of the story remains untouched, unchanged.

Belle is a motherless child. I wonder why all Disney heroines have one or both parents missing. It’s said most probably because Walt Disney himself was struck with this misfortune in childhood but does this justify his case to be killing – I mean absenting Disney characters’ parents?

There is subtle humor and profanity which is ‘okay’ for grownups but not suitable for small children. Like the scene where a woman grabs a man by his buttocks (I guess he was her husband!). There are too many women wearing low cut dresses and revealing their cleavages.

No doubt the movie is a delight for the eyes and also brings to life a story that was very close to many of us till these feminists brought their theories and distorted our focus. So mom enjoy it with your beast! Ahem I mean with your man, but is it good for your small kid? Take a call.

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