Ever see "Hook?" It's a 1991 movie with Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman, in which Williams plays a grown-up Peter Pan who has to return to Never Never Land and rescue his kids from Hook, who has kidnapped them in an effort to have one last blow-out with his enemy. It's not exactly Spielberg's best, but it's a kid-friendly movie and we have it on DVD, and since we were all feeling sick, we decided to watch it after dinner tonight.
Not surprisingly, for the first 30 minutes or so, as the movie sets up the whole premise, the girls were uninterested. Evangeline practically fell asleep on her Spider-Man futon, and Rachel started playing with one of her educational toys that is supposed to help her learn her numbers. They finally started getting into it when Tinkerbell showed up and dragged Peter Pan back to Never Never Land, and by the time Peter Pan's memory started to come back, Evangeline was drawing a picture in full color of Tinkerbell flying above the lagoon, while mermaids sun themselves on a rock and a pirate ship sails through the background.
The best part came at the end, when Hook and Peter Pan got into their duel and the giant crocodile fell over and ate Hook. Rachel, who had been drawing a picture of the crocodile, was horrified, and drew a picture of Hook running away from the crocodile in time. For about 20 minutes after the movie, she kept complaining how mean it was that the crocodile ate Captain Hook, and it shouldn't have done that. Natasha tried to explain that Captain Hook was a bad man and the crocodile did it because Peter Pan wouldn't, and we tried explaining that it was just a pretend story with actors and no one was really eaten by anything, but Rachel wasn't having any of it. It was not nice that the crocodile had eaten someone, and it shouldn't have done that. I even offered to help her write a letter to Dustin Hoffman, saying that she didn't want him to be eaten by a crocodile, but she wouldn't budge. Crocodiles shouldn't eat people, and that's that.
I'm glad she feels this way -- like when Evangeline decided she wanted the Cinderella stories to have Cinderella living in a big room, and her stepsisters and stepmother treating her nicely, it shows that Rachel is developing the emotive skills to realize how someone else feels -- but man, this is going to eliminate a lot of children's entertainment if she really feels this way. Are there any Disney movies that don't have someone getting killed? A boulder falls on the queen in "Snow White," Ursula gets stabbed with a ship in "The Little Mermaid," Mufasa is stampeded to death by wildebeest in "The Lion King," and even Bambi's mom gets hit by a pickup and turned to roadkill. No one dies in "Pinocchio" (well, except for the title character, but he gets better), but it gave me nightmares as a kid when I saw all those kids turn into Democrats on Pleasure Island, particularly the one who can still talk as they're being shoved into crates and packed off to the salt mines. Heck, even Daffy Duck gets shot in the face and blown up with dynamite at least seventeen times in an eight-minute short. ("Elmer Fudd shouldn't have shot Daffy like that, mommy.")
The other odd thing I noticed is Rachel's choice of favorites. When she watched "Shrek," last year, she made that her nickname and even insisted "I ogre!" After Evangeline discovered the joys of Spider-Man, Rachel decided she wanted to be the Green Goblin. And now that we've shown her "Hook," she identifies with James Hook. It makes me afraid to let her watch "Jesus Christ Superstar."