Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Movies For Princesses- Nutcracker

Does anyone else out there have little girls who love all things princess?
We are in need of honest reactions to some of the princess stuff out there. My daughters really and truly don't like anything unless it has a beautiful princess in it.

They watch with some pleasure the Little Einstein movies, but really, all they want is a princess.
When they first got sucked into the princess craze I got really UPSET. To say the least.
Some of the people I knew who'd been raised with the 'princess' mentality had the expectation that all people should treat them like a princess, like they deserved anything they wanted, and shouldn't have to deal with consequences.

I was very unhappy with their love, until I found a specific princess book. I don't remember the title, but it was about how a princess should behave- respectfully, kindly, politely... It was great! The girls and I read it, and talked about it, and I decided that if that was how I could encourage my daughters to look at being a princess then I would go with it.

Now, I've found some Bible stories about Queens and heroines (Queen Esther, Deborah, Miriam), and I've been able to talk to them about being a 'daughter of the king'.

So, I'm gonna share one of the movies the girls like, the conversation it started between me and the girls, and what I don't like about the movie.

Barbie in The Nutcracker

Mattel has taken the Nutcracker story, and turned it into a tale about determination and endurance.

The story is a story within a story- opening with Barbie and her little sister, Kelly, practicing for their parts in the Nutcracker ballet. Kelly is having a lot of trouble with her part, and decides to just give up. Barbie tells her she knows she can do it, just like Clara. Then she tells a story which circles around the traditional ballet based on Tchaikovsky's music.

Barbie and her escort, The Nutcracker, must defeat the evil Mouse King, and restore the Nutcracker's magical kingdom to it's rightful glory and order. Along the way there are more creatures and derring-do than in the original. The animated dancing is gracefully adapted from New York City Ballet choreography. New York City Ballet's Peter Martins choreographed the animated film, and The London Symphony Orchestra provides the music. Tim Curry does a surprisingly fun and chilling Mouse King.

The movie is a little frightening with the Mouse King suitably scarey and overwhelming; however, since Barbie is telling the story the girls were not horribly frightened. The Mouse King and all his henchmen are presented as fantasy and they did not inspire nightmares, at least for my girls.

I like the fact that Clara and the Nutcracker must endure some pretty difficult things to defeat evil. I've talked to the girls about their determination to keep going even when all hope is lost. Oh, yeah, and Clara is the heroine. She's the one that rescues the kingdom. She needs the help of her friends, but it is still her that does it.

Also, the Nutcracker was formerly the prince, and he was known for being rude, selfish and thoughtless. During the course of the movie we see him demonstrate how he has changed, and his efforts to take care of those around him. At the end he apologises to all his kingdom's people, and is restored to himself.

So here's the Princess Points (points the girls and I can agree on):

Barbie +
Dancing +
Good story +
Good moral +
Character change +
Heroine +
Fantasy +

What I don't like- the ending of the Mouse King is a little fuzzy. He's not destroyed or killed, he just kind of disappears and is never heard from again.

Barbie is a little un-real. Ya know? She doesn't look like a real girl, more like the doll. The story is good, but I would have liked it better if she looked a little more like a real teenager. They do a pretty good job making Kelly look like a little girl, though.

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