Friday, December 18, 2009
The Princess and the Frog
From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
Traditional Scottish Prayer
“The Princess and the Frog,” by Disney, is one of the big movies of the Christmas Season. And from the reviews, it looks like there are lots of reasons to be excited about it. The animation is great, the songs are fun, and the story line is appealing.
But for parents, there is also reason for caution.
I am typically skeptical of Christian crusades against popular culture. I have never been enthused with the annual objections to Halloween. And I wanted no part of the Harry Potter opposition. (The Harry Potter books present a series of morality plays with themes that are consistent with Christian theology. And the magic is symbolic, pointing to deeper realities and struggles.)
I have not seen the movie, but from the reviews, there are two problems. First there is the voodoo. The characters conjure up dark spirits and spells. For little children (the movie is G rated), one of the difficult things is that that they can confuse this with prayer. And they can confuse magic with faith. Second, the underlying theme, as in so many seemingly “wholesome” popular movies, is the Gospel of success. You can succeed if you believe in yourself. The object of our worship is the self.
It could be worse, of course, in a thousand different ways. In her review in the Christianity Today, Annie Young Frisbie writes:
Sure, this is the message of just about every family film that has come down the pike since the dawn of cinema. But to see it presented in a context that evokes the style of Christianity, Mama Odie's song serves as a stark reminder as to how the American values of self-reliance diverge from the Christian message of humble submission to external grace. Just because something looks and sounds beautiful doesn't make it gospel.
You can read the whole review at: