Sunday, February 5, 2012

Legos and Princesses

We had a pretty nice little time this both this weekend and the one before it, though the same could not be said for the family of Pinky, Lily's little pink stuffed dog.

Me: Are you Pinky's mom?
Lily: I adopted her.
Me: Oh, that's nice.
Lily: Her family died.
Me: Oh, I-
Lily: They were shot when they were eating their dinner.
Me :...

Sucks to be Pinky's family.

Last weekend we went to a large indoor flea market in Quakertown. Apparently everyone knew about this place but me. We also went to Bounce U where Lily met up with a little friend from her old school. I'm glad that she's keeping in touch.

This weekend we hit Ikea to pick up some stuff. They have a little gulag where you can stow your kids. It's decorated with little plush houseflies stapled to the wall. Weird. I wonder if the company makes plush maggots for those who want the complete lifecycle.

We did our shopping and came back and Sunday was all about Legos and Princesses.

I love Legos. I don't think there was ever a point in my life when I didn't love them. (Though there was that period in high school where I didn't talk about loving them.) Now that I've got a kid, I can play with Legos again without being judged too harshly. (Same thing with watching cartoons. Sweet deal.) I wanted to have a grownup Lego party with my friends, but they pretty unanimously thought it was a terrible idea. Bah! Screw you, Josh's friends! A Lego party is a great idea.

I showed Lily this playset online and she got pretty excited about it and we went down to Toys R Us to pick it up.

I knew about the "girly" Lego sets and I figured we'd probably see those too. Lily had $35 to spend (a $20 gift card, a $10 one and a five dollar bill) and we picked out the last superhero set they had. It was $25, so we looked around for something cheap to buy with the rest of the money. That's when she noticed the girly stuff and decided to put Lex and Supes back in exchange for Olivia's treehouse.

I wasn't happy about it, because I'm not thrilled about the idea of "Legos for girls" (Not that I think that girls shouldn't be allowed to play with Legos, but that the ones marketed towards girls tend to reinforce stereotypical girly activities to the exclusion of other avenues. They seem to say "Boys can do anything; girls can do this." I've written about my dislike for the practice here), but part of being a parent is learning to accept the decisions you don't agree with, and this is pretty small potatoes in the big scheme of things.

After that, we took in a 3-D show of Beauty & the Beast. It had a short Rapunzel film in the beginning. 

The Rapunzel short was pretty great, though I'm partial to to petite brunettes with big green eyes, seeing as a married one. Even without that, it was a lot of fun, and cute to watch, just like the original movie.

So, Beauty and the Beast. Belle is probably my favorite of the traditional Disney Princesses. (I like Rapunzel and Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire more, but Rapunzel doesn't really fit in the Princess Pantheon, and nobody remembers Kida. We caught Atlantis earlier in the week, and it's probably going to get its own post soon. Lily liked Kida too, though. She said "She's more adventurous than most princesses.")

It's a great movie though. This is the first time I've seen it on the big screen, and though the 3-D was added long after the movie was completed, and didn't really add a lot to it. However, all the characters, and Belle in particular, were lovingly animated, and I was able to see all the little details in her mannerisms on the big screen.

I think I first saw the movie about when I started dating Jen, in about 1995. Gaston didn't really bother me that much. I thought he was pretty boring as an antagonist, to be completely honest. But as an adult, he gets under my skin more than most villains, and I think it's because of the scene in Belle's house.

Take a look at these screenshots I took. I don't know how intentional this was on the part of the animators, but Gaston's body language, the way he gets in Belle's face, his aggressiveness, the way he pushes aside the chair she drags between them. Seeing it as an adult, it really looked like he was just short of rape and that's disturbing in any context, but particularly one like this.

Blech. On to things I enjoyed about the movie.

I love the coach into which the Beast puts Maurice when sending him home. I'm not sure what it's supposed to be, though.

All the other stuff in the castle was former servants transformed into animated clocks and candelabras and such. We've got the one dog that was changed into a foot rest, but otherwise the pattern holds. So what the fuck is that thing supposed to be? It moves like a spider (and it's accompanied by a cool chittering sound when it moves) but I find it unlikely that the prince had some kind of giant spider monster on the palace staff.

And while we're pointing out plot holes in a kid's fantasy movie, the Beast has until his 21st birthday to find True Love. At one point, Mrs. Potts says they've been trapped like this for ten years, so the only explanation that makes sense (such as it is) is that the prince was ten years old when the enchantress cursed him and everyone in the castle, which was kind of a dick move on her part.

(Also, speaking of weird ages, Mrs. Potts must have been, what, 65 when Chip was born?)

I love the Beast in the absolute black depths of his depression.  He choose to free the woman he loved, but that meant dooming not only himself, but everyone who trusted him to a lifetime trapped in these monstrous forms.  When Mrs. Potts come to tell him that the castle is being invaded, he can barely answer her. "It doesn't matter."

I love his fight with Gaston too. Gaston kicks open the door, shoots him, chases him on the roof, and the Beast is doing the minimum he needs to stay alive. Gaston must think they're evenly matched or that he perhaps even has the edge over the Beast until Belle returns. The Beast sees her and has something to fight for, so he just spills Gaston over effortlessly. It's possibly my favorite display of powerfully controlled strength in any medium.

And then he turns into a prince, all the servants change back into people and after that, there's nothing left but for them to live happily ever after.


  1. Also, there should be a take-away lesson from the fact that it cost $12 to get a child into a 3-D movie, and she probably only kept the darn things on for about a third of the movie (and that was with repeated reminders and nagging from the parentals.)

    Also, I concur that the Rapunzel short was fabulous...they can do so much more with the 3-D when the movie is being designed with that in mind from the start.
    (Josh's wife)

  2. I the newest Lego Batman sets with the other Justice League characters in it. Its a great tie-in for Lego Batman II (video game) that is more Justice League central. Don't forget about the Lord of the Rings Legos coming out later this year.

    I took my wife to see Beauty and the Beast as it was her favorite Disney princess movie. We both loved the Tangled short film as well. For Gaston I blocked out his 'agressive' courting of Belle when I noticed that he looks like Bruce Campbell with that chin of his. Mentally I kept replacing his lines with ones from the Evil Dead films and my wife kept giving me quizzical looks whenever he spoke and I started to chuckle.

  3. I love this movie.