Friday, November 12, 2010
Freaky Fridays: The Satanic Megamind Conspiracy
So here's this week's Freaky Friday: another cartoon (surprise!) seeks to subvert traditional mindsets and build sin into our kids' psychological makeup.
Now, keep in mind that there are two sides to every coin, that what is intended for evil can just as easily be used for good. We live in the world and we can never "hide" from all of the Satanic "stuff" floating around. I know my kids will probably see this movie at some point, and that's why I'm writing this-- because when they do, we'll have to talk about what's right, and what's wrong, with what they see.
In fact, the way this movie came on my radar is via a happy meal at McDonalds (yes, we still have the occasional treat at McDonalds. If you want to buy us organic produce and farm-raised, cage free meat for thousands and thousands of dollars a year, we'll gladly accept. ;)) Anyways, it took my husband about ten seconds of watching my kids joyfully examining their new Happy Meal box to figure out what this new movie was all about.
So, without furthur ado, I present to you the latest in my conspiracy-oriented rants: MegaMind. Which, I'll be honest, my kids will probably see. So long as we KNOW what we are looking at and talk about it, right? That's my philosophy.
The synopsis, according to Rotten Tomatoes, is as follows:
Megamind is the most brilliant super-villain the world has ever known... and the least successful. Over the years, he has tried to conquer Metro City... Megamind is the most brilliant super-villain the world has ever known... and the least successful. Over the years, he has tried to conquer Metro City in every imaginable way. Each attempt has been a colossal failure, thanks to the caped superhero known as "Metro Man," until the day Megamind actually defeats him in the throes of one of his botched evil plans. Suddenly, the fate of Metro City is threatened when a new villain arrives and chaos runs rampant, leaving everyone to wonder: Can the world's biggest "mind" actually be the one to save the day?
From the reviews it is easy to see that this movie has something for kids and grownups-- funny plotlines, clever scenes, and an excellent cast. I also read that the movie carries a strong "redemptive" theme and teaches about forgiveness. I'm quite certain it will be enjoyable as an experience and a good "bonding" activity for kids and parents. And keep in mind, of course, that I have not seen this movie.
But what bothered us right off the bat?
First of all, let's look at the superhero, MetroMan. Here he is on the right. At first glance, he appears to be quite a stud. Named for his metropolitan home, MetroCity, He is buff, dashing, "good," and everything a male superhero should be.Right?
So why is her wearing such an obviously fashionista designed super-costume, complete with fringed leather boots and gloves, a designer collar and buttons and a studded leather belt? Why is his hair so... perfect? Could it be that "MetroMan" is a play on our concept of "Metrosexuality?"
Let's start with a definition of metrosexuality:
Metrosexual: A heterosexual man whose masculinity goes beyond the stereotyped masculine, thus, he is not confined to a normative definition of masculinity.
In other words: he's kinda girly. In a manly, socially-acceptable kind of way. (Whatever THAT means these days.). One need only google "MetroMan" to find a slew of pics of very masculine/feminine celebrities and begin to wonder what exactly we are trying to say by normalizing the "metrosexual" man. He's not QUITE gay-- but he certainly enjoys displaying femine qualities. Harmless to the creation of traditional masculinity in our youth? A sneaky, subliminal way to break down our mental barriers about traditional gender roles and homosexuality? You decide.
Roxanne wears her hair super short and in a boyish cut. She is totally unafraid of Megamind's antics, making her much less than vulnerable or even feminine. She's a tough go- getter, hardly the picture of feminine characteristics in the ordinary boy-saves-girl superhero story. As a job-oriented career reporter, she's out to get the story.
And I know that some of you will think this is a good thing, but I have to ask you: when you combine the obvious de-feminizing of the female character and emasculating of the male character, what are you left with? Fuzzy sexuality. A confused "Metro-City" where women can be men and men can be women, where dress, hair, makeup and style, as well as personal characteristics are completely androgynous. All wrapped up in a fascinating, entertaining, audience-wowing 3D
miracle. (Think back on the flashes of "Metro City" we get from the trailer alone: Dads wearing babies. Women adoringly kissing a quickly disappearing and just-out-of reach "metro-man's" feet, Male voices yelling "I love you, MetroMan!"...you get the picture. Externally, of course, it all seems very wholesome indeed. As usual, we find a while lot of truth and goodness mixed in with just one or two "tiny" but perfectly placed lies.)
Last, we look at the not-so "evil" bad guy: Mega Mind.
Here, the villain is not only loveable but dashing, funny, witty, and ultimately his own kind of "good." (Despite the obvious allusion to S&M/Bondage gear/style in his uber fashionable studded black leather/vynil getup and dark surroundings... think Gaultier meets Lady Gaga video.) We follow him from an alien infancy to see all the scenarios in which he was a victim of circumstance (you've heard me rant before about how society is constantly teaching us that EVERYONE is a victim and thus not responsible for his/her own behavior.) I will also add that he has a strange blue coloring-- making him "different" and instilling in us as sense that "different is OK" as he rapidly climbs our inner moral wall to have us accept him and his pyschological journey from "bad guy" to "good guy."
Now, sure, there's nothing wrong with that, unless we are talking about differences that make up "good" an "evil." But what is good and evil to a kid learning that there are NO absolutes- no right, no wrong, no "normal" and "strange," no male, no female?
Ultimately, his "teacherous plans" become interesting to the people of MetroCity and the bad guy becomes a hero. Hmmm. So evil is the new good?
I seem to recall a funny theme going through the last three big kids' cartoons to hit theater-- maybe you can pick it out too.